Perficient recently held a webinar on Oracle Project Financials Cloud, part of the Oracle Project Portfolio Management Cloud solution. At the close of the event we had some great questions posed by the attendees that Stuart Massey, General Manager Oracle ERP at Perficient, fielded that are worth sharing.
Is Oracle Project Financials Cloud integrated with Financials?
Yes, pretty much all of the cloud suites are integrated with each other. In the case of the success story covered in the webinar today, our client was on Cloud ERP when we brought up PFM it was automatically integrated back to Cloud ERP. As Sarah mentioned earlier, the ability to drill down from Projects into applications like Payables or back into Billing or Accounts Receivables, that is out of the box integration. There’s also the ability to integrate other non-Oracle third-party applications through the use of public web services.
How is the module licensed?
Just like any other cloud or SaaS offering, it is based on a subscription model in which there is a monthly fee per user. Whether it’s PFM or other products within the Projects Portfolio Management suite, they are licensed individually so you can essentially pick the products that you would like à la carte.
What percentage of Oracle customers would you ‘guesstimate’ are still on-premises Oracle ERP versus Oracle ERP Cloud?
There are three states that you could be in, essentially all in the cloud, in a hybrid model where you are running some on-premises solutions as well as cloud solutions, or you could still be on-premises. I would say the majority, between 50-60%, are in that middle category where they have started to take some steps and deployed a cloud solution and that could be business intelligence in the cloud, planning and budgeting in the cloud, they may have migrated their financials, but still have integration points back to on-premises solutions. As I mentioned earlier, most of our clients are really looking at that roadmap, not necessarily a rip and replace and taking everything to the cloud all at once, they are taking certain components within their business functions and putting them into the cloud and then migrating them over a series of phases.
What do you do about data conversions from existing systems with regard to implementation?
Just like in an on-premises project you have data conversions that you have to do into the cloud. There are certain APIs and interfaces that you’d leverage to make those data conversions. There’s not a direct path from Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) to Oracle’s new cloud-based solutions. There’s no upgrade path, it is a reimplementation. However, the data architecture and the general business processes within EBS really do make it easy to migrate from EBS into the cloud versus coming from SAP or JD Edwards. A lot of the same concepts that you hear on the EBS side, the general business process, the terminology are similar, but improved, much more state of the art, the user interface and a lot less maintenance associated with it.
Are you able to integrate other feeder systems like Billing into a cloud-based system?
Yes, there are public web services that we can leverage and other tools to integrate Oracle Cloud with non-Oracle feeder systems. The majority of our cloud projects have some element of that. For example, we may be integrating with an on-premises Time and Labor entry type system like Kronos, and bringing that time into the Project Portfolio Management suite. The architecture of the Oracle Cloud products is built based on some level of integration with non-Oracle systems.
What type of SLA for application uptime does Oracle promise nowadays for cloud apps?
I’m not sure what the current promise is, but it’s in the very high 90s as you would expect. We haven’t had clients experience any issues with that. We can provision environments relatively quickly. Most of our projects have three environments that we’re working on at any point in time. If you go to Oracle’s site, uptime is addressed.
Routine patching is now quarterly versus monthly. From a scheduling standpoint you need to stay on top of those upgrades. Right now, Oracle is releasing two main upgrades per year across their various cloud suites. Be prepared for that upgrade, you’ll get a notice and have some flexibility to pick the time and weekend you want to upgrade to occur, but you are pretty much forced to take the upgrade. The key in the cloud environment is anticipating those upgrades, understanding what’s included in those upgrades and what you could benefit from with regard to new features and functionality, but also being able to understand the migration, what needs to be tested, as well as preparing your users for those changes.
For those of you that have worked with big on-premises solutions like EBS, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft or SAP, these cloud upgrades are very light and largely automated. It’s much simpler to address than what you’ve had to deal with in the on-premises world.