Midcoast Energy, LLC, a full-service natural gas and natural gas liquid midstream company, had antiquated and complex business processes that could not scale to meet its needs. Facing an expensive ERP implementation, the company decided a cloud-based platform would provide a strategic advantage and partnered with Perficient to deliver the implementation in a six-month timeframe.
During this webinar, Archana Shah, Midcoast Energy director, enterprise systems as well as Harish Gulati, manager ERP systems, shared the story of the company’s migration to Oracle ERP Cloud. In this second blog post of our three-part series, Archana and Harish covered migration topics from the amount of data migrated to the cloud, to customization.
How much data did you migrate to the cloud? How much data cleansing was required and did Oracle or Perficient provide tools?
[Midcoast Energy, LLC] For Accounts Payable, we converted the last 1 1/2 years of data, and for the most part, we converted only open productions, whether it’s open-AP invoices, procurement POs, or project commitments. Those are only the open balances or open items that we had. We didn’t convert any of the closed items, we extracted that closed item data as kind of a separate project so we can actually put back for file storage or for historical data.
Explore key considerations, integrating the cloud with legacy applications and challenges of current cloud implementations.
Perficient did help us with the scripts to provide to the company that was hosting our on-prem environment for them to run so we could get some data extract. Perficient’s technical team was really strong. We didn’t have direct database access, so they literally built the scripts thinking about what we were going to get by looking at the screens. I think it was a really remarkable job by the Perficient team to build those. We got a 99% success rate, actually, in most of our conversions and we were able to manage that data manually for whatever we were not able to convert. It was excellent.
If you only migrated open items to your Cloud environment, how do you currently manage the risk of duplicates in your AP/ Expenses modules given that there isn’t historical info available for the system to run these validations?
[Midcoast Energy, LLC] Good catch. We converted paid or closed invoices as well, mainly to avoid duplicates and also for the 1099 process. We did not convert expense reports. AP was closely managing employee expenses as all our corporate credit cards had to be paid in the old system and start new employee expenses in the new system with a new credit card provider/bank. This was all part of the cut-over and change management plan.
How customized were your legacy systems? How much customization was moved over or mediated and what integration remains?
[Midcoast Energy, LLC] The old system had a lot of customization and some of those customizations were specific to the oil business and not necessarily gas midstream business. And so going into this new environment, in order to be able to do this in six months, we really had to take on that strong hand around no customization and really using standard functionality. Harish can talk a little bit more detailed on the integration piece.
In the previous system, we had over 28 integrations or 20 different systems that we were integrating with. Because we reduced the number of systems, we also reduced the complexity with that. DFFs specifically were all over the place, whether it’s master data, or transactional data reporting into different operating units or business units. We reduced all that complexity and went very clean, simply by structure starting from COA even to the business unit design as well. And we really questioned our users when they would say, “That’s how we’ve always done it.” The question we would always start a meeting off by asking, “How do we need to do it now?”
Could they have the same leverage with Oracle Cloud as they have with Oracle ERP on-prem with client-specific customizations and enhancements?
[Perficient] There is the idea of customizing applications and forms directly. Then, there is the idea of doing reports and then integrations in different workloads. Cloud supports all the integrations beyond imagining. Certainly, the cloud is much easier to integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite. In terms of reports, no issue. Any data that’s in the system, you can extract out using Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence or OTBI. You can use OTBI to write outbound integrations and put them on scheduled processes and that kind of thing.
With regard to directly customizing the applications, you really can’t do that. And quite frankly, there’s so much configuration enablement now on the cloud that there would be almost no need to do it. If you absolutely have a proprietary process that cannot be supported directly by the applications, then that would likely be a custom application or an existing application that you currently have, whether it be in the cloud or on-prem. If it’s on-prem, it can be moved into the cloud. It can become an application that sits on (PaaS) Platform as a Service and be integrated with the cloud product. So all different flavors. I think there’s a lot of levers to pull to get done what you need done.
We’ll wrap up this blog post series on Midcoast Energy’s success story with part 3 – the top three lessons learned.