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Keeping Score with Sportable Scoreboards

Thirty three years ago, Mike Cowen was sitting in the bleachers watching his son’s baseball game, when he noticed the diamond didn’t have a scoreboard. In fact, many of the places where his kids played sports lacked score-keeping devices. As a self-professed data geek, Cowen decided to invent a battery-powered, portable contraption that he could bring along to games. And with that, Sportable Scoreboards was born. From its start in a California garage to today’s 40,000 square foot facility in Murray, Kentucky, Sportable Scoreboards is home to 60 dedicated employees who are eager to see exciting numbers on the board. Their commitment to the company’s success has propelled Sportable to become one of the major players in the youth and high school market over the last three decades. To continue this momentum, Cowen, now chairman of the board, recently challenged his team to double its growth over the next five years. Sportable manufactures 6,000 made-to-order scoreboards each year for every indoor and outdoor sport imaginable. By doubling its production, Sportable hopes to positively impact twice as many communities across America. “There are hundreds of thousands of young people that are able to compete on an athletic field with a scoreboard that validates their experience and says ‘what you’re doing matters,’” Mike Daniel, Sportable’s president explained. “And quite frankly, that tells us that what we’re doing matters as well.” Sportable’s customers are our country’s communities. They are high school athletic directors and coaches with limited or non-existent budgets. They are parks and recreation departments who rely on government funding for their sports programs. They are parents and Little League officials who put on bake sales and car washes to raise money for a scoreboard. So how does a business plan to double in size in a market that may not be able to afford the product it sells? Sportable takes pride in meeting its customers on their own playing fields. To do so, the company created a Score Rewards program that helps schools sell advertising space on their scoreboard to offset costs. They also implemented a long-term finance program for more expensive models. But in order to double down on growth, Sportable realized it had to transform the way it operated, in hopes of finding efficiencies and cost savings that it could pass on to its customers. “We had to make radical change and radical improvements to get from where we are currently to where we want to be,” Daniel said. “We don’t want incremental change, we want to transform the way we address our business very fundamentally. There are inefficiencies, there are opportunities, and there are ways for us to reach our customers that we’ve never focused on before.” Sportable Scoreboards Grows and Transforms with Oracle SaaS Sportable recognized the need to up its game. Its front and back office software was outdated. The company was maintaining a dozen disparate, legacy systems that didn’t talk to each other. Costly to manage, the customized integrations between each weren’t sustainable for future growth. Each line of business was operating with duplicate records, process inefficiencies, and manual data entry. Cowen’s challenge to take Sportable to the next level led the company to retire its on-premises systems and overhaul its entire business – from marketing, sales, quoting, and customer service to finance, accounting, procurement, and order management – in a move to Oracle Cloud. “Our owner and leadership team decided that it was time for us to make a bid toward growth, and what we were seeking was a single source of truth,” recalled Micah Sugg, director of IT. This data transparency and accuracy has had an immediate impact at Sportable. By integrating Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Engagement Cloud, website traffic increased and sales reps are pursuing higher quality leads. Order precision improved with Oracle CPQ Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud, reducing waste and required man power. Oracle Order Management Cloud, Oracle Manufacturing Cloud, and Oracle Supply Chain Cloud help ease order fulfillment, shipping the right product to the right customer, quickly. For the first time ever, accounting and financial teams can access the same data as their colleagues in sales and service with Oracle Financials Cloud, eliminating confusion caused by thousands of duplicate records. Sugg’s IT department is also reducing costs, no longer relying on a third party for server maintenance and set-up. Freed from the day-to-day business system maintenance, Sugg’s team is increasingly focusing on product development, exploring IoT-enabled scoreboards among other emerging technologies. Additionally, this single source of truth enables Sportable’s management team to quickly generate reports for strategic planning. “We’ve really freed up time to be more intentional about where we’re going and what we’re going to do, because that intentionality takes time,” Sugg explained. Sportable has also transformed its customer experience, removing the barriers and complexity of finding a product that meets its customers’ unique needs at an affordable price point. The company can now guide each school or parks director through a simple quoting and order process, shipping a scoreboard–configured for lights, horns, and team colors–to the field or arena in just 10 days. (Its competitors take twice as long to deliver a product.) Should the customer encounter any issues with set-up or maintenance, Sportable’s service department is on hand 24/7 so the inquiring coach or parent can get back to what’s really important–game day. At the end of the day, there’s no higher priority than Friday’s hockey game or Saturday’s soccer tournament. A scoreboard is just one part of that experience, but it’s a profound one. “There's nothing better than going past a football game on a Friday night and seeing our scoreboard in front of thousands of people,” Cowen said. “We’re united by the fact that we all love kids, we love sports, and we want the best programs that we can offer. Sportable is a part of that. We feel very proud about that.” Learn more about Sportable Scoreboard’s business transformation amidst a growing youth sports market on Forbes.    

