OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

ERP Fundamentals

Friday, March 25, 2005

ERP Implementations and Contract Negotiations - Top 12 Tips

I came across an interesting discussion on the ITtoolbox forums the other day which contained some useful tips on negotiating SAP implementation contracts as well as general implementation advice. Despite the discussion being SAP orientated the advice given could quite easily apply to an Oracle eBS implementation or any other ERP deployment.

ITtoolbox has several good forums which one can read. Personally, I subscribe to the ERP-SELECT and ORACLE-APPS-L forums and can highly recommend them to anyone implementing ERP systems. A post the other day entitled about ERP(SAP) consultancy contracts caught my attention and in particular some comments by Bob Woitaszewski (a former SAP Implementer) caught my attention. I asked Bob whether I could post his comments on this Oracle Applications Blog and he agreed so here’s an excerpt of what he had to say:

Remember any consultancy wants to do a good job, however, they usually want to make sure that the contract will favour them in the end, not YOU. Having done 7 SAP implementations, 4 as a PM for a consulting firm using the ASAP methodology, let me pass this on: -

  1. Make sure that you work with SAP and their current methodology, what ever that is.
  2. Make sure you call out every deliverable for each phase.
  3. Make sure that you include DATES that each deliverable is due.
  4. Make sure that you specify what you are responsible for and what the consultancy is responsible for, for EACH deliverable.
  5. The consultancy is required to deliver a fully configured, PRODUCTION system, not a "prototype!"
  6. Specify that you have a customer acceptance clause.
  7. Make sure that you develop a matrix that ties each requirement to a test for each requirement.
  8. Make sure that you include a "Not to exceed" clause where you figure what the maximum is and they agree to it. It’s essentially a fixed price contract; but forces consultancy’s to bill you by hour.
  9. Always make sure that you include in the contract that the consultant PM must report hours weekly. That way you make sure that you aren’t getting "double Billed" by some rookie at the consultancy’s back office.
  10. Make sure that the consultants are on site at least Tu-W-Th. It may cost a little more but with all the local talent that exists, the travel expenses will be minimal compared to a botched implementation.
  11. Make sure that the implementation team is given sufficient time to "play" with SAP and learn the ropes. Co-locate them into a separate office section so they can make real time decisions. Bring in out-of-town key team members. Relieve them from all but the most critical job functions. 
  12. Make sure that your team is "empowered" to make change happen, and BTW, implementing is ALL About CHANGE MANAGEMENT and COMMUNICATION.

One last word of wisdom. I have found that thing will be a lot easier for your company if you reengineer your processes to match SAP processes whenever possible. Use the "default" process for 6 months and then if you must modify them I had to offer that even though as a consultant, not ONE of my clients ever heeded that pearl. And when I went back after 6 months or so, almost everyone wished they had followed that one piece of advice.

Having been involved in IT and ERP implementations for the past 9 years I can certainly agree with all of the points on Bob’s checklist and hope that posting them here will provide useful advice and ideas to readers currently implementing or planning to deploy enterprise software solutions.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Enabling Timezone feature in Oracle 11i

Timezone (with day light savings!) feature is available in Oracle 9i Release 2 onwards. This post attempts to describe the steps required to enable Timezone functionality in Oracle Service module.

Recently I was at a client site and the client is desperately looking for this feature mainly to handle increasing number of client calls from multiple timezones. When customer support personnel attend a client call, it is important to know the client’s timezone and talk in terms of their timezone. It is also helpful to see all the date/time information in local timezone to better perceieve about the actual start time or scheduled start time for any activity. The database timezone is setup as GMT but the user wants to setup their own timezone based on their work location. This is exactly what Oracle 11i provides ( with Oracle database 9i Release 2 onwards).

After playing with the setups for few hours with some help from the dba I was able to make the timezone feature work in the client’s test instance (11.5.9). We also noticed that new functionality has been added in the calendar popup window to convert date/time into a different timezone. Here is how the new calendar window looks:

image


The following are the setup steps:

Oracle Environment variable Setup ( DBA Setup)

Please make sure that timezlrg.dat file exists in the database $ORACLE_HOME directory.

[1]. Add ORA_TZFILE environment variable in SID_hostname.env file present in database and application $ORACLE_HOME directory.

Example:
a) enter the following command in Unix:
ORA_TZFILE=$ORACLE_HOME/oracore/zoneinfo/timezlrg.dat
export ORA_TZFILE

b) save the SID_hostname.env file in the in the database $ORACLE_HOME directory

c) shutdown and restart the database.

[2]. Run the following query in Sqlplus to verify that the v$timezone_names view is populated:

>select count(*) from v$timezone_names;
COUNT(*)
—————
1286
The number of count should be increased due to new environment variable.

[3]. Try to login to Applications again with the client timezone set.

System Profile Options( Apps sysadmin setup)

Responsibility: System Administrator
Navigation: profile > System

Client Timezone : (GMT -06:00) Central Time
Enable Timezone Conversions : Yes
Server Timezone : (GMT +00:00) GMT
Service: Default value for Service Request Timezone type List Item:  Agent

image

User Preference( User setup)

Navigation : E-Business Suite Home > Preferences

image

  • Friday, August 27, 2004

    University of Florida ERP Implementation - Bridges

    This post contains a review of the University of Florida Bridges site which contains some useful documentation and training material on the implementation of Enterprise Systems.

    The University of Florida has a really good site called "Bridges" which provides documentation and training material relating to the implementation of systems in their organisation.

    According to their site: -

    UF Bridges is a multi-year project to replace the University’s current computer systems with new Web-based, integrated systems that provide real-time information and improve university business processes. This is known as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. The University purchased ERP software from PeopleSoft for its financial, human resources, payroll and student administration functions, and enterprise data warehouse and reporting functions from Cognos (a PeopleSoft partner).

    Although the solutions being implemented at this University are not Oracle Applications related I thought the site would be helpful for the following reasons: -

    1. It provides some good examples of the type of documentation and training material that should be prepared when implementing Enterprise Systems.
    2. The documentation and training material will provide readers with a good understanding of the business processes for each of the functional areas within an organisation (e.g. Finance, HRMS)
    3. There are various presentations available that give an idea of the issues that one needs to think about when implementing ERP systems.
    4. The site provides a good example of how to effectively manage the knowledge gained in an organisation as a result of such an implementation.

    The training section is probably the most useful area of this site. It provides instructions guides, classroom training presentations and handouts, classes on video and web tutorials which cover the following functional areas: -

    • Enterprise Reporting
    • Finance
      •  
      • Overviews
      • Core User
      • Customer Relations
      • General Ledger/Budgets
      • Purchasing and Payables
        •  
        • Requisitions
        • Change Requests
        • Receiving
        • Vouchers
        • Procurement Card (PCard)
      • Sponsored Programs
      • Travel and Expense
    • Human Resource Management Systems
      •  
      • Hiring
        • Staff, OPS and Student Positions
        • Faculty Positions
      • Position and Job Actions
      • Distributions and Pay
      • Reporting Time
      • Using Leave
      • Approving Time and Leave
      • Workflow

    Within the training section there are also some really good Project Presentations. Highlights are as follows: -

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Oracle Applications Evolution - A Complete Journey

    This is a graphical representation of the Oracle Applications Evolution

    Click to view an enlarged image of the Oracle Applications Evolution History

    Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2