Thursday Apr 21, 2016

The Impact of Not Changing

Guest Blogger Richard  Harsevoort

How the World is Evolving

As a consumer, we have acknowledged that we are living in the digital era. There are roughly 1 billion active websites and 2 billion smartphone users worldwide; meanwhile the number of fixed telephone lines has decreased over the last 9 years. 


The impact of not changing.png


Companies may not see today how they will enact change tomorrow. According to Forrester: ‘only 27% of today’s businesses have a coherent digital strategy, which determines how the firm will create customer value as a digital business.’ Instead, more focus is spent on keeping the lights on rather than innovation.

To stay relevant, organizations, business units, and individuals need to know where business technology is headed, and be sure to remain up to date with the ever shifting digital trend. It is time to take action: make digital transformation your key strategic thrust.


https://www.oracle.com/assets/cw31-cloud-solutions-2-2577646.jpg
Yes, most of us are too limited in our thinking. By simply changing the processes, we can be more successful with disruptive transformation. The digital era is asking to widen our horizon and adapt modern technology and new business models.

With ample possibilities today, there is no need to own the equipment to run your business. Lease it for the duration of a contract and put the responsibilities down to your suppliers, allows focus on your core business and respond effectively on chances.

We are all familiar with Uber and AirBnB, but startups have been making waves across all industries: temporary office spaces1, self-service bikes2 and food box delivery services3. Another shift that we are seeing is the introduction of Light as a Service from Philips to service Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. The light as a service means that, Schiphol pays for the light it uses (pay-as-you go), while Philips remains the owner of all fixtures and installations.


Lighting fixtures were specially developed for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol that will last 75% longer, as the design of the fixtures improved the serviceability.


The Growing Use of Technology in the Finance Function

As business models change, the systems has to change alongside. Nowadays, Financial Controllers (FCs) prefer to have more insights and an increased focus on financial planning. Thus, better understanding of the income, cashflow and assets help determine the financial goals. Having real-time insights and adapting new business models are driving more and more financial departments to the cloud.

Similarly, Forrester states, systems are integrated and cloud-based to create a connected and dynamic ecosystem. The reasons for making the move are many, nonetheless the results are typically the same: faster innovation, greater scale, lower costs, and operational excellence.

If you are still concerned about the risks of changing
finance, keep in mind the risks of not moving on.

To learn more about Oracle EPM Cloud, click here

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1  https://liquidspace.com/
2 http://www.jcdecaux-oneworld.com/jcdecaux-products/bike-hire/
3 https://www.hellofresh.com/


Tuesday Mar 08, 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful – a Whole 1000 Cloud Reasons!

In the song “Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)” released by Ian Dury and Blockheads in 1979, the lyrics list – believe it or not – many reasons to be cheerful! You will be pleased to know I will not be listing 1000 reasons here, as my 1000 reasons relates to the milestone reached last month of 1000 customers of Oracle EPM Cloud Services. A milestone reached in just two years from the release of the first Oracle EPM Cloud Service – Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) - on 14 February 2014. Certainly for Oracle and our customers, a 1000 reasons to be cheerful – you can listen to some of our customers by clicking on these names Racepoint Global, Western Alliance Bancorp, Moda Holding, Bukhatir Group, and Baxters.

To put the numbers in perspective, it took 5 years to reach the 1000 customer milestone when we released Oracle Hyperion Planning back in 2000. If you do the math for Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud, you will see customers have been signing up at the rate of 1.37 per day every day since the launch!

So, to what do we attribute this success? Here is my list:


  1. Oracle PBCS is built from the ground up for pure cloud deployment and can support simple requirements as well as enterprise planning complexities that the on-premises Hyperion Planning product handles.

  2. Oracle PBCS is based on the experience of over 5000 planning and forecasting customers globally, 1000s of years of staff experience, but is also highly innovative benefiting from Oracle’s large investment in R&D.

  3. Oracle PBCS integration is built to support the smallest or largest customer needs. You can start with simple ASCII imports and then add more sophisticated integration capabilities such as GL/Hierarchy mapping, data quality management and drill through to source.

  4. Oracle PBCS is priced and designed to provide competitive TCO whether you are a small or large enterprise (just a single subscription fee per user and no additional hidden charges).

  5. Oracle PBCS is proven for any size/complexity of EPM requirements and for scalability. Over 50% of the 1000 customers are small or midsize, but we also have user counts of more than 1000 in some customers who are using it for complex zero-based budgeting and other planning activities.

  6. Oracle PBCS provides simplified ‘business user’ driven cloud deployment, configuration, and administration, designed to be implemented and managed by the finance and the lines of business with minimal reliance on IT or additional consultants. Virtually zero training is needed, due to built-in starter kits and online help/tutorials.

  7. If you should need help globally, there are 1000s of trained experts available through Oracle’s vast network of partners, many of whom offer low cost, fixed price packages for their PBCS services.

  8. Oracle PBCS deployments span the entire enterprise across finance, marketing, sales, operations, HR, etc. using a wide span of planning techniques including predictive planning, driver-based planning, rolling forecasts and zero-based budgeting.

  9. Deployed in the Oracle-owned and operated data centers, PBCS leverages in-memory processing and is designed to scale without impact to performance or complexity of administration.

