It is sometimes under estimated the huge challenge a project manager faces when implementing in Latin America. The truth is that it is a tough journey, but it is possible. The key is to be informed and to know how to approach each country.
Below you will find the main questions an ERP Manager use to have when starting a Latin American roll-out project:
Q: Do all Latin American countries share the same tax or statutory requirements? Is it a good idea to implement several countries at the same time?
A: Definitely not, unless you have parallel teams. Each country in Latin America has its own legal requirements and taxes… each country is a different story. Unless you have different teams taking care of the different countries, many roll-out projects at the time in this region is not a good idea. Not only because of the time, that won’t be enough, but understanding each country’s requirements and culture is also a slow process and you will be asking too much to your people.
Q: What does Oracle provide in terms of localization? Which is the official coverage? Which applications does JDE include for each country?
A: The first thing to know is that as an Oracle client, you have all localizations information available in Doc ID 752291.1 in My Oracle Support.
You will also find in that document that you do not have an official localization everywhere. Oracle currently provides E 1 localizations for 36 countries, and Latin American ones are: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela. The second thing to know is that noy all tax or legal requirements are covered, you might find gaps between the JDE localization and what your local users request. There are alternatives for solving those gaps, like using ITCROSS Solutions. They are Oracle Validated Integrations that will fill those gaps and, at the same time, they accelerate your project time saving costs.
Q: How big my implementation team needs to be?
A: If your do have your own internal team, we always recommend at least one localization/Finance consultant or specialist to be added your global team performing a Latin American roll-out, but the quantity of team members actually depends on the country. Localizations are not one or two applications, they are not a sepaprate module either. They are spread in between of all std applications, and somebody with standsrd plus localization application modules should be the right person for implementing Finance in this case.
There are countries like Argentina or Chile, where the localization is stable, concentrated in finance modules mainly, so here you could think in one localization-finance consultant. Other countries, like Brazil, have huge localizations spread on a lot of modules, not only finance, so here you will need more than one.
Q: Which are the main obstacles or challenges when running a Latin American roll out projects apart from getting the proper JDE knowledge about localizations?
A: These are complex projects due to three reasons: many different teams need to interact, the language barrier and culture differences.
Global implementations require good, efficient and fluent communication. There are many different teams interacting: the global team from the headquarters, the local users’ team, the consultants or localizations team, the technical team (CNCs, developers), and in some countries you also deal with a tax local software implementations integrated to JD Edwards (i.e. Brazil), which means one more consulting team in the loop. It is already difficult to be organized and to coordinate tasks between so many people when they speak the same language, that obviously this gets worse when the global team speaks English, local users Spanish or Portuguese and consultants are not bilingual. The different culture also affects the project: people have a different way or criteria for doing the same things, even within the same business, and you need to deal with it.
Our piece of advice regarding these topics is to form the most bilingual team you can, with strong JDE and localizations skills. Having good and supportive sponsors is always goood: if local managers are committed to the project and help guiding their people, the path is a lot smoother. Finally, good localization specialists with prior experience implementing in this country and Multilanguage skills is a must.
Q: Do I need project management for my Localizations team?
A: It is highly recommended. The localizations team needs to be driven by someone, and on the other hand, a PM that has already gone through this experience can help you preventing issues and risks, as well and helping in the budgeting and planning.
Q: Is travelling needed?
A: It is already proved with the many years of implementations that remote work is possible: setup and unit testing can be perfectly be done remotely, avoiding not only unnecessary expenses, but taking our team out of their homes. However, we suggest being on-site on certain key phases, such as data gathering or go-live week.