As part of Quest Experience Week Cloud Day, Kevin Johnson, the Senior Financial Systems Business Manager at Ohio National Financial Services, spoke about the company’s success with Oracle ERP Cloud implementation. He shared why they chose Oracle, the benefits they’ve noticed, the Oracle Cloud implementation challenges they faced along the way, and advice that they have for other customers looking to move to Cloud.
Why Move to Oracle Cloud?
Before selecting ERP Cloud, Ohio National had no prior experience with Oracle. When they began looking for a new system, Ohio National knew that they wanted a Cloud product. They had no interest in looking for an on-premise solution. They wanted a flexible Cloud product that could upgrade frequently and easily. Before moving to Oracle ERP Cloud, Ohio National was 18 upgrades behind on their last system. They knew they needed discipline on both updates and customizations.
Benefits of Oracle ERP Cloud
Ohio National knew they wanted and needed real-time reporting. Oracle Smart View and OTBI became valuable reporting tools to Ohio National. Before Cloud, they had manual, paper processes for reporting that could take 12 to 24 hours before updating the system and reports.
They also had a problem with a lack of information with their old system. With Cloud, they were able to increase efficiency by identifying user actions and information about who to contact with questions. Now users can see who uploaded and approved a document, when it was posted, and more.
Self-Service Procurement was another benefit for Ohio National because it allowed budget owners to have more control over what they are purchasing. They could now review past orders in a “database” rather than digging through a stack of papers by hand.
Before Cloud, Ohio National had paper copies of invoices that got signed for approval. A single person in the AP department had a binder filled with rules about who had the ability to approve certain documents. The process was manual and time-consuming. With Cloud, they were able to create a systematic workflow. They simplified the approval process and implemented that process into Oracle’s workflow functionality. This allows them to work smarter instead of harder.
Oracle Cloud Implementation Challenges
Ohio National faced several obstacles throughout the course of their Oracle Cloud implementation project. These obstacles came from both the organization and the system/processes.
- Resistance to change: This may be the most common challenge that Cloud implementation projects face. People start asking, “Why would we change something that has worked for years?” They fear change, and they fear a system that they think may take their job away from them. It’s important to develop a plan for change management that can ease your employees’ fears about your project. Provide them with information about why change is necessary and how it will benefit them and the business as a whole.
- Regulatory environment changes: Ohio National faced a unique obstacle during their project timeline. A Department of Labor ruling occurred during their implementation, and it forced them to push their go-live date three months in order to dedicate resources to the ruling. They had to address regulatory changes before they could move forward with their project.
- Move from siloed systems to fully integrated: Before making the move to Cloud, Ohio National worked into siloed systems. They moved from siloed systems to a fully integrated system, and that required a lot of work. For example, they had to take steps to integrate their Procure to Pay process. In their old system, Procurement, AP and Budget all had separate processes. In Cloud, they were all combined. This led to another obstacle of getting their users to understand how their work on the front end of the system could affect multiple other modules that are all connected now. This is something that they continue to struggle with, and they continue to provide information and training to supplement the problem.
Advice for Others Looking to Transition to Oracle Cloud
Kevin shared five pieces of advice that Ohio National has for other customers that are looking to move to Cloud in order to best prepare for the inevitable Oracle Cloud implementation challenges you’ll face.
- Make sure to have a “champion” and/or “buy in” from leadership and users. You don’t want your company’s leadership to be on the fence about your project. You need support to push your project forward and make it successful.
- Have “owners” of modules/areas to lead the team. It’s important not to force employees into this role. Make sure that they are willing and able to do it.
- Do not overlook change management. Change management is a crucial part of any Cloud implementation. People don’t like change. The more information you provide them with, the more they will understand why the change is happening and how it will benefit them. For more information, check out this additional Quest article: “Driving User Adoption During Your Cloud Implementation.”
- Allow plenty of time for training. It is better to have too much training than not enough. It’s important to remember that everyone learns differently, so you may want to consider having different methods of training.
- Pick the right partner for your implementation. Interviewing consultants before the start of your project can be extremely beneficial. You’ll either want to choose a partner that is a good fit with your organization or a partner that can challenge your organization and bring on change.