  10. The Oracle Cloud single tenancy approach, along with two environments (test and production), provides world class security and the flexibility for customers to chose when they upgrade to suit their specific business needs.

I think this is a good top 10 list for now. There are many more reasons to be cheerful, and more to come as additional enterprise Oracle EPM capabilities are coming to Oracle SaaS very soon.

By the way, in case you were wondering, there never was a part 1 or 2 from Ian Dury and the Blockheads, but do go out on the internet and listen to part 3; it is a classic. While you are there, you can find out much more about Oracle EPM Cloud solutions here.

Thursday Dec 17, 2015

Maintaining Enterprise Hierarchies? Surely, that’s not my Responsibility!

By Guest Blogger, Gilles Demarquet 

Does this complaint sound familiar? “We attend meetings where people arrive with “different figures” and end up spending too much time trying to resolve the causes of the discrepancies.”

Often these discrepancies are caused by different hierarchy definitions or different ways to roll up information. And, frequently, it’s a challenge to identify who should be in charge of the definition. In many case, it requires management involvement to define the rules and to get consensus.

In a previous post discussing hybrid environments consisting of both on-premises and cloud deployments, I emphasized that a dedicated approach for managing hierarchy changes is preferable to trying to maintain reference definitions in each application. I concluded that discussion by pointing out that successful deployments require committed people, strong processes, and technology to maintain consistent definitions for the reference data used in on-premises and cloud applications.

In this post, let’s consider who is and who should be involved in the maintenance of reference data in a hybrid implementation. There are two major areas of an organization that lay claim to “ownership” of reference data definitions – the IT department and business users. 




Historically, the IT department took care of maintaining the reference data definitions since only they had access to the tools to maintain them. This approach led to dissatisfaction in the business community as IT often became a bottleneck to timely (and correct) maintenance of hierarchy definitions.

In reality, requests to update hierarchies can be proposed by any number of business users and from a variety of functional areas. For example, finance end users might submit change requests for creating a new account, while operations might request an update in the product references. Each end user might be considered an owner of his or her respective information.

A well-designed solution to hierarchy maintenance in a hybrid environment requires dedication from both of these organizational groups. So the answer to who should be involved is “everybody with a stake in having consistent hierarchy definitions.” That includes IT and business users – if you are a member of either group, then you have a stake in ensuring correct and consistent enterprise hierarchies.

Is it possible to get these groups to work together? How do you resolve potential conflicting requests? This is where the inclusion of strong processes contributes to the successful deployment. I will elaborate on this topic in the next post. Stay tuned and forward any comments that you have.

To learn more about software solutions for maintaining enterprise hierarchies, click here.

Wednesday Dec 02, 2015

Coexistence of Cloud and On-premises Applications: Reference Data – Is there really a Choice?

By Guest Blogger, Gilles Demarquet 

In a previous post, I suggested three important aspects to consider when looking at the coexistence of on-premises and cloud applications. And I promised to expand on the need for consistency when managing and sharing common reference data, like cost center hierarchies or chart of accounts, when using this hybrid approach.

What does that mean?
Many applications use the “same” master/reference data but often with subtle variations or differences. For example, one application may need to roll up cost centers by function, while another may need to summarize cost centers by geographic location.

How do you define the hierarchies used in these applications? How do you ensure that the applications use definitions that consistently describe the common components of the hierarchy, while being flexible enough to include hierarchy components for their unique purposes? How do you coordinate hierarchy changes among these applications to reflect business changes?

Historically, I have seen a couple of approaches:

1. Define the hierarchies directly in each of the applications. 
Of course, this approach means that any hierarchy definition must be replicated (often manually) in every single application. Along with duplication of effort, this introduces the risk associated in ensuring that changes are done completely and consistently. And, if you have both on-premises and cloud environments, this effort may be more challenging because you may have to perform such changes in different kind of environments.

All-in-all, this is NOT the recommended approach.

2. Maintain hierarchy definitions in isolation from the applications. 
The idea is to make the changes once, in a single place, and then propagate them to the various applications that require the use of this reference information.

Experience has shown me that this is the preferred way to proceed. It creates a common vocabulary throughout the organization and contributes to the organization’s ability to maintain a single version of the facts.

What do you need to be able to effectively manage your organization’s hierarchy definitions?
It boils down to three considerations – committed people, strong processes, and technology to maintain consistent definitions for the reference data used in your on-premises and cloud applications. I will expand on each of these considerations in subsequent posts.




To learn more about software solutions for defining and maintaining enterprise hierarchies, click here.


Tuesday Sep 08, 2015

How Can the Cost of a Coffee and Croissant Change Your Business?

By Guest Blogger Wayne Heather, Director, Global Business Analytics Group

A recent survey highlighted that 75% of finance professionals are still drowning in spreadsheets - this astounded me. How, in this day and age, can not only midsize, but also billion dollar companies, still justify running their budgets and forecasts on spreadsheets?  This is so fraught with risk that there is even a website dedicated to documenting cases where companies have had to restate financial figures, lost share value and even had to pay massive penalties to regulators through the inappropriate use of spreadsheets.




