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


Thursday May 28, 2015

Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision: An Integrated Solution Bringing Tax and Finance Together

By Guest Blogger: McKenzie Clune

Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision (HTP) is an unparalleled tax reporting solution that integrates directly with the financial close and reporting process. This solution solves data and process challenges faced by corporate tax departments. The secret is that the tax provision problem does not lie with actual calculation of a tax provision, but rather with the collection and management of the data necessary to calculate the tax provision, which is why Oracle HTP works to streamline the process. Additionally, with alignment to financial department data and processes, you can achieve a more effective, efficient and transparent tax function.

At Oracle OpenWorld, Nigel Youell, Senior Product Marketing Director of Enterprise Performance Management at Oracle, was joined by Jim Gruber and Michael Pilch from TransRe to discuss their experience with Oracle HTP. Jim Gruber is from the Tax Department and Michael Pilch is from the Accounting Department of TransRe, which added interesting insights to this interview because Tax Provisioning is often a discussion between these two departments as the tax close process is  integral to the finance close.




TransRe shed light on their implementation process of Oracle HTP and how they achieved a “bringing together” of accounting and tax, which is something that had been lacking on the tax side of things previously. Due to this “bringing together”, the benefits realized in the tax provision process directly improved the financial close. Furthermore, by working within an integrated finance and tax-reporting platform, both the finance and tax departments spoke the ‘same language’ or ‘one version of the truth’ as TransRe describes it. There is less room for misunderstandings or inconsistencies involving data, metadata, and process, and more room for analysis--which is their ultimate goal.  TransRe is working to shorten their processes further, which will allow for even more time for analysis and improvements.

To watch the video, click here

Also at Oracle OpenWorld, Nigel was joined by Bart Janssen from Deloitte Netherlands to discuss how things have changed with the availability of Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision. Bart indicated that this solution is truly a game changer for tax because it leverages the knowledge of and closes the gap between finance, tax, and IT. This enables these parties to collectively work together, which ultimately results in the best tax solution for the company. The tax provision and financial close of a company go hand in hand as the Tax Department receive their data from the Financial Department, and therefore they need to be integrated. Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision results in a successful, more integrated process.



To watch the video, click here.  
To learn more about Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision, 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.

Tuesday Apr 21, 2015

Great Oracle EPM Content at Collaborate15 in Las Vegas


Last week, the Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Product Management and Product Marketing teams went to Las Vegas for the combined US User Groups (OAUG, IOUG and Quest) Collaborate15 conference. Overall, there were some 73 Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) sessions delivered by Oracle, partners and customers covering all aspects of the subject and a wide range of Oracle Enterprise Performance Management solutions. In addition, there were three Oracle demo pods for Enterprise Performance Management, Business Intelligence and Big Data.

The Oracle sessions included updates on Oracle Hyperion Financial Close Suite from product manager Rich Wilkie, and Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Planning Suite from product manager Shankar Viswanathan. There were also sessions on current and forthcoming Oracle Cloud products – Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service presented by Shankar Viswanathan, and Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud Service presented by Jennifer Toomey from Oracle EPM Product Marketing. Al Marciante, from product management, gave an update and an outline of the roadmap for the entire Oracle Enterprise Performance Management suite.



Jennifer Toomey

While at the conference, the Oracle Product Marketing team worked with customers, partners and staff to organize and record short videos based on the presentations they gave so that the great information they presented can be shared with a much wider audience. In total, 22 videos were recorded and will be released via the Oracle Business Analytics YouTube channel (link) over the next few weeks. There are some great stories in the videos on how organizations have implemented and benefited from Oracle Enterprise Performance Management. For example, one customer was able to reduce budget calculations and aggregations from weeks to minutes with Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service and another customer, using Oracle Hyperion Accounts Reconciliation Manager, was able to reduce their time to close from 15 days to 8. Watch for links to these videos published via our social media channels - @OracleAnalytics, LinkedIn - Official Oracle Business Analytics group. We will also post a selection of links here in a few weeks.

Finally, thanks to all the customers and partners who made the effort to prepare and deliver presentations at the conference and for the many attendees who went to the sessions. There were some great EPM discussions and complements at the sessions, in the exhibition area, and in the conference halls. Hope to see you at Collaborate next year.

