Organizations should follow a structured approach to evaluate and select Oracle ERP Cloud implementation partners. The evaluation and selection phase is often the most critical in any ERP implementation project. The specific selection criteria that are most important to your initiative will depend on your business objectives, the internal skills you possess, and the scope of the project. Although key selection parameters vary by organization, below are several critical areas that are the most important to consider when evaluating an implementation partner:
ORACLE ERP CLOUD IMPLEMENTATION AND SUPPORT CAPABILITIES
The consultants provided by the implementation partner as part of the team should ideally have experience implementing Oracle ERP Cloud projects of similar size and scope to the one your organization is undertaking. Implementing Oracle ERP Cloud in 50 countries to serve 100,000 employees requires a very different scale of resources and capabilities than smaller implementations. If your industry is highly regulated or has unique aspects that require special expertise, ensure that your implementation partner is equipped to address these special requirements. Request to interview current and/or former clients for whom the potential partner and the specific consultant has provided similar implementations.
Assess your implementation partner’s capabilities to support Day 2 operations. Day 2 operations happen post provisioning and include routine maintenance tasks and ongoing support for the Oracle ERP Cloud environment. Your implementation partner should be able to support and continually improve Day 2 operations, as this is where the application will generate outcomes for your organization, and deliver maximum benefits.
ERP STRATEGY AND CONSULTING CAPABILITIES
Finance modernization is often a key aspect of ERP implementations with the goal of business process transformation. To achieve the desired outcomes, your implementation partner must have strong domain expertise along with expertise in ERP strategy and consulting. The adoption of design thinking, best-practice methodologies, and data-driven processes can support digital initiatives. For initiatives that need advanced capabilities, assess the ability of the implementation partner to design solutions through a proof of concept for complex initiatives.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES
Oracle ERP Cloud offers flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of each client through various configuration options. Implementation partners must have the ability to guide enterprises through the proper configuration options that are ideally suited to their requirements. It is recommended to keep customizations to a minimum. Organizations implementing Oracle ERP Cloud must adapt to the software’s configuration constraints, which often requires very different ERP processes than what the organization is used to. Therefore, change management and training are necessary for the successful adoption of a new Oracle ERP Cloud application, especially if there is a wide gap between your current processes and Oracle ERP Cloud processes.
ORACLE ERP CLOUD SPECIALIZATION
Oracle ERP Cloud has very diverse functional and technical elements, and therefore it is important for a buyer to fully understand the implementation partner’s competency for each of the clouds involved in the implementation. Most service providers have Financials Cloud competencies, but it is not usually the case with the other clouds. Examine the ERP cloud specializations of the implementation partners to ensure that they have the right technical and functional expertise. Evaluate the number of certifications for required clouds and the certifications of proposed consultants.
DATA AND SYSTEM INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES
The single biggest cost factor in Oracle ERP Cloud implementations is the required level of system integration. Oracle ERP Cloud implementations typically require both data cleansing and migration efforts, as well as integration with other business applications. Complex projects require master data management, information architecture and analytics as part of the implementation. The applications also require security, identity and access management. Organizations must increase their focus on integration and Oracle ERP Cloud-specific tools and integration points. Given the potential costs, it is critical that organizations evaluate the implementation partner’s expertise with their particular applications and databases.
AVAILABILITY OF SKILLED RESOURCES
There is a high demand for Oracle ERP Cloud skills due to the wide range of project requirements in terms of scope, complexity, integration and customization. The choice of a niche versus a large provider depends on your requirements. Significant demand for Oracle ERP Cloud consultants has resulted in a stretched ecosystem, where service providers are struggling to meet the increased demand for implementation skills, resulting in a shortage of trained and experienced staff. Be sure to carefully vet all resources proposed for your project. Focus on the number of individuals that are certified by Oracle ERP Cloud and the number of certifications for the products being deployed. Be vigilant for bait and switch, when an experienced consultant is replaced by a relatively inexperienced one.
GLOBAL PRESENCE AND LOCALIZATION CAPABILITIES
Oracle ERP Cloud is a cloud-based application, so a large part of the implementation can be delivered remotely. However, depending on the scope, workshops for requirements and process design, as well as some change management and training activities, are best done onsite. Moreover, some organizations are more comfortable with more onsite delivery presence. Whether remote or onsite, the implementation partner should have consultants who can understand the unique geographical needs of each client, such as local regulations, employment rules, languages, and cultural considerations.
Implementation partners have different focus areas and capabilities across different industries. Most ERP implementation projects can be executed without deep industry expertise since the domain and processes are mostly similar across industries. However, some providers specialize in only one or a few industries. Complex implementations and those with significant business process changes may require providers to have industry-specific understanding or intellectual property (templates, adaptations, accelerators etc.) Assess your requirements for industry expertise and process change, and ensure that implementation partners have the required expertise to meet these needs.
TESTING AND TRAINING CAPABILITIES
It is important to find a partner that can provide testing and training for the implementation phase as well as Day 2 operations. To be most effective, your implementation partner should make testing a joint effort between the business and IT organizations and include business stakeholders in project planning and execution. In addition to functional testing capabilities, UI/UX testing capabilities across devices are very important because, even if the application is working perfectly and is fully functional, the user might not like the experience. User experience has a huge impact on adoption, which means that if the interface is not user-friendly, it runs the risk of being discarded quickly.
As end-user environments become more complex with more applications, devices and mobility, your implementation partner needs to offer training options that target specific user and application requirements. Training will deliver value only if it’s applied to the correct user profiles and application types in a well-designed format. Your Oracle ERP Cloud implementation partner must adopt different training methods based on the different types of users and applications, and have dedicated internal staff that assesses training requirements and develops curricula.