Many customers have already realized the initial Oracle Applications implementation benefits of centralization, economies of scale and process standardization. However they often struggle with establishing continued process, quality and cost improvements. These organizations understand that there is a wealth of optimization opportunities embedded within the Applications data and processes but often fail to see the path towards realizing all of the potential benefits. Oracle, as a corporation, continues to develop new modules and tools to help its customers with operational efficiencies (Business Intelligence, Self Service etc.) but is forced to develop its products to support all of its customers (lowest common denominator) which can leave segments of customers with “partial” solutions and “imbedded” “work-arounds”. It is in this “cross-section” of Oracle Applications customer markets (Federal customers) and Oracle products (Oracle Financials) that we have worked to establish solutions that extract additional operational efficiencies for our customers.
Driving the need – System Costs
Total system costs can be broken down into two major components – Requirement Delivery Costs and System Operational Costs
Requirement Delivery Costs – The cost incurred to delivery each functional requirement for the system (i.e. The ability to record and account for a purchase order)
System Operational Costs – The cost incurred (typically labor) for transactional processing and system maintenance
While the goal of Oracle Applications is to satisfy all functional requirements, some requirements are only partially met (GAPS) and require additional costs (typically labor) to process via “Manual Work Arounds”. In addition, Oracle Applications “GAPS” tend to group together by Product (Oracle Financials, Supply Chain etc.) and Market (Federal, Public Sector, Industry etc.) due to the fact that Oracle must create its products “generically”.
Driving the Solution – Productivity Toolkits
As the functional requirements are grouped together, the system GAPs become more apparent and can be more efficiently satisfied via software solutions and specialized services. As stated earlier, these GAPs are typically created at the cross-section of product, market and in many cases Applications release. As Oracle continues to enhance its products, the existing GAP costs should be reduced, but new GAPs may also be introduced.
Hence, we have developed several low cost Productivity Toolkits that satisfy existing product GAPs and can be customized and reused by multiple clients. This model helps reduce customer costs given the “reuse” component of each toolkit (development costs shared across multiple clients) while the capability to “extend” each site remains. Hence, we can help drive additional customer value and efficiencies. Our team has extensive experience with Oracle Applications in both the Federal and Commercial Sectors. We have worked with Oracle Development, Consulting and Sales on numerous engagements and clients and understand both the strength and weaknesses of the Oracle solution. This experience has given us the depth and breadth of solution knowledge which enables us to embed efficiencies into our Productivity Toolkits. Our approach allows us to quickly tailor and implement our Toolkits with short-term highly skilled “wrapped” services. We drive customer value with accelerated tailoring and implementation so that we can get “in and out quickly”.
Federal Financials Reconciliation
While there are significant benefits of a fully operational Oracle Federal Financials (OFF) solution, there are also several challenges in obtaining true operational efficiencies. In particular, several of our large customers struggle with the determination of the optimal configurations in order to achieve the lowest operational system costs. To that end, one of the biggest system maintenance cost drivers as well as an impediment to financial data quality is the reconciliation of the data within the Oracle Financial application modules. Oracle Federal Financials configuration flexibility and scalability often complicate this reconciliation problem with significant document dependencies hidden in gigabytes of operational data. The combination of data entry errors, omitted system processes and limited reconciliation tools can significantly drive operation costs up. In depth knowledge of Oracle products and operational experience within the Federal Financials Application market has enabled Creoal Consulting to build a tools-based reconciliation approach that significantly reduces operational costs while simultaneously increasing data quality.
Integrate Reconciliation with Data Quality
While the initial goal of reconciliation is the validation that all of the Oracle Federal Financials data is “consistent” among the modules, the benefits of our approach also assist in improving data quality. Recombined document data can be analyzed to support Budgetary and Proprietary account relationships analysis as well as inefficient or incomplete document dependencies. Documents dependencies can be defined as subsidiary ledger documents that require a separate but a related document in order to be “complete”. An example of a document dependency could be the need for both an AP Invoice and an AR Invoice to completely record an IPAC transaction. One transaction without the other would result in an accounting error.