To learn more about Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), click here
To watch videos from Collaborate 2014, click here


Nigel Youell (left) speaking with Al Marciante 



Nigel Youell (left) speaking with Shankar Viswanathan



Nigel Youell (left) speaking with  Rich Wilkie


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 Feb 25, 2015

How EPM and Six Sigma Intersect

There are so many wonderful business tools and methodologies out there that can help us monitor, analyze, set strategy and improve efficiency, etc., but can they all work together? Where do they connect? In this post I will focus on how EPM and Six Sigma intersect.


Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.  The principals of Six Sigma were originally were created by William Deming in his rebuilding of Japanese manufacturing industry post-WWII by applying statistical methods to measure, test, and improve design, quality and service.  By the 1980s, Six Sigma management techniques had been adopted more broadly for business process improvement and U.S. manufacturers such as Motorola, GE, Honeywell, and Dow competing in the global market.  By the 1990s, Six Sigma transcended manufacturing as Ritz Carlton Hotels applied total quality management and process improvement techniques to delivering five-star luxury service for their guests and were recognized twice with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Six Sigma method, when employed properly, aligns your organization and processes to achieve efficiency and a standard quality (whatever the standard should be).

Enterprise Performance Management is focused on

* Setting strategy for the company, including
        - Which products/services should be the focus in order to be competitive
        - Who are the desirable customers
        - Which markets to play in
        - What are the short and longer term goals
* Setting budgets, simulating forecasts
* Monitoring strategy execution
* Adjusting the strategy based on outcomes
* Reporting on the financial outcomes
* Repeat

To be very successful, the two methods should be employed together – EPM setting the desired strategy, Six Sigma providing the optimal processes and products/services to achieve the strategy; Six Sigma reporting on the outputs of the company and EPM reporting on strategic and financial outcomes.

Six Sigma’s job is primarily focused on lean operations, eliminating waste and inefficiencies  from monitoring feedback to knowing what’s working and what’s not, and when to ask what-if, making adjustments  based on that feedback for continuous improvement, etc. – where Enterprise Performance Management has both an internal and external view. It is simply not possible to set your near or long term strategy successfully without having an understanding of the external markets, external  customer sentiment, competitors’ movements and of course R&D on new products and services.

Without getting too philosophical, EPM typically functions assuming products and services are being made well and focuses on setting strategy and executing the strategy. Six Sigma focuses on making the products and services well and assumes that they are the right products and services to be made and delivered. In my opinion, they need to work hand-in-hand to successfully achieve your strategy.

For more information about Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), 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 Dec 05, 2014

B/E Aerospace Wins Business Analytics Innovation Award!

Todd Renard, Senior Manager - Financial Planning & Analysis for B/E Aerospace was very excited to receive the Oracle Business Analytics Innovation Award at Oracle OpenWorld 2014 for the company's impressive results achieved with Oracle Enterprise Performance Management solutions.



B/E Aerospace is the worldwide leading manufacturer of aircraft passenger cabin interior products for commercial and business jet aircraft. The company, which was growing rapidly through a series of acquisitions, decided to adopt Oracle Enterprise Performance Management solutions to drive innovation and organizational change.

They took a three phased approach:

*PHASE I – Prove the value of the Hyperion solutions to senior management by leveraging the applications to meet company goals
*PHASE II – Build a superior financial end-to-end solution for monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting
*PHASE III – Build scalable daily financial reporting & analysis applications in order to make better decisions faster

In just nine months, the company completed a full-scale implementation that was delivered on time and under budget. As a result, B/E Aerospace has reduced by 80 percent the amount of time it takes to mine data from more than 30 sources. And the business can also acquire new companies and integrate their financials in three to four weeks instead of six months—dramatically speeding assimilation and supporting their acquisition strategy. 

Click here to watch the short video.

Friday Sep 12, 2014

What's Happening in Business Analytics at OpenWorld 2014?

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is about to roll out the red carpets on September 28th when we take over the city of San Francisco for five days.  Business Analytics has a fantastic showing this year with over 130 EPM, BI, Analytics and Big Data sessions delivered by Oracle, our customers and partners.  We’ll also have 7 Hands-On Labs, 28+ demo pods dedicated to Business Analytics products, and 30+ partners exhibiting their solutions.