Thirty three years ago, Mike Cowen was sitting in the bleachers watching his son’s baseball game, when he noticed the diamond didn’t have a scoreboard. In fact, many of the places where his kids...

Finance Topics & Trends

Oracle vs. Workday: 5 Things You Need to Know

By Jennifer Toomey, Adriana Smith and Nick Stankovic, Oracle Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You have great plans for your business, and there are myriad opportunities in front of you. You want to move quickly to take advantage of them. But your IT systems are holding you back. Your sales team is using CRM from a vendor that doesn’t sell much else. Your finance team uses on-premises ERP for accounting, and does planning, budgeting, and analysis using spreadsheets. Meanwhile, human resources is managing payroll using an outsourced provider that doesn’t integrate with your on-premises HR system or your ERP system. Then along comes a cloud provider like Workday that promises to simplify all of it for you. They vow to give you a single, seamless, highly usable solution. Over the past year, however, we've seen the line between promises and reality come into sharper focus. It's important to keep looking at what Workday can actually offer across its business applications and compare how these offerings stack up against Oracle Cloud. This turns out to be a big topic, especially when you get into detailed, hard-fact comparisons. We thought it would be useful to distill all of this into five things every potential customer should know as they weigh the merits of Workday versus Oracle for finance, reporting, planning, HR, supply chain, and other business applications. 1. Innovation Matters, Especially Today Over the years Workday has talked about “the Power of One,” meaning a single system for both finance and HR. Innovation plays a huge role in this story: The best way to maintain a single, seamless user experience is to invest—heavily and consistently—in building an in-house R&D and technology innovation pipeline. However, the reality is that Workday mainly uses acquisitions instead of in-house R&D to drive its innovation pipeline. Rather than working on truly unique and innovative capabilities, Workday is fighting a long, hard, uncertain battle to integrate a grab-bag of inconsistent, incompatible acquired offerings. The cost of that fight is clear. On the cutting edge, Oracle's artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities are driving high-value innovations such as digital assistants, powerful new mobile apps, built-in machine learning capabilities for end users, and advanced controls. Oracle's internal innovation engine has enabled more than 1,200 enhancements and features for Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud alone. Workday, by comparison, is betting that it can integrate acquired applications (like Adaptive Insights, for planning) to gain functionality that Oracle Cloud already offers. Even if those bets pay off—and these types of integration efforts are almost never an easy task—Workday is still playing catch-up. As Oracle keeps the pedal down on its own innovation engine, industry analysts have noted that Workday’s portfolio of applications is not completely comprehensive, that Workday has functional gaps compared to other HCM vendors, and the extent of support for use cases for emerging technologies such as adaptive intelligence, machine learning, or digital assistants, is not as strong as competitors like Oracle. 2. Your Business is Unique In the world of cloud applications, customizations are the enemy of innovation. One of the biggest benefits of software-as-a-service is that the cloud provider updates the software on a regular basis. If you’ve changed the underlying code, an update can cause your painstaking customizations to break. Yet businesses invest a fortune to stand apart from competitors. Your business applications should support those efforts—not undermine them. Rather than customizing your cloud ERP or HCM applications, you can extend them using platform-as-a-service (PaaS). With PaaS, you can build new capabilities that live outside of your core applications, meaning you can upgrade your SaaS environment without affecting your extended functionality. Oracle offers its own cloud platform to let you build extensions for your Oracle Cloud applications. Workday’s platform is still in limited availability; until it is generally available, customers who would like to expand their Workday applications must use a set of third-party integration tools. 3. You Can't Run a Business on Slideware and Solution Gaps Analyst reports reveal that Workday is missing some mainstream capabilities that Oracle offers today—and, in many cases, has offered for years. ERP users looking for quote-to-cash, order management, or inventory valuation tools won't find these capabilities in Workday; neither will HCM users looking for HR applications with complex scheduling requirements, HR case management, HR Help Desk, Advanced HCM Controls, HR Risk & Compliance, or work-life solutions. From financials to planning to supply chain, working with Workday means living with solution gaps—or, if you're lucky, with incomplete functionality and partially integrated acquisitions. Again and again, customers have a choice: Get the capabilities they need from Oracle Cloud, or settle for the possibility that Workday will eventually move this missing functionality from slideware to software. 4. You Need to Be Ready for Future Growth As your business grows and scales, existing technology and business needs will change, and new ones will emerge. Some firms will need to integrate external data sources; others will need access to cloud platform and infrastructure capabilities. Still others will want more flexible cloud deployment options and contracts. Workday’s focus is on finance and HR software. For lines of business such as sales, marketing, customer service, or supply chain, you’ll need to connect Workday to systems from other providers. Eventually, you’ll end up with an IT hairball that’s nearly impossible to untangle. In contrast, organizations can (and are) running their entire business on Oracle Cloud: finance, HR, customer experience, supply chain, and more. Oracle Cloud Applications all run on the same data model and use the same interface—so that both the data and the user experience are consistent across lines of business. Oracle PaaS lets you extend these capabilities if and when you need to—something that smaller cloud providers can’t match. And we offer Data as a Service (DaaS), so that you can combine anonymized third-party data with your own data to discover unforeseen trends and insights. As business needs change, companies can add new capabilities with Oracle—without developing a cloud hairball that ties up growth in knots. 5. One Fact Is Worth a Thousand Promises It's increasingly clear that Workday has a lot riding on its future roadmap—about capabilities, completeness, and giving customers a clear path to scale, compete, and succeed. Maybe Workday will deliver on that roadmap—or maybe it won't. Either way, when your business runs on Oracle Cloud, you can stop betting on a vendor's promises, and start depending on hard facts: Oracle offers nine pre-configured payroll localizations—while Workday offers just four. Oracle offers a complete ERP, EPM, HCM and analytics solution, using the same data model across the entire cloud. Workday has a separate data model for planning (Adaptive Insights) which can lead to mismatched data and reporting.   Oracle Cloud includes a full set of line-of-business offerings across Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing, and eCommerce. Workday does not. The examples go on and on. It simply comes down to this: Oracle delivers. Workday is incomplete. Organizations running their businesses in the Oracle Cloud have streamlined processes, empowered their employees, made their teams more nimble, increased customer satisfaction, and fueled growth—just take a look at our thousands of success stories and analyst reports across the domains of ERP, EPM and HCM. We can’t think of a more ringing endorsement than that.    

