Automated Set-Up Process Accelerates Go-Live, Improves Data Integrity and Reduces Costs

The Client

Federal Agency

The Squires Group partnered with a Global Systems Integrator to implement Oracle 11i for a large federal healthcare agency and its contracted vendors. The federal agency’s project goal was to provide faster turnaround time of claims processing by each of their contracted vendors. Our goal was to support the integration vendor minimize risks and streamline the “go-live” migration of each contracted vendor to the new claims system under the federal agency’s aggressive timeline.

The Technology

Oracle Financials Version: 11i

  • Systems Administration
  • Inventory
  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Cash Management
  • Federal Administration

The Challenge

We began our work with the federal agency in November 2002 and continued on in 2006 to provide support for their Configuration Management (CM) Automation module. When we started this portion of the project, the task of setting up and simulation testing consumed 800 man hours each time the task was executed. This task was repeated 5 times for each of the contracted vendors before go-live and was highly susceptible to error due to the manual nature of the task.

This set-up task laid the foundation for contracted vendors migrating from their legacy system to a centralized, single standard system. The set-up task involved loading organizational set-up information into Oracle Financial modules: Accounts Receivable, Inventory, Accounts Payable, Systems Administration, General Ledger, Federal Administration, and Cash Management.

The modules being populated were high visibility, mission critical entities within an organization. For instance, if a bank account number was entered incorrectly during the AR set-up process, then errors would definitely occur downstream as a result. The pressure on the engineers to not make a mistake was very high, due to the domino effect of a set-up mistake. Because of this, a documented workflow process of manual and automated routines which governed this critical task was needed.

The Solution

We proposed the automation of the Oracle module set-ups to eliminate manual set-up and decrease human errors. Automation would involve scripting the user movements once, while allowing contracted vendor specific data to be passed through the scripts as often as required. The Automation of Set-ups was approved and has been a solidifying influence on the set-up team ever since.

One of the key parts of the solution was uncovered as we completed the research and due diligence required to ensure that valid data was available for the automated scripts. What we found was that pertinent institutional information regarding set-ups resided in the engineers head, leaving the project susceptible to data loss as key consultants rolled off the program. Our due diligence process exposed this risk in the existing task, as well as others. Once we defined these risk areas we began defining and documenting the new configuration management process.

The automation process also generated a results file after each execution which detailed the status of a run, essentially creating an audit file or traceability matrix. Additional scripts were created which enabled the team to verify the database after the initial script execution. Using the same data file utilized in the initial script execution, the validation script reads the database and compares the database values against the source file. If a record doesn’t exist in the database that is in the source file, the results file displays a red x on the record, making for a straightforward resolution.

The Success

As a result of automating the set-ups process, validating the data, and documenting clear processes, what had taken 800 hours can now be completed in 160 hours—saving the client over $2 million a year on their project budget. The new CM process generates documented results and team morale has soared as the pressure to be perfect has been lifted. Finally there is now a defined process in place that everyone can see and provide feedback on so that the team can continually improve.


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