Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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June 22, 2018

Become smarter by improving Customer Experience with Blockchain solution

In this digital era, how often we see an executive from the bank visiting a customer's office or home to collect identity documents physically and verify the details as part of fulfilling regulatory demand - Know Your Customer (KYC).

The advent of technology nowadays has helped banks to collect identity data real-time and verify the received data connecting to central data repository. In spite of this maturity, financial institutions are still losing operational efficiency and margin towards KYC activities as customer identity is yet not fully digitized. They continue to look out for more effective solutions to achieve key customer experience goals such as reducing document handling touch points and there by save valuable time of customer, bring in transparency, protect confidentiality and secure sensitive personal identity documents supplied by the customer.

Blockchain technology, a distributed database providing speed and ease offers a high potential solution to simplify the identity management process in KYC use cases through digitization and achieve greater customer experience quotients. Blockchain computing architecture uses self-sovereign identity concept, a model where one's own identify is maintained by self, provides transparency on entities accessing the owned identity data. Using this model, the verification of a customer identity in real time is performed, which brings in substantial cost reduction by eliminating disparate systems and technologies in the enterprise architecture, secures data transaction paths by bringing together disjointed data pockets from different sources into a unified trusted immutable digital view, encrypted using strong cryptographic techniques. This architectural model effectively solves the KYC use case needs which every financial institution in today's digital world executes.

Fig. Simple representation of Identity management process model built on Blockchain architecture 

A typical process model adopted by identity management platforms leveraging Blockchain architecture,where retrieval plus provision of customer (identity) data handled securely with bi-directional authentication is sketched above. To illustrate briefly, customer registers his/her identity information (Passport, Pan, Aaadhar, etc.) digitally in a Blockchain based KYC platform and submits the details to bank while opening a new account/seeking a new service with them. The bank taking the submitted inputs seeks the necessary identity documents (Passport, Pan, Aaadhar, etc.) digitally from the customer subscribed KYC utility/platform. Upon receiving the request from bank, the KYC platform acknowledges the request and undertakes customer's consent though OTP/email verification link towards sharing the digital identity view. The solution establishes transparency to the customer on identity data exchanged, protects sensitive identity data from intruders/hackers to ensure high level of data integrity and prevents misuse of identity data in any manner. More interestingly, this architecture also provides the flexibility to re-use the digital identify profile more than one time across different banks/institutions or any organizations a customer may interact with.

In spite of the promising capabilities discussed above, being a new technology change wave, the Blockchain solution has to yet over ground towards establishing ownership definitions for identity information handled, becoming a standardized solution for KYC use cases across geographies and under banked regions, where banking processes are yet to be completely established, financially viable and digitized. However, this technology promises a lot possessing the capability to completely digitize and automate KYC use cases. An exciting development in the current digital economy indeed.

June 20, 2018

The marriage of Agile and Waterfall in a Telco World


We often hear of organizations undergoing the aches and pains associated with the transition from a traditional waterfall to a fast paced agile model. During the course of this transformation, the waterfall model is looked down upon as slow or rigid that hinders the responsiveness to business needs. However, that does not mean Agile is most appropriate in all cases.  What probably works is something that lies within the spectrum.

I will illustrate the case using one of our Telco clients as an example. There are three key layers within the Telco landscape as illustrated below.

Channels: This is the customer facing layer. It needs to be highly responsive to changing customer experience trends, competitive pressures etc. The channels are expanding beyond the conventional call center, stores and web to include virtual agents and mobile apps. Agility is a must at this layer.

BSS/OSS Applications: This is the layer where the core IT applications like CRM, Billing, Provisioning and Assurance reside. This layer provides the capability that lies behind the channels. This layer is also relatively more complex and less agile as any change here may impact multiple upstream and downstream touchpoints. Therefore, changes at this layer typically go through established software development and release lifecycles that involve extensive testing.

Networks: This layer is the heart of any Telco and delivers the actual services such as mobile and fixed line connectivity. This layer has become more agile with the advent of Software defined networks and virtualization of the network functions.

What are the means of increasing agility within this landscape?

