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Oracle Cloud EPM and the “New Rutgers”

Today’s finance professionals know that Enterprise Performance Management provides a useful toolkit for forward-thinking companies and higher education institutions. How? It helps them uncover new insights, plan for the future, and find greater operational efficiencies to advance their core institutional missions of teaching, research, and public service. And throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Oracle Cloud EPM’s ability to navigate scenarios of financial uncertainty - budget cuts, reduced funding, fluctuating student populations – has been helpful to  Rutgers University.  In Oracle’s May 2021 webinar, Ernie DiSandro, Rutgers’ Associate Vice President and University Controller, shared how Oracle EPM has helped Rutgers reinvent its financial processes and pursue finance modernization over the past three years. Rutgers, a public research university and member of the Big Ten conference, is made up of three regional campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden, and one academic health center (Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences) and serves over 71K undergraduate and graduate students on a $4.5B annual budget. When the state enacted legislation to merge most of the units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) with Rutgers in 2013, it kicked off a multi-year program to “understand and define what ‘the new Rutgers’ would look like,” DiSandro says. To support this institutional transformation, Rutgers needed to leverage cloud technologies, adopt new administrative systems, and transform business processes. Adopting Oracle Cloud ERP and EPM was an initial step.     With Oracle Cloud EPM, we’ve moved from an annual close process to a monthly close. - Ernie DiSandro, Associate Vice President and University Controller, Rutgers University   Along with Oracle Cloud ERP, the implementation of the Oracle EPM suite enables Rutgers’ overall effort towards standardizing business processes and improving collaboration across various campuses and units. Oracle EPM provides insight into a broad range of accounting, financial, strategic, and operational management processes, from automating the close process to providing workforce planning capabilities. In doing so, EPM supports the university's staff's financial stewardship of the university’s funds.    Oracle Cloud EPM offers a wide range of capabilities, such as planning and budgeting, forecasting, account reconciliation, financial close and consolidation, and cost of education/responsibility center management. Rutgers’ ability to streamline their financial close was enabled by tools like Close Manager (in EPM’s Financial Consolidation and Close module), where they can build a monthly template, create a schedule and keep track of what tasks have been fulfilled and what tasks are still outstanding. By moving to a monthly close, Rutgers can track their financial spend more accurately and consistently and expedite their year-end audit.   EPM Account Reconciliation allows Rutgers to manage its 1000+ balance sheet accounts, and ultimately rationalize and eliminate over 300 balance sheet accounts, while the Compliance Dashboard’s “traffic light” indicators help with accountability by visualizing which users have completed their reconciliations, and which users might be in need of a nudge. Another key module is Narrative Reporting, which helps manage the production of the university’s annual financials report, “which used to be extremely manual and paper-based; the Controller’s Office was full of binders and schedules,” Di Sandro says. “Three years ago, we implemented Narrative Reporting to eliminate paper and automate the production of the financial statement, but more importantly, we streamlined the overall process, so that the functional owner or contributor actually owns their own part of the document.” Now, Rutgers’ users can collaborate securely throughout the entire reporting process, without requiring a middle- administrator to compile the document.  In addition, EPM Planning allows Rutgers to manage workforce planning and employee compensation and expenses (which make up 65% of Rutgers’ operating expense base); this capability is even more useful when integrated with Oracle Cloud HCM. Rutgers used Oracle Cloud EPM and ERP during the COVID-19 pandemic to tackle challenges such as moving to remote operations and managing student refunds and budget cuts. Oracle EPM enabled Rutgers to have more dependable financial data and better forecasting and scenario planning. “We used Oracle tools to analyze millions of dollars in refunds for housing and dining issued to students and families, and to understand the impact on our bottom line,” DiSandro says. “And we were able to access these tools remotely; because of the COVID-19 pandemic we did the whole audit with the audit team and external auditors entirely remotely last year.”  To learn more about Rutgers’ future plans for its EPM and Oracle Cloud journey, and to hear Ernie’s top three tips for other schools embarking upon their own EPM implementation, check out the webinar, where you’ll also get an in-depth look into Cloud EPM’s features and functionalities. For even more on EPM, read our ebook, Measuring the Value of Oracle Cloud EPM, or request a demo here.

