Krithika Bhat is Vice President of Oracle Applications Labs (OAL), the organization within Oracle that implements applications for the company’s internal use. Her team focuses on bringing ERP and HCM initiatives to life for the entire company.
Krithika can be reached via LinkedIn.
In my last post, I shared the story of how we at Oracle prepared to move our ERP system to the cloud. After we laid the right foundational structures and decided on the right path to the cloud, it was time to put the migration into action.
Here are the key steps we took.
When it came to migrating data over to the cloud, we made the critical decision to limit historical data. Oracle has been around for decades. Can you imagine holding on to 20 to 30 years of data? Not only was that a lot of baggage, but we didn’t want to bring over any historical data integrity issues.
We knew two critical things: that the historical data probably wouldn’t be relevant past a certain point, and that we could always go back to our data warehouse if we needed more.
Therefore, we went with the tried and tested Oracle M&A approach of migrating master data (e.g. customers), open accounting balances and open transactions (e.g. open projects, open invoices).
At this point, it was also critical to identify if any retooling was required. With the move to the cloud there was a need for different skill than we had been using with our on-premises systems. We managed this with a mix of formal Oracle University training at program kick-off, informal peer-to-peer training, "brown bags" and learning on the job.
We knew that it would be crucial to start testing early. Some processes may have more stringent validations, and we wanted to make sure to set up multiple rounds of user testing from all types of users. Everyone from back office users to self-service users, managers, executive administrators and employees were involved in testing.
I would strongly advise that you document your test cases. For instance, we focused on testing processes that would serve as bridges in our co-existence model. Reconciliation reporting from on-premises to cloud was a key test case.
We also made it a point to test spikes and not just average load testing. We tested multiple rounds of simulated quarterly and annual financial close information to ensure the solution covered our busiest seasons effectively.
When it came to moving to production, we front-loaded a lot of our data migration to reduce the risk of downtime. For the Oracle HCM Cloud implementation we performed a big migration a month in advance to bring in most of the data. We then implemented smaller weekly migrations later on to minimize risk. We also front-loaded tasks (such as setups) to get them off the critical path.
Right before we launched the new cloud system, we had the Oracle Applications Lab and super users go in to reconcile and validate that the data looked right. They also tested workflows using “test” transactions.
At this point we are running Oracle HCM Cloud for human resources (including core HR, manager and employee self-service, talent management and workforce compensation). The learning module has been implemented for training delivery for the sales organization (among others) while recruitment is being used for our front-end hiring activities. In addition, we are running Oracle Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud for Oracle, as well as Oracle ERP Cloud (financials and project accounting) in our Indian subsidiary. We are also running Oracle Configure, Price, and Quote Cloud for our software and subscription services.
Examples of efficiencies gained include reducing the corporate close from six to five days and a 9x-increase in self-service quoting.
It’s no longer a substantial effort to upgrade our ERP system; we now run two upgrades a year, giving us quicker access to innovation. We then roll out monthly and/or quarterly bundles for smaller incremental changes that are seamless to our end users.
I often get asked about cultural changes needed in the transition to cloud. In the initial days there were questions about how IT’s role would change, but these have largely been addressed as we rolled up our sleeves and got these implementations done. We continue implementing solutions and partnering with the global process owners in improving processes.
Editor's note: Oracle's migration to ERP in the cloud continues apace, with a full migration from Oracle E-Business Suite to Oracle ERP Cloud planned for the near future. Stay tuned for future updates.