Stallion Oilfield Services, a leading energy service company, struggled with non-standard business practices as well as antiquated and manual systems. The company needed to standardize processes across all business units and establish governance and accounting controls. A modern financial, procurement, and inventory management solution was the answer. Stallion selected Oracle ERP Cloud and partnered with Perficient to deliver the implementation in a six-month timeframe.
During this webinar, we chatted with Jason Lu, Stallion vice president, and CIO, as well as Scott Forbes, director of technology, to discuss the migration to Oracle ERP Cloud. In this first installment of our four-part series, Jason and Scott provide their first-take and overview of the migration, what it took to get buy-in from other leaders to kickstart this initiative, and lastly, gave us an inside look into Stallion’s business transformation journey powered by Oracle.
From a non-Oracle shop to Oracle champion and advocate – this is a success story worth telling. To view the entire webinar, click here.
Benefits and Successes Defined
How did you sell the big bang transformation to leadership to overcome the objections related to the risk of doing a project like this?
[Stallion] This was a long process. When I say long, I want to put it in context. I’ve been with Stallion Oilfield Services as their CIO for a little over two years. Between when I joined in May of 2017 and December, I was doing the research and the due diligence on taking what research had been done already and taking that to the finish line. But in that first six months, it really was let’s explore and look at all the other key competitors in the areas. We looked at a pretty exhaustive list including intense due diligence of Acumatica. We looked at two versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Finally, we also looked at Workday, we looked at SAP Hana, and then Oracle Cloud.
I did not pick EBS for other reasons, from my experiences in the past. We actually went through and quantitatively scored the project and evaluated risk. We were looking for efficiencies, a way that we could drive for reducing our dependency on hiring more people, which could have a negative impact to our SG&A. For example, hiring more finance people who aren’t necessarily revenue-generating folks as the company grows.
When we did our own due diligence, it matched up with what the Gartner Magic Quadrant was showing – Oracle Cloud really didn’t have a whole lot of competitors in this space.
And then the cost of maintaining our legacy systems. We were able to make a case on a couple of fronts. We could show that for a small uplift over the cost of a one-time upgrade, we could have Oracle Cloud. But if you actually had to upgrade twice, I believe the numbers even came close or were a little bit more than us transitioning to Oracle Cloud. We were also able to show that from a pricing and implementation perspective, one-time costs and on-ongoing costs were very competitive with the competition. And when we did our own due diligence, it matched up with what the Gartner Magic Quadrant was showing – Oracle Cloud really didn’t have a whole lot of competitors in this space.
There was a lot of apprehension from our board on just their experiences with delivering ERP systems and we were able to satisfy that. We had the right team put together, we’d done the right level of due diligence and we were able to sell that. Right now, as we’re looking for future investments within technology, our success here has helped us pave the way for winning credibility within the organization to do other things.
Explore key considerations, integrating the cloud with legacy applications and challenges of current cloud implementations.
What benefits came out of Oracle Cloud that you didn’t see coming?
[Stallion] Pretty multifaceted. Post go-live, we had a set of reports that Perficient helped us create right out of the gate. These are the reports that we needed to report to our investors, to our board, and just for us to keep the lights on and doors open. As of today, six months post go-live, we’ve created close to 120 reports. Anybody with BI experience knows that’s an astronomical amount of reports to build with a very small BI team. We have two people on that BI team building all these reports and there’s a higher volume of reports that have been created than the organization can almost consume. That was a really pleasant surprise that you can really dig deep into this new tool and gather so much information very easily and very quickly.
We also found that the marriage between HCM and the ERP system was pretty seamless. Some of the side benefits of that, for example, are from approvals. When we did financial approvals for purchasing or anything else that requires an escalating path of approval authority – it was turnkey and right out of the box.
Out of the gate post go-live with such a complex and large scale implementation was nearly flawless. It speaks wonders to the Oracle software and it speaks wonders to Perficient’s implementation of the software.
Another thing that we’ve been noticing recently as we’ve moved on from the initial challenges of go-live, is that in a pleasant way, “we don’t know, what we don’t know” such as processes and features in the system that are available that we’re turning on or we’re able to configure as we get more comfortable. We’re automating processes that our users never even considered could be automated because of the legacy systems we were on. They were so used to everything being manual that all of a sudden we’re finding automation where we weren’t expecting it.
We were not an Oracle organization before, we had no experience with it. And so within a year, we’ve had members of our team from a support perspective who’ve been able to pick it up very quickly, get very comfortable with understanding the configuration and making the changes. That’s been a pleasant surprise, too. The reputation I hear on EBS is that it can be difficult to configure or the customization can be so complicated that it’s hard to support internally and that’s not been the case for us with Oracle Cloud.
We’re automating processes that our users never even considered could be automated because of the legacy systems we were on.
There was an exercise that we went through where we had some questions on accruals where right out of the gate we kind of scratched our heads and said, these numbers don’t look right. And that specifically had to do with receipt-oriented accruals and we told Perficient to come back and take a look at the numbers. The numbers that came out on system, out of the gate post go-live with such a complex and large scale implementation was nearly flawless. It speaks wonders to the Oracle software and it speaks wonders to Perficient’s implementation of the software.
How is your success measured across each project?
[Stallion] I come from a pretty strong project management background, so obviously on time, on budget, on scope, is table stakes to me. Often where I think organizations misstep is even if you deliver with an ERP project, you don’t want to say, “we heard all your business complaints, but we kind of ignored them or we picked a piece of software and we implemented it and now it’s nothing that you could consume.” Our Oracle Cloud project was on time, on budget, on scope, but also with value delivered.
I think we’re still trying to measure some of those things like efficiency. Inside of six months, we’ve built 120 reports and we’re trending toward 200. The organization can garner so many more insights than we ever thought possible. How much more efficient can people get if they needed to be able to? What if somebody on the BI team decided to leave or something happened to them? We wouldn’t be left without an oar or a paddle. This team is definitely getting more efficient.
Our Oracle Cloud project was on time, on budget, on scope, but also with value delivered.
The feedback went from, “Oh my gosh, it’s a lot of change” to “This is great!” Six months in, we’re probably getting close to the point where it can be measured, but we are going to measure organizational efficiency. And really our throttle for this is can we grow consummately without hiring a bunch of folks in finance? From our headcount plan this year, I think we did succeed on that.
We were very lean when we started this project as an organization. It wasn’t as though we could cut staff because the system was saving us time or increasing efficiencies. The existing staff can continue to fulfill their role without working overtime as the company continues to grow. That’s what we’re measuring as we’ve been growing over the last year in terms of business.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in the coming week on handling organizational change as we continue to tell the Stallion success story with Oracle Cloud. In the meantime, continue reading how to embrace change in supply chain with minimal impact to better prepare you for part 2.
To learn more about Supply Chain 4.0 and how it can transform your business, you can download our entire guide here or below.