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Introduction to TCA

What is a Trading Community?

A Trading Community is defined as a group of entities taking part in commerce. It includes entity types of both person and organizations. These entities may play roles other than seller and buyer such as Contact, Partner, Agent, Distributer, Bank, etc .

What is the Trading Community Architecture?

The Trading Community Architecture (TCA) lets you capture and maintain the trading community of your business, including the ability to capture real world entities and their locations, the relationships between them and their contacts.

Note: TCA is a data model and NOT an application or module

How did it start?

Prior to TCA

Prior to TCA there were multiple definitions of Trading Entities across the EBS, ie: Customers, Suppliers and Employees. In some cases, the same data had to be held in several different modules; Human Resource (HR) employees who were paid through Payables (AP) had to be created again as suppliers in AP; bank details were held in HR, AP and CM (Cash Management). All these definitions where independent of each other and there were no links between them. For example, separate payments had to be made from each module, so you could not see a balance of a single bank account of an entity. Therefore it was impossible to have a view of the full picture and it was tough to understand the relationships between entities.

Background

TCA was first introduced in 11i. This is when the Oracle CRM application was introduced and it was realised that the current customer structure was not sufficient, so a common customer data model was required. The current structure could not handle complex relationships between entities.

As TCA evolved, new modules were introduced to enable better use of the architecture:

  • Customers Online (OCO) – To provide a window into TCA. OCO lets you view, create, maintain, and enrich your central repository of customer data.
  • Customer Data Librarian (CDL) – To Cleanse and enrich the data in TCA. CDL lets you establish and maintain an accurate, duplicate-free, and complete customer database. This application includes all of the features from Oracle Customers Online.
  • Customer Data Hub (CDH) – Is a composite of TCA, OCO and CDL. CDH lets you centralize customer data from various source systems, providing a single view of your customers. The links between each source system and the Hub are operational and real-time.
  • Supplier Data Hub (SDH) – One of the latest additions to the family, it allows centralized supplier data from various source systems.

Note that TCA has been carried forward into Fusion Applications.

TCA Timeline

The following diagram shows how TCA has evolved over the years:

TCA Timeline

Features of TCA

Various applications in the Oracle E-Business Suite can view, create, and update the TCA Registry data. Because this information is shared, any change made in one application is reflected in all applications.

TCA itself provides the Trading Community Manager responsibility, which includes these features that you can use to maintain, enrich, and cleanse the TCA Registry.

  • Bulk Import – Provides loading of large volumes of data with validation
  • Source System Management – Define, store, and manage data from other source systems that are feeding into the TCA Registry .
  • Single Source of Truth – Create a single customer record based on data from multiple sources
  • Data Quality Reports – Data Completeness Reports and Duplicate Identification Analysis
EBS Modules that use TCA

The following diagram shows some of the EBS modules that use TCA:

EBS Modules using TCA

Key Entities in TCA

The key entities in TCA include:

  • Parties 
  • Customer Accounts 
  • Relationships 
  • Locations 
  • Sites 
  • Contacts 
  • Contact Points
 Logical Data Model

TCA Logical Data Model 

Party

Parties are entities that can enter into business relationships with your business.  They can be of four types:

  • Person – A unique individual
  • Organization – A legal entity
  • Relationship – The association between two entities
  • Group – A combination of two or more of any of the above

Examples:

  • John Smith
  • ABC Consulting Services 
Customer Accounts

A Customer Account is created for a Party once a selling relationship exists.  For every unique selling relationship you have with your customer you need to create a separate Account.   A good example of this would be bank accounts.  You may have several bank accounts at Barclays Bank, i.e. Current Account, Savings Account, ISA, etc.  All those bank accounts have different terms hence you need to have them separate.  The customer account equates to the “Old” Customer prior to R10.7

Relationships

A Relationship is a binary (ie: two way) association between two entities, such as a partnership.  You can have relationships at both party level and customer account level.

Party Relationships

A Party Relationship is a relationship between two Parties.  These Parties could be of either type person or organization.  There are seeded Party Relationships that come with Oracle EBS but you can define your own.  Examples of Party Relationships include, affiliate, subsidiary, partner, employee of, or contact of.

Examples:

  • John Smith is an Employee of ABC Consulting Services
  • John Smith is a spouse for Jane Smith
Account Relationship

An Account Relationship is established between different accounts of a Party to allow sharing of billing, shipping and pricing information.

Locations

This defines a geographical location.

Examples:

  • Reading location of ABC Consulting services 
  • London location of ABC Consulting services 
Sites

You can define Sites at Party level and Account level.  A Site links the Party/Account to a Location.  It is the physical address and it can describe the usage of that location. (e.g. mailing address, billing address, home address, etc.).  A Site can be associated with only one Location, but a Location can be associated with one or more Parties/Accounts.

Site-Location Relationship

Account Site

This can be linked to the Party Site or a new one can be created. 

Contacts

A Contact is a person who communicates for, or acts on behalf of, a Party or Customer Account. A Contact can exist at Party, Account or Site level.  A person usually acts as a contact for an organization, but can also be a contact for another person. For example, an administrative assistant could be the contact for an executive.

Examples:

  • John Smith at ABC Consulting 
  • Bill Jones Accountant of Jane Taylor
Contact Points

Contact Point is the means of contacting a Party or a Contact, eg: Telephone number, Email Address.

Examples:

Multiple Parties and Customer Accounts

For an existing customer, when would you create another Party or Customer Account?

Multiple Customer Accounts

You’d set up multiple Accounts within a Party when:

  • your selling relationship is different e.g. Payment terms
  • need to segregate transactions within a Party
  • you want to keep all activities separate from the parent Organization

Example of multiple Accounts within a Party:

  • Current Account of John Smith with Barclays Bank
  • Savings Account of John Smith with Barclays Bank
  • Consulting Services of Oracle UK within Oracle
  • Training Services at Oracle UK within Oracle
Multiple Parties

You’d set up another Party for the customer when you want to keep all activities separate from the parent organization.

Example of multiple Parties:

  • Current Account of John Smith with Barclays Bank
  • Business Account of John Smith with Barclays Bank
  • Consulting Services of Oracle UK within Oracle
  • Consulting Services of Oracle USA within Oracle

Summary 

The Oracle TCA data structure and the Customer and Supplier Hubs allow enterprises to truly understand their Trading Communities and ensure a single, trusted view of the data.  This structure makes it possible to get a 360-degree view of the Customers and Suppliers and have a better understanding of them.

This has been an overview of TCA; for more detailed information on how to use your TCA model to understand your customers more please contact us and we will be happy to help.

 

23 Jan, 2013 by

E-Business Suite

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