One positive outcome emerging from the pandemic is the acceleration of cloud-based transformation strategies. The pandemic required drastic shifts in operations and even business models, which exposed major shortcomings in lengthy planning cycles and inefficient financial close processes. They simply couldn’t keep up with the accelerated rate of change.
In our latest survey of enterprise finance and IT leaders, we wanted to find out how organizations with Oracle Fusion Cloud EPM benefited, as well as what challenged those who had not moved to a SaaS-based EPM. The results were conclusive: A modern EPM system added tremendous value in terms of speed, collaboration and agility, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, 85% of Cloud EPM customers polled in our “2020 Value of EPM” survey said that they received more value by being in the cloud during the pandemic.” Here are three main takeaways from the report.
A major challenge that organizations faced during the COVID-19 crisis was collaboration among remote workers. In fact, 47% of companies that moved to Oracle Cloud EPM cite remote work as a deciding factor, with collaboration and communication next in line at 30%.
Rapid change requires collaborative processes that connect the dots between operational and financial data. Modern cloud-based EPM solutions provide access to up-to-date information and collaborative workflows, enabling stakeholders at all levels of the organization to contribute no matter where they happen to be located.
The COVID-19 crisis showed that organizations need to be ready for anything. Planning professionals using Oracle Cloud EPM were able to complete traditionally time-consuming tasks more quickly. 56% planned faster, 35% less time was spent on monthly forecasts, and 31% reduced their time gathering data. And it’s not just about speed: As EPM solutions integrate emerging technologies like AI and machine learning, they’re closing the gap between analysis and action. Smart automation offers fresh insights, quickly, that may have been difficult to unearth with older manual processes. Also, nearly half (44%) of respondents saw an increase in forecast accuracy after moving to the cloud, perhaps because cloud frees up more time to spend analyzing data and acting on outcomes. In fact, 19% found more time to spend on analysis and 9% reported they could focus more time on taking action.
For finance organizations to excel, they need world-class financial close processes and reporting. But those capabilities eluded organizations that had to rely on outdated technologies to close their books. This year, more respondents than ever said that “lack of automation” was the primary impediment to an easier and more efficient financial close. In contrast, current users of Oracle Cloud EPM reported efficiency improvements and dramatically decreased spreadsheet usage, thanks to the system’s cloud-embedded capabilities such as account reconciliation and automation.
Collaboration, speed, and accuracy all add up to greater agility in the face of rapid change. And if there was ever a period where speed and agility mattered, we certainly saw it in 2020.
Survey respondents who had implemented Oracle Cloud EPM cited improved flexibility and visibility into planning and forecasting activities, as well as greater alignment between lines of business. It accelerated their organizations’ digital transformation so leaders could make faster, more accurate business decisions and maneuver as they needed to.
In addition, companies could take advantage of new capabilities and processes. For example, 88% said that they increased scenario planning in reaction to the pandemic. Many also leveraged predictive planning in Oracle Cloud EPM to help identify trends and patterns in financial and operational data.
With pandemic restrictions constantly changing in many countries, these capabilities will continue to be critical as priorities evolve from day-to-day operations to forward-looking strategies.