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Financial analytics for the modern CFO

 

We know that analytics can power financial decisions and provide lasting economic benefits for companies. The Hackett Group’s recent report “Balancing Cost Reduction with Added Value,” confirmed this. The report looked at the actions that companies plan to take in 2020 to enhance their finance plans, and it came as no surprise to me that the number one action — clocking in among 64 percent of the report’s respondents — was “Developing Analytics Competencies Internally.”

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2020 will be known for many things. In Finance, it will last in our minds as the year we all had to tighten our belts all the way to the end. A global pandemic caused a concomitant economic contraction, which included massive slowdowns across wide industries such as travel and construction; and erratic, unpredictable shifts in customer demand and product output have meant that we are all on our toes, trying to keep people working and safe while warily eyeing our bottom lines.

At Oracle, understanding the key issues of finance – and the intricate way they affect and enhance our technologies – is in our DNA. There are a dozen key issues that enterprises need to consider in this challenging climate, all of which are informing our decisions today: improving business partnerships, leveraging new technologies, and modernizing finance application platforms to name just a few. We like to say that our technology has always lived on the leading edge because we think in terms of the future and the realm of the possible. In this intensely difficult present, our future-focused mindset has perhaps never been more powerful.

 

Giving data-driven CFOs a competitive advantage

Many companies are understanding, at long last, that analytics is the ultimate hack for powering your organization with proven, data-driven decisions, and enabling digital transformation. The Hackett Group report agrees.

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and advanced analytics are where the future lies. So too for cloud-based finance applications and data visualization tools. Legacy systems score poorly in terms of delivering on ROI, enhancing customer experience, and shortening cycle time. It’s advanced analytics that allows enterprises to tap into data to fuel our knowledge at the speed of business demands, especially in a world where every day brings the possibility of something totally new.

But shifting the way an entire company crunches its data, especially when we think of larger companies or multinational global brands, is no easy feat. You want to operate like a speedboat, but you’re actually steering a tanker. Making the tanker more responsive requires cultural change. Advanced analytics helps here again because it’s fast and visual and empowers people to see what their data means at the moment when the need is pressing.

 

CFOs are in the driver’s seat now

The key lies in having the right tools. It’s impossible to make urgent and informed decisions about where and how to allocate resources in a crisis without having the data to support you. This is why advanced analytics and information management is the absolute best investment that companies can make right now -- a fact stated by the Hackett Report, which noted developing analytics competencies internally is at the very top of the strategies that can improve finance’s analytics capabilities, followed by providing self-service analytics tools, expanding the use of data visualization tools, increasing training and resources for both internal and external analytics, and enhancing data quality and accessibility.

This is why CFOs are now playing a pivotal role, perhaps more pivotal than ever before. There is a growing expectation that CFOs will be in the driver’s seat for the transition companies must make as they take the critical role of analytics to heart and become a data-driven organization. And this makes sense: The CFO has always been the person asking about the return on their investments, looking ahead, and measuring evaluations. What Oracle has done is to empower them with tailor-made, packaged analytics, and we get in the passenger seat alongside the CFO to help steer their company through the entire journey.

 

Brace yourself for massive technology growth

The demand for data-powered analytics has perhaps never been larger. So, we weren’t surprised when Hackett determined there are major technological leaps around the corner, namely in RPA and Advanced Analytics. We weren’t just ready for this. We were the builders of this movement.

Many finance organizations are only just starting to realize how urgent the need for digital transformation is; when it comes to meeting business expectations such as ROI and enhancing customer experience, companies relying most on legacy applications are the ones more likely to score the lowest.

For CFOs, serving as a strategic advisor to the board and the CEO is a critical goal, and in that role, they are now realizing they need to be an advocate for the disruptive power of technology in order to ensure their company’s survival.

 

The power to empower

The Hackett report dug deep into the power of analytics to help companies survive, transform, and even emerge stronger from this current financial crisis. Data-related technologies and emerging technologies are the starting line, about to take off on a race of epic proportions. For our Fusion ERP customers and all customers of the Oracle Analytics Suite, we see ourselves as having the power to empower: we provide all the self-service capabilities to free them from reliance on IT. We allow their financial analysts to make decisions and do the analysis so they are constantly surrounded by a stream of precious data that they can mine for insights, direction, and motivation, all of which will steer them through this period and give them a competitive edge.

Moments like this remind me of why I am so passionate about the power of the cloud, and so deeply invested in helping others understand the impact that cloud-based analytics can provide.

The CFOs of today are playing a pivotal role in driving their organizations toward becoming data-driven for tomorrow. They have always been the stewards of their business, but now, as evolving technology offers the power to use data as a clear competitive edge, they are understanding that investing analytics offers a significant ROI.

A lot of our customers are interested in driving procurement efficiency and want to optimize spending. When the economy is suffering, like it is right now, it’s more important than ever to find savings. CPOs and category managers need powerful analytics to help them gather deep insights to design the right sourcing programs, and as I said in my Summit session, we are building capabilities that will provide actionable insights that enable companies to accomplish the saving goals they have set. It’s part of our roadmap. It’s exciting, it’s encouraging, and all it takes is a bit of bold thinking and a desire to reshape your company’s culture into something more nimble, more adaptive, and more future-ready. It’s all powered by analytics. From where I sit – now at home with my family – the future offered by advanced cloud analytics is not only exciting, it’s necessary.

To learn more about Oracle's Fusion Analytics Warehouse, watch our Roadmap Session here and get more information here.

More information on The Hackett Group is available at https://www.thehackettgroup.com/partners/oracle/, info@thehackettgroup.com, or by calling (770) 225-3600.

And to learn how you can benefit from an analytics solution from Oracle, visit Oracle.com/analytics, and follow us on Twitter @OracleAnalytics.

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