ADP Globalizes Payment Services on Oracle
- Create a core model for accounting in Europe using Oracle
- Adopt Oracle’s Hyperion Planning package
- Consolidate the financial role across an international business within a single view
- Oracle E-Business Suite
- Oracle Hyperion Planning (Financial Data Quality Management Module)
- Launched a change management program during the development cycle to train users
- Replaced the accounting system at operations in France
- Ensured local business requirements were met along with the larger group
ADP is a world leader in providing payroll and human resources services to customers directly and via its partnership network throughout more than 60 countries. A few years ago, the group decided to implement Oracle Release 12 globally to maximize economies of scale that international coverage would produce.
In 2009, ADP decided to roll out the latest version of the suite in France, the last large country where the software package was to be installed. It would use this project to build a core model for accounting, which other European countries would then adopt when they migrated to Oracle.
In addition to the E-Business Suite upgrade, ADP also decided to incorporate Oracle’s Hyperion Planning, a group cost-control and reporting package, which included implementing a two-way audit trail between accounts and cost control (Hyperion’s Financial Data Quality Management [FDQM] module).
As a result, the standardization of the finance role would no longer be just a technical aspect, but would become an integral part of the business, simplifying the consolidation and transverse view of added transnational lines of business.
The Three Requirements
When selecting the service provider that was to accompany the project, ADP had three specific requirements: methodological expertise to define the core model; technical knowledge of Oracle R12, which was not yet in wide use; and the capacity to handle the immense task of rolling out the software throughout France.
“Choosing the right partner is one of the keys to success and, with CSC, we knew we had made the right choice,” says Dominique Le Brigant, VP Finance Employer Services International at ADP.
The project, which had been dubbed ORION, started in November 2009 by defining the core model. Over four months, CSC met with financial managers from all the main European countries to formulate the joint project. There were two guiding needs: to achieve a unique indexing and coding system for accounting procedures, and to retain as many of the software’s standard features as possible, more or less within the legal and operational limits, so as to keep maintenance costs at a minimum.
The Importance of Preparation
At the same time, the project in France was being prepared. Le Brigant, who was adamant about the importance of this preliminary phase, drew several lessons from ORION’s success: having a realistic view of the size and complexity of the project; defining everyone’s responsibilities clearly, particularly those of the customer; setting up a plan of available resources to free up key users; establishing rules of governance and particularly the role of the project committee, which has to play an active role as referee and remain objective toward the various players; and, finally, setting up a clear and simple general contractual framework.
In France, replacing the accounting system would also have an important impact on users. Even though the existing software program had been customized and was perfectly adapted to its users, the ADP companies would now have to compromise on the standard features of a new software tool.
As soon as the project started, change management was a priority. Users were asked to express their needs regarding the 15 or so processes to be included in the software package (accounts payable and receivable, cash flow, cost control, etc.) “Users never really get to grips with the solution unless they use it firsthand,” says Le Brigant. “It’s important to focus on practical experience throughout the development cycle.”
Validation and Data Recovery
The validation phase, which had been started too soon to avoid a “tunnel effect” and extended slightly to ensure every aspect of the project scope, was just as crucial, and CSC implemented a procedure to carefully trace and process any anomalies and developments.
“We had an overriding goal to ensure the integrity of the numbers, while respecting the group’s directive to [develop a report] in four days, and we didn’t want to take any risks,” says Le Brigant. Data recovery was another vital subject that had to be handled with care, and it proved to be even more complex than the long-standing system to be replaced.
“We had to put particular emphasis on this aspect, mostly by using test sites to carry out an in-depth analysis and resolve any disparities,” says Michel Dubois, associate director at CSC, who was responsible for the operational management of the ADP project.
In October 2011, the first closing was carried out successfully using the new system.
“There were several decisive factors in the success of this project, which meant that deadlines in terms of both budgets and time were met,” says Sophie Deloustal, senior partner for CSC on the project. Specifically, the implementation of project governance with considerable involvement from European financial managers and the project leader in France to manage the arbitration between local business needs and those of the group was a key success factor.”
“CSC has shown that it is capable of meeting all our expectations and its teams have shown how they can assume responsibility and lead by example through their commitment at every level,” adds Le Brigant.
As CSC continues to accompany the project post-startup and carry out final adjustments, ADP is already looking to the future. After having started the migration process in Italy, ADP plans to roll out the solution throughout Europe, as well as in China, Australia and Brazil.