As more and more customers are approaching Oracle Cloud implementations ,some of them have been asking some good questions and thought, I would bring most of these questions in one common forum for benefit for everyone. This blog is not to answer all the questions but to encourage you to ask questions. I’ve addressed some of the critical high level questions.
1.No question is bad question, feel free to go wild? First and foremost – Why Oracle Cloud? How does business benefit from Cloud? What kind of business transformation you want to achieve?
It is absolutely critical to align business objectives, business processes and IT roadmap for successful implementations. What are the choices?
No other cloud platforms has such a comprehensive set of business applications in Cloud like Oracle. All the core applications HCM, finance, procurement, sales, project and supply chain are fully integrated into one platform. With Oracle Cloud platform there are now bunch of integration tools which can used to integrate your other business applications.
2.Legacy systems: do you really need to think about it? Yes, legacy systems and legacy processes are about to be dumped. There are lot of questions you would need to have good answers early on. What do you want to bring into to your cloud? What do you want to do with the data which you don’t bring into cloud? Who and how you will access this data? How long do you keep this data? How will you validate the data brought in? Do you want to retain the same processes, chart of accounts, calendar etc., in Cloud? Do you want to redesign any of these? What applications your legacy systems integrate with? What happens to these integrations? Do they support new platform?
Even though these Oracle Cloud Apps are redesigned ground up, still most of the features and functionalities are taken from on premise. There is already robust support to handle almost all kind of business processes and complexities required for small to very large multinational organizations. Keep in mind even though Oracle is adding lot of feature in every release, there are still some functionalities not available in Release 13, which is the latest version at this point.
On data migration is big and crucial aspect. On olden on premise days we used to write bunch of data conversion and post validation programs to move the data from legacy to new system. Oracle provides various ways to convert the legacy data – File based loader is great tool for one time load or some repeated manual loads.
3.Change Management: Who are the key decision makers? Are they trained in Oracle Cloud? Are your users distributed in multiple locations? What kind of trainings you will need to consider? Do you need a tailored and repeatable user training program? What about the administrators and IT team? What is their role in Oracle Cloud ?
Off course, different folks have different training needs. Business users, engaged in Cloud implementation should take the pre-implementation training first, so that they can ask right questions and get the implementation catered to their needs. There are tons of material available both free and paid. A qualified SI can help you and your team to identify right content and make recommendations. IT users need to know how to maintain the application, access controls, patching schedules, integration needs and architecture and testing etc.
Again it is absolutely crucial to establish the fact upfront that objective of going to Oracle Cloud is to adapt the power of rich functionalities of tier one systems. There will be occasions where business users need to take hard decisions and let go of their custom processes. Business champion will need to be given all the authority and will play a pivot role.
4.Reporting and Analytics: How do I get my reports in cloud? Can I build my own reports? Is there any excel like experience? What are the canned reports available? Who will develop complex reports? Are these reports secure? Can I share some of my reports within my team?
Here is the most powerful aspect of Oracle Cloud solutions: It has many great reporting capabilities. The trick is to know which one to be used when. Off course, Oracle acronyms don’t make it any easier– BI Publisher, Native Reports, OTBI, Smart Views, FR Studio and Sunburst. Let me decrypt this for you.
a.BI Publisher – For, Customer facing documents such as Customer Invoice, Purchase order, Check Print etc.
b.Native Reports – Some seeded reports are available out of box such as Open AP, Open AR, Transaction Register, All POs, etc. These are well segregated and organized by module.
c.OTBI (Oracle transactional Business Intelligence) – One of the most powerful feature where users can build their own reports on live application data and share with others
d.Smart Views – Excel reporting feature for slice and dice on real application data
e.Financial Reporting Studio – Boardroom quality financial reports such as Balance sheet, Income Statement, P&L reporting etc.
f.Sunburst – Excellent data visualization tool
5.Cloud Culture: Most of the companies are running hybrid organizations – Cloud and On-Premise. So, Cloud may not be entirely new. But, if you don’t have any Oracle enterprise applications in cloud, then this could be little bit intriguing. The common questions are – What is the architecture? Single Sign On? Training? Patching cycle? Administration? Ways to Customize?
Lot of implementation fail because they can’t integrate or there are bad integrations. It is very important to setup right expectations. Well, you could find some of these are different from other cloud apps.
6.Project Planning and Governance: Isn’t is a cliché? May be, but let me explain – Three key expectations for any tier 1 enterprise applications are best in class, scalability and off course security. So, Oracle has built a set of Cloud applications with these basic principles.
Now the question is – Do you an appetite for big bang or short bursts? What kind of integrations you would need? What kind of methodology you need to follow? For instance, Oracle OUM Cloud implementation doesn’t have any requirements phase, it starts right from design phase. How much lead time does Oracle need to refresh? How many test instances do you have? How can you keep all instances at the same patch level? Did Oracle assign Oracle Success manager? What kind of cadence is required?
Over the year’s project planning and governance has gone to a different level, lot of SIs included Jade Global has to completely retool the approach, methodology, team composition and governance model to map it completely with Cloud implementations. You will need to understand this, be ready to run with it. Often, the bottleneck of cloud implementation is customer’s readiness not the SI’s implementation tasks.
7. Post implementation Support – Who will be responsible for this? What are service levels expected from SI and Oracle? Are you going live with any unresolved critical issues? Do you have workarounds? What is the post implementation issue resolution process going to be? Who will coordinate with Oracle? What is the communication and issue tracking plan after go-live? Will you bifurcate issues by types such as training, admin, bugs., etc., How can you quickly stabilize the system?
Some of seasoned IT and business organizations will think about it, way ahead of go-live. But there are lot of SMBs, for them post implementation support is afterthought and will struggle, unless they clearly address the framework. Business perception and adaption will be formed on how fast you can get the system stabilized and start adding incremental business value.
One of my customers has saved close to 80% savings in post go-live support after moving to Cloud. They realized ROI from moving from on prem EBS to Cloud faster than they originally planned for.
Summary – Proper due diligence before and during the project will drive success. Please ask questions relentlessly until you get qualified responses and be prepared to benefit from Oracle Cloud. This is REAL and BIG, don’t be too late.
Feel free to share more interesting questions you may have in your mind !
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More in my next blog….