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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How to Innovate at Cloud Speed

Guest Author

By Braden Kelley, Director of Innovation and Human-Centric Problem Solving, Oracle

Innovation in the software industry continues unabated. No longer do we have to program computers directly in ones and zeroes, with cumbersome paper punch cards, or even to craft every line of code by hand. We have entered a new era of technology capability with modular software, code libraries, autonomous databases that maintain themselves, finance applications with artificial intelligence and machine learning that enhance experiences and outcomes, and even software that can write other software.

But it is not just technology that is advancing. At the same time, we have created advances in process optimization and how we manage people, while also creating new tools that help us be more efficient and effective in our work. This intersection of improvements in people, process, technology and tools, has allowed us to create a steady stream of innovation and make it possible for the nimblest organizations to continue to meet or exceed ever changing customer expectations.

A new research report, Agile Finance Unleashed: The Key Traits of Digital Finance Leaders, finds that the most advanced finance teams are moving toward a more agile operating model, powered by software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and emerging technologies. AI, machine learning, digital assistants and chatbots, predictive analytics, and other innovations are automating routine tasks, freeing up finance talent to analyze new business opportunities and change course quickly. 

“CFOs are driving cloud migration because it just makes sense,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd to an audience of finance executives during a 2018 event. “It reduces expenses, increases efficiency and creates more opportunity to truly innovate.”

If you find yourself thinking that you’ve been left behind, how can you catch up?

It’s simple really. If your organization wants to successfully ride the increasingly frequent waves of change in technology and customer expectations, your organization must learn how to surf.

Not a beach bum surfer or a corporate suit that surfs on the weekends, but a cloud surfer.

What the heck is a cloud surfer?

Cloud surfers are market leaders that run their business in the cloud like the digital natives seeking to disrupt them because they want to remain market leaders.

Cloud surfers run few applications on premises, and they certainly don’t run their on-premise applications—like E-Business Suite or PeopleSoft—on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure hardware. Trading your hardware for someone else’s isn’t moving to the cloud. It’s outsourcing, plain and simple.

Cloud surfers reimagine how they operate their business, so they can become nimbler and give themselves the best chance of successfully surfing from wave to wave as technology and customer expectations shift. Operating your business in the cloud allows organizations to be nimbler because they can:

  1. Simplify their infrastructure and connect the entire business into efficient process flows that decrease reaction times as market conditions change
  2. Have continuous access to the latest technology innovations without having to plan and execute major on-premise hardware and software upgrades that are often risky and expensive
  3. Redeploy their highly valuable technologists away from maintenance activities and towards quicker creation and execution of new digital businesses and experiences
  4. Redesign parts of their organization or change their entire business model more quickly and with less disruption
  5. Accelerate the speed of innovation with greater visibility to customer needs and insights, increased collaboration, and decision-making transparency

The waves of advancing technology and changing customer expectations are getting closer together, so if you missed the last one, innovating at cloud speed gives you the best chance of recovering from your latest wipeout, getting back up on your board and riding into a successful future.

Moving your applications from servers in your own data center to servers that Amazon, Microsoft, or Google maintain, won’t help you surf any better or innovate any faster. Moving to the Oracle Cloud—the only COMPLETE business cloud platform in the industry—is going to give to you your best chance of innovating at cloud speed and being nimble enough to survive digital disruption.

I joined Oracle because I’m passionate about innovation, change, and transformation and because I recognized that Oracle can help organizations accelerate all three of these more than anyone else because of the COMPLETE business cloud platform they have invested in building for our customers. Why is this important to me as a trusted business advisor?

I’m part of a new group called Oracle FUEL tasked with helping Oracle customers solve wicked problems, innovate at cloud speed, and transform themselves to keep pace with changes in technology and customer expectations. Working for the company with the only COMPLETE business cloud in the industry increases the innovation possibilities and transformation potential we can realize for the customers we work with. Now market leaders can neutralize advantages startups have been using to disrupt them and build the digitally-integrated businesses that customers expect. That’s super exciting!

Are you ready to innovate at cloud speed?

Learn from other cloud surfers in your industry. Read Agile Finance Unleashed: The Key Traits of Digital Finance Leaders.

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centric Problem Solving at Oracle. Braden specializes in innovation, organizational change and design thinking. He is the author of the best-selling books Charting Change and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, a popular keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and creator of Change Planning Toolkit™.

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