David Saggioro is one of the founding partners at TRI, a Peloton Consulting Group company and he also happens to be our most experienced project manager in the context of leading large multi-country projects for fortune 100 companies. With previous assignments at GE, Alcoa, Motorola, Xerox, NCR, and PAREXEL; David could easily fill an entire blog entry with stories from his past. Instead, I wanted to catch up with him to talk about what is coming next, both for TRI and the global ERP market at large.
Adam – David, you’ve spent the past 3 years working with GE Healthcare in Brazil. It has been an interesting assignment, because rather than just leading what we might call traditional Oracle projects you have been deeply involved in business process design, standardization, and improvement. Without sharing any confidential information about your work, can you give us some insight in to what you and your team have been focused on? What are the strategic priorities and how does new ERP technology fit in to the overall picture?
David – We have seen big changes for GE in the last few years – the digital transformation we are all facing requires rapid adaptations in all business areas. ERP systems are no different. Since 2014 my team and I have been working at GE to accomplish a major upgrade to Oracle’s newest release. In doing so we have been tasked with ensuring that we meet all local requirements in a way that integrates with GE’s global platform, and also works seamlessly with the local tax reporting and import / export systems.
Over the past three years we have also supported other business and ERP improvement projects, focusing on simplifying processes and taking advantage of the new features offered by Oracle. This requires knowledge of the business and a unique look at the customer and their needs. With more than 10 years of experience in rollouts and international deployments, that is where we deliver value. The final challenge, completed in November, was to lead the business in an Oracle rollout project for the Lifesciences division.
In all of these projects, the teams’ effort confirms one of the biggest challenges we face in Brazil: we must simplify the overall solution and still meet legal and regulatory requirements while delivering solutions that leverage new ERP tools. To accomplish this, many companies are incorporating agile practices in their ERP projects, and we have had good results in this area. The most critical developments were accelerated and we increased the speed in which we were able to retest improvements. The cloud world for ERP is a reality, and the use of agile methodologies coupled with the scalability of the Cloud offering will allow projects to run faster and more efficiently. However, the holistic view of the customer remains fundamental, and that is one of the top priorities of our bilingual Account Managers and PMs who work on-site serving our various accounts.
Adam – I get to spend a lot of time speaking with our US based clients, and the one question I hear most often is about Oracle’s Cloud offerings. It is an interesting topic, because as you and I know, Oracle Cloud financials is still often referred to as Oracle Fusion in Brazil. The short answer is that it isn’t ready yet… but it might be soon? What else can you share with our readers about why there are so many mixed messages when it comes to Oracle’s Cloud offerings in Brazil?
David – This is an interesting topic Adam. Oracle initially offered the product under the name “Oracle Fusion Applications”, but then changed its strategy and now it is called “Oracle Cloud Services” with products for each track (Financials, Supply Chain, Human Capital), in addition to integration with other non-ERP (Marketing, Big Data) products. However, Oracle’s new middleware platform still retains the Fusion name – Oracle Fusion Middleware. This factor, as well as the rapid brand change in the US – and perhaps lengthy recognition by Oracle users in Brazil – makes many customers still think of the new version of ERP as Fusion. Since there are still only a small number of implementation cases in Brazil, only part of the user community has contact with the product.
With regard to “Brazil localizations” within the Cloud world, Oracle made great strides this year, and we already know of customers in Brazil using Cloud Financials, SCM and HCM. In fact, considering the complexity here, it is to be expected that we will be one of the last countries to receive the full adaptation for the product. So there is great expectation – only recently have they announced the complete adaptation of the Tax Engine to Brazil. TRI already has Cloud certified professionals and has been working hard this year in partnership with one of the most promising fiscal partners in the market to fully develop fiscal integration with Cloud Services. This subject certainly requires a new post – our partner Marcio Harami can tell us more, including the challenges in Cloud deployments, the need for complete site coverage – which includes Integrated Receiving and PAC capabilities – and the difficulty of moving a heavily customized Brazilian solution to the cloud.
Adam – Ok, so I have to ask… I know that you have a lot of interests outside of core Oracle technology. What sort of new tech is out there on the leading edge right now, and how do you see it changing our industry over the next 5 years?
David – I really am a fan of technology. I am always reading about the new trends and how companies are preparing to adopt the new technology. Problem solving is part of my everyday job, and it helps me to design possible solutions to the problems I see at our clients. The increasingly intelligent use of data is definitely a success factor, and Oracle offers interesting products on this front. I personally have studied technologies in 2 distinct areas: Data Engineering – languages like Python, R and SQL usage in non-relational databases; and tools to increase agility in Oracle ERP project management – automation and test cycle management, configurations and agile process design to minimize risk in implementations.
Adam – Now for the really important questions. You are both an accomplished base guitar player and an avid cyclist. What’s the best half day ride in the Sao Paulo area, and where should one go for a beer and some quality live music afterwards?
David – Ah yes! “Work hard, play hard.” I’ve been an avid cyclist for 5 years. There are 2 training sessions during the week at the campus of USP (University City), in addition to longer training sessions during the weekend. Greater São Paulo has several options for road routes, but my favorite is the Estrada dos Romeros (in Cabreúva). In the city of São Paulo, a great option is the Marginal Pinheiros Cycleway. Music is another passion of mine. I have played guitar since I was 10, and I have been part of a Brazilian jazz and instrumental band since 2005. For this kind of sound, I have three excellent recommendations in São Paulo: JazzNosFundos (Pinheiros), Madeleine (Vila Madalena) and All of Jazz (Itaim Bibi).
Adam – A big part of my job in the US centers around helping educate executives and other Oracle professionals about why Brazil is unique, and what sort of approach works best to operating a business there. One of the things we are most proud of at TRI are the people who make up our team. It is their knowledge and experience that sets us apart and enables us to help our clients achieve success. David, thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with me today.