Budgeting and forecasting are what drive organisations - the actuals just follow. This means the plan and forecast are an organisation’s ‘Guidance system’. So how do organisations expect to hit their targets using the wrong tools for the job? The good news is Cloud is a becoming a game changer in the way organisations are adopting modern planning, budgeting and forecasting solutions.  I would consider the speed of time to value and the low cost of adoption being the two key drivers to make cloud the way forward. If I were responsible for delivering the organisation's plan and forecasts, and I could adopt a modern ‘guidance system’ in the cloud for as little as the cost off a coffee and croissant, per user, per day – I’d be crazy not to! With that in mind, why would you gamble on your organisation's future using something like spreadsheets to plan its future?

To learn more about budgeting and forecasting in the Cloud, click here

Friday Jul 31, 2015

Can EPM Go Fully Cloud?


By Guest Blogger Muthu Ranganathan, Director, EPM Product Management at Oracle

There is no denying the fact that the world is moving towards “the cloud”, and CFOs and CIOs have come to the point where they can’t avoid recognizing the many benefits of the cloud. While finance took more time than their peers in Human Resources or Sales to go to the cloud, recent trends indicate that more CFOs are open to “getting on the cloud”.

Opex vs Capex

Given CFOs care a lot about cash flow and ROI, the biggest advantage for them with cloud is the “Opex" (Operational expense) element, as cloud systems are not “Capex”(Capital expense) types. The cloud certainly helps them with profitability and cash flow as a justification to move to the cloud.

Beyond Organizational Boundaries
– You just need a URL and your cloud applications can be easily rolled out to your customers, vendors and other stakeholders in your business network. This is a huge advantage for finance, especially when they can exchange information through the systems. Imagine getting sales forecast data from your distributors, or project finance data from your subcontractors.

No Shelfware – One of the biggest pains of the past was that a lot of software was purchased, but not used. The unused “shelfware” became a sunk investment due to the lack of resources available to get the application installed and working. Cloud completely eliminates this issue as installation and management is provided by the cloud vendor.

No Hardware - other big benefit is that you don’t have to worry about hardware costs - and more importantly maintaining hardware - the installed applications, and having to consider different test and production environments.

New Features Rapidly – When we login to Gmail or LinkedIn every day, we often see that there are a lot of new features added. This is the power of the cloud. The same is also true for enterprise applications – you no longer have to wait for a long upgrade process to see new features, because they are installed by the Cloud vendor and appear regularly and rapidly in the cloud.

Simpler to Use – organizations can take advantage of new design ideas and new technology like mobile and social functionality which may not be available or difficult to implement in the on-premises solutions they currently use. Also Cloud solutions deliver significantly simplified application management designed for Business users with the complex IT management being handled by the service supplier.

Security is no Longer an Issue - Uptake of cloud solutions has been across many application types, including HCM, ERP, SCM, CX, and EPM, all industry sectors, including Public Sector and Financial Services, and organization sizes, from very small enterprises to global brands. For this to happen these organizations (especially sectors like Financial Services and Public Sector) have to be convinced that their data will be safe, their systems will be available when they need them and there will be sufficient capacity to provide the response they expect. Given the 1000s of organizations that have moved to the cloud and likely due diligence they have applied organizations should not be citing security as an impediment to moving to the cloud.

EPM and the Cloud
Enterprise Performance Management (or Management Accounting / Information Management) systems have evolved through different generations of software. Reporting, planning, profitability and consolidations have evolved from spreadsheets to desktop applications, to the web, and now to the era of cloud and mobile. While the above benefits are relevant for EPM systems, there are even more that make it clear it is time for EPM to move to the cloud.

Tapping the Unserved Business Users - While EPM systems have existed for over a decade, it has still been a highly corporate finance affair for many years. Still, many Business Unit level users rely on spreadsheets and other unstructured ways of creating and seeking information. There are several reasons for this, one of the main being difficulty in maintaining IT systems, costs, and lack of technical consultants to support their pursuits. With cloud, we see a change where we can now roll out these systems just via a url to anyone in the company at a very affordable subscription-based price. It starts to really tap into the departmental use cases for Business Unit CFOs and other business users such as HR, Marketing, Sales Ops etc. With Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services, as well as Oracle Enterprise Reporting Cloud Services, departmental business users are better served. 

Business Calls the Shots - Traditionally, Business users, especially coming from finance, have owned the EPM systems. Often in the past, due to heavy Capex and upfront investments as well as infrastructure/upgrade needs, IT had to be heavily involved in EPM projects. With the cloud, business users are able to make quick decisions and call the shots for EPM systems as they do not need major IT resources to get them up and running. They can be live in just a few days or weeks. This is certainly an exciting reason for business and finance to move to the cloud for EPM. We are seeing faster adoption due to Business being in charge for Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud services.