By Jennifer Toomey, Adriana Smith and Nick Stankovic, Oracle Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You have great plans for your business, and there are myriad opportunities in front of you. You...

Finance Topics & Trends

How to Move from PeopleSoft to Oracle ERP Cloud

Don't Let Customizations Get in the Way By Paul Laverty, Oracle Americas Practice Leader, DXC Technology Early on in the evolution of cloud technologies, many PeopleSoft customers were resistant to adopting cloud because they were burdened with heavily customized applications. Since SaaS applications are based on standardized processes, many companies found this to be a point of resistance. However, the standardized processes are based on best practices, which means that most companies don’t need as many customizations as they previously required with on-premises solutions. If a customer has a mission-critical customization now and there’s no other option than to customize, that functionality can be rebuilt using Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) and easily integrated with the Oracle SaaS application. As Oracle Cloud technologies have evolved, we’re able to remove barriers, including the “lack of customizations” argument as an inhibitor to moving PeopleSoft applications to the cloud. In fact, with nearly every PeopleSoft upgrade project in recent years, customers have been moving away from heavy customizations. Or, they’ve been looking for SaaS applications that can co-exist with their on-premises solutions. For example, if a company has been using PeopleSoft Financial Management, they can migrate some of the functionality to the appropriate finance modules of Oracle ERP Cloud as a way to make their path to the cloud less daunting. My point is that with today’s Oracle Cloud solutions and tools there are many, many different roads to the cloud that can eliminate the traditional barriers for migration. Overcoming the Challenge of Customizations When working with PeopleSoft customers who are delaying a cloud migration because of customizations, we drive a series of steps to help them understand that moving to Oracle ERP Cloud really does make sense for their business. Starting with a fit-gap workshop, we walk through the features and functionality of the latest version of PeopleSoft to show them that they don’t really need that many customizations anymore. Then, we highlight similar functionality in Oracle ERP Cloud as an alternative to an on-premises upgrade. If necessary, we create a business case to illustrate to the customer that they can actually save money by moving to a more standard cloud application versus continuing to use so many customizations. The main objective is to demonstrate to customers that they can realize significant cost savings and a better TCO when they move away from multiple customizations and migrate to Oracle Cloud. In addition, customers find costs savings from lower support and maintenance costs and a streamlined upgrade/testing process since that burden shifts to Oracle. Ready to Migrate: Getting There Quickly Once a customer is ready to migrate from PeopleSoft to Oracle ERP Cloud, even with numerous customizations, the process for a cloud application migration can run quite quickly. We use native Oracle tools and other intellectual property, like our project management process and integrations, to accelerate the migration. For example, we conduct a full assessment to understand the customer’s goals and whether they want to move all or just some of their functionality to Oracle Cloud. Next comes an analysis of their overall architecture using the PeopleSoft toolset. Then, we use Oracle Cloud Manager to help us plan their path to the cloud. We focus carefully on mapping networking and security components, like IP addresses, servers, and firewalls, to ensure that all elements integrate properly. With a full regression test, if the customer has deployed PeopleSoft Test Framework and built test scripts, that can also be used to speed the testing. Also, leveraging the record-and-build tool, the customer has the ability to record test scripts and reuse them. If you use Oracle development products and a fine-tuned project management process, it will speed the deployment and testing of cloud solutions—which helps get Oracle Cloud Applications up and running in days instead of weeks. Customer Perspective: Migration from Legacy PeopleSoft to Oracle ERP Cloud A Florida-based mid-sized investment and financial