So what’s hot in the Business Analytics program at OpenWorld?  Here are some of the “must see” sessions at this year’s conference:




Monday, September 29th, be sure to catch the Oracle Business Analytics Executive Briefing led by SVP of Product Development, Balaji Yelamanchili.  Find out what’s new and where we are heading with EPM, BI, Big Data and Analytics. Balaji is also leading Oracle’s Big Data Strategy—Unified Data Management and Analytics on Wednesday, October 1st, presenting all the exciting and innovative capabilities available today and coming soon.

For a deeper dive into Big Data, on Monday, September 29, Neil Mendelson and Paul Sonderegger will lead Oracle Big Data: Strategy and Roadmap to get us up to speed on the rapid advances in big data. Also, Chris Lynskey, Ryan Stark, and Omri Traub of Oracle will lead the presentation New Innovations in Big Data Analytics the same day.

What’s new in BI and Cloud? Judging by the lineup of presentations available – PLENTY. Don’t miss Matt Bedin, Alan Lee, and Raghuram Venkatasubramanian of Oracle present Oracle BI Cloud Service Overview and Roadmap on Monday, September 29, and  catch Jack Berkowitz as he presents What’s Next for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications? A Sneak Peek at the Roadmap on Tuesday, September 30th.

The EPM and Cloud presentation lineup is also impressive. Watch for the General Session: Executive Briefing on Oracle’s EPM Strategy and Roadmap by Balaji Yelamanchili on Monday, September 29th to find out what’s going on and what’s coming soon. If you have more questions, be sure to attend the Product Development Panel Q&A: Oracle Hyperion EPM Applications and get them answered by our experts on Wednesday, October 1st.

To learn more about Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, join the panel of customers including CTDI, Vertex Business Services, and Manhattan Beachwear for the presentation Customer Success: Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service on Wednesday, October 1 where they will highlight some amazing and recent implementations, and answer questions.

To meet the big Business Analytics/EPM innovation award winners this year, be sure to attend the session Oracle Fusion Middleware: Meet This Year’s Most Impressive Innovators honoring organizations from around the globe that are using Oracle products to achieve significant business value.

For more details on these and many other Business Analytics sessions at OpenWorld, access the “Focus On” Business Analytics program guide link.


See you in San Francisco!

Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/oracleanalytics) for live coverage of the key product announcements, general sessions, and much more at #OOW14. 

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Bring Efficiency and Sanity Back to the Operational Transfer Pricing Process!

Does your company spend too much time on Operational Transfer Pricing? Is the process efficient and transparent? Or is too much time spent in low-value activity like gathering data and manipulating it in spreadsheets. If you are like most companies, the transfer pricing process has a lot of room for improvement. With the ever increasing scrutiny on corporate taxation, many companies are looking to improve the transfer process to ensure it has all the proper controls and efficiency necessary for today’s multinational companies.

Marc Seewald, Senior Director of Product Management for EPM Applications specializing in the tax domain and Product Manager for Oracle Hyperion Tax Provisioning, and Bart Stoehr, Senior Director of Product Strategy for Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management joined me for a discussion/podcast on this interesting subject.

So what exactly is “Operational transfer pricing”? Marc defined it this way. “Transfer pricing is a profit allocation methodology required to be used by multinational corporations. Specifically, the ultimate goal of transfer pricing is to ensure that intercompany allocations result in true economic profitability by legal entity. According to Marc, in today’s global economy, profitability can be significantly impacted by goods and services exchanged between the related divisions within a single multinational company.

Today, most companies manage the operational transfer pricing in a very manual process – typically relying heavily on Excel or custom-built solutions such as MS Access. A significant amount of time is spent on collecting, manipulating, and aggregating data. However, the collection of the data to support the intercompany allocations is only half of the battle. Once the data has been properly collected, companies then need to apply transfer pricing assumptions. This, too, likely takes place in Excel. Many companies spend weeks, or even months, preparing for a single transfer pricing calculation.

The effort associated with a manual transfer pricing process is not the only problem. Excel-based processes often lack the proper controls and transparency necessary for such material financial reporting activity. This can result in material mistakes during the reporting process. Additionally, the lack of transparency can cause headaches later on during audits.

What are the repercussions of improper operational transfer pricing? How important is it? Because of its potential impact on taxes paid by a company, revenue agencies like the IRS, and international regulatory bodies like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are pushing to reform and clarify reporting for tax transfer pricing. Most recently the OECD announced an “Action Plan for Base Erosion and Profit Shifting”. As Marc explained, the times are changing and companies need to be responsive to this issue. It’s imperative that companies have a clear and auditable operational transfer pricing process that enables them to clearly document intercompany profitability and avoid steep penalties and bad publicity.