Today’s finance professionals know that Enterprise Performance Management provides a useful toolkit for forward-thinking companies and higher education institutions. How? It helps them uncover new...

Product News

Oracle’s innovation in a new generation of Cloud Applications

Digital transformation is nothing new, and the most forward-looking companies have been doing it for years. Yet in 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of transformation to unheard-of speeds. Almost overnight, entire countries and industries had to change the way they operated. The businesses that were already on a software as a service (SaaS) and cloud journey prior to the pandemic had a head start—and in many cases, they fared better than those that put off transformation until the pandemic forced them to make the move. Businesses today have learned that a new generation of modern enterprise applications is key to helping them build a resilient organization—one that can respond and adapt to sudden shocks faster and more easily.   The importance of modern cloud applications Research firm IDC took a closer look at modern cloud applications in a recent report, Oracle Innovation Manifests in a New Generation of Cloud Applications. Author Frank Della Rosa, Research Director for SaaS and Cloud Software at IDC, writes: “Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications characterize this new generation of business applications and cloud services that are imperative for dealing with disruption from a position of strength.” The strength that IDC refers to comes from the common data model of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications, supporting native integration across our Fusion Cloud line of business apps covering: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing (SCM), Customer Experience (CX), and Human Capital Management (HCM). According to IDC, “A new generation of cloud applications is intelligent, easy to use, and better positioned to meet the rapidly changing needs of today's IT and business buyer that expects a frictionless purchase and onboarding experience; a consumer-like, responsive interface that encourages user adoption; and faster time to value.” They are “smarter, are fully integrated, deliver faster time to value, and are easy to onboard and use.” With these capabilities, our customers are fast-tracking digital innovation in disruptive times. Reliable data is critical for decision-making In 2020, the world discovered that reliable data and processes are vital for survival—literal survival, in the case of vaccines and virus-tracking, but also economic survival, as we started to navigate the world of remote work and omnichannel fulfillment. Old business processes that didn't support rapid shifts were replaced with new digital processes, helping employees get access to the right data, at the right time, to make informed decisions and respond to their customers. Along with integration and reliable data, what are some other benefits of a complete, interoperable suite of SaaS applications? For one thing, you don’t have to uptake the whole suite at once; you can onboard new capabilities in weeks and migrate your line of business applications at your own pace. A complete, interoperable suite We often see scenarios where our customers have legacy systems from competitors and want to modernize and digitize key processes immediately. For example, SAP ERP customers often adopt Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) to improve their financial planning, reporting, and close process. Or they enhance their supply chain capabilities with Oracle Cloud Transportation Management, part of our SCM solution. This approach to transformation helps you meet the business's most immediate needs while migrating your creaking, legacy core systems at a slower pace to minimize disruption. (Learn more about our offerings to SAP ERP customers here.) Ultimately, as you transition more of your business onto the suite, you start to “eliminate the cost and complexity associated with a myriad of point solutions by investing in a platform that simplifies integration, features a common data architecture, and supports multiple deployment options.” That is a very compelling argument to adopt the next generation of application software—and be ready for whatever comes next. Read the full IDC report and learn more about Oracle's new generation of cloud applications. Watch highlights of our Oracle Live broadcast: Hear about innovations across our cloud applications suite from Steve Miranda, Oracle Executive Vice President, Applications Product Development, and his development leaders. Hear how our customers responded to the last 12 months of uncertainty by partnering with Oracle as their innovator of choice.                  

Digital transformation is nothing new, and the most forward-looking companies have been doing it for years. Yet in 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of transformation to...