services company was facing an end-of-life situation with the underlying hardware for its on-premises PeopleSoft Financials applications. With a major upgrade looming, the company evaluated and ultimately deployed an Oracle ERP Cloud solution as a modern alternative to its legacy application. With a concerted effort to avoid customizations, the company opted for a “vanilla implementation” to make use of the best practice functionality and ensure that the twice-a-year upgrades would be as low-impact as possible. According to the project manager, “We’ve had to change our mindset to adopt the SaaS application functionality as it’s packaged. We use some of the functionality that’s available with each release, but we don’t always use all of it. And that’s okay for our organization. With that said, the big benefit is that we always have the latest and greatest functionality when it hits the market. I find that once our accountants get comfortable with the regular tasks that they perform every month, their comfort level improves, and in turn, our user adoption rises.” DXC Technology is an Oracle Platinum partner with a long-standing Oracle partnership and successful track record for delivering high value to clients. DXC's deep industry, systems integration and managed services expertise, coupled with Oracle Cloud technology, ensures organizations continue to compete in the digital world. Did you know? Cloud delivers 3.2x more ROI than on-premises applications. Get the research.

Don't Let Customizations Get in the Way By Paul Laverty, Oracle Americas Practice Leader, DXC Technology Early on in the evolution of cloud technologies, many PeopleSoft customers were resistant to...

Finance Topics & Trends

How to Be an Innovator on Campus

Institutions of higher learning see themselves as incubators of great ideas. From scientific research to medical trials to archaeological digs, faculty and students are on a continual quest to uncover new knowledge and innovations. But when was the last time your campus did something innovative to boost student recruitment? Make better financial decisions? Or improve student retention and success? When it comes to campus technology, many institutions of higher learning are far behind the times. While students interact with each other on their mobile devices via SnapChat, Twitter or Facebook, they struggle to get the same ease of use with their course calendars, student finances and transcripts. Make no mistake: innovation in these areas is on its way. I’ll give you one example: technology experts are already looking at the tamper-proof security and permanence of blockchain as a way to store and share student records. When someone sets up a student record blockchain, will your institution be in a position to join? Will you have the right technology in place to get access? This is where cloud applications begin to show their value. Unlike on-premises systems (with which most institutions are burdened), cloud applications are updated regularly by the provider with the latest technology innovations—including emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, blockchain and more. Cloud gives your institution the freedom to innovate using technology that’s always up-to-date. Not All Clouds are Created Equal Most providers only offer one piece of the cloud puzzle: marketing, or student services, or finance, or some other stand-alone system. These disconnected clouds require significant integration efforts for services to flow smoothly from one department to the next. This slows down IT efforts and gets in the way of innovation. Success requires an entirely new kind of student system—one built from the ground-up on a single platform, with a game-changing financial aid module, real-time insight and collaboration tools, powered by AI, and updated quarterly by a cloud provider that values research and development as much as you do. We invite university business officers to join our webinar to see Oracle Student Cloud in action. Register today and learn how to: Optimize enrollment Improve recruiter productivity Track student interactions Improve student engagement Easily manage financial aid packages Deliver student success Register now to see how Oracle Student Cloud gives you the freedom to innovate.

Institutions of higher learning see themselves as incubators of great ideas. From scientific research to medical trials to archaeological digs, faculty and students are on a continual quest to uncover...