Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation is a very involved, comprehensive process due to the complexity of the platform, combined with the degree of customization that is typically required. In fact, no two ERP implementations are alike because each company’s enterprise software system is customized to their operational needs.
An ERP implementation can take several months or even longer for larger, more customized platforms. Oracle ERP is one of the industry heavyweights, with many companies opting to implement and deploy this enterprise software solution. But how do you implement Oracle ERP efficiently, ensuring that you are up and running as soon as possible with a platform that meets your company’s needs in an effective manner?
What is Oracle ERP Software?
Oracle cloud Enterprise Resource Planning software platforms are among the most popular platforms, in large part due to the cloud-based nature of these ERP systems. Cloud ERP platforms are highly scalable and far more affordable to implement and maintain than their on-premise counterparts.
Oracle has a couple different enterprise resource planning software offerings.
Oracle Cloud ERP – The Oracle Cloud ERP platform — also called Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP — is considered one of the more sophisticated and customizable of Oracle’s enterprise software systems. This SaaS ERP system was formerly a collection of stand-alone Fusion applications which were ultimately combined into a single ERP platform. Oracle Cloud ERP includes artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that enhance many of its modules. For instance, AI is used to generate “smart suggestions” are offered up concerning budget and expenses in the finance ERP module.
As the name suggests, this is a cloud-based platform that can accommodate companies of all sizes in virtually all industries. Companies that opt to proceed with an Oracle Cloud ERP implementation can choose from a wide variety of implementation partners — that’s something that cannot be said for some other Oracle ERP products, such as NetSuite.
Oracle NetSuite – NetSuite is a cloud-based SaaS ERP platform and it is regarded as having a bit less flexibility than Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP. Even so, this platform may work for a company that does not require a high degree of customization during its implementation process.
Many smaller and midsize companies do well with Oracle NetSuite ERP, but larger corporations with more unique enterprise software needs may find NetSuite limiting. In terms of implementation, Oracle NetSuite ERP has a very limited pool of implementation partners, with most customers relying upon the internal NetSuite implementation team for assistance with this task.
There are also legacy on-premise Oracle ERP systems in existence, although an increasing number of customers are upgrading to the cloud-based versions due to the improvements in performance and lower maintenance costs, among other factors.
How Do You Implement Oracle ERP Efficiently?
An efficient Oracle ERP implementation is rooted in good planning. If you fail in the planning phase — which is perhaps the most important of all the different ERP implementation phases — the overall success of your project is seriously endangered. This brings us to our first best practice for ERP implementation.
- Work With a Company That Uses an ERP Implementation Methodology – Your Oracle ERP implementation partner should have a strategic, well-defined methodology that guides their processes and ensures that everyone is on the same page, so to speak. A methodology will provide structure to the ERP implementation process, guiding workflows and ensuring that everyone uses the same phases and strategies. Your ERP implementation partner should be willing to discuss their methodology, providing you with insights into what to expect by way of implementation phases, processes, and overall strategy.
- Take Your Time With the Discovery and Planning Phase – An Oracle ERP implementation is a complex process that entails a lot of customization. There are dozens of “moving parts” to consider. As such, you need to conduct a comprehensive discovery process. This allows you to develop a well-architected plan that spells out your needs as a business, the timeline and clearly defines the project scope — from identifying all necessary integrations and determining what data needs to be migrated, to articulating the exact modifications, hiring ERP professionals, and customizations that your business needs to succeed. It is also prudent to involve representatives from all divisions and departments that will be using the software. They will have unique insights that can prove very useful. The bottom line: take your time and plan thoroughly with your Oracle ERP implementation partner and this will maximize your chances of seeing an efficient, smooth implementation and deployment.
- Do Not Postpone Integrations – Integrations are a key component of the ERP implementation process and some can be rather complex, adding a fair amount of time to the implementation timeline. As a result, some companies may be tempted to postpone an integration — or three — in an attempt to shorten the implementation timeframe. Instead, they figure that they can address the remaining integrations once the ERP software is up and running.This is an inefficient way to approach an Oracle ERP integration and it can really snarl operations down the road if you have integrations in progress on an enterprise software platform that’s already in-use. This can result in a lot of confusion amongst users since some third-party platforms will be integrated, while others will lack any connection. You will also see higher training costs since you will likely need to call in the Oracle ERP training team for a second time to provide additional tutorials for integrations that were performed at a later date. In some cases, the company may continually postpone the remaining integrations, resulting in an ERP system that falls short of its true potential. Instead, it is best to perform all of your integrations at once as part of the implementation process. It’s simpler, more efficient, and most cost-effective.
- Perform Lots of Testing — Including the Actual Users – Pre-deployment testing is critical for avoiding downtime and user frustration, among other things. Oracle ERP systems are highly complex and extensive testing is required to ensure that everything performs as expected. Your ERP implementation partner has professional testers on-team and they will oversee the initial rounds of testing. But actual users should be involved as well. This beta tester group should be provided with an opportunity to interact with the software before the general training sessions begin. Actual users will have insights and suggestions for improvements that may elude the implementation team’s testers.Often, the beta testing group is the same group as your SuperUsers — a group of leaders from the various divisions of your company who learn how to use the Oracle ERP platform in advance of all others and then offer support to colleagues during the training and deployment phases. The SuperUsers receive training on the platform before all others, which means they are well-positioned to identify problems or areas for improvement that the implementation team’s testers can overlook.
Oracle ERP implementations can be highly complex, but with the right partner and a solid strategy, you can maximize the efficiency of all phases in the process. At Cox-Little, we understand that an ERP implementation can be quite stressful. We believe that discovery, planning, testing and training are critical if you are going to implement Oracle ERP efficiently. If you’re ready to begin an enterprise software implementation, contact the Cox-Little team today. Our ERP experts will guide the way toward success.