Friday May 02, 2014

Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist

Guest post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

We are observing a tangible shift in the finance function. Modern technologies like cloud, mobile, and big data are helping to accelerate the current transformation of the role of finance. In order to gauge exactly where the finance function currently stands and what the future holds, we recently partnered with Accenture on a global research study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist.”

As eWEEK summarized, the study highlights the opportunity for CFOs and other finance executives to be technology evangelists. I recapped this in my previous post, noting the ambition to be a tech evangelist is there, but a gap remains between aspiration and reality.

ZDNet explored this significant opportunity for CFOs. While there is consensus around the finance function leading business transformation, only a small majority is actually leading the way. However, steps are being taken. Baseline emphasized that finance professionals are now bolstering their technical skills while integrating analytical tools and modern applications.

But that’s not all. As Financial Executive discussed, the study also highlighted how the finance function is leveraging modern technologies, like mobile and cloud, to get real-time insights and to drive business transformation forward. In fact, 28 percent of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning, and forecasting, and another 34 percent plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year. That’s a lot of CFO love for the cloud, but I’m not surprised!

As evidenced by the study, the finance function is driving change and taking on the role of technology evangelist in organizations. I think this shift in finance will continue and CFOs will embrace modern technology to gain a competitive advantage and positively impact the bottom line. 

Wednesday Mar 19, 2014

The CFO as Technology Evangelist

Guest post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

Finance has historically been at the forefront of technology adoption.  Earlier technology investments focused on process efficiency and standardization. After all, closing the books faster and keeping costs down are table stakes. Today, finance is increasingly called upon not just to contain costs and keep score; modern finance seeks to change the game by providing the business with data-driven acumen on the best ways to drive innovation and growth. So how is modern finance using technology today to meet these new demands?

To provide more insight on how to define and benchmark the key attributes of the modern, technology-enabled finance function, Oracle partnered with Accenture to sponsor a global research study conducted by Longitude Research. The study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist,” features insight from 1,275 CFOs, senior finance executives and line of business executives from organizations of varying sizes and industries around the world.   

And while the study clearly shows that many CFOs are making major strides towards creating a more productive and technology-enabled finance function, it’s clear that much work still needs to be done. In particular, here are a few key takeaways I wanted to highlight:

CFOs are seen as tech evangelists, but a gap remains between ambition and reality:

· More than two-thirds of respondents agree the CFO is a strong evangelist for the transformational potential of technology.

· Nearly three-quarters of finance executives believe new technologies such as the cloud, mobile technology and social media will change how finance is structured and run.

· But, and it’s a BIG BUT, only 20% of C-suite executives believe their finance organizations have adopted leading-edge technologies.

New skills and analytics capabilities are needed to execute on modern finance’s mandate:

· Nearly half of respondents saw an increase in the number of finance analysts hired over the past two years.

· 23% of non-finance respondents feel that the ability of finance to provide an up-to-date view of performance against budget “falls below expectations” and 42% think they could do far better.


CFOs are embracing the cloud to modernize finance:

· 28% of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning and forecasting, and another 34% plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year.

· More than two-thirds of executives surveyed have either already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials (24%), or are planning a road map for doing so (45%).

For more information, you can find the press release and the full report here. If you’d like to hear the findings discussed in more detail, make sure to tune into the webcast on March 19 at 12:00 noon ET. The webcast will feature Oracle Chairman of the Board Jeff Henley, Scott Brennan, managing director in Accenture Finance & Enterprise Performance, and Stuart Brown, senior vice president and CFO, Red Robin International, Inc. To register,  visit: http://pub.vitrue.com/ZTgI

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Using Technology to Ease the Pressure Cooker Environment of the Modern CFO

Guest Post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

The finance function as we know is seeing big change.  We've been talking about this transition here at Oracle for quite awhile. Last year in a survey Oracle conducted with Accenture we explored how the role of the CFO has evolved from financial overseer to corporate strategist and change agent. The results from that study illustrated that this transition is not only happening, but it’s happening very quickly.

We’ve entered into the era of Modern Finance. Not only are CFOs depended on to  drive the finance function forward, but increasingly they also play a vital part in all strategic business decisions.  In fact, it’s fair to say that today’s CFO lives in a completely different environment than five years ago. Put simply, CFOs live in a pressure cooker environment.

With the pressure to help identify new opportunities, products and services that will deliver growth and generate revenue, the modern CFO is undoubtedly presented with challenges and must leverage existing and new assets to deliver on the new mandate to provide strategic guidance and insight to the business.

How can CFOs meet these challenges and stay ahead of their competition? One thing that comes to mind is technology.

Technology enables CFOs to drive change and innovation. Mobile, cloud, social and analytics are just a few types of technology that are completely revolutionizing the way organizations function. Implement these technologies and organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage.

CFOs are beginning to understand this and how technology can drive change within their organization that positively impacts revenue. For example, take the cloud. The cloud is reshaping finance best practices around buying decisions as organizations duke out the ROI of cloud versus on-premise. Cloud technologies save on overhead costs with less infrastructure, timely updates, and more productive employees.  

Modern Finance will be empowered through technology and CFOs are taking note.

For more information about the changing role of the CFO and best practices for keeping pace with the ever-changing landscape, visit Oracle CFO Central at www.oracle.com/cfo

Thursday Sep 05, 2013

OpenWorld Attendees: Attend Finance General Session - Empowering Modern Finance

Attending OpenWorld 2013?  Don’t forget to add the Finance General Session to your schedule! Oracle teams up with Deloitte, IDC, and Curse, Inc. to share how disruptive technologies are empowering the modern finance organization. Empowering Modern Finance. (Session ID: GEN8986)

Add it to your schedule today!

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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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