Last week Perficient welcomed both Noble Energy and Oracle to join us for an information packed webinar detailing how Noble Energy is using Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud Service (ARCS) to autoreconcile 60% of their reconciliations resulting in a 30% time savings. We were very fortunate to have both Matt Dossett and Joel Ninemire from Noble Energy on the call as well as Tim Gaumont with Oracle and our own Hanny Shanar from Perficient’s EPM practice.
The attendees were very engaged and asked great questions during the nearly 30-minute long Q&A session. The on-demand recording, How Noble Energy Automated Reconciliations with Oracle ARCS, is available now for viewing. If you prefer to read what was asked and answered, you’ll enjoy this three-part blog series (scroll down for links to parts 2 and 3).
How fast can Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud Service be deployed?
[Perficient] From a deployment perspective, once you license the application, the actual ARCS environment is deployed immediately. Right away, from day one, you essentially get your ARCS environment. From an implementation perspective, it really just depends on what you’re looking to do, how many source systems you’re bringing in. I’d say an average implementation is probably eight to 10 weeks, but it really just depends on the number of source systems, the number of reconciliations and what your process looks like. There are a lot of variables that go into that. For Noble Energy, with transaction matching and red compliance, we were at about 12 weeks. That was deployed on time and on budget.
How can I integrate Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud Service with my existing cloud or on-premises ERP systems?
[Perficient] The Oracle ARCS application comes delivered with data management, which is equivalent to the legacy FDMEE for on-premise applications. Data Management allows you to identify your source systems and create a drill-through integration back to those source systems. You would essentially generate a flat file, define the format by identifying the columns in the file and how they map into the application. We give capabilities where you can create a drill through URL and parametrize that URL, so that it actually brings back to the actual transactions that you’re loading in. If you’re looking at Cloud ERP, that is a pre-built integration that works by connecting the data on the backend. There’s no file, just a direct connection to the data. For other on-premise ERP systems, it’s a flat file integration through Data Management into the ARCS application.
Explore key considerations, integrating the cloud with legacy applications and challenges of current cloud implementations.
How are upgrades and patches handled?
[Oracle] As Joel and Matt had mentioned earlier, the upgrades are definitely handled by Oracle.. I think Hanny touched on the fact that there’s a maintenance window. The upgrade happens automatically with our deployments. We always have at a minimum, a test system and a production system. You don’t pay extra. Both of those are included, and some customers even have more than that if they need other environments. Typical routine is, the first Friday of every month, we update test systems, and the third Friday of every month, and we update production systems. That’s really across the board. I have a lot of customers we talk to about that during implementation or, of course, before they subscribe and they’re wondering how that works. A lot of customers, ask the question, “what if it’s year-end? What if it’s quarter-end? I don’t want changes.” Things like that.
There’s a couple points to that. The first point is, we’re very cautious introducing new features. We don’t put features in necessarily that will force you to use them. You activate them, and you have time to test them and things like that. We’re very aware of that model.
The second is, once customers do get used to this routine, we find that very few want to pause those updates. In fact, it’s good to stay up-to-date. Every month, you automatically get your updates. They’re not big changes from that perspective that way. If you think about a typical on-premises environment of the past, maybe you’re upgrading every two or three years, and yes, it’s a big deal when you do that every two or three years because a lot of change happens in two or three years.
With the cloud model, you have smaller updates over the course of every month. These changes are introduced regularly and, you can take advantage of them when you’re ready. The other big advantage of that is, all customers are getting their updates the first Friday of every month on their test systems. You have the whole universe of your peers testing the environment and obviously, checking out new features. I get a lot of great feedback that way. Rest assured that issues are definitely, if there are any, I can find them right away and make sure that there’s no issues rolling into production. It’s a great way to roll out the updates and a lot of great feedback from customers on that.
Is there full parity with Account Reconciliation Manager?
[Oracle] Oracle has had an account reconciliation offering for probably seven, eight years now. It was first offered on-premise, and around three years ago, we transitioned to the cloud offering. There are a lot of customers using both now. Of course, on-premise was popular in the past, and cloud is very popular now. A lot of customers are using both of these products. When we offered Account Reconciliation Manager in the cloud, we basically took the same product and it was cloud-ready, since it was already a thin app. We continued to enhance it since we released it in the cloud. When someone asks me if it’s at parity, I usually say that, no. ARCS is actually more advanced because we can update every month. We have a lot more flexibility in the things that we can do. In the toolkits we have the advantage of using in the cloud. I would say ARCS is more advanced than ARM at this point in the products lifecycle.
[Perficient] From a transaction matching perspective, this functionality only resides in the ARCS application. That’s something that doesn’t go back to ARM.