Transparency and efficiency are what is needed when it comes to the operational transfer pricing process. Bart explained that transfer pricing is driving a deeper inspection of profit recognition specifically focused on the tax element of profit. However, allocations needed to support tax profitability are nearly identical in process to allocations taking place in other parts of the finance organization. For example, the methods and processes necessary to arrive at tax profitability by legal entity are no different than those used to arrive at fully loaded profitability for a product line. In fact, there is a great opportunity for alignment across these two different functions.

So it seems that operational transfer pricing should be reflected in profitability in general. Bart agreed and told us more about some of the critical sub-processes within the Oracle solution for operational transfer pricing. “First, there is a ton of data preparation, enrichment and pre-allocation data analysis that is managed in the Oracle Hyperion solution. This serves as the “data staging” to the next, critical sub-processes. From here, we leverage the Oracle EPM platform’s ability to re-use dimensions and legal entity driver data and financial data with Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management (HPCM). Within HPCM, we manage the driver data, define the legal entity to legal entity allocation rules (like cost plus), and have the option to test out multiple, simultaneous operational transfer pricing what-if scenarios. Once processed, a tax expert can evaluate the effectiveness of any one scenario result versus another via a variance analysis configured with HPCM’s pre-packaged reporting capability known as Oracle Hyperion SmartView for Office.”   





Further, Bart explained that the ability to visibly demonstrate how a cost or revenue has been allocated is really helpful and auditable. “HPCM’s Traceability Maps are that visual representation of all allocation flows that have been executed and is the operational transfer analyst’s best friend in maintaining clear documentation for operational transfer pricing audits. Simply click and drill as you inspect the chain of allocation definitions and results. Once final, the post-allocated tax data can be compared to the GL to create invoices and journal entries for posting to your GL system of choice. Of course, there is a framework for overall governance of the journal entries, allocation percentages, and reporting to include necessary approvals.”

Lastly, Marc explained that the key value in using HPCM for operational transfer pricing is that it keeps everything in alignment in one single place. Specifically, Oracle Hyperion effectively becomes the single book of record for the GAAP, management, and the tax set of books. There are many benefits to having one source of the truth. These include EFFICIENCY, CONTROLS and TRANSPARENCY.

So, is there room for improvement? Why not automate the operational transfer pricing process!

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.
To learn more about Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management (HPCM), click here.


Thursday Mar 27, 2014

Customer Lifetime Value: Viewing Customers as an Investment


In this age of customer-centricity, do you really know how to put a value on your customers? I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Cokins, the founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management - an advisory firm in Raleigh North Carolina - for a Thought Leadership podcast on this topic. We discussed Customer Lifetime Value and how to view customers – not only as profitable or unprofitable to a business – but similar to investments for a business like in an equity stock portfolio. The objective from a shareholder’s view is increase the return on investment from the customers. Gary has written a dozen books on Enterprise Performance Management, Activity-Based Costing, Quality Management and more.

Many of you likely already have a firm grasp on the concepts of measuring and reporting profitability, but may be less familiar the concept of Customer Lifetime Value. Gary defined it for us this way: “Customers and consumers pass through life cycle stages. For example, teenage girls become young adults, then mothers, and so on. At each stage, their consumer needs change. Each type of consumer’s future profit potential needs to be understood based on which stage in their life-cycle they are. The marketing and sales functions have begun exploring what is basically a math equation that calculates Customer Lifetime Value in monetary terms. The equation is intended to measure the future potential level of profitability of a customer or consumer to a supplier.” In essence, Customer Lifetime Value is a forward-looking view of shareholder wealth creation possibilities.



So how are these calculations different from customer profitability calculations, such as from last month or last year? Gary explained that most profitability measures are historical and do not consider the products’ and customers’ prospective profit contribution. Customer Lifetime Value math is trickier, because it also considers the probability of losing some customers (or churn). In addition, the calculation of future streams of revenue and their associated costs, which would include the net present value of discounted cash flows, are taken into consideration. This involves time value of money principles and math that considers both the timing of future cash inflows and outflows, as well as the weighted average cost of capital. A lot to think about when considering Customer Lifetime Value!

