Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

2019 Change Agents Show How to Win in Finance

Lana Prout
Director, Cloud Business Group, Oracle

Modern Business Experience 2019 turned up the heat yesterday on the Las Vegas Strip. On Day 2 of the event, Oracle celebrated 10 of the hottest companies in finance.

The Change Agents of Finance Awards have become an annual tradition where we celebrate leaders dedicated to finance transformation and modernization. This year’s winners were honored with a celebration at Las Vegas’s iconic Skyfall Lounge, high atop the Delano on the 64th floor. Attendees and award winners were able to relax at the reception and award ceremony with exceptional food, unparalleled panoramic views of the Las Vegas strip, and smooth ambiance. The evening also included a fun performance from Bella Electric Strings—the all-women electric pop violin group that rocks!

Despite the delicious eats, great entertainment, and breathtaking views, the main attraction were our winners: 10 inspirational stories of success in finance.

And the winners are...

Better Together Award

Recognizes fruitful integration of Oracle ERP Cloud with another Oracle Cloud solution.

Western Digital—Donald Robertson, Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer

Western Digital (WD) has undergone a period of exponential growth through a series of high-profile acquisitions. In a short time, it integrated SanDisk and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies onto Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle EPM Cloud, Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, and Oracle Analytics Cloud. Donald Robertson, VP, Chief Accounting Officer, was a catalyst in making this colossal effort into a reality. Robertson and his team used finance modernization as the first step in the multiyear effort to bring WD into the cloud. As a result of standardizing processes throughout its Oracle Cloud solutions, WD has been able to achieve some significant benefits. In the procure-to-pay realm, WD has significantly reduced the amount of time required for purchase approvals—from 16 layers of approvals to just 4. In the area of supplier management, the company has rationalized its supplier count across the three legacy companies, from 30,000 to about 17,000. Overall, they have reduced approval times by 70%, rationalized suppliers by 50%, and improved acquisition agility on a global scale.

Crystal Ball Award

Recognizes financial planning and analysis professionals who leverage analytics to test business models and strengthen business impact.

Michael Baker International—David Dawson, Vice President and Director of Business Intelligence

David Dawson, VP and director of business intelligence for Michael Baker International (MBI), fearlessly embraced Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud to create a solution that revolutionized MBI’s planning process, connecting the executive vision for growth with the information needed to guide strategic planning. Dawson recognized an opportunity to redefine financial planning by leveraging Planning and Budgeting Cloud, which analyzes detailed workforce, project, and expense data.

At any given point, the firm has approximately 6,000 active projects across the US, with another 2,000 potential projects in the pipeline. The organization’s aging planning system—a combination of Adaptive Insights and Excel templates—could not provide the level of analysis needed. The redesigned solution uses individual employee and project data to analyze revenue and expenses for current, upcoming, and future projects, as well as MBI’s capacity to deliver the resources needed. By integrating the data from the project management, CRM, timekeeping, and expense systems, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud provides insight that directs operational decisions such as regional capacity, forecasting, and flexing nonbillable resources.

Fast Finance Award

Recognizes a fast and effective implementation of Oracle ERP Cloud or Oracle EPM Cloud solutions.

Argo Group—Oscar Guerrero, Group Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Argo Group is an international insurance company operating through multiple subsidiaries that provides insurance services and products to clients around the world. Oscar Guerrero, group deputy chief financial officer, wanted to align finance functions across systems to support global finance and improve systems processes that would support future growth. Through strategic and innovation thinking, Guerrero recognized that Argo needed to embrace a cloud-based financial solution to align technology capabilities with industry best practices and ensure support of future domestic and international business growth. Argo went with a phased implementation approach that focused on developing a common roadmap for people, process, and technology across all financial systems; it then incrementally leveraged the cloud to integrate and automate across financial planning, consolidations and close, and ERP financials globally. Argo has been able to achieve improved system processes through standardization and scalability that will sustain future growth.

Frugal Finance Award

Recognizes dramatic cost savings using Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle EPM Cloud solutions.

Diversey—David Feierstein, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Transformation Office

As SVP, Global Head of Transformation Office at Diversey, David Feierstein’s experience is in leading transformations. Feierstein uses Oracle EPM Cloud to go into newly acquired businesses that may have highly disjointed master data and make sense of it and organize it. Oracle EPM Cloud “interacts with all these different applications,” Feierstein explains, helping his team to “implement new systems and new processes extremely quickly.” 