Each layer can be made more agile by leveraging the evolution within that layer

    • Virtualized network functions provide increased ability to automate the provisioning and the activation of various services on the network.
    • The complexity within the BSS/OSS layer can be hidden behind a layer of abstracted services or API's. These services should provide the most common functions based on an industry standard model. They should support most of the data requirements of the channels so that the channels can evolve independently.

    • The channels can leverage micro services based on a DXL framework to further decouple the back end complexity. This will allow the channels to be highly agile.

 What use cases can leverage this kind of agility?

  • Launch of new products or services based on current capabilities available across the layers.
  • Expand customer self-care capabilities using data and information available via existing services.

  • Provide more capabilities in the hands of Enterprise Customers to manage their own services

What use cases will still need to be supported by the conventional waterfall model?

Enablement of a net new capability eg: VoLTE requires extensive changes at the network and the BSS/OSS layers. It would need to go through a dedicated project lifecycle, typically following the more conventional waterfall model.

There is no 'one size fits all' as far as Telco projects are concerned. The organization would need to select the right methodology based on the nature of the change and its impact across the layers.

June 1, 2018

Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 4 - Implementation and Conclusion

4.  Implementation and Planning

The final in series briefly describes the implementation route once the organization decides on an ERP route. 

An ERP implementation project consists of discrete activities which break down the implementation process:  business analysis, development, implementation, and post-production support (Figure 2.2).  These primary activities are consistent with cloud, on-premise, and hybrid implementations but the timelines and budgets will vary.  A study conducted by Panorma Consulting concluded that over 50% of ERP implementation projects run over schedule and over budget (Panorma).  Due to the recent introduction of Cloud ERP applications and low client penetration, there is not sufficient data pertaining specifically to cloud implementations to determine how many are under budget and on time.  Hence, it is important for implementation partners like Infosys to develop a strategy which allows clients to segregate the various financial activities and build a strategy which incubates the implementation through a total value system (Figure 2.3).  Each of the financial processes (P2P, A2R, O2C, and R2R) consist of a primary activities, drivers, and linkages; the output of each process is generated by evaluating the impact of drivers (cost, agility, and talent) and linkages (people, processes, and technology) to determine the total cost of ownership, thus the return on investment of cloud and on-premise implementations (Figure 2.3). 

Figure 2.3:  Oracle Financials ERP Total Value System

Figure 2.3.1.png

Figure 2.3.2.png


The decision to implement an ERP on the cloud or on-premise boils down to one thing:  margin.  It is vital for a corporation to find an ERP package which matches the company's needs; one which supports their businesses processes and offers value propositions to the business model.  The decision for companies with lower than 500 employees and greater than 2500 employees can be determined without undergoing a thorough evaluation process (Graph 3.1).  For medium businesses, however, the outcome of the chosen method of implementation is not as straight-forward.  Infosys' specialization in Oracle EBS along with a strategic partnership with Oracle allows clients to gain strategic advantage in evaluating the costs, agility, and resources to decide which model of Oracle ERP to implement. 

Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 3 - Recommendations

3.  Recommendation

Part 3 in this series provides recommendations for which implementation small, medium, and large corporations should implement based on user base, costs, and existing IT infrastructure investments.

Table 3.4:  Cloud vs On-Premise ERP Cost Comparison



Company Size








User Base








Software Licensing
































IT Personnel
























Cost Savings*















*Savings through automation and customization


As the implementation partner for various clients, the goal for Infosys consultants is to recommend and design a path of implementation for a product which produces most value for the client.  When considering the value chain model any organization, finance plays a critical strategic role in helping CEO's with setting objectives, making decisions, and planning for the future (figure 2.1).  Oracle ERP Financial installations allow corporations to improve efficiency, increase revenues, and control costs.  Cloud offers lower implementation costs for small businesses but the licensing costs can add up.  The break-even analysis demonstrates costs to be equal for user base between 500 and 2500 users depending on current infrastructure investments, customizations, and existing resources. 