People as the Focal Point - Cloud brings with it the benefit of receiving new features rapidly, as mentioned earlier. As users have now experienced consumer grade cloud applications like Facebook, they will expect enterprise applications also to act in the same way; so the focus is mostly on user experience, flexibility and keeping it very simple for the users. Also, for EPM systems, users have been great fans of spreadsheets; so it’s very important to have the user experience to be like a great consumer grade application combined with the flexibility and simplicity of spreadsheets. The great advantage with cloud is, engineers who build these systems get really close to seeing how users use the solution and roll out changes more frequently. Oracle Planning Budgeting Cloud Service has been very well received by users because of the great user experience and spreadsheet-like flexibility on the web, and because it is supported by the Oracle SmartView for Microsoft Office interface - a great solution for the Excel lovers

The Case for Hybrid EPM 
But, with the benefits and value mentioned above the question still remains - can all of the EPM systems go fully into the cloud? The answer is yes!But, it may take more time since many companies have mission critical financial consolidation and reporting systems, as well as corporate planning systems in which they have invested over the years, and cannot be replaced in a short period of time.

This is why Oracle provides a hybrid EPM strategy for companies to combine on-premises and cloud based EPM systems. What we see is that customers are continuing to leverage their existing on premises deployments for the corporate finance needs, and using cloud applications and infrastructure to surround these for new Departmental and Business Unit needs.



As both on-premises and cloud run on the same best-in-class Oracle Hyperion technologies, they offer a seamless and integrated as a suite of hybrid EPM solutions. While Cloud EPM systems provide significant benefits to warrant moving to the cloud in the medium term, hybrid EPM is likely the best strategy for the short term; and Oracle is the best equipped to provide a comprehensive solution for both worlds.

For more information on Oracle EPM on premises applications, click here
For more information on Oracle EPM Cloud, click here

Friday May 29, 2015

Customers and Partners Discuss the Benefits of Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud

By Guest Blogger: McKenzie Clune

Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud (PBCS) enables businesses of all sizes to rapidly adopt a world-class planning, budgeting and forecasting solution. This service features first in class planning and forecasting functionality, and enables accelerated adoption and flexible deployment options to meet your changing business needs. Oracle PBCS works to connect operational assumptions to financial outcomes and requires no capital infrastructure investment and minimal IT resources.  




At Collaborate 2015, Nigel Youell, Senior Product Marketing Director of Enterprise Performance Management at Oracle was joined by Emily Baird, Senior Accountant for Diono LLC to talk about Diono’s use of PBCS. Emily described Diono’s decision to adopt PBCS – namely, Diono’s budgeting, forecasting and reporting processes were very dependent on spreadsheets, and the tool that was directly linked to the ERP system was resulting in broken links and data integrity issues. As a rapidly growing mid-sized company with a global footprint, Diono found the cloud aspect of PBCS very attractive due to the low investment and scalability. PBCS had the potential to grow with the company.  

Diono’s implementation lasted roughly six months, and the company has already experienced significant improvements in reporting, annual budgeting and overall productivity. Specifically, Emily touches on how calculations, translations and consolidations of data from seven different countries, a once five week process, can now be performed in minutes – Thanks to Oracle’s PBCS!



To watch the video, click here

Nigel also spoke with Scott Costello, Director for Cloud Service and Emerging Technologies for Key Performance Ideas, about the benefits their customers have been realizing with PBCS. Key Performance Ideas currently has about 15 organizations using the software, and that number continues to grow. Scott talks about the agility that comes with PBCS, and how customers are leveraging the software for Line of Business (LOB) planning outside of Finance, including  sales planning, marketing planning, and even daily and weekly planning.  

One of the main benefits Scott describes is the positive economic impact associated with implementing PBCS, which makes it an attractive product. With PBCS, there are no upfront infrastructure costs or maintenance costs, and customers receive automatic updates. Lastly, the subscription aspect of PBCS allows for flexible and scalable deployment. Oracle’s PBCS has made many operations easier, and our partners and customers are realizing the associated benefits.



To watch the video, click here
To learn more about PBCS, click here


Tuesday May 05, 2015

Enterprise Performance Clearly Explained With a Collaborative, Intuitive, Reporting Solution

In today’s Digital Age, the ability for management to clearly explain the quality and sustainability of corporate performance has become more important than ever.  Increasingly, the ability to value and explain the value of intangible assets is becoming a competitive differentiator.  Global and regulatory mandates around narrative reporting are also emerging, with the EU Directive on Non-Financial Reporting and SEC interest in making financial disclosure more effective.  

While there is a clear need for increased commentary and narrative in reporting, most performance reporting processes remain manual and ad-hoc.  The effort is time consuming, lacking process rigor and collaboration.  Errors are made in combining ‘data’ (what) with ‘narrative’ (who, when, why), especially with re-keying data.  In addition, organizations lack the ability to analyze the data to validate the narrative.  The disconnected nature of the process means it is difficult to bring subject matter experts into the process for centralized commentary.  Finally, there are auditability concerns and weak security around supporting “need to know” access to content.

In fact, in a recent survey, 90% of respondents agreed that expanding qualitative commentary in management reporting processes was critical to their organization. Yet, more than half of respondents were not confident in their tools to provide sufficient collaboration to produce that qualitative commentary.   

Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud,  the newest offering in Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud, helps address these challenges.  It uniquely combines management, narrative and statutory reporting needs in a single, secure, and collaborative solution.  Complete authoring, collaboration, commentary, and report delivery capabilities streamline the process.  You can easily combine system of record data for more accurate reporting.  Secure, role-based auditable access on desktop and mobile devices enables the delivery of faster, meaningful insights to all stakeholders, anytime, anywhere.

Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud combines data and narrative, providing a single web interface for report package contributors.  Report package owners define, manage, monitor and interact with content through this interface, while assigned users see only the content applicable to the role they have been assigned. In addition, users can easily take a deeper dive into the data without leaving the application.  Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud includes the ability to perform multi-dimensional and other analysis on financial data.

The solution enables business users to participate in the narrative reporting process through the web interface on a variety of devices, including desktops and tablets.  Collaboration throughout the process is key to getting the most accurate picture possible, and helps shrink the time it takes to define, produce and deliver reports.

Increased demand, both internally and externally, for information, plus many data sources can make it challenging to have confidence in the results reported.  Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud enables you to easily combine system of record data into your narrative reporting.  Authors can integrate both on-premises and cloud-based EPM and BI data sources directly, as well as integrate data from Oracle and other ERP systems, thereby leveraging existing IT investments.  This helps provide trust and reliability that the numbers and information are accurate.

We have seen tremendous interest from customers looking to “standardize” on a platform for narrative-based performance reporting.  Reporting needs range from quarterly or annual reports for external stakeholders, to internal management and business performance reviews, as well as periodic reports submitted to industry agencies, sustainability reporting, and more.

“We find Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud extremely intuitive and easy to use.  The cloud-based nature of this solution, along with strong collaborative and security features, will help streamline the time it takes our clients to produce and deliver reports.”  Neil Sellers, Director Qubix

Stay tuned for more exciting news around customer adoption in the coming months!

To learn more about Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud, click here.

Friday Apr 10, 2015

Gartner Positions Oracle as a Leader in CPM Suites


On April 2, Gartner released its 2015 Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites report. In the report, Oracle was recognized as a Market Leader for the ninth consecutive year.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reports position vendors within a particular quadrant based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. In this year’s report, among the market leaders, Oracle is positioned with the highest ability to execute and the strongest in completeness of vision.

Gartner has the following observations about the Corporate Performance Management space this year:

“Each year, Gartner emphasizes the most impactful market factors when considering each vendor's scores. This Magic Quadrant stresses capabilities in three primary areas of market evolution. The first is the cloud. The CPM suite market is shifting toward cloud-based solutions that deliver a shorter time to value and improved ease of use. The ability to provide cloud-based solutions and vendor experience with supporting these solutions factored heavily in this market study. The second primary area of market evolution reflects vendor ability to provide more comprehensive strategic financial planning support. The third primary area of market evolution is analytics.”

Oracle enterprise performance management applications are an integrated, modular suite that supports a broad range of strategic and financial performance management processes and helps organizations drive digital transformation and generate value for the business. 

Click here to learn more:  Report

For more information about Oracle’s Enterprise Performance Management Applications please go to www.oracle.com/epm.


Monday Apr 06, 2015

Oracle's Top EPM Trends for 2015

Modern CFOs are successfully leveraging digital technologies in their Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) processes to transform their finance organizations and generate value for the business.  Which EPM priorities are at the top of the Finance agenda? What are the most compelling developments in big data, analytics, mobile technology, and cloud computing that motivate Finance leaders to undertake new technology initiatives?

Oracle surveyed hundreds of decision makers to learn more about their EPM plans for 2015—both within the Oracle customer base and the industry at large. We asked your colleagues to provide specific feedback on EPM technologies and practices—past, present, and future. From this extensive data set we compiled the following views and outlook—along with a bit of advice.  

For details on each trend, download the entire report here.

Trend 1 – EPM Embraces the Cloud; Speed is Key
EPM Cloud is planned to nearly double in 2015 vs. 2014. Compared to last year’s EPM Trends survey, speed and agility overtook cost considerations as a top cloud benefit. 

Trend 2: Mobile Goes Beyond Convenience to Strategic
Nearly half of respondents indicated that mobile technology adoption is providing growth opportunities and competitive advantage.



Trend 3: Big Data is Creating a New Signal for Finance
Over half of respondents expect to leverage big data in planning and forecasting processes in 2015 and 62% of CFOs around the world cited big data as hugely important to the future of business.

Trend 4: Modern Planning Practices are Becoming a Reality
More than 50% of respondents currently use, or are planning to use, driver-based budgeting and planning in the next 12 months. Rolling forecasts are in use or will be used in the next 12 months by 70% of respondents.

Trend 5: Detailed Costing Practices are Needed to Stay in the Game or Get Ahead
There was a 71% increase over last year in companies planning to cost individual customers, 133% more for costing invoices and 136% more for transactions. The desire to understand detailed costing practices has grown significantly. Meanwhile, many companies are still over-burdening their General Ledger with management reporting calculations.

Trend 6: Finance Departments need Literacy as well as Numeracy
Over half of respondents expect external stakeholders will require greater explanation of the numbers in financial reports, and 90% agree that expanding qualitative commentary in management reporting processes is critical.  It’s not just about the numbers – stakeholders want them put into context.

Trend 7: Organizations are not Realizing the Wider Benefits of Enterprise Data Governance
Over half of respondents already have Enterprise Data Governance (EDG) in place to help align reporting from multiple systems and in 2015, EDG is expected to reduce the use of spreadsheets and email by half again. Finance has felt the pain, seen the need, and has taken action, but the front office is yet to act.

