Oracle ERP Cloud Projects Module powers through data entry | More4apps

Project Data Entry and Maintenance - A Monumental Task

When one of the most influential construction companies in the US migrated to Oracle ERP Cloud, they were faced with a mountain of data entry just to update information so that the organization could start with one set of “clean” project information. They were also faced with the stark reality - by the time they got the data into their new tool they ran the risk of it being completely out of date. They also knew that they were not ready, technically or functionally to create a customized data entry tool to interface data to Oracle.

Product

ERP System

ERP Cloud

Industry

Construction

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The Client:

The company, lets call them John Doe Construction; is a major construction company in the building industry with presence in 30 states across the US and with its head offices in California. Considered one of the most influential companies in this space, it’s “success” translates to over 100 projects (private and commercial) every month. For their small but nimble team of project managers, they could be tasked with running or overseeing an average of 50 projects at the same time. Projects could be close to home where the project manager is based or spread right throughout the US

The Problem:

On a monthly basis, John Doe creates between 80-100 projects , some of them for large builds for commercial clients, and others homes for residential clients. Each project needs to include capital and expense components along with the time sensitive items like tasks and milestones. The complexity of information could include; the use of consultants, labour and equipment costs, through to general expenses but what was common to all was the need for a large level of detail, accuracy and timeliness.

 Project management activities such as setting up new projects, and keeping project details, like Tasks and Resource Assignments, updated throughout the project lifecycle are tedious to carry out manually. Staff were spending more time entering data and maintaining the project than actually managing it.

Translation: Project Managers were getting frustrated because they were trapped at their desks entering information or revalidating the information to ensure it was accurate and up-to-date.

From a bottom-line perspective,the consequences were even more serious. With data bottlenecks stopping the information from being entered quickly, they were often placed in the position where the project information was not up-to-date for their billing cycle.

Translation: They were often sending out invoices that were incorrect as they were unsure of exactly what to charge.

Aside from the billing information John Doe was also starting to get questions from clients about the amount of hours being billed for administrative services.

Along with the data loading challenge the organization had recently moved to ERP Cloud. They had a simple in-house developed project program (which required a lot of maintenance and constant adaptation to meet their changing needs). This tool was using a simple Excel upload but with the move to Oracle ERP Cloud they lost this option.

Like most businesses, Excel was a popular desktop tool that employees like Project Managers and Project Accountants were familiar with. In many cases, this meant that some project managers were still using worksheets to keep their data updated. However, this caused a delay in getting the right data into their Oracle ERP Cloud system, essentially leaving them with multiple versions of the truth.

The could see they needed to change but what?

It made sense to look at what they were using first. Oracle ERP Cloud did have some integration points that could be used to develop a tool internally. When they did a proof of concept they soon realized that it would need consulting resources, ongoing maintenance and anecdotally they heard the performance was poor and inflexible. They also found that errors were not easy to identify by the end-user.

The Solution:

After looking at other options including BDISOAP, VBCS (REST) and ADFdi, they decided to test More4apps’ simple to use Excel based ERP Cloud Toolbox Project Module. As part of their testing and implementation process they worked with each Project Manager so they could get a clear understanding of the potential ROI, and ongoing improvements to processes.

They were excited that the tool integrated directly with Oracle eliminating the need for manual processing or extra steps. The More4apps tool would allow the management team to see their reports without delays or having to do additionalitional data entry.

After deployment the Project Managers were able to enter all the data using an Excel spreadsheet, this included setting up the project, ongoing updates such as task assignments and maintaining work plans. Not only that the data was validated right in the spreadsheet prior to upload ensuring that errors were picked up instantly, fixed prior to loading.

One of the immediate benefits was a 70% reduction in the time taken for project data entry. The team was freed up to dedicate more time to the analysis work and initiatives to improve internal and external client satisfaction. The most significant benefit to the business is the finance team knows that the data they are using to charge out for the project services is up-to-date and correct – meaning they are sending out the correct invoice with the correct amount.

The IT department is happy too. By using the Excel based More4apps Projects Module to load data into Oracle, they are secure in the knowledge that their users have a solution that meets their requirements. They no longer have to develop and deploy a custom solution that may be impacted by Windows quarterly security releases and patches.

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