Figure 3.1.png

Table 3.1:  Cloud ERP Internal Evaluation

Figure 3.2.png

Table 3.2:  On-premise ERP Internal Evaluation

Small Businesses

Prior to cloud platforms, ERP applications were out of reach for smaller businesses due to up-front infrastructure investments and high implementation costs.  Cloud is an emerging field which enables multiple smaller businesses to share the ERP application infrastructure hosted by the vendor resulting in lower costs and low turnover.  As Table 3.1 demonstrates, a cloud implementation provides a greater margin compared to on-premise when applied to a small user base.  As the user count grows, the cost of a cloud implementation grows in a linear fashion.  Smaller companies can take advantage of cloud implementations by avoiding heavy investments in infrastructure, IT personnel, and maintenance.  On the downside, cloud offerings are shared between multiple clients and clients lose control of customizations, maintenance schedules, and security.  This results in quarterly user training and testing since the application gets upgraded more frequently but the margin is still greater than an on-premise implementation.  

Medium Businesses

The strategy on which implementation to pursue for medium businesses depends on the firm's strategy.  Graph 3.5 shows the costs of 500 users in a medium sized corporation are almost identical for cloud and on-premise ERP implementations.  Corporations which do not rely heavily on customized businesses processes will also find value in using cloud applications.  Depending on the growth of the business, a hybrid ERP implementation might fit better into the client's ERP strategy since moving from cloud to on-premise or vice versa will not require the client to reimplement the financial suite of Oracle ERP applications.  A cloud ERP would be beneficial if the client does not foresee growth and firm's financial processes are not heavily customized.  An on-premise would be required for firms which deal primarily with government contracts or confidential financial information which requires heavy industry data security and data stored in a secured firewall to comply with regulatory guidelines. 

Large Businesses

When it comes to large enterprises with an enormous user base of multiple thousands of users, the decision is clear: due to the economies of scale and costs of licensing and implementing Oracle ERP's, the on-premise option will always result in a more economical and effective implementation (Graph 3.5).  Global enterprises generally have financial operations in dozen or more countries.  Since these implementations can take number of years to complete, the enterprise needs to have strict control over security, maintenance, and is customization ability due to the highly complex financial processes.  By doing so, the ERP application can be automated and shaped to fit the business needs, providing greater efficiency and margin, security, and control over the application.  A cloud implementation for large enterprises will result in a diminishing return due to the lack of customization and value-add to the financial processes.  Developments in these complex environments require top talent; the challenge for large businesses will be with retaining talent as employees seek greater challenges working with newer technologies while the corporation is stuck on a decades-old technology.  

 Figure 3.5.PNG

Graph 3.5:  Cost of Implementing Oracle ERP

Continue to Part 4:  Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 4 - Implementation and Conclusion

Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 2 - Analysis

Part 2:  Analysis

Part 2 on the series of Oracle ERP Cloud vs. On-Premise analyzes the various Cloud offerings and On-Premise to develop a better understanding of available options.  Purpose of this analysis is to gain a deep understanding of different business models and allow corporations to determine which implementation is best for them. 

Internal Analysis

Figure 2.1.png

Figure 2.1:  Value Chain for a typical manufacturing/operations firm


The value configurations of all corporations include finance as one of the activities.  (Figure 2.1) When analyzing the impact of Oracle's Financial ERP applications, specifically, the discrete activities can be broken down into business analysis, development, implementation, maintenance, and support.  (Figure 2.2) Drivers are structural factors derived from the corporations' previous activities and investments; these include economics, agility, and talent.  Economics determine the cost impacts of various Oracle ERP offerings to a corporation's bottom line.  Agility measures the security, control, and customization aspect of an implementation.  Lastly, a highly-skilled talent pool is required to carry out implementation of any type (McPherson).  The total value system of the Oracle ERP Financial application includes the Procure to Pay (P2P), Acquire to Retire (A2R), and Order to Cash (O2C) financial sub-processes.  These processes are closely integrated within the system and provide accounting data to the Record to Report (R2R) processes which is then used to develop reports and provide financial information to reporting agencies, sponsors, and key stakeholders (Figure 2.2).  

