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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Five Reasons to Connect Finance, Operations and Analytics in the Cloud

By Sarosh Khan, IBM Global Business Services

Across every industry, finance and operations teams play central roles in the day-to-day running of the business. But the financial and operational systems in many companies are sitting in silos. This separation means that a company has two sets of data that it must reconcile in order to get a clear picture of the business. This, in turn, limits the ability of decision makers to identify and capitalize on opportunities for innovation and growth.

Data silos can also prevent analysts from quickly gaining insights to anticipate business outcomes, such as the effect of a new sponsorship or revenue-driving program.

So, what do you do when your isolated finance, operations and analytics solutions are major barriers to growing your revenue? Here are five reasons why you should adopt an integrated solution in the cloud.

1. Increase business agility

Many organizations lack agility because they use on-premises enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that have been highly customized to fit specific business needs. This heavy customization makes it a long, painful, and expensive process to upgrade to the latest version of the software. Users must often wait years for new capabilities, while their competitors leapfrog over them with more agile best practices.

Today, forward-looking companies are subscribing to software-as-a-service (SaaS) models, adopting standardized systems built for the cloud. New capabilities are rolled out quickly by the cloud provider, so you can have the tools you need to keep up and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving business environment.

2. Enable automation

Automating processes across separate, isolated systems is challenging, if not impossible, in many cases. Before adopting an integrated solution, one client—owner of some of North America’s leading sports franchises—had to manually transfer data between the ERP system and the customer relationship management (CRM), ticketing and point-of-sale systems.

By adopting a SaaS solution with integrated finance, operations and analytics, your systems are connected in such a way that you can automate tasks that previously required manual labor, such as data transfer, extraction and reconciliation. You can also accelerate the processing of key tasks, such as invoices, purchase orders and journal entries. Thanks to automation in Oracle Cloud applications, my client no longer has to spend countless hours entering data, which previously included over 60,000 paper invoices each year.

3. Gain real-time insights

When finance and operations are separated, business models aren’t typically aligned with financial plans and forecasts. It can also be difficult to procure timely reports. But with an integrated cloud, multidimensional analytics and reporting are available out of the box, in real time, as soon as transactions happen.

Modern analytical tools can help you harness structured data in your ERP systems and unstructured data from other sources, such as emails, social media and market indices. Businesses can use these tools to build reports that factor in financial and operational variables. These enhanced analyst reports can help you gain deeper insights to inform corporate planning and better anticipate business outcomes.

4. Reduce maintenance costs

It can be difficult and expensive to integrate systems that aren’t on the same platform. If you have a different reporting or analytics solution sitting outside your financial system, you have to employ people to maintain connections between them. On the flip side, integration can significantly reduce complexity and maintenance costs because all your data is in a single database, and more tasks can be automated.

A connected, complete SaaS cloud can reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) because you no longer need specialized middleware or expensive talent to manage your systems. As a result, your employees can spend more time on activities that provide value to your business.

5. Improve the user experience

From the user perspective, a connected cloud is simply more convenient. You can see data consistently across your business. In fact, all the reasons I’ve highlighted for adopting a connected finance, operations and analytics cloud can help your employees work smarter and faster while focusing on their own expertise.

Learn more

Check out the IBM Cloud™ Impact Assessment for Oracle to see how IBM is helping businesses implement connected solutions in the cloud, paving the way for them to capitalize on groundbreaking technologies.

IBM will also be attending and presenting at Oracle OpenWorld, October 22-25, 2018 in San Francisco. We invite you to connect with us at the event and attend our speaker sessions to learn more about integrating your finance, operations and analytics systems.

Sarosh Khan is Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services – Oracle ERP Cloud Leader, with more than 23 years of IT consulting experience in building and leading high performance consulting teams and managing large, complex, mission-critical programs. Mr. Khan in an expert in aligning strategic business goals with next-generation Oracle technology solutions to support business growth, profit/revenue gains, operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction, and strong competitive advantage. Connect with Sarosh on LinkedIn.

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