Driving Cross Functional Alignment in Times of Rapid Change

September 21, 2020 | 3 minute read
Jake Krakauer
Oracle Sales Strategy and Business Development, Industrial Manufacturing
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"Change is the only constant in life”. If he were alive today, even Heraclitus the Greek philosopher quoted here might agree that lately, change in today’s world has been dramatic. The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone and although the impact has varied across industries, there are common, vexing challenges. During constantly changing market conditions it has become even more difficult to stay informed about business performance. Collaborating with others to understand the business impact across functions is harder than ever. How can we avoid greater organizational disconnects and fragmentation in these disruptive times?

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Data analytics has the potential to deepen understanding of business performance by providing insight into what’s happening now, what happened in the past, and what could happen in the future. Further, enterprise-scale analytics designed with integrated, cross-functional capability can help break down barriers and empower people to collaborate effectively, even when drivers change rapidly.

Analytics can help people answer questions like: What has been the financial impact of shifting the workforce from onsite to home? Has the cost of expediting material and product to compensate for supply chain disruptions been worthwhile? If we hire more people to capitalize on surging demand, how does that affect cash flow? What has been the track record of marketing spend before and during lockdowns, and how should we proceed?

Breaking down barriers requires an analytical framework that overcomes the structural boundaries and the limitations of technology. Line of business SaaS applications are efficient for running the business, but as mentioned in an earlier post “…separate systems have made it harder to work together on critical business processes that require close collaboration between the two organizations. Duplicate data and disconnected systems lead to errors, manual work, and process slowdowns that go beyond HR and finance to negatively impact the entire business.”

Locked within departmental applications is a massive amount of data that can be used to derive insight. A frequently used tool for analyzing this data—spreadsheets—falls short in numerous ways including version control, ease of collaboration, and scalability. Spreadsheets are subject to calculation errors and security risks and often elude corporate governance guidelines.

According to a white paper by Ventana Research "While providing cross-functional data to line-of-business users demonstrably has value, it often requires a significant amount of work to bring this data together from across the organization and prepare it for analytics.”

What’s needed is an enterprise-scale solution that unlocks the value of the data, simplifies cross-functional collaboration, and provides a data-enabled, unified view of business performance that everyone can agree upon. This goal can be achieved through an analytical framework capable of integrating data from ERP, human capital management (HCM), supply chain management (SCM), and other relevant sources, and enables a single, common hub or "window" into business performance that everyone can see and agree upon.

What are the necessary components of a unified analytical solution?

  • A common data model that enables alignment of KPIs and visualization across business functions. Self-service for users minimizes dependence on IT.
  • Tight integration with source systems which facilitates speed-to-analysis, preserves security and maintains accuracy.
  • Augmentation with machine learning which takes the work out of data preparation, visualization, pattern discovery, and prediction.
  • Prebuilt versions of reports, dashboards, and KPIs based on analytical best practices, which saves an organization time.

Beyond the four walls of the organization, people want to use data from external sources to extend and personalize their analyses. Those sources might include market analyses or demographics, health, and safety status and trends, surveys, climate data, and so on. The analytical solution should be capable of extending models and content with data from other sources without worrying about disruptive software upgrades.

With the right tools and organizational mindset, it is possible to achieve a unified view of business performance that enables speed, agility, and alignment across the organization—one that reduces and even eliminates functional disconnects and fragmentation. There is no better time than now, when markets are turbulent, to take steps towards greater alignment and insight in business performance.

To see an example of Finance and HR data combined for visual, cross-functional analysis, watch this product tour here.  To learn more about Oracle’s innovative packaged analytic applications for business go here

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

Jake Krakauer

Oracle Sales Strategy and Business Development, Industrial Manufacturing

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