Figure 2.2.png

Figure 2.2:  Value chain for Oracle ERP Financial applications


Cloud Analysis

Cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms provide peace of mind to the clients by means of predictable costs of the ERP system through a subscription without requiring any investments in infrastructure and hardware.  The ERP cloud application is hosted on Oracle's infrastructure and can be privately hosted for a single client or the resources of this infrastructure may be shared between multiple clients in a public cloud environment (Stoecklein).  Clients are not required to keep up with security standards for the infrastructure as the vendor is responsible for data security.  The implementation costs relatively low compared to an on-premise ERP system.  These factors may present an incentive for some corporations looking for a quick implementation at low up-front costs, but these costs can add up overtime and exceed an on-premise implementation. 

On premise analysis

While a traditional on-premise ERP installation has obvious drawbacks with investments in infrastructure, it does add value to financial processes by the ability for clients to perform highly complex processes through customizations since the client would own the Oracle ERP software.  Moreover, some organizations which are not adept at practicing the latest data security protocols would need to integrate data-security and disaster recovery for their financial ERP systems into their existing collection of applications (Stoecklein).  Larger corporations which already have in-house data-security and infrastructure for other applications may not find a cost benefit in implementing a cloud application.  Since vendors incorporate costs for data security, disaster recovery, and other practices into the cloud licensing costs, clients with on-site security teams can take advantage of the lower licensing costs by implementing on-premise ERP applications.

Hybrid analysis

Lastly, for clients which require an ERP installation to conduct financial business processes but neither implementation fits directly with their current strategy, Oracle provides an option for a hybrid solution which combines flexibility of on-premise ERP with the outsourced model of Oracle cloud ERP SaaS.  It provides the ability for clients to move instance in-house at a later date, or vice versa.  This offering has become more common as SaaS is gaining popularity and clients become wary of the hype in cloud implementations.  This model is also suitable for companies which haven't been able to make up their mind about which implementation to pursue with or if their desired choice does not fit into the value model. 


The choice between the different Oracle Financial ERP offerings boils down to one factor between the IT and Finance Executives:  margin.  An Oracle Financial ERP application plays an integral role in a company to help manage and integrate important aspects of financial business functions such as paying vendors, placing orders with customers and receiving payments, tracking assets, and generating accounting and financial statements.  A financial ERP system presents opportunities for corporations to improve efficiency, increase revenues, and control costs.  (Hedges) In the past, Oracle ERP implementations were accessible only to large enterprises due to implementation, support, and licensing costs.  While an Oracle Cloud Financial ERP implementation alleviates the cost factor, it can prove to be costlier than an on-premise implementation over the course of time for clients with large footprint if not thoroughly analyzed.  In order to make a fair assimilation of application costs, they must be evaluated over long-term.  The general rule of thumb is for companies to expect total cost to be between 4 to 6% of the annual revenues of the company.  (Erik) Some factors which influence implementation costs include size of user base and divisions, level of customization, required resources.  These include costs for ERP software, database management system, infrastructure, employees and consultants.  Below is a cost analysis breakdown for small firms with revenues under $250 Million, medium firms with revenues ranging from $250 Million to $1 Billion, and large enterprises with revenues greater than $1 Billion. 



Company Size





< $250 Million





> $250 Million
< $1 Billion





> $1 Billion



Table 3.3:  Company Size

Small Businesses Costs

Smaller firms with revenues less than $250 million represent approximately 60% of the clients.  These corporations have an average of 100 users in the Financial ERP application and do not have hefty investments in infrastructure and full-time employees to manage the infrastructure and manage data-security in-house.  Instead they rely on offshore contractors and 3rd party vendors to manage and maintain their applications, making them ideal candidates for Oracle Cloud ERP implementations.  (Kimberling) Prior to the cloud, smaller companies would opt for Tier II vendors such as Microsoft Dynamics, Lawson, NetSuite, among others.  With the advent of cloud computing, Oracle is able to offer an advanced ERP system at similar costs by allowing multiple clients to share the same resources and infrastructure.  There are still, however, some scenarios in which small businesses would require an on-premise implementation.  If a corporation is involved a specialized financial environment which requires a highly customized code or highly technical expertise, a cloud implementation would not fully support their business processes, however, the customizations may not provide sufficient value compared to the high costs of on-premise ERP implementation for small businesses.  A scenario in which on-premise would be required is when there are strong legislative requirements on how the data is stored and secured.  This generally applies to corporations which focus mainly on government contracts, requiring heavy industry data security and data stored in a secured firewall to comply with regulatory guidelines.  Due to the lower number of users and hence processing power, all aspects of the ERP system (application, database, and user interface) can be integrated into one physical box, also known as 1-tier architecture. 