The focus of Modern Finance is evolving from governance to guidance. Predictive, data-driven analysis, continuous planning and budgeting, and real-time decision making are what’s needed now. 

Modern EPM tools leverage cloud, mobile, and big data technology and are changing how Finance organizations are run and the best practices they use to measure contribution to the business.  Armed with fresh, accurate, enterprise insights from EPM tools, the Finance department can confidently drive digital transformation.

To download the entire report on Oracle EPM Top Trends for 2015, click here
To learn more about Oracle EPM, click here


Wednesday Mar 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS)!

Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) recently celebrated its one year anniversary of serving our customers. In just 12 short months, PBCS has grown from 0 to more than 22,000 users, purchased by organizations in 39 countries, and implemented in companies from mid-sized to large multi-nationals – across all industries.



Companies around the world are realizing world class planning capabilities with the simplicity of cloud delivery. Driving alignment beyond the finance function, organizations are also adopting Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service to improve sales and operational forecasting and planning processes. With no CAPEX infrastructure investments and virtually no learning curve, implementation is fast and enables organizations to deploy applications flexibly to meet changing business needs.

Below are just a few customer highlights:

Racepoint Global leverages Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service to centralize planning across its international operations and support rapid growth. They saw the need to move from a litany of spreadsheets to a more robust and flexible tool that was within their budget. Oracle’s EPM Cloud solution provides world-class planning functionality that fits well within Racepoint Global’s budget. Using the Oracle Partner Peloton Group as their implementer, Racepoint Global was able to go live in just 10 weeks.  Clickhere to watch the video.

CTDI looked to automate a traditionally manual process for budgeting, planning, and forecasting that was time-consuming and prone to errors. Daily forecasting of financial results is one of CTDI’s key business management practices, and the company selected Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service to meet this requirement. The Oracle solution enables their users to upload financial information automatically to improve the speed and the accuracy of financial reporting and forecasting.

“Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service enables us to remove the barriers to adopting an on-premises application and makes it much easier for our rapidly expanding business to deploy a world-class planning and budgeting solution very quickly. We are excited about improvements we know the solution will give us in terms of speed and accuracy. It will enable us to spend more time analyzing data, versus reporting it.” – Paul Cardell, Vice President, Corporate Operations, Communications Test Design, Inc. (CTDI). To read the entire customer story, click here. To watch the video, click here

Manhattan Beachwear, Inc. was one of the first customers to go live on Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. As the largest manufacturer of swim and active wear in the United States, Manhattan Beachwear Inc. produces 18 million garments annually. PBCS enables the company to spend less time on manual spreadsheets and more time on analysis of the business, and the solution has been rolled out beyond Finance to sales reps for sales forecasting. Moving forward, Manhattan Beachwear hopes to use PBCS to look further into the future to improve production planning. To watch the video, click here

TBS Group, a European leader in the medical device and ICT sectors, moved to cloud in mid-2014, because they wanted to have a good handle on their costs, move from capital to operational expenses, and to save money in the process.  At the same time, they wanted to guarantee flexibility if they increased they increased the complexity or changed their business. TBS Group sped up the implementation in the cloud vs an on-premises solution, and implemented in just two months.  Click here to view the video

To see more customer testimonials, click here.
For more information about Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, click here

Tuesday Feb 03, 2015

TOP 10 EPM MOMENTS OF 2014

2014 was a busy year for Oracle EPM, with new product launches, research studies, as well as customer events like Oracle OpenWorld. Let’s look back at the top highlights.


1. Oracle released Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS). No longer are organizations constrained by their hardware and IT resources – organizations embraced the idea of SaaS for company-wide planning and budgeting in 2014. With Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, companies can access world-class planning with the simplicity of the cloud. Find out more about PBCS in this ebook or get details here.

2. Oracle released its 2014 EPM Trends report
. Oracle surveyed hundreds of IT and finance decision makers to learn about their Enterprise Performance Management plans for 2014—both within the Oracle customer base and the industry at large. Respondents provided specific feedback on their current use and plans for financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, costing, financial close, use of technology and the cloud, sustainability reporting and more. From this data set we compiled the following trends link.

3.
Oracle was again recognized as a Market Leader in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites .  For the eighth consecutive year, Gartner recognized Oracle as a Market Leader in its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites.  In this year’s report, among the market leaders, Oracle is positioned with the highest ability to execute and the farthest in completeness of vision. To view the report, click here.

4. Oracle published The OVUM EPM ROI Study.
This comprehensive study of large, experienced EPM customers provided very tangible best practices and results. For example, Oracle Enterprise Performance Management delivers >200% return on investment. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management delivers +NPV by the end of Year 1. For more details and results, click here

5. Oracle published the CFO Research Report: Modern Finance in the Digital Age.

In the new era of cloud, social, mobile, and big data technologies, the CFO is uniquely positioned to create modern, technology-enabled business models and stronger C-suite collaboration. Learn more about the best practices CFOs must apply to create an effective modern finance organization. Click here.

