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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How to Tame Enterprise (Master) Data with a Complete EPM Solution

Guest Author

By Rahul Kamath, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle and Emma Yu, Director, EPM Product Marketing, Oracle

We live in innovative times. Companies like Airbnb, Netflix, and others of their ilk bear testimony to how disruption can transform industry startups into leaders within short periods of time. Successful businesses are investing in a combination of digital, financial, and business transformation initiatives. Unfortunately, many companies are failing in these efforts because they don’t recognize the importance of reconciling and aligning enterprise metadata across systems, users and organizations. Oracle’s Emma Yu sat down with Rahul Kamath, senior director of product management, to discuss enterprise data management (EDM) and its important role in transformations.

Emma: What is enterprise data management (EDM)?

Rahul: EDM addresses an important master data problem. It helps ensure that business applications are aligned with each other through the consistent use of critical enterprise data elements, such as the chart of accounts. All of us want the numbers and the interpretation of these numbers across our reports to be consistent. Net revenue for a product line should be the same across the reports generated by sales and finance, for example. Companies may also want a standard process to introduce a new cost center, financial account, or project that will be used in multiple systems.

In our experience, many businesses continue to use manual processes that rely on emails, spreadsheets, and conference calls to build consensus around these data elements. Such processes can lead to long reconciliation cycles as well as alignment and trust issues. Without access to a common reference, or a proverbial song sheet, it’s natural that numbers may not tally despite our best efforts.

EDM helps ensure that enterprise master data is not only consistent across your financial systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise performance management (EPM), but also reporting, analytics and a host of other transactional applications such as procurement, supply chain, and customer experience (CX) systems.

Emma: This sounds a lot like master data management (MDM). Why do we not call it enterprise master data management?

Rahul: Master data management (MDM) is a legacy term that comes with a lot of baggage. Traditional MDM systems failed to scale because they didn’t embrace applications as they were, and instead required burdensome up-front orchestration of people, processes and policies to align with their data governance charter. 

Oracle Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Cloud, in contrast, is a “Day 1” service for agile organizations. These businesses encourage working in small teams, make changes incrementally, demonstrate success at a local level, and evolve from there to deliver larger transformations. From Day 1, Oracle EDM Cloud is organic, incremental, and evolutionary in its approach. Such a bottoms-up approach flourishes at the grass-roots level in which individuals and teams share enterprise data securely across their respective applications. While these may result in peer-to-peer, sometimes chaotic collaboration activities, research shows they result in lasting improvements. To quote Curt Carlson, ex-CEO SRI International: “Innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.” 

These early wins provide the impetus to expand scope from a few individuals, to a department, and ultimately to enterprise-class data governance initiatives—enabling accountable participation, lower execution risk and governed information assets that deliver lasting outcomes. No other EPM solution covers the breadth and depth of enterprise master data or is as aligned with how agile organizations work as Oracle EDM Cloud.

Emma: Why is EDM so important for finance teams?

Rahul: Metadata changes constantly in today’s enterprises and must be managed with agility to ensure accuracy and consistency in your reports and analysis. Managing changes, both routine and transformational, in a governed manner is fundamental to ensuring successful transformation programs. Fortunately, this capability is foundational to Oracle EPM Cloud. 

Emma: How is EDM an essential aspect of a complete EPM solution?

Rahul: When you think about the applications you use for your financial processes, including EPM and enterprise resource planning (ERP), there likely isn’t a robust metadata management component for allenterprise data. If your financial systems lack such a component, you have an “imposter” EPM solution that lacks the full breadth of capabilities needed to manage data for effective consolidation, planning, and reporting, and—most importantly—for one source of the truth across your entire organization. You’re at risk for errors, inefficiency, and lost opportunity unless your EPM solution is truly data-driven like Oracle EPM Cloud, which includes Oracle EDM Cloud.

Emma: How is Oracle EDM Cloud critical to a company’s agile transformation efforts? 

Rahul: There are four ways in which EDM can help. First, it enables companies to embark on digital transformations. It accelerates the journey to cloud by giving enterprises a platform to model next generation structures such as chart of accounts before deploying their ERP applications in the cloud. It helps enterprises map legacy systems into their cloud ERP and EPM applications to facilitate hybrid coexistence across multi-cloud environments. 

Second, customers can use it to assimilate acquisitions or to consider business reorganizations, spinoffs or divestitures. It does this by modeling how various structures—such as sales territories, organization structures, product hierarchies, geo locations, and chart of accounts—fit into the corporate whole. 

Third, it helps align critical data elements across transactional systems and analytical applications to ensure data quality in the record-to-report process and injects trust into reports and analysis to build confidence in data-driven decision making. 

Finally, EDM Cloud promotes repeatable, policy-driven data governance and audit transparency to comply with corporate standards and regulations.

Emma: Thank you Rahul. It’s clear to me that all companies could use Oracle EDM Cloud. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Rahul: Yes, we have number of customers using EDM Cloud across a variety of industries. One of our customers, Matthew Savard, Director of Analytics at Adventist Health, immediately recognized the importance of an enterprise data management solution for his position and company objectives. The organization's prior metadata management efforts had involved multiple teams performing tedious and inefficient maintenance, increasing the risk of reporting errors. "We have staff members on the front lines that rely on our reporting tools to make them effective at the operational components of their responsibility," Savard said. "If I can provide financial tools that make them more efficient at their job, they have more time to focus on our patients." With Adventist Health using a number of cloud applications, Savard uses Oracle EDM Cloud as the binding fabric that stitches hierarches across all their financial and analytic applications to achieve a holistic view. You can click here to learn more about Adventist Health’s case study. 

Learn more about Oracle EDM Cloud.

Articles in this series:

  1. Don’t Be Fooled by Not-Quite-Complete EPM Solutions
  2. 5 Things a Comprehensive Planning and Forecasting Solution Always Has
  3. 4 Must Have Attributes of a Comprehensive Financial Close Solution
  4. You Wouldn’t Use Excel to Write a Letter…Or, Would You?
  5. How to Tame Enterprise (Master) Data with a Complete EPM Cloud Solution

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Murali Pasumarti Friday, February 28, 2020
    Insightful conversation.
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