Electrical Contractor Oracle Upgrade
- Custom Software Development
- $200,000 to $999,999
- Willing to Refer
"I’m so happy that I would recommend Zensar to others."
- San Francisco, California
- 1,001-5,000 Employees
- Phone Interview
Zensar Technologies completed a migration from 11i to R12. The complex upgrade included extensive customization and over 3,000 technical objects. The team provided both onsite and offshore members.
Zensar Technologies collaborated as a true partner for all technical customization, prompts, and reports. Despite occasional challenges with work visas, the team remained flexible, did not hesitate to offer new expertise to solve a problem, and remained true to budget.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Can you provide some background information about your company?
We are electrical contractors, and we started about 95 years ago in 1919. We provide all the cabling, networking, and electrical work inside buildings. We sometimes work as subcontractors, which means contractors hire us, and we provide this electrical subcontracting work. That was how we started, but in the last few years, we have diversified our business to include building data centers, green farms, solar panel buildings, and other facilities. We built facilities for the companies that build solar panels, which is a specialized skill. We grew from a long time back with a few millions of dollars in revenue to about $1 billion in revenue today.
What is your position within the company?
I’m Director of Business Applications, and my role is to take care of anything that a customer faces. We have Oracle as our prime ERP application, but we use other products like Sharepoint, Image Now, Chronus, Prologue, and Prima Vera. Everything the customer faces comes under my domain.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What was your main business objective for undertaking the project with Zensar?
I looked at two or three vendors in the tier two level, or the ones who serve small to mid-sized companies; I was looking a couple of companies. We had about four companies to start with; I was either referred to those four companies, or I had some experience working with them. Zensar was one of them; we had criteria that we shared with our implementation partners and asked them to bid on the project. We made sure that the base was the same, so that we didn’t make any decisions that were apple to oranges. We did that with all four vendors, and we also did the cross references with companies who may have worked with them and things like that.
Quality and skill sets were looked at closely. We interviewed the resources of all three to four vendors that we were looking at in the beginning, and we went through all of those criteria. We gave points to the companies and finally nailed one down one, and that was Zensar.
Could you describe how your historical technical solution was lacking, and what you’re looking to upgrade?
Our historical legacy system 11i was not lacking anything, but it was getting to a point where I would bring Oracle in for support more and more. Basically, they have different modes once a project is rolled out. When we rolled out L15-10 in 2006, we actually had one of the latest and greatest from Oracle. However, for a while, we went into that sustaining mode, where the deliverable from Oracle for any bugs or issues took forever because they were not promoting much of development in 11i. There were also things like new features and functionalities of new models cannot be integrated with the Oracle 11i. Those are a few reasons where we were missing or we were losing time on—resolving issues was one. Second, we were not able to introduce new features and functionalities because we were using a lower version. Those are the reasons that led us to see the need to upgrade it.
Can you tell me about the scope of the project?
The scope of the project included all the technical customization, prompts, reports, and whatever was working in 11i; there was a period of five years since we went low. Sometime in 2006 and onwards, we had developed a lot of customizations that were very specific to our industry. There were a lot of integration points in the last five years. We had a huge customization in front of us to migrate from 11i to R12. I’m talking in the thousands when I say huge; I would say about 2,000 to 3,000 technical objects. I don't have the figures in front of me right now, but I can tell you how many reports, how many prompts, how many extensions—all the packages and things like that. With respect to the four vendors that were considered, three levels were set: high, medium, and low. We were right in high, but right more than medium and right in high. We may not be the biggest in the world, but we were right in our category. We were in high because there was heavy customization. The project kicked off, and I started working to pick up the vendor sometime at the beginning of the year; the project kicked off about the first of March.
Could you provide a general cost estimate for the project?
Yes. We had the cost estimate of various subjects in the sense of how it worked. We have a good internal team, so I would say $500,000 for this project. However, this does not include the time for our full-time employees or our business time, but if you take out all of those non-cash-value items, then it was about $500,000. That includes Zensar's cost of the individuals who are working onshore and offsite, offshore, and onsite offshore. It was a combination of resources like onsite and offshore. It includes that as well as some of their tools that we bought from third parties that grows into your database systems, and it tells you how much work it needs to be done. If I include all of that, I would say roughly $500,000.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
How pleased are you with the results of the projects so far? I understand it just launched this weekend.
Correct. If you ask me right now, yes, I’m happy because throughout the project a lot of planning went on. This was instrumental, plus we also had many on our internal team who are also quite enrolled. I’m happy with Zensar, and I can say that I’m so happy that I would recommend Zensar to others. It’s one of the smoothest projects that I can think of that I’ve been responsible for delivering. There were times that I was dependent on the vendors and I always had some challenges, but this was really a smooth project. We aligned very well and worked very well with them. Never at any time did we look upon this as a Zensar or a Rosendine project. When an issue came up, we all jumped in as a team and targeted whatever we needed to resolve. We helped each other, and I would say I've been pretty happy with that so far.
When working with Zensar, is there anything you found to be special compared to other vendors you have worked with in the past?
The only reason the work was different from the other vendors that I worked with before was the flexibility. Zensar was very flexible. We will have times when, for example, we both shoulder flexibility. We had actually originally planned to have x numbers of hours for onsite resources and y numbers of hours for offshore resources. We will run into some challenges where their onsite resource would not be able to come onsite because they didn’t get their visa; their visa got rejected by the U.S. consulate for some reason. We had to work with them to solve that resource work from offshore, or we had to find some resource who was in the U.S. to substitute for the guy who was going to come.
Things like that, but there was some issue that we had to resolve and that actually protected our resources. They were willing to bring in some new expertise if required to solve some issues. They were flexible. They didn’t always nickel and dime everything. That work was the most important because when you are in the middle of a project, the last thing you want to do is negotiate on how to resolve this issue. So that was a little different than others as well. I have always seen that the vendors take that luxury and privileges inside the building, and they’re on the project. They take the luxury of doing a change request or a change order, and that makes your project become expensive, which leads management to lose confidence in them. We didn't have any challenges like that. What we budgeted for, we finished with $3,000 to $4,000 less than our actual target.
Looking back on the project, do you think there’s any area that Zensar could improve or that you would do differently?
I would say that they could have done better when their resources who could not come in in time or who could not come to the U.S. What I saw is that they didn’t plan that very well, maybe because they wanted our business. They probably didn’t share some information, which I think they should have, because their resource may not have been able to get a visa. It’s so much up in the air until that happens. They should not promise things sometimes. So if they had to substitute their resource onsites, they could not come from offshore. It would have been difficult for them to keep me or to keep my level of expectation. I would say they should be careful with that, because not everybody is going to be as flexible as we were.
The other thing I would recommend is that they are expensive sometimes because they don’t clearly understand the scope of the labor. Now, some vendors are smart enough to catch things right up, and then you call for bidding. They pretty much did their job, but I don’t think they were as close as the others were. The reason why Zensar was successful in getting our project was everybody came up with a number, but we just wanted to avoid this ambiguity of people understanding the scope a little differently, so we wanted to have one level or base.
We ran this one too, which contains customization or prompts reports, and then I gave that extract to them and asked them to bid. Since I was close and did a good job of bidding, then they found out the exact numbers of objects and things like that. Otherwise, I think Zensar was pretty vague when they came off with the first bid.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
Value / within estimates
Willing to Refern/a