6. Oracle announced B/E Aerospace as the 2014 EPM Innovation Award Winner.
In just nine months, B/E Aerospace completed a full-scale implementation that was delivered on time and under budget. As a result, they were able to reduce by 80 percent the amount of time it takes to mine data from more than 30 sources, plus, they can acquire new companies and integrate their financials in three to four weeks instead of six months—dramatically speeding assimilation and reinforcing their acquisition strategy. All strategic and financial goals were met on time and, in some cases, under budget. To learn more about our winner, watch this video
.
7. EPM goes Mobile!
Today’s businesses need to identify business performance insights and optimize decisions anywhere, anytime. The mobile capabilities in Oracle’s EPM System deliver these insights and unlock productivity gains and business value across the enterprise. View EPM Mobile capabilities in this video or click here for details.

8. Oracle announced its new Operational Transfer Pricing solution.
Operational Transfer Pricing is a profit allocation methodology required of multinational corporations. Specifically, the ultimate goal of transfer pricing is to ensure that intercompany allocations result in true economic profitability by legal entity. In today’s global economy, profitability can be significantly impacted by goods and services exchanged between the related divisions within a multinational company. For more information, listen to this podcast, or click here for more details.

9. Oracle OpenWorld video series published on YouTube.
There are so many excellent presenters at Oracle OpenWorld each year, but it is impossible for some to attend the event, and impossible for those that do attend to get to every session. Many of our Business Analytics speakers agreed to share some of the highlights of their presentations so that everyone would have a chance to learn. To view videos, click here.

10.
Collaborate 2014 video series published on YouTube.
Collaborate is a North American conference comprised of the three major Oracle User groups – IOUG, OAUG and Quest. For those that missed a session or the conference, several speakers shared their Business Analytics presentation stories with us on video, and they were published on our Business Analytics YouTube channel. To view videos, click here.

As we move into 2015, there are many exciting developments in store, and you can expect to see us talking more about cloud and new digital technologies in EPM.

Friday Jan 30, 2015

Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud Are Platforms of Choice for CFOs Worldwide

In an Oracle press release, it was revealed that more than 600 customers have selected Oracle’s rich, integrated suite of EPM and ERP cloud services to drive growth and innovation.

On January 30, 2015, Oracle announced that in the second quarter of its fiscal year 2015,  sales for Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud (Oracle EPM Cloud)  increased by 80 percent, and 250 new Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle EPM Cloud customers were added during the quarter. This growth reiterates customers’ confidence that Oracle is best positioned to offer CFOs a complete, integrated suite of financial management and enterprise performance management cloud services, all designed to work seamlessly and securely together.

“Our financial information has become transparent subsequent to our 2013 initial public offering,” notes Karri Callahan, acting chief financial officer and corporate controller, RE/MAX. “To support our ambitious growth strategy, we needed a more efficient finance system with embedded controls and extensive reporting capabilities. Oracle offered us pre-integrated, state-of-the-art cloud services. This was a compelling value, since we prefer to invest in technology innovations for our brokers and agents rather than maintaining separate systems.”

 “Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service will enable us to significantly reduce the time and effort needed to perform our daily P&L forecasting process, which is our most critical business management practice,” said Paul Cardell, vice president, Corporate Operations, CTDI. “In addition, the real-time analytical data and comprehensive reporting that we can generate from Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service will enable us to make timely and well-informed decisions in order to run our business better”

To view the entire press release, click here.
To read more about Enterprise Performance Management in the Cloud, click here.

Friday Feb 21, 2014

Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service -- What's All the Buzz About?

Earlier this week, Oracle announced the general availability of our first EPM application in the Oracle Public Cloud, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, thereby extending our existing portfolio of on-premises and managed /hosted applications with a SaaS offering.

I had the pleasure of speaking and demo’ing our solution to a group of customers that day at an event in Dallas, and there was clear enthusiasm about the ability to access world-class planning functionality in a SaaS-based model.  Our announcement also generated excitement in social media and news articles.  In addition, existing Oracle EPM partners, as well as partners who have worked with us in other product areas, are lining up and are in the process of becoming specialized for Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service.  Some have already launched their rapid start offerings.

So, why are customers and partners excited about Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service?  What’s new and differentiated about this offering?

Fast Adoption

This application is built for SaaS adoption to meet cloud user expectations around ease of use and self-service.  It includes a number of cloud-specific capabilities that make it easy to roll out planning and forecasting to your lines of business across the enterprise.  These include:

+ Extensive online help and video tutorials
+ Best practice design templates and guides that are based on years of experience with Hyperion Planning implementations
+ Guided application navigation features that literally take a new user through the whole process of building an application
+ Plus diagnostics and governors that assist with building and monitoring an application from the administrative side

During the 3-month customer and partner preview program that we ran last year, we received very positive feedback about how users could get up and running with virtually zero training needed.



First-in-Class Functionality

While Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service is a new product, it leverages the code base of the market-leading Hyperion Planning application, which has seen rapid adoption over the past 10 years, with close to 4K organizations implementing it.  Many of these deployments have become quite large with over 1000, and some even over 5000 users globally.  This is what sets Oracle apart in the marketplace -- proven on-premises technology, now optimized for the cloud.