Having instituted zero-based budgeting at four businesses in three different market sectors over the past five years with Oracle EPM Cloud, Feierstein has routinely turned to Oracle to address three critical factors—speed, functionality, and cost. The results so far have been astounding, with cost take-outs of 20-30 percent.

Oracle Billion-Dollar Story Award

Recognizes industry pioneers who use Oracle ERP Cloud and/or Oracle EPM Cloud to deliver monumental savings using techniques such as process standardization and simplification.


GE was an early adopter of Oracle ERP Cloud and their Cloud ERP Team provides advisory and implementation services within GE. They established a blueprint and leveraged a roadmap that has been implemented in GE Corporate, GE Digital, GE Additives and other shared services. The Cloud ERP Team helped expand the footprint from financials in a single country to financials, supply chain and manufacturing implementations in over two dozen countries. 

Robert Barocas is Senior Director and part of the program management team that was instrumental in driving user adoption, changing user mindsets to adopt industry best practices, and moving away from customizations. Barocas and the Cloud ERP Team successfully implemented strong product governance practices to realize the benefits of an integrated cloud suite. By leveraging industry best practices provided through Oracle ERP Cloud, GE has maintained a comparatively small support footprint and quicker rollout times compared to traditional on-premises ERP applications and are well on their way to achieving multi-million-dollar savings.

Procure-to-Payday Award

Recognizes successful transformation of the P2P process using Oracle Procurement Cloud.

Servane Morel, Head of CIO Office

Servane Morel is Head of CIO Office at France’s second largest corporate and investment banking group. Morel was an invaluable resource in helping implement Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud. In the time since migrating to Planning and Budgeting Cloud, the bank has achieved greater levels of efficacy while reining in the cost of IT spending. The business as a whole has already realized several benefits. The automation provided by Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud has provided the finance team freedom from time-consuming manual processes, allowing them to focus on more impactful, value-added tasks.

Roll with It Award

Recognizes significant increase in agility using the rolling forecast capabilities in Oracle EPM Cloud.

Royal Bank of Scotland—Stuart Wray, Head of Implementation Future Finance

Stuart Wray is Head of Implementation Future Finance at RBS Group, a 300-year-old institution where Wray is helping develop the bank’s digital strategy as a change agent dedicated to optimizing the finance function. Wray’s role is to be the bridge between finance and IT to help implement emerging technologies quickly and safely. Wray is working with Oracle to implement a broad range of digital transformation initiatives, using Oracle Cloud applications to transform the internal customer experience; simplify processes; remove complexity; and drive employee engagement.

One of the areas Wray is passionate about is creating an autonomous, touchless rolling forecast process using Oracle EPM Cloud. He has taken RBS live on Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud to model their banking books (mortgage, credit card, private banking, etc.). One of the things he is most excited about are the continuous updates that comes with a cloud model.

Shared Services Superstar

Recognizes a shared services organization using Oracle Cloud applications to achieve best-in-class service delivery.

TTI, Inc.—Chris Goodman, Chief Financial Officer

TTI, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the world’s leading specialty distributor of electromechanical and discrete components. When CFO Chris Goodman joined the organization in 2017, TTI was using a 40-year-old mainframe system whose age posed significant business and security risks and threatened to undermine the company’s ability to best serve its customers. Goodman had witnessed the transformative power of the cloud in other organizations and believed it could transform things in the financial division. He decided on Oracle ERP Cloud because of its ability to streamline finance processes and unify operations in 30-plus locations across the globe. The standardized and automated best practices in Oracle ERP Cloud ultimately helped reduce complexity and costs, while bolstering TTI’s financial reporting capability.

Top Talent Award

Recognizes an effective combination of Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud.

MedStar Health—Patricia Grubb, Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis

MedStar Health is a nonprofit health system based in Maryland that focuses on medical advancement through research, education, and innovation. MedStar has more than 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, urgent care centers, and a world-renowned research institute for medical excellence.

Patricia Grubb, VP of FP&A at MedStar, is a dedicated change agent who created a vision to bring together finance operations and workforce planning. As the executive sponsor, Grubb’s leadership and guidance was key to managing internal leadership and driving project success on time. Grubb was integral to MedStar Health in implementing Oracle Cloud and providing the nonprofit healthcare system with world-class workforce planning, reporting, and analytics in a complete cloud solution. MedStar is able to get a holistic view of its organization with a simplified, consistent user interface that has improved overall employee engagement and user adoption. By moving to Oracle Cloud, MedStar can properly analyze overall costs, forecast future revenue and expenses, and report financial health to stakeholders.

Congratulations to all our Change Agents of Finance Awards Winners!

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