Let’s look at the types of Oracle Consultant describing Consultant Skills, Consultant Personal Attributes and Consultant Typical Knowledge Areas
- Functional consultants/Business Analysts (B.A.’s)
- Technical Consultants
- Hybrid Functional/Technical Consultants
- ERP Super Users
- Project Managers
- Database Administrators
During a project Functional Consultants gather and analyze the requirements, design, configure & test the solution, and support the business once the project has gone live. Technical Consultants allow the project to implement customized functionality. Hybrid Consultants have attributes of a typical functional and technical consultant. ERP Super Users assist in providing business knowledge to the project team, and have detailed knowledge of how the business use Oracle.
The following diagrams illustrate the common skill-sets of functional consultants. Over time a consultant may pick up skills in many areas, but the project team will generally hire a person specifically for a “Functional” role, based on these skills:
Solution Design is the role of the Solution Architect. This is a critical skill in delivering successful Oracle projects. A solution architect should be an experienced consultant who can recommend a project high-level approach & design. Once the approach is agreed, the solution architect keeps the project team aligned with the overall solution, from the start of the project to the finish.
Gathering Business Requirements
Ability to discover and assess business project needs. Once a requirements list has been created, is it decided if each requirement can be met by standard functionality, or a customising is required.
The ability to analyse a problem or issue, and create a solution that is acceptable to project and business teams.
Supporting a system is important to ensure the customer can operate the new system, in the way intended by the project team. The Support phase happens directly after go-live, and is managed by the project team initially. Once the solution is stable, the Business as Usual support team takes over.
Testing is required to be sure your solution is robust. Testing should be carried out on standard processes & customizations, and should provide a comfort factor that the solution will operate as it should.
Configuration of the Oracle application is setting up the system so that it meets the business requirements. Configuration should control access to the system and prevent incorrect data flows.
Consultant Knowledge Areas
The following diagrams illustrate the common knowledge areas of a functional consultant :
A Functional consultant is required to understand business processes, so that they can ensure the new solution meets the requirement. Knowledge of basic processes will ensure better communication between functional and business teams.
A functional consultant discusses the customized elements of the solution with the technical consultant, so any technical knowledge will result in better communication. Any technical knowledge will make it easier for the functional consultant to understand technical issues. Technical skills also enable the functional consultant to analyze historical data by writing SQL scripts. Standard reports provide some information but the best functional consultants can write SQL statements to further analyze problems or trends, and therefore identify the solution.
A functional consultant can test the standard and customized features of the solution thoroughly. Testing the standard features of a solution is required for business sign-off, and a test plan is a required deliverable for project go-live. In terms of testing customizations, the technical consultant is expected to test the component, but the functional consultant also tests the impact on other areas of the solution. This requires a broader view, and corresponding knowledge.
The functional consultant is required to understand the solution design, and communicate this to the functional consultant. Functional consultants will also offer advice to the solution architect on what is possible in various Oracle modules.
The Oracle EBusiness application can be configured in many different ways to suit business process. Once the required design is identified, the functional consultant produces a configuration document, which records the options chosen, and is a required deliverable for project go-live.
Part of the role of the functional consultant is to communicate various options available in the application. This involves discussing the business processes, reviewing the supporting system features, and recommending the best course of action for the project. A good functional consultant balances the needs of the business with the project timelines to decide which system features should be implemented.
Personality Attributes of a Functional Consultant/Business Analyst
The following diagrams illustrate the Typical Personal Attributes of a functional consultant or Business Analyst. It’s useful to review the diagrams to see whether your personal attributes correspond to what is required. With time and experience a consultant will develop attributes of both types, but this is a useful comparison to your personal attributes.
A functional consultant uses analytical skills on an everyday basis on an Oracle project. Before a requirement or issue can be resolved it must be properly analyzed so it can be fully understood. Logical thinking is also required to define the requirement or issue characteristics, before the best
solution can be identified.
A good functional consultant will have technical appreciation of the capabilities of the Oracle application. This appreciation is built up by discussing possible solutions with technical consultants, and by reviewing
solutions already implemented. Technical appreciation is particularly important where customizations are required.
Most Oracle projects will require changes for the business processes. A good functional consultant can understand the changes required for the new solution, communicate those changes to the business users. Sometimes this will require defending the project team solution to the business.
Functional consultants are required to test the solution within their area of responsibility. A functional consultant must have good testing skills, as they are responsible for successful solution operation.
All consultants require good communication skills but for functional consultants this should be a particular strength. Many of the functional tasks require communication, negotiation and agreement with business, functional & technical team members.
A functional consultant should spend sufficient time on making sure his customer will be satisfied. A good functional consultant develops a good professional relationship with business users, so a level of trust is built between the business & project teams.
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