An Interview with Ravinder Kulsari, Director, 1218 Global-APAC
This is the first in a two-part series of interviews with Ravinder Kulsari, Director, 1218 Global-APAC. The series provides insights into the new role of the ERP Consulting Partner in the Cloud Era and how ERP Consulting Partners such as 1218 Global help Clients transition their business from traditional on-premise systems to the efficiencies of Cloud technology.
Since joining 1218 Global in 2015, Ravinder Kulsari has delivered on the strategic corporate initiative to establish 1218 Global’s presence in APAC. Headquartered in Noida, India, 1218 Global-APAC provides superior technology implementations, upgrades, and managed services to Clients worldwide.
Ravinder is a seasoned professional and industry leader who has held key positions with KPMG, Hays, PwC, and HCL. He has led large-scale transformations and offshore projects for major Clients in India, UK, Australia and the United States. He specializes in finance transformation projects and has done multiple end-to-end implementations of Oracle Cloud, PeopleSoft, and Oracle R12 E-Business Suite across different industries.
Ravinder is an ICAI Chartered Accountant. He graduated from Hansraj College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and earned his Master of Science Consultancy Degree from Birla Institute of Technology.
Mr. Kulsari, your team has recently completed a successful implementation of end-to-end Oracle Financials, Purchasing, and Inventory Cloud for a large Client. You have also been an Oracle PeopleSoft, EBS Implementation Consultant for more than 15 years and seen many changes in technology. How would you describe the relevance of traditional ERP consulting firms in the “Cloud Era”?
In order to support growing demand for Cloud technology, our ERP implementation model has evolved. We now provide a different matrix of implementation support to our Clients. When we refer to “Cloud Software as a Service”, we mean that the product is hosted by the Cloud provider. With the project we just completed, for example, the Cloud provider was Oracle. 1218 Global was responsible for the system configuration, while Oracle maintains the product. Our role in software and system implementation is not dramatically different from on-premise, but responsibilities have changed, the rules are quite different, and the pace of projects has increased dramatically.
ERP Consultants no longer have full control of the ERP environment and database. In the past, ERP Consultants would write a script to solve a problem. Now, these master roles are managed by the Cloud Provider. This means that all issues and problems must be identified earlier and managed better at the front end. Because technical issues are now handled by the Oracle team, there are now three groups of contributors involved in a project instead of two: The Client, the ERP Consulting Partner, and the Cloud Provider.
As ERP Implementation and Upgrade Consultants, we are no longer responsible for hardware assessment, assisting clients in procurement, and software installation which, in the past, took two or three months of planning. Now, from day one, we have the complete environment. Everything is ready to go. This means that ERP Consultants such as 1218 Global have had to change their implementation methodology, reskill their employees, adapt to the changes brought about by the Cloud, and generally pick up the pace. We have positioned ourselves with the knowledge, the skills, and the talent required to support this new environment and we continue to provide high-value support to our Clients as they transition to the Cloud.
What has been the impact of these changes on ERP Consulting Firms?
There are two primary impacts on ERP firms. The majority of traditional ERP Providers have made the decision to market Cloud products as their flagship products, making them their top priority. Client priorities are focused on saving money on infrastructure, implementation cost, and time. However, Clients are now more willing than ever to change their operations and business processes to avoid the maintenance cost of on-premise systems. Implementation and upgrade project timelines continue to shrink from several months to just a few weeks.
Oracle has made huge investments in the Oracle Application Cloud (SAAS), Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), and Platform as a Service (PAAS) which can cater to any large organization. They also acquired a leading Cloud product, “NetSuite”, which provides better, more economical options to small and mid-size businesses. Clients can also leverage IAAS to host their on-premise applications like PeopleSoft into Cloud. Oracle now provides a ready-to-deploy environment of PeopleSoft in IAAS which takes just a few minutes for installation. Cloud implementation within Oracle continues to grow and is expected to surpass the Oracle on-premise revenue and Client install segments in the not too distant future. The Cloud is the future of ERP.
What would be your recommendation to ERP firms and consultants as they evolve to meet these challenges?
Most ERP consulting firms prepare by reskilling their employees on Cloud products. However, one of the key changes has to be to re-write their ERP implementation methodology. Traditional, time-consuming project phases of Analyze, Design, Build, etc. for Cloud implementations are no longer effective. Only Consulting firms with modern implementation methodology will achieve the best solutions and the best results for their Clients.