eVerge Group is now live with the full suite of Fusion HCM products – HR, Benefits, Payroll, Workforce Compensation and Talent Management! A multi-phased implementation approach was leveraged to ensure that the right internal ‘business’ resources were available to focus on specific module deployment efforts.
Open-Enrollment for benefits was deployed for use by our employees in March 2013 for the new plan year which started in April and we experienced a 98% usage rate! This blog focuses on our recent success upgrading to Fusion HCM Release 5.
Having been on release 4 for over 8 months we were ready to address an upgrade of our application and technology stack to the latest available release point. Around mid-March, our efforts focused on preparing for a release 5 upgrade. Working with Oracle, the upgrade was scheduled for the first week of April to our staging (test) pod. With Oracle’s advance notice, we leveraged that time to adequately prepare for the upgrade. The upgrade to our staging pod was completed over a weekend and ready for us to start testing the following Monday morning. We began our extensive end to end system testing, and, as a result, we identified several mission critical issues. Oracle Support worked with us to ensure these high priority issues were resolved in a timely manner. In addition, Oracle worked with us on the upgrade timeline to ensure we were comfortable with the new release before upgrading our production pod. With the successful testing and the user community prepared for the new release, Oracle cloud support upgraded our Production pod the first weekend of June 2013.
Highlights from the upgrade process:
- The upgrade process occurred first in our Staging environment to make sure there would be no surprises. When we were ready to subsequently upgrade the Production environment, the upgrade was also completed over a weekend. An additional test pod used for payroll parallel testing as part of our go live effort was refreshed from Production and upgraded the same weekend as production.
- Our system testing included an entire payroll process flow in parallel with our production cycle. The Quick Pay process flow was also incorporated into that testing.
- As part of the parallel pay cycle, we included our Workforce Compensation processes with a quarterly bonus payout and merit increases. These transactions were processed and a supplemental payroll was generated as part of the parallel process.
- Not only did we parallel our production pay cycle, but time was allocated to verify our current Vertex taxation rate updates were part of the upgrade.
- We also validated all custom reports which had been developed and are used to verify payroll calculations and audit those processes.
- The upgrade timeline afforded us the luxury of testing additional benefit life events as part of the upgrade. While we did not need a full complement of events for initial go live, we knew there would be several event types needed over the next 4-6 months. These life events were successfully tested and migrated to Production as part of our post upgrade deployment plan.
Issues encountered during upgrade testing:
- We were unable to recompile our payroll Fast Formulas. As a result, we were not able to calculate a payroll. We were able to determine the specific Fast Formula failed and is for calculating payroll for hourly employees. We worked with Oracle to get this resolved in a timely manner and it did not affect our upgrade schedule.
- We identified an issue when validating the Medicare Employee Surcharge. The surcharge was not reducing net pay. Oracle assisted us with updating the Medicare Surcharge element with an element feed that would reduce the employee’s net pay.
- An issue was uncovered with the ACH direct deposit file when validating our outbound interfaces. The ACH File was not being created. Oracle identified an issue with the technology stack team on caching when the report generated multiple outputs. Oracle Support was able to back port a fix for release 5.
- We uncovered an issue with the termination life event that existed in our upgraded and, at the time, release 4 Production pod. Our test plan included steps to ensure existing benefit life events were still processing as expected. We were able to track down the cause that impacted coverage end dates. Oracle support quickly provided a patch, which we successfully tested in the upgraded Staging pod. The next step was for Oracle to apply the patch to Production.
Lessons learned while upgrading to release 5:
- To ensure a successful upgrade, we approached this effort like any major HCM upgrade with proper planning, including project, testing and change management plans. We followed that with regular status meetings and task/issue tracking. We also included other resources from the business to help make the initiative successful.
- Do not assume that your upgraded pod is at the most current release level. We found ourselves at the leading edge while on release 4, since we had implemented all Fusion modules. Several issues we reported and later resolved for release 4 were not part of release 5. Our thorough system testing identified these differences early and helped us stay on track.
- Browsers and the different versions continue to work differently depending on what UI you are working with in Fusion HCM. We found that for release 5 that IE v9 and Fire Fox provided us with the best results. As part of your testing, be sure to use different browsers to isolate the issue and identify possible resolutions.
- After you cutover to production, start your payroll processing for the upcoming pay cycle as early as possible. This applies to any mission critical processing, not just payroll, and will allow you enough time to react to any unexpected issue arising after the upgrade.
Next steps for eVerge Group:
We are now preparing to take advantage of new functionality either available now or future releases that include:
- Oracle Fusion Tap, that provides for the use of applications on the iPad
- Workforce Lifecycle Manager
- BenefiX integration to provide eligibility updates to our multiple benefit vendors and administrators
- Total Compensation statements
- Year End processing and W2 generation out of Fusion!
The author of this article/blog is Steve Stuart. Steve is a Senior Fusion HCM Implementation Consultant resource for eVerge Group with more than 16 years of Software Packages implementation and support experience. To learn more about Fusion and how we can help prepare for your upcoming upgrade efforts, please contact us at 888-548-1973. begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting