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ECCU shares ups, downs of Oracle Fusion Financials migration

Moving to Oracle Fusion Financials has been a mixed blessing for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union. It saved money, but had to sacrifice integration and automation.

The Evangelical Christian Credit Union migrated from E-Business Suite to Oracle Fusion Financials. It cut costs...

but lost out on integration.

At Collaborate 16, Mary Furman, application manager for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU), described the process of migrating from on-premises Oracle E-Business Suite financial applications to Oracle Fusion Financials in the cloud. While the organization succeeded in cutting costs, there are still some things that Furman misses about running on premises.

"When you move to Fusion from E-Business Suite, it's not an upgrade," Furman said. "It's really a new implementation." Furman found that Fusion runs slowly and can take up to three minutes to reload after an update. She said, "It's always slow if you're used to E-Business Suite with the server on premises." She described the move to cloud as an "adjustment." The learning curve for the security system has been especially steep, she said. "The security setup in E-Business Suite is very different in Fusion. I'm having some difficulty mastering security." However, Furman said, "Whenever anyone complains about Fusion, I say that we're saving a boatload of money."

The move to the cloud was inspired by the need to cut costs during the economic recession of the early 2000s. The wake-up call came when ECCU had its first church foreclosure in 40 years. "It looks pretty bad to foreclose on a church," Furman said.

The Brea, Calif.-based credit union, which works with 1,700 ministries and 3,900 missionaries across 122 countries, started downsizing. Oracle E-Business Suite came with a lot of expenses, such as licensing cost, staff, support and the maintenance of the various customizations the ECCU needed. So, the organization spent six months contemplating the merits of the cloud before deciding to make the jump to Oracle Fusion applications. Furman began the implementation in February 2015 with a go-live date set for July 1, 2015. She was able to implement the project on time.

Before its move to the cloud, the ECCU used SQL Server and Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer for reporting. The core banking application was not an Oracle product but did run on top of an Oracle database. Furman said that the ECCU reached its current configuration after going over 24 permutations of E-Business Suite and Fusion, considering the impact on end users, the overall integration of the system, the implementation time and the timing in the fiscal year. The ideal situation, Furman said, would have been to retain or even increase the integration of the financials with HR and payroll. However, while this was possible, it would have taken more time and money than the ECCU was willing to allocate. The tooling required to maintain the integration would have pushed the go-live date back to Jan. 1, 2016, according to Furman.

When you move to Fusion from E-Business Suite, it's not an upgrade. It's really a new implementation.
Mary Furmanapplication manager, Evangelical Christian Credit Union

The current configuration replaces the financial module of Oracle E-Business Suite with Oracle Fusion Financials, while human resources and payroll remain on premises. Furman said, "The downside is, we're not integrated anymore." To cut costs, the ECCU dropped the automatic syncing between banking and payroll and now enters the changes by hand. While Furman hasn't given up on the possibility of moving payroll to the cloud, she said "Fusion just wasn't quite ready for the payroll solution."

Furman and her team also ran into complications specific to financial institutions. For instance, Furman said Oracle E-Business Suite automatically updated the depreciation of the value of items like paintings and laptops, but with the Oracle Fusion Financials, all that information has to be entered by hand. The ECCU also had to eliminate the use of corporate credit cards because loading value onto them with Oracle Fusion Financials proved to be problematic. Furman has also had issues with updating records and she and her team have switched to updating records only on an as-needed basis.

However, the implementation itself occurred with little difficulty, Furman said. "I was expecting a lot of phone calls, but there were no issues. I felt like the Maytag repair man."

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