Transformation?

I started working at Oracle in 1997.  Since then, we (and most everyone) have been talking about transforming finance operations....but what does that mean exactly?  From my perspective, I thought it meant eliminate waste and menial tasks and giving your finance team more time to work on more strategic things.  That seems logical and simplistic, but how much progress have finance teams (and their IT departments) really made over the past fifteen years?

I have yet to talk to a customer that doesn't have one amusing task that makes me chuckle.  Sometimes they still print hard copies of transactions to "file," or sometimes they print 700 pages of data to "analyze," or sometimes they cut and paste from one or more reports into a spreadsheet.  Upon hearing these things, my first question is always, "Why do you do that?" to which their response is rarely the same.    Sometimes it's related to trust (both the employee and the system).  Sometimes, it's habit-based.  And sometimes it is just impossible to accomplish the end result without some manual effort.

I will say that I used to print nearly everything that I needed to review.  Partly, because I liked having the ability to scribble notes on the paper, and partly, because it was uncomfortable to read online.  However, I have changed. Rarely do I print anything anymore.  It's easier for me to read and notate online, and well, I guess I've just changed my habits.

So where do you think our resistance to change comes from?  Is it truly deficits in our systems, or is it our own personal resistance to change?  What's your most annoying & untransformed task?


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