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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

3 ways companies are changing in a COVID world

Guest Author

By Rahul Kamath, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Cloud EPM

Billionaire Ray Dalio posits there is no avoiding pain, especially if you have ambitious goals. If we identify and embrace the healthy -- yet painful -- truth, we will endure and thrive in the face of challenges.

In this blog, I’d like to share three examples of how pioneering companies are exploring structural change as a way to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. These changes are critical for a number of industries where it’s clear that we’ll likely never return to business as usual.

1. Digital transformation

Even before COVID-19, 92 percent of companies thought their business models needed to change given digitization, according to McKinsey & Company. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend, in large part through cloud transformations. Here at Oracle, operating in a virtual environment lets us do more with less, with higher productivity and better alignment. Linear, sequential operating models have given way to an agile “evolutionary” operating model that uses a global chart of accounts to enable a highly automated, 1-day financial close. The advantages come from embracing data as an asset, iterating through changes to achieve faster consensus, real-time collaboration, and policy-driven automation.

High quality, consistent and complete information is imperative for trustworthy decision-making, and enterprise data management (EDM) as a discipline serves as its bedrock. Unlike the top-down data governance approaches of the past, EDM implies a self-service, yet governed, approach to analytics and performance management. EDM is a “self-organizing” approach that is needs-driven and bottom-up—providing the flexibility and agility to build accurate and aligned systems of operation and intelligence.

 Julie Sweet, the CEO of Accenture, said in a recent interview that the ability to transform ‘at speed’ will be a fundamental change in how companies operate—and compete—during the health crisis and beyond. Oracle customers like Kroger are taking heed, and accelerating their cloud journeys. Linda Weber, VP Technology at Kroger, said during a recent online event that partnering with the business, taking a proactive approach to change management, and not taking data integrity for granted have helped her company transform, succeed and thrive in these unprecedented times.

2. Business transformation

To build a company to last, we must build to adapt. Agile enterprises are taking the lead, reimagining and retooling themselves to deal with the supply-demand shifts created by the pandemic. Grocers have pivoted to ecommerce platforms and home delivery. Non-emergency medicine has shifted towards telemedicine. Universities and schools have transitioned to digital classrooms.

While people are commuting less, there is a surge in home delivery services. Uber’s recently-announced acquisition of Postmates, and Cornershop before it, is a case in point. It illustrates how the ride sharing service is adapting itself to where the proverbial growth ‘puck’ is going in light of shifting consumer demand. Oracle enables companies like Uber to govern structural alignment of acquired companies. Enterprises can create snapshots in time to version their enterprise structures. They can model what-if scenarios to explore possible acquisition candidates, and back-test planned changes against historical transactions to quantify synergies—driving consensus and securing approvals. Post-acquisition, companies can use these insights to evaluate success and measure progress against goals.

3. Financial transformation

Business model innovation is often at the heart of many financial transformations. The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has forced companies to take a dragonfly’s eye view that looks at the world through a diverse set of lenses.

For example, the restaurant industry has had a tumultuous year, and business model innovation has been a saving grace for many. As foot traffic has evaporated, restaurants converted dine-in experiences to take-out and delivery business models. Still others leased spare kitchen capacity in empty restaurants to take advantage of the ghost kitchen economy, which serves eateries overwhelmed by the surge in delivery orders. Reef Kitchens has transformed urban parking companies plagued by vacancies and monetized adjacent parking spaces into ghost kitchens or mobile distribution centers.

A meaningful response requires the ability to roll out new business models quickly, and the agility to address sudden shifts in economic activity. With enterprise data management, companies can collaboratively design new business models without disrupting business continuity, develop new charts of accounts while leveraging existing segments, and swiftly operationalize new ways of doing business.

COVID-19 is both a humanitarian and economic crisis, but every crisis also presents an opportunity to learn and change. We urge you to take advantage of this moment to transform your business and emerge stronger on the other side. While there are no playbooks, there is considerable evidence to suggest that going virtual and digitizing your business will leave you better prepared to weather the storm and help you thrive in times of renewed growth. Investments in cloud technologies such as enterprise data management will position you for success in these efforts.

Learn how EDM can help you adapt and respond to change faster, with less disruption.

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Pavi Tuesday, November 10, 2020
    Informative and well written!
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