Medium Businesses Costs

Medium businesses represent roughly 30% of the clients which range from over $250 million to less than $1 billion in revenues.  Performing cost analysis is most critical and complex for medium size businesses; the cost benefit of an Oracle Cloud Financial ERP is guaranteed in a small-business environment whereas it is not as straightforward in a medium business environment.  If not thoroughly analyzed, small businesses risk driving losses either through ineffective use of users' time on a non-customizable cloud platform or through spending more on an on-premise ERP which does not provide any distinct advantage over the cloud.  To evaluate the costs, medium size businesses must consider costs for software licensing, implementation and customization, infrastructure, IT personnel, maintenance, and training for both cloud and on-premise Oracle Financial ERP implementations.  Moreover, due to the similar outcome of costs, mid-size businesses also have the option for hybrid implementations (Lippincott and Wettemann).  It is possible that the mid-size corporation does not require a highly customized implementation, but as the company continues to expand into several different countries, hybrid would be a plausible solution.  Otherwise if cost of implementing cloud and installing an on-premise ERP are the same, cloud will allow for more continuity and can be recommended over on-premise. 

Large Business Cost Analysis

Lastly, large businesses represent the remining 15% of the clients which earn greater than $1 Billion in revenues each year and have a user base greater than 2500.  All large corporations are multi-national enterprises which conduct business over dozen countries.  This adds complexity to financial processing, requiring businesses to have highly customized processes varying by country, department, legal regulations, and user roles.  Implementations in such environments can be continuous and would not allow corporations to keep up with testing and training due to upgrades based on vendor selected schedules.   When strictly considering between SaaS Oracle ERP and on-premise for large enterprises, the decision for on-premise is clear.  


Many small and medium-sized corporations are involved in a cycle of ERP replacement driven by global economic conditions and increasingly complex financial business processes.  This paves an ideal path for Oracle to market their Cloud Financial ERP application due to low implementation timelines and up-front costs.  However, the adoption has been less than stellar.  Clients are not convinced with the technical and functional limitations of Oracle's Cloud ERP application, while others worry about security and control. 


A cloud environment can either be private or public.  In a private cloud environment, the application is hosted on vendor's site in a segregated environment for an individual client.  Whereas, in a public cloud environment, multiple clients share same resources and infrastructure.  Although users from one client cannot access data for another client, it poses higher security risks since the hackers have a greater advantage of obtaining vital financial data financial process information from multiple companies with one security breach (Erik).   This has led to security as the highest-ranking concern with clients.  The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rates Oracle data at a Tier 4 rating - the highest rating.  Oracle suggests IT leaders to consider matching internal security and service levels standards of top quality data centers and consulting partners to avoid security leaks through users (Oracle). 


The Oracle Financial ERP Cloud software is shared in a public cloud environment; hence, clients will be on the same software version and will have less control over when upgrade patches are installed.   Upgrades requires clients to validate system operability, perform end-to-end testing of business process being affected, and train the users on the differences in functionality.  Oracle releases three patches a year, one for each quarter leaving out the fourth quarter due to annual financial close processes.  All testing and maintenance needs to be performed by a deadline specified by Oracle (Oracle).  Private offerings enable companies to install upgrades on their own schedules, however midsize companies tend to fall behind on upgrades because of the time, money, and resources required.   Moreover, by revoking access to the database, cloud-based services, in general, are not as effective in solution development and problem solving.  To obtain data from the database, instead of writing a script to pull data themselves, developers and consultants are required to create service requests (SR's) with Oracle (Oracle).


