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Part 1 :Oracle Financial Cloud Implementation Journey : The ground preparation phase

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The excitement of the journey: 

On a typical Mumbai Monsoon evening last year and after countless brainstorming sessions among ourselves, we decided to upgrade our in-house billing and legacy financial system. We were contemplating various options for previous four months.  The invoicing system was homegrown and had serviced well. However as our business grew more than 30% annually over last four years, we started experiencing shortfalls in our system. Customizing it to suit our new requirements would have been an easy decision. However, it wouldn’t have given us access to best practices that companies are using to manage their revenue.

Once we decided to explore a new system, we moved fast and shortlisted usual suspects. However, Oracle Financial Cloud won the comparison handsomely. The single most reason for us to choose Oracle Financial Cloud was comprehensiveness and completeness in Oracle’s Cloud offerings. We knew that we will start slow, but scale out to migrate our other business processes over the period. Oracle’s SaaS Cloud offerings like EPM Cloud, HCM Cloud, and CX Cloud were particularly of interest to us.

The real challenges started once we principally decided to go ahead with Oracle Financial Cloud service. We launched our first phase of “Ground preparation” immediately. This is important as your outflow starts as soon as Oracle provisions a Cloud instance for you. We didn’t want to spend any time in application design after Oracle provisioning was completed.

We knew that our project is an “adoption” and not an “implementation” project. This clarity helped us to create right expectations for business users and implementation team. In an implementation approach, the implementation team governs the project and pushes business users to adopt the application to processes. In a cloud environment, you can not customize the application. Hence, the standard approach is to postpone some business requirement to next phase. Because business users are unaware of application capability, they generally don’t have a choice but to accept such inferior implementation plan.

We wanted to avoid this pitfall. We educated our business users on Cloud computing, applications capabilities and work around methods well in advance. The unlearning of the legacy financial system was particularly challenging. However, after a few sessions, we started getting the buying in from the business users.

During this phase, we presented our business users the best practices customers are adopting worldwide to migrate to modern finance. We shadowed business users for few days to understand their daily work routine, and what they need to present in MIS or during the meetings. This helps implementation team to identify productivity leakages well in advance.  We also encouraged business users to create a wish-list of their requirements. We didn’t hold them back by commenting on what is not possible.

After few sessions, we helped them to categorize their wish list to attain following characteristics:

  • Better financial control than the existing legacy system
  • Data insight for Sr. managers
  • Data insight for business users to increase their productivity
  • Automation like batch data uploads, the bill to pay, invoice to receivables
  • Integration with other business systems
  • Mobility to provide data access anywhere

The categorization helped us to scope the second phase of adoption. Traditionally this is called “Implementation Phase.” We conducted workshops to demonstrate some items from each of ‘wish list’ category. This helped our implementation team to excite the business users about the new application. The enthusiasm helped us to involve business users more deeply during further phases. The basic design was completed subsequently, and we were ready to start the second phase, which is the Adoption Phase.

Part 2 :Read about the Adoption phase here

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