It’s a fairly typical scenario: a company’s executive team has agreed to make the move from Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) to Oracle Cloud and all eyes turn to Finance and IT leadership to make it happen. A project this significant and complex can be overwhelming, and with so many critical tasks happening simultaneously, it is not uncommon to overlook key activities. To ensure organizations do not commit fatal flaws, we have prepared a list of the top five best practices needed to meet digital transformation goals.
- Design business processes that align with the capabilities of Oracle Cloud.
Because EBS is highly customizable, it is more likely that an organization would customize the application to align with their existing business processes rather than adjusting the process itself. While Oracle Cloud has more cutting-edge technology and more robust functionality, it is discouraged to implement customizations. Instead, it is recommended to adjust (or create new) business processes to align with the application’s functionality and configuration options. We suggest having design discussions with key business process owners in the early stages of the transition to make sure they understand and agree with key design decisions.
- Consider that configuration matters more than customization.
Oracle’s objective with Oracle Cloud is to make the application setup more “user-friendly”. This is one of the main ideas behind making Oracle Cloud more “configurable” and less “customizable”. Before embarking on the Oracle Cloud journey, it is important to understand the application’s capabilities and configuration options – and whether or not they will be able to meet the needs of your organization (keeping in mind that business processes will likely need to be adjusted, as noted in the previous section).
It is worth mentioning that while Oracle Cloud is far less customizable than its on-premise counterpart (EBS), there are still some customization (extension) options available through Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS). Additionally, certain Oracle Cloud elements may still be customized. For example, Oracle Cloud offers strong reporting capabilities with a number of ways to manage the data and tailor the solution to meet reporting requirements (along with a robust catalog of default reports that already exist in the cloud environment).
- Implement an effective project management strategy.
Effective project management helps ensure that the project does not encounter delays and budget overages, or result in failed expectations. The following examples outline a few leading practice project management activities:
- Establish a well-defined project scope, including as many details as possible about what is ahead. Throughout the project, know what is mission critical to meet project objectives and what can be put in the “parking lot”. This will help manage the intended scope of the project and avoid unnecessary delays.
- Establish and involve the project team early on. The team should be comprised of: a steering committee, project management, the system integrator (SI), key business process owners, internal IT resources involved with the implementation, partners (customers, vendors, etc.), the controls team and/or internal audit, the organizational change management team, and Oracle subject matter experts. While not necessarily required, it is also advised to consider adding a project risk management (PRM) function to ensure implementation risks are managed.
- Define a project roll-out schedule. For global or large enterprises, it is typical to roll out by country or by business function. To reduce the risk of full business disruption, it is usually a good idea to have a pilot go-live with a small user group or business unit before moving to a full-scale launch.
- Establish a checklist of critical activities and outcomes in the beginning of the project and hold the team accountable to completing the activities and meeting pre-defined KPI’s before go-live can occur.
- Understand implementation risks and implement appropriate controls.
The below list outlines some of the key risk areas and considerations that should occur throughout the project. While each of these activities should begin in the early stages of the project, they should also be re-validated near the end of the project before the application can go live.
- Ensure migrated data is complete and accurate. The data conversion strategy should consist of multiple rounds of in-depth testing and ideally, a mock cutover to ensure the team is ready for Production conversion at the time of go-live.
- Before even taking on data conversion, understand data requirements – is migrating all of the legacy data required? Migrate only the required years or fields of data from EBS and archive the remaining data. Ensure that access to the archived historical data is still available and cannot be altered to ensure the integrity of the data.
- Understand user security Not unlike Oracle EBS responsibilities, out-of-the-box Oracle Cloud roles are embedded with sensitive access and segregation of duties (SoD) risks. It is recommended to invest the time in analyzing user access requirements and potential risks to determine if custom security would be a more appropriate option. It is often more cost effective and less disruptive to the business to incorporate user role design and testing into the overall implementation, rather than perform re-work on user security after the implementation has ended.
- Include reporting as a top priority workstream. Business process leads and users will be inclined to focus on reports used frequently during their day-to-day processes. Don’t overlook additional reports required for key controls. An effective measure to ensure there are no gaps in the future state control environment is to map key controls to future state business processes.
- Confirm organizational readiness.
Is the organization ready? The various stakeholders should have an understanding of the changes ahead and their upcoming roles and responsibilities. A clear communications plan is critical – lack of focus on building management and end user support can lead to post go-live disruptions, regardless of the quality of the system implementation.
- IT Team – Is IT aware of their future roles and responsibilities? Are they adequately trained on maintaining the application after the SI rolls off the project?
- Business Process Leads – Are business process leaders well equipped to explain and advocate for the changes in the system and in the processes? A strong level of awareness and positive tone from management will help facilitate end user comfort and adoption.
- End Users – Have end users been trained on how to resume their key tasks as soon as the application is live? Do they know how to access the new system? Do they know what to do and who to reach out to if they encounter issues? User awareness and involvement will help reduce reluctance to change and increase preparedness to resume with their duties using the new application.
Companies and organizations don’t have to wait long to make the transition to Oracle Cloud. The cloud is within the reach and Protiviti is ready to help at every step of this journey while advising on leading practices to ensure a successful Oracle cloud project.