Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Get Fit in 2019: Why Cloud Is the Healthy Choice for Lean Finance

Tansy Brook
Director of Product Marketing

Getting fit is all about inputs and action: eat fresh, nutritious food and keep moving your body. Business health is the same: take in high-quality, real-time data and feed it into an ongoing loop of innovation. 

Oracle customer SRAM, a Chicago-based manufacturer of high-end bicycle components, could be called a champion for both human and business health. Not only does the company embed fitness-tracking analytics in its unique products, but it also uses data to maintain lean internal operations. This, too, benefits customers because they get ever-improving products without paying for more non-value-adding overhead.

A key area where lean processes have taken hold at the $725 million private company is finance management. SRAM was running an aging version of Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and was faced with deciding whether to upgrade to a newer version of HFM (which required upgrading the database), or move to the cloud.

At the same time, the company wanted to be able to keep its financial headcount in check by leveraging technology to accelerate and streamline financial close processes. Going with a cloud solution made sense moving forward in terms of SRAM’s culture and industry, where speed and execution are critical.

“SRAM is a medium-sized company, and when looking to move to the cloud, we wanted a solution that was going to require minimal IT effort, along with satisfying the complex requirements that we have, such as intercompany eliminations and currency translation,” said Ted Homewood, global director of finance for SRAM.

Smarter Products and Processes

SRAM has always been an innovative company. When it started in 1987 with six employees, it manufactured and sold gear-shifting technology. Over the past 30-plus years, SRAM has grown to 3,500 employees organically and through acquisitions. Today it plays in the mushrooming smart sporting goods market and sells its brands in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Smart sporting equipment incorporates advanced software-based technologies, such as analytics and augmented reality, into traditional equipment designs. This smart segment is growing much faster than the sporting goods industry as a whole, according to Coresight Research: anticipated 51% growth globally from 2014 to 2021, reaching a market value of $864 million, vs. 3% from 2016 to 2020, to $83 billion.

SRAM’s products, which include brands like SRAM, RockShox, Truvativ, Quarq, and Zipp, enable wireless/no-cable mechanical operation (i.e. shifting gears) as well as analytics-based performance feedback for the rider, who can use the insight to reach fitness goals such as distance, endurance, calories burned, etc.

Just as bike owners started changing their preferences to want self-focused insights delivered on the spot via standard equipment, so did the internal team at SRAM start craving better access to more insights about business health so that they, too, could improve performance. Software-driven automation is what makes smart sports equipment “smart,” and the same is true for business process automation. Cloud computing and services are the tools that enable this type of automation, so SRAM knew that its next step for finance process modernization was the cloud.

Moving Financial Consolidation and Close to the Cloud

A long-time user of Hyperion (starting with Enterprise and then HFM on-premises) SRAM worked with its implementation partner Huron to upgrade to Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud (FCCS) for capabilities the company needed to more quickly access, analyze, and act on its valuable enterprise data.

FCCS gave the company out-of-the-box best practices with a preconfigured consolidation model, which makes it easier to meet global reporting requirements while also driving significant cost and time savings. The process efficiencies that SRAM gained have streamlined the consolidation and close processes. The process to import, consolidate and translate ERP data used to take 20 to 30 minutes, but today it takes only 15 to 20 minutes—a savings of nearly three hours each month.

The solution was easy to adopt as well, Homewood said. Because users were already using Hyperion, no new training was needed, and SRAM even eliminated the cost of maintaining the on-premises server.

Best of all, SRAM’s CFO is getting more and better business insight, without involving IT experts.

“Our CFO sees value in FCCS being able to provide financial information on a consolidated basis in a very timely and efficient manner during the month-end process,” Homewood said. “But our CEO also is consistently looking to get a read on the financials, and FCCS gives us the ability to give that consolidated view to him at his fingertips.”

A Healthier Future

SRAM’s choice for a cloud solution rather than a Hyperion upgrade was made with the future in mind. As data volumes and software-automation capabilities grow, SRAM will be able to scale quickly and cost-effectively.

“One of the ways that we look at adding value to the customer is being able to leverage our current resources to grow without adding cost,” Homewood said. “If we were to do acquisitions, if we were to do more complex transactions, FCCS gives us the opportunity to continue to do what we need to do in terms of growing the business as well as adding value for our customer.”

Watch the video to learn more about SRAM's story.


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