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Agile Analytics for Finance

Barry Mostert
Senior Director

Being agile is more important than ever. Most organizations are now undergoing a digital transformation, more or less successfully, and being agile is one of the best ways to manage disruption. It helps business teams continually adapt to changing scope and deliverables, as they manage to change priorities in what is a highly volatile, constantly changing environment. Being agile works alongside disruption, continually adapting to market or external changes rather than being impeded by them.

"Agile organizations have 70% chance of being a top quartile performer." – McKinsey

But, "only 20% of companies are prepared to address disruption." – Accenture

Finance has the opportunity to ensure the business will survive and even thrive. But, today's finance organizations are faced with extreme uncertainty in trying to understand and address disruption from today's crises, deal with liquidity and cash flow, and start planning for business in the future. Historical forecasting has become largely irrelevant. Instead, agile scenario modeling and fast data-driven decisions from analytics can help finance teams assess more possible outcomes, run predictive analytics, spot threats, and opportunities, and find the best path to success. 

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Disruption can be viewed in three phases, and with the right analytics, finance should be able to take the right and necessary steps to ensure successful progression through each event. 

  1. Conserve. Focus on key areas like tightly managing the cash position and working capital. Manage accounts payable to see what must be paid, versus what can be delayed or renegotiated. From an accounts receivable perspective, it's about bringing in money owed as quickly as possible—would offering discounts for early payment boost the cash position?
  2. Scale. Once the disruption begins to settle and the organization aligns with new business models and operating procedures, the focus moves onto how to quickly scale the business back up to capacity and beyond. 
  3. Reimagine. After disruption, the state of business will be different, and expectations of customers, suppliers, and employees will have changed. This phase looks to modeling new business scenarios and finding new opportunities that otherwise would never have been considered.

So, what does finance need in terms of tools and expertise to navigate safely through each of these phases? 

The short answer is analytics. Although finance departments, particularly FP&A, have been "doing analytics" for years, most still rely on slow, manual, insecure, and cumbersome processes embedded in Excel to generate the numbers they need. In an age of disruption, these inflexible tools and processes, which are often reliant on individual people, are not capable of quickly accessing unexpected developments and charting a clear path forward. This means the right data isn't available at the right time to make the best decision, one that will lead the business in a direction that ensures success and survival. 

What is needed is an integrated data management and analytics platform that is flexible and not reliant on individuals or specialized administration, one that fuels business agility with data-driven insights and powers finance with self-service and autonomy to operate at the pace of business. Agile scenario modeling and fast data-driven decisions from analytics can help finance model more without impedance and find the right path forward more quickly. With high-performance analytics, finance teams can assess more possible outcomes, run predictive analytics, spot threats, and opportunities, and find the best path forward for their organization. 

Click on the video below to see how Oracle Analytics delivers the financial analysis and insights needed to boost profitability and drive growth.

 

Agile Analytics Finance

 

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