In most finance process scenarios, clients require customizations to extend the application's ability to adapt to their business needs.  On-premise Oracle implementations offer customizations through additional configurations and in-house extensions built on top of the core functionality, commonly known as RICEFW objects (Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms, and Workflows).  In the on-premise environment, these customizations can be made efficiently through the combination of external resources (applications such as PL/SQL scripts, Oracle Application Framework, and workflows) and internal resources (developers and IT professionals).  Oracle Cloud ERP applications are still fairly new and the wide industry penetration is yet to be experienced.  As it stands, Oracle Cloud ERP's have significant restrictions on type of customizations which can be made on the vendor's SaaS platform (Lippincott and Wettemann).


The resource pool of ERP implementation, support, and developer consultants continues to grow as availability remains to be in short supply.  The technology and tools for on-premise applications have existed for decades with subtle changes, resulting in resources with broad skills in vast numbers to match required skills and knowledge.  Cloud is a fairly new concept and cloud provides advantages and presents new challenges in terms of talent.  Due to the recent introduction of cloud and popularity of the platform, cloud professionals are in high demand, however, not many job seekers have accumulated sufficient experience to perform at the same level.  Employees working on newer cloud platforms result in lower turnover but these employees have a tendency of getting poached by other employers with better salaries.  Alternatively, companies can also outsource demands to implementation partners such as Infosys (Lippincott and Wettemann).   

Continue to part 3:  Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 3 - Recommendations

Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 1 - Introduction

1.  Introduction

This multi-series blog compares the cost, agility, and talents for implementing Oracle ERP's (Cloud and On-Premise) for small, medium, and large-size businesses. 

Issue Statement

Infosys is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services to clients across various industries all over the globe.  The Oracle practice at Infosys produces value for their clients through consulting, implementations, roll-outs, and upgrades to application support and maintenance (Infosys).  A strategic decision many Infosys' client IT and financial executives are starting to face more frequently is whether to implement Oracle ERP application on-premise or on the cloud.  This decision is no longer technical or functional, it is rather more financial (Aberdeen).  The greatest challenge faced by client executives making these decisions is that there is not sufficient data available to support one type of Oracle Financial ERP implementation over another.  The purpose of this research is to evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) of using a cloud-based Oracle enterprise resource planning (ERP) system as opposed to an on-premise Oracle ERP platform for Infosys' clients seeking to implement Oracle financial ERP for the first time and those which are on older versions of the application.  It is intended for Infosys sales and client IT and Finance managers to help decide offering which provides the most value to the client. 

Analysis overview

When analyzing financial business processes, there are three drivers finance and IT executives must study: economics, agility, and talent.  Oracle vaunts the economic benefit of their cloud services to their customers through better cash flows by means of lower up-front infrastructure costs and by charging the client a licensing cost for only the desired features.  Due to the nature of the cloud offerings, clients will always have access to the latest software and hardware technology and functionality, high speed to market, and more standardization and simplification.  (Oracle) Working on the latest technology with the latest features and functionality also helps firms retain and attract better talent which can result in greater effectiveness and efficiency and better overall adoption. 

Recommendation Overview

For most clients, the challenges of cloud ERP's outweigh the benefits resulting in only 20% penetration in Oracle Cloud ERP adoption.  Cloud implementations are not recommended for all clients; it is more suitable for those with limited investment in IT infrastructure and who have a user base which varies throughout the year.  (Joshi) Clients which already have invested in infrastructure and resources to protect and maintain these investments may not be interested in jumping on the cloud, however, as the infrastructure begins to depreciate and become outdated, some clients would find cost savings in retiring the infrastructure assets and implementing a cloud iteration of their Oracle ERP financial application (McPherson). 

Planning and Implementation Overview

Regardless of which platform clients decide to implement, it is important to note that both platforms present unique challenges.  Through a thorough evaluation of the clients' business processes, value configurations of on-premise and cloud implementations will be used to determine the how the discrete activities, drivers, and linkages impact clients' margins.  This data will be used to plan a course of action and help clients plan and implement an iteration of Oracle ERP financial applications, on-premise, cloud, or hybrid, based on the output of internal analysis. 

Continue to Part 2: Oracle ERP Cloud vs On-Prem: Part 2 - Analysis

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