+ Powerful multi-dimensional analysis capabilities and sophisticated rules framework for fast processing of complex calculations
+ Collaborative workflow and plan management capabilities, including powerful annotations, commentary, document attachments, task, workflow and burst reporting capabilities
+ Intuitive web interface with full MS office integration for driver-based modeling, rolling forecasts and analytics
+ On the fly models that can be created and shared collaboratively and validated against sophisticated predictive capabilities
+ Built-in management reporting capabilities

Flexible Deployment

Many companies today are assessing cloud options in parallel with traditional implementations of on-premises solutions.  They are concerned about potentially locking themselves into a single approach from vendors that can only offer either a cloud solution or an on-premises solution with no way back.

For most organizations today, flexibility of deployment holds the key to the way forward.  That is, the ability to adopt mixed mode deployments (public, private and hybrid clouds) as desired and to alter the mix when business circumstances dictate it.  Moreover, the Oracle Cloud offers security and encryption at every layer of the tech stack, utilizing the latest physical and logical data security and protection solutions. Oracle is the only vendor who can deliver this, leveraging our own hardware, database, and applications technology, plus the Oracle Cloud infrastructure.

Customers I’ve spoken with welcome this flexibility of deployment and see the Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service as an additional option to meet their planning and forecasting needs.  Customers have the ability to move applications back and forth between Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service and Hyperion Planning on premises, through Lifecycle Management (LCM) packages, which is proven technology from the Hyperion applications portfolio.

And, unlike niche cloud vendors, Oracle lets you decide when upgrades happen, so you don’t have to go through planned downtimes at a critical time. With Oracle’s flexible upgrade schedule, you can choose an upgrade window that best fits your business. Customers also have the ability to specify the 1-hour slot for daily maintenance and backups performed by Oracle.

So what’s all the buzz about?  Simply put, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service offers world-class functionality with the simplicity of the cloud.


For more information about the Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service click here.

Friday Jan 31, 2014

Planning and Budgeting in the Cloud

Oracle’s Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service is a new cloud service based on the functionality of the latest release of Oracle Hyperion Planning, which is the global market-leading packaged application for Planning and Forecasting. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Toomey, a Senior Director of Product Marketing for Business Analytics at Oracle, on a podcast, and she relayed a lot of useful information to our listeners about the types of companies that are turning to the cloud for budgeting and planning, and the kinds of benefits they can experience. 

But first things first. I asked Jennifer to explain to our listeners why companies are moving to the cloud -- what are some of the challenges with planning, budgeting and forecasting that can be addressed with a cloud-based solution?  She relayed to our listeners that planning extends far beyond the walls of the finance organization. “Pretty much every department in your company is involved with planning and budgeting.” The vast majority of planning and budgeting work is done outside of the Finance, Planning and Administration group by line of business users. Jennifer further explained that while common wisdom suggests that more inputs can help lead to more accurate forecasts, the problem is often that these inputs are done via disconnected processes – often using spreadsheets.  There is a huge amount of inefficiency and a general loss of productivity in the planning process done this way.  

According to industry studies, on average:

20% of employees are involved for at least three weeks to create the annual plan
This can add up to 3% of a company’s revenue, or
$1,000 per employee!


So how can Cloud help? Jennifer explained that using a cloud-based model, a planning solution can be quickly and flexibly rolled out across the organization, enabling you to easily gain the input and intelligence of line of business managers as part of the planning process. Moreover, up until a couple of years ago, we still saw reluctance in the Finance department around adopting cloud applications, largely driven by security and data confidentiality concerns. However, this reluctance is vanishing rapidly.    Analyst studies indicate that Finance executives are increasingly buying into the SaaS model, and in a recent survey that we conducted, three quarters of respondents indicated that they are currently using or will consider deploying EPM in the cloud. So what is happening with Oracle’s Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service?  Jennifer explained to our listeners that “Oracle’s been moving aggressively towards the SaaS model across its application suite and, as we’ve seen our customers’ attitudes shift in favor of cloud, we are now moving our EPM applications into the Oracle Cloud.” She also described some of the functionality being offered:

It is based on the functionality of the latest release of Hyperion Planning, which is the market-leading packaged application for Planning and Forecasting, and it is optimized for the cloud.
Ability to migrate from on-premise
Data integration
Financial and management reporting
Full MS Office Integration
Same security, operations and infrastructure as all applications that are part of Oracle Cloud

It is important to note that this is not simply a hosted version of Hyperion Planning, but rather, it is a new application that has been completely optimized for the cloud.  We chatted about some of these cloud-specific enhancements to accelerate usage and minimize administration, including online help, guided tutorials, and diagnostic tools.

What are the key benefits for customers with this cloud offering and who can benefit? Jennifer explained to our listeners that mid-size companies have a lot to gain, especially if they don’t have the resources to implement an on-premises solution. Hyperion customers with a custom-based Planning application in Essbase also have the opportunity to modernize and have a fully workflow-enabled application. But really any customer looking to quickly roll out a departmental or line of business-based planning solution, outside of finance would benefit greatly. They can all expect:

Fast Adoption
First-in-Class Functionality
Flexible Adoption (it is exactly the same software whether in the cloud or on-premises– so organizations can change the deployment method in the future with minimum effort if they need to) 

In summary, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service offers world-class functionality with the simplicity of the cloud.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.
To learn more about Oracle’s Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, click here.












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This blog will highlight key EPM market trends, recent events and other news of interest to our field, customers and partners.

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