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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Introducing Strategic Modeling in the Cloud

Guest Author

By Andy Starks, Practice Director, Edgewater Ranzal

It’s no secret that Oracle, along with the rest of the software industry, has been moving swiftly to the cloud over the past few years. Now, Oracle continues the impressive build-out of Oracle EPM Cloud with the introduction of strategic modeling, a new capability that facilitates long-range planning and financial modeling in the cloud.

The new module is available at no additional cost to customers who already have purchased Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud. The module has its roots in Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance and will look similar to those who are familiar with its on-premises capabilities.

Robust. Flexible. Versatile.

Strategic modeling provides customers with a multitude of out-of-the-box capabilities to simplify and enhance financial modeling processes.

In particular, it adds robust capabilities in the areas of balance sheet and cash flow forecasting. It also adds scenario modeling capabilities that can be created and driven by end users on the fly as they are responding to questions or requests from senior management.

While strategic modeling provides significant incremental capabilities, it also leverages many common components of the suite to make the user experience consistent. For example, it provides both a web and a spreadsheet user interface, allowing users to create models and report in the tools with which they are already comfortable. The user interface, navigation, data integration and reporting capabilities are the same across all components of Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud, which provides a seamless user experience.

Strategic Modeling Capabilities

Organizations often try to build strategic plans in spreadsheets or by extending the time horizon of their budgeting applications. All too often, these patchwork solutions fall short—primarily because they make use of tools that were not intended for strategic planning.

Strategic modeling, on the other hand, was built specifically for this purpose and provides numerous out-of-the-box capabilities to address challenges in this area. Some of the key, pre-built capabilities include:

  • Fully integrated financial statements: The standard template that ships with the application contains an integrated income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. The balance sheet will automatically balance based on the cash position as derived from the cash flow statement. The circularity inherent in interest income/expense calculations (i.e. as cash increases, interest income increases, which leads to more cash) is automatically solved for by the system.
  • “What-if” capabilities: Strategic modeling greatly facilitates the process of creating on-the-fly scenarios and comparing them against the base case or other scenarios. Scenario modeling capabilities are designed for end users to create, run, and provide immediate results to key strategic questions.
  • Robust funding capabilities: Strategic modeling has a funding routine that allows users to specify a prioritized order of how cash deficits will be funded (e.g. sell marketable securities, draw upon a revolver or issue commercial paper, issue long-term debt or equity) and how cash surpluses will be utilized (e.g. pay down debt, share buyback, dividends, buy marketable securities).
  • Debt scheduler utility: A guided user interface allows for easy input of the parameters for a new debt issuance. Strategic modeling then will calculate and perform all of the accounting for items such as accrued interest, amortization of debt issue costs and current portion of long-term debt.
  • Integrated enterprise planning: Strategic modeling is part of Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud and, as such, benefits from tight integration with other processes (financials, capital, projects, workforce) and reporting cubes in the application. This integration allows users to quickly and easily move data from their detailed budgets and operating plans to their strategic plans. Once the strategic plan is complete, data can be easily exported as higher-level targets to seed the budget process.

Whether you own already own Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud and are interested in deploying strategic modeling, you are an existing Hyperion customer looking to move to the cloud, or you are new to Oracle and its cloud offerings, strategic modeling has a compelling use case for all organizations looking to improve their modeling and strategic planning capabilities. 

Register for the Edgewater Ranzal webinar, “Take Your Strategic Planning to New Heights,” to see a demo of strategic modeling in action. 

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