In his heart, Edward Valenzuela knows the headlines and jokes will write themselves, and if it were up to him the date would be pushed ahead or behind 24 hours.
April 1 is the day Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY) in Canada
goes live with Oracle Corp. E-Business Suite 11i. When asked if this is the best date for the change over the project vice-president replies, “”Don’t go there,”” and laughs. While the switch won’t be pulled while walking underneath a ladder as a black cat passes by, a flawless transition might end up being the least of CGEY’s problems.
The decision to adopt the financial and project modules from 11i was influenced by its adoption outside North America.
“”Like with most companies, it sometimes gets down to a holy war between choosing packages, and in our case we’d made the decision in another part of the world to go with Oracle,”” says Bruce Myers, vice-president of ERP for the Americas for CGEY. “”We were happy with that decision. We said we need to get on a common platform worldwide so we can roll up our financials and have one view of things.””
From a pure logic standpoint the decision makes perfect sense –the single view is beneficial to the company. If you’re one of CGEY’s employees in North America, however, the choice equals a great deal of upheaval from a business process standpoint, Valenzuela says. He describes the change in business processes as a “”180 degree difference”” and a radical change. “”Everything for how projects are costed and engagements are costed, how revenue is computed, literally everything will change.””
One advantage on Valenzuela’s side is that everyone in the organization knows it is coming. He says the company is filled with experts whose job it is to deal with these kinds of issues for clients. Now it’s just a matter of following its own advice. He says the challenge in these situations is converting the apathetic and hostile adopters to active supporters. “”I don’t think it’ll be any worse than Pompeii,”” he jokes, referring to the Italian city that was wiped out by a volcano.
To reduce the odds of a meltdown, employees will be trained in advance. Myers says they will devided into categories to determine how much training they need. Training time will vary from about 16 to 48 hours.
On top of a consolidated view, Valenzuela says he expects to see a substantial reduction in maintenance costs and the ability to close the books in half the time. The old infrastructure, he says, is cobbled together with module on top of module creating a fragmented system.
“”We suggest our clients take the common sense view which says we buy a package for reason: that is to use the features and functions of the package so we don’t have to modify it and we can upgrade to new releases without a lot of work,”” Myers says.
As for Oracle, it couldn’t be happier to get CGEY as a user.
“”It’s a huge endorsement in their belief in the product and the company as both a supplier and a partner,”” Rick Terry, director of channels, Oracle Corp. Canada. “”Everything these days sells on references so when you get a public reference like that, it’s great.””