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When Tampa moved its human capital management and enterprise resource planning to the Oracle cloud, it removed data silos across departments and boosted IT security.
In moving its human capital management (HCM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to the cloud, the city of Tampa opted for an out-of-the-box solution that it deployed in 10 months.
Russell Haupert, Tampa’s CIO and director of the Technology and Innovation Department, worked with his team to implement Oracle human resources and financial products that included modules for supply chain management, HCM, ERP as well as projects and grants management. The solution included “everything you need to buy something, pay for something in a government organization, everything you need to manage a warehouse, everything you need in order to make sure that the accounting is done correctly, everything you need to make sure your vendors are paid correctly.” Haupert said during a May 5 webinar. “We basically implemented all of the major modules.”
The problem with the previous system was that the city had invested millions of dollars in customizations and maintaining those applications had become burdensome. Additionally, the city’s requisition system had “weird” rules around cost distribution, he said.
“Our process was something like this: If we had a bill for $33,000 that was divided up between 22 departments, we would put in a requisition, [and] route it to all these folks that were on the bill,” Haupert said. “Then the system, which was a customization, would look at that and say, ‘Who are the six departments that have the most expensive portion of this bill?’ And if any one of those people who had the most expensive portion approved it, the whole thing would get approved,” he said.
With the new system, his department – Technology and Innovation – pays the whole bill and gets reimbursed by the other departments. “That process that used to be frustrating and take more than 90 days takes us about 40 minutes now,” he said.
Another motivator for moving to the cloud was the automatic handling of upgrades. “Like many governments, the idea of doing upgrades was a little daunting for us, and we didn’t always put them in as quickly as we should. Patching and security was always an issue,” Haupert said. “So, for the city of Tampa, moving into the [software-as-a-service] environment – Oracle Fusion – having somebody else handle those upgrades, having those upgrades happen automatically, having additional security that comes with a full SaaS operation, these are really big drivers for us to get onto the new system.”
He also credits a strong internal change management team and support from Oracle Consulting for the smooth transition.
“Data conversions are the long pole in the tent for migrating on-prem customers to the cloud, because it’s really imperative that the data gets converted cleanly and accurately for the new system to function as it’s supposed to function,” said Cheryl Barnard, a senior practice director at Oracle Consulting who worked with Haupert.
She relied on Oracle Soar, a proprietary platform that automates the process of migrating databases or applications to the cloud, and the teams held frequent meetings to address any problems and resolutions.
Additionally, the city contracted with Oracle University for subject-matter experts to get training as needed, and functional teams relied on guided learning to understand how users would use the software. The result was that when the system went live, nothing was a surprise, Haupert said.
“Make sure that your users are committed, that they’re joining their sessions, that they’re active participants in the methodology,” he said. “If they do that, they’re going to have a chance to give their opinion on how the system works now and what they like and don’t like -- and that’s going to be threaded into how the new system is configured.”
“Put in that prep time,” he advised.
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.
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