I've been fortunate enough to be working with financial and accounting management products for longer than I care to admit (even to myself)! Starting way back in the Oracle PeopleSoft days, my career has focused on developing a great deal of experience and expertise in financial management applications.
At Drivestream I've worked on implementing ERP in the Cloud, and I've also worked on one of the first (if not THE first) integrated ERP Cloud and Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) implementation in North America (at Delaware Life Insurance)! We've also worked on some innovative industry specific solutions for ERP Cloud, such as required by Capital Market companies in Financial Services.
So, when people ask me "How do I make sure our ERP Cloud implementation is a success?" I can draw upon a lot sweat (and quite a bit of tears) to suggest five keys to a successful ERP Cloud implementation project.
1. Unlearn and Unload
While there is a lot to learn about the Cloud, there is also a lot to unlearn. In other words, you find that much of the "customized baggage" from your on-premise experience needs to be dumped out. You need to travel light in the cloud. Best practice in the Cloud means making the best of delivered processes. If you can't do that, then you're not doing it right.
You must learn to assess "Cloud readiness" and if you're "fit for the Cloud". That takes an understanding of Cloud methodology, and might require looking around for a partner or consultant to help you.
2. Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
As with so many other things, Yogi's wisdom is as true today as it was decades ago, and as true in business and technology as it was in sports and life in general. If you're starting a Cloud project, it's vitally important to start with a comprehensive plan, timeline, and strategy.
Your time, your team's time, your stakeholder's time is vitally important. You need to treat it like Gold. It shouldn't be wasted. Unrealistic expectations always lead to if not failures, at least costly delays,
3. Don't Just Stay Involved, Stay Engaged
Cloud is business user oriented, not IT oriented. That means that as a business stakeholder (Chief Financial Officer, Accounting Head, Accounts Payable and Receivable, etc.) you need to stay engaged with the process. From setting up Approval Workflows, to adding new Chart of Accounts values, through testing and validation.
Cloud is a long-term relationship that needs commitment from beginning to end.
4. It's Never Too Early or Too Late for Spring Cleaning
Dirty data is like a dirty garage. Sure, you're storing everything, but it's cluttered, disorganized, and you can't find anything when you need to. Data cleansing and conversion can make or break your timeline. Prior preparation greatly increases success rate.
Data structures are different, even between different Oracle products. Adherence to the delivered format and structure will ensure successful and minimal data conversion efforts, and avoid costly delays. Begin with the end in mind - start conversion from Day-1!
5. It's All About the Charts! Chart of Accounts, That Is...
Chart of Accounts design usually takes longer than you anticipate. It's vitally important that you understand the Chart of Account (COA) structure and design in Cloud ERP.
Get started with your COA structure as early as possible. Cloud ERP COA is extremely flexible, but prior planning yields better Return on Investment (ROI). Take advantage of the amazingly flexible COA structure, but if you're not familiar with good COA design you need to find help, because having a smart COA design is vital.
That's it! Well, that's not all it, but it's a start. The rest is finding the right solution for your business, the right set of applications that enables your business to grow, and the right partner to help you go from here to there in your Journey to the Cloud!
Do you have more tips on what makes a successful ERP Cloud implementation? Share below in the comments!
Rajeev Ponnusamy is Senior Vice President & Partner at Drivestream.
Rajeev is part of the Drivestream Account Management Group for the North American Eastern Region and leads the ERP practice for the organization. Rajeev is responsible for managing some of Drivestream's key Financials accounts and projects in the Oracle Cloud and PeopleSoft space. With his 15+ years of experience in Financial applications, Rajeev has worked with CFOs and Treasurers in implementing their Financial and Treasury applications. Recently Rajeev has been helping both midsize and Enterprise clients successfully migrate their mission critical Financials Applications to Oracle's ERP Cloud.
Prior to joining Drivestream, Rajeev worked at leading consulting companies such as Infosys, Rapidigm (now Fujitsu), and others as a Financials & Treasury subject matter expert. Rajeev attended the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and also has an MBA in Corporate Finance & Strategy from The Ohio State University.
Rajeev is available at Rajeev.Ponnusamy@drivestream.com.