Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How ERP Solves the Problem of Fake News

David Werner
Senior Director, ERP Product Marketing

Journalists, news industry leaders, readers, and even technology companies are struggling today with the proliferation of “fake news.” Many news stories posted and shared online contain inaccuracies or misleading information—often by accident, sometimes deliberately. The constant intake of unfiltered and unvetted information makes it increasingly challenging for the average person to know when they are seeing an objective truth they can trust.

While this is a relatively new challenge for individuals, many businesses and other organizations figured out how to solve this problem long ago.

Enterprises have long struggled with the problem of inconsistent information across teams, organizations, and stand-alone systems. A straightforward question with one correct answer might generate different information depending on who you ask. Sales, Finance, Procurement, HR, and even project leaders might provide different versions of the truth from their disconnected systems or spreadsheets. But they can’t all be correct.

To solve this problem, forward-thinking businesses and leading enterprises have turned to complete, connected, cloud-based ERP.

With modern ERP (enterprise resource planning), all transactional data is brought together, synchronized, and analyzed—providing everyone with objective truth. Without it, each line of business or subsidiary can have its own version of the truth—making it nearly impossible to get the information that business leaders need to make the best decisions.

Let me explain.

For Sales, their truth may be in their stand-alone CRM system, or in the additional spreadsheets that contain the deal insight that CRM systems aren’t designed to include. For project leaders, the truth about project status and resource assignments is in their stand-alone project system, or spread across numerous disconnected project schedulers. For HR, their truth may be in the stand-alone HCM system, along with the spreadsheets and PowerPoints they received in the last briefing from Finance. For Finance, while the data in their financial system may be considered the final word for the enterprise, their data is dependent on what they receive from other systems—and it is often a step or two behind. Often, by the time Finance closes its books, the numbers are a day, a week, or even a month old—and, therefore, not the actual truth.

The answer is to have all of these systems rely on a single data model, pulling numbers from a single source of data—with all financial transactions performed by the ERP system and propagated back to CRM, HR, reporting, and so on. In this way, you can have confidence that every time a transaction is performed, it is accurately reflected in all systems, across all lines of business.

To determine if your enterprise is getting the real truth, try asking the following questions about key information.

Is the information coming from only one viewpoint?

The best way to identify when information may not be the actual truth is if it is coming from multiple sources. If the data is coming from a stand-alone system or spreadsheets within one line of business, there is likely data from other lines of business and systems that haven’t been taken into consideration.

With a single data model, organizational viewpoints come together as data from all organizations is synchronized to represent everyone, and be accessible to everyone.

How current is the information?

The longer business information ages, the less accurate it is. But, determining how old information is (and therefore how accurate it is) can be tricky. Information often ages even before it’s first entered into a system, a spreadsheet, or even an email. And, it ages further as it sits in one system before rolling up into another, and maybe into another, before it’s finally analyzed and consumed.

A modern, cloud-based ERP allows up-to-the-minute flow of information across lines of business and subsidiaries, so that all information is as current as possible, and therefore as accurate as possible.

Has the information been sufficiently analyzed?

Analytics plays a key role in determining truth. Regardless of how many systems the data has been pulled from, or how current it is, the truth can be elusive without the right analytics to decipher it. Incomplete or insufficient analytics can look at good data and not find the answers to important questions. Or, worse yet, it can find the wrong answers—resulting in fake news.

Today’s ERP and EPM analytics provide best practices, easy-to-use dashboards, reports, and metrics that evaluate current and historical data to identify the truth today and predict the truth tomorrow.

Enterprises with modern ERP systems have a single source of objective truth where everyone, regardless of line of business, can get consistent answers to questions and know they are getting objective truth. Previous discrepancies in data between systems or organizations have been identified, evaluated, and resolved so there is ultimately no disputing the information. As a result, there is no fake news.

As we struggle as individuals today with how to tell real news from fake, I’m optimistic that solutions are on the horizon. I don’t know what the solution will look like, but I’m confident we’ll find one. The business world figured out how to solve this problem with ERP, so I think we’ll find a solution for all of us news consumers.

Ready for a single, objective source of truth? GO learn about Oracle cloud solutions for finance.

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