Customer classifications come into play as well. Some customers are high maintenance types with substantial demands on a supplier and some are low maintenance - often referred to as demon customers and angel customers., The substantial costs-to-serve incurred below the product gross profit margin line (i.e., channel, marketing, sales, and customer service costs) for high maintenance customers obviously erodes profits. But Gary explained that understanding the amount of the cost-to-serve for each customer is very important. A shift is needed from being product-centric to customer-centric. Suppliers need to understand the unique preferences of and differentiated services for each customer, as well as different distribution channel expenses to service their existing customers, and desirable, prospective customers to acquire.

So how does this affect spend by the suppliers? According to Gary, the key is to spend “the next dollar” on consumers who will most likely generate a relatively higher incremental increase in sales relative to the incremental expense to “lift” those sales. And this analysis should focus only on the impact of interventions with consumers independent of how the consumer might increase their volume of purchases from a supplier simply due to their progression through their life cycle.

I highly recommend listening to the entire podcast as we covered a lot more content in the interview. But the long and short of it is that suppliers must consider Customer Lifetime Value when understanding profitability to get a complete picture and determine which best actions to retain and grow profits from consumers. They must view customers as an investment – the financial return on customer – and not just a short term gain.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn about Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management, click here.

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

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


Guest post by by Karen dela Torre

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




Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Are 90% of Companies Still Failing to Execute on Strategy?

“90% of companies fail to execute on strategy effectively.”  This statement was made over 30 years ago – but has nothing changed? Jennifer Toomey, Senior Product Marketing Director for Performance Management Applications at Oracle interviewed Denis Desroches, Director of Research for the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), about this subject and got an update about current experiences on organizations’ ability to execute on strategy.

Denis is part of a volunteer research team called the Business Research and Analysis Group (BRAG) that, over the past 15 years, has done world-wide studies on a number of current business practices, including the adoption and use of performance scorecards, and issues in costing and profitability. The team’s results have been published in various magazines and journals and in a book called “Scorecard Best Practices; Design, Implementation and Evaluation.” In addition to Denis, Dr. Raef Lawson, Vice President of Research and Professor-in-Residence for IMA, and yours truly – Toby Hatch -  a Senior Product Marketing Director for Oracle Business Analytics, are also part of the research team.

According to Denis, the team chose to research the topic of executing effectively on strategy because during the 15 years of conducting research together, they continued to hear the same statement repeated again and again, in a number of settings, and therefore began to question its current legitimacy.  The quote, “90% of organizations fail to execute on strategy effectively,” originates from an article by Walter Kiechel III in 1982 article titled “Corporate Strategists Under Fire”. This number became a catalyst for businesses to seek improved methods for defining, articulating and, ultimately, executing strategy. This fact - less than 10% of organizations can fully implement their strategies - has been repeated, relatively unchanged, over the last 30 years.  



In our interview, Jennifer asked Denis what the BRAG team found out through their recent research activity. “Things do appear to be getting better,” said Denis. “Results of our on-line survey show that in 2012, a higher percentage of organizations were successful at executing their strategy”. In fact, about 40% of the survey respondents self declared that they were successful or very successful. “We did not define what constituted success; we let our respondents self-declare their own success level.” said Denis. Demographic characteristics like industry and company size didn’t appear to be predictive on which organizations would declare success or non-success.

“So what distinguishes successful organizations?” inquired Jennifer.

There are some cultural or organizational characteristics that appear to contribute to successful execution of strategy, and some technical issues and processes that need to be considered, Denis explained. For example, organizations who feel that they are very successful at executing strategy are more likely to have:

A supportive culture,
Effective leadership,
Clear communication to everyone about what the organization is trying to accomplish,
Clear links among strategy,  
Focus on organizational strengths,  
And align the initiatives to get it all done

Denis also offered several technical aspects of successfully executing on strategy that should be considered (hear more by listening to the complete podcast).

Although there are still a large number of companies failing to execute effectively on strategy, the number that are executing effectively is improving, and the checklist of items to consider for improving execution is fairly comprehensive. To read more about the results of this study, refer to the article called, “Are 90% of Companies Still Failing to Execute on Strategy?” in the March/April 2014 edition of the Journal of Corporate Accounting and Finance published by John Wiley and Sons.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about the Business Research and Analysis group, click here.
To learn more about Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management used to monitor the execution of strategy, click here.


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