By Tanu Sood-Oracle on Oct 21, 2014
At Oracle OpenWorld earlier this month, I had the opportunity to moderate a customer panel to discuss how to automate financial processes for Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle PeopleSoft in a scalable, efficient manner.
The panel was aimed at Application IT as well as Line of Business attendees who are looking to undertake similar implementations. With that in mind, our invitations to speaker panelists were rather deliberate. Not only did we have representation across industry and geography, our panelists' roles within their organizations were different enoguh to provide both technical and business perspectives. For our panel, we had Michael Stevens who is the Financial Services Initiative Lead at Lend Lease Corporation based in Australia, Doris Wilson from National Express Corporation (NEC) who represented the Application IT side of the house on our panel and Michael LaPlante, Director of Business Process Improvement at National Academy of Sciences (NAS) based in Washington DC.
The business drivers for the three were industry centric. Lend Lease has offices all around the world and because of their business, they need to ensure expedient processing of supplier invoices. Different geographies for Lend Lease meant different invoice templates so it was important to find a solution to reconcile structured and unstructured data. The company went with Oracle WebCenter Capture to scan the invoices, WebCenter Forms recognition to reconcile structured and unstructured data from the invoices while storing the electronic content with WebCenter Content complete with data sync with Oracle E-Business Suite. To enable integration and smoother process management, the company has implemented Oracle SOA Suite. Michael is currently globe-trotting to take these regional implementations live, keeping in mind the regulatory nuances for each region.
Doris did confirm that the implementation request and the solution selection was directed by her finance team counterparts. But to ensure that the implementation was consistent with Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and the rest of the applications infrastructure at NEC, Doris and her team got involved. The company needed to minimize paper invoices and automate invoice processing so they could free up their resources to do more meaningful work. The company uses Oracle E-Business Suite extensively for most of its operational needs. Oracle WebCenter Suite and Oracle SOA Suite were the obvious choices given the interoperability and proven integration. With the implementation, NEC was able to automate one of the most tedious processes in their company's finance operations, eliminating the need to even have handwritten signatures and GL account coding. The digital invoice images were then clipped to invoice in EBS making tracking and processing faster and relatively easy while giving visibility to AP liability dollars at month-end. And final resource investment count: 5.5!
NAS is not your typical organization with a not so typical vendor and customer model. True to its distinction, Michael LaPlante and team approached this project quite scientifically. A thorough analysis helped them select which financial processes when automated would provide the most (and near term) return on investment. Invoice processing won hands down. NAS implemented Oracle Webcenter and Oracle BPM Suite to automate invoice processing for PeopleSoft. The project took 13 months to implement with the company hitting the break-even point within 11 months, savings coming in the form of time investment of 8 full time employees! The biggest hurdle for them - change management. Once they got their users on the standardized approval process flow, it was relatively smooth sailing from there on. The ROI increases with every workflow process they now add after AP. Aside from savings in disk storage and offsite storage costs, the company is realizing significant efficiencies in searches, reporting and of course having better visibility. With that under their belt, the NAS team may be looking at tackling the HR processes next.
The three customers on the panel discussed leveraging middleware technologies to complement with EBS or PeopleSoft implementation to automate financial processes and extend the value of their existing investments. That's AppAdvantage; that's technology at work.
The panelists experiences were rather rich and the session provided valuable insights. Hope you found the summary useful as well. If you need more information and have follow up questions, do reach out to use and we will aim to get you answers as quickly as possible.