By Margaret Harrist, Director of Content Marketing, Oracle
Companies that emerge from the upheaval of the last year with a strong digital foundation will have an edge over competitors—and that edge will put them further ahead in the future.
It’s time for big strategic moves. On February 9, top leaders from Oracle, PwC, Square, goPuff, Lyft, M&G Plc, and Williams-Sonoma talked about why cloud technology will be key to their companies’ future strategies and why finance will play a leading role. Here are just a few of the highlights (and even more here).
“One of the big differences between cloud applications and the applications that came before is we come up with a new version of our cloud applications every three months—and we literally deliver thousands of features to our customers every three months at a constant cadence.
There is no other ERP system in the world that comes out with a release every 90 days. Our leading competitor comes out with a release every several years, so this uniquely positions us to address continuous change.
“For example, when COVID-19 struck, one of the things we were able to do was quickly update our human capital management software and put in features that allowed customers to keep track of their employees who had been tested, or put in testing programs for their employees.
“If you’re getting one of these systems that takes you several years and is very expensive to implement then that’s in itself a problem. But what’s worse is what you end up with in the end: a system that’s very difficult to change, very difficult to enhance… If you want to have agility, if you want to be able to do continuous innovation, if you want to be able to respond to changing demands and new emerging opportunities in your business, you have to have automated systems that continuously innovate and continuously change as the world changes.”
“Seventy-five percent of CFOs surveyed indicated that more resources will go to digital in the year 2021—with half of those saying it will be a significant increase from years past. These digital investments are expected to fall in the areas of data analytics, automation, cloud, and customer transformation. And perhaps not surprisingly, in a post-pandemic world, that work on the customer side is focused on accelerating revenue growth over the next year.
“Knowing that capital is scarce, yet business imperatives are hot, any investment made in this space has to generate a return and put your company in a better position to navigate the environment and make big moves, whether that be fundamental business model or portfolio decisions, or even just running the company better.
“Digital scope may start in the office of the CFO, particularly given its foundational nature to a company. Getting this backbone right is critical. And we’re seeing the CFO community invest in digitizing finance processes, including automating the close and building a more risk-intelligent culture. This is your chance to lead from the front and set the proper tone for your broader organization.”
“From a balance sheet perspective, we ran multiple scenarios with regards to how the pandemic was affecting our sellers and therefore affecting Square. Having an analytical tool that enabled us to be nimble and plan in a more cohesive way was very important.
“We’re tracking a bunch of KPIs whether it be product profitability, free cash flow, even headcount planning. Do we need to pause? Where do we need to accelerate? There is a lot of slicing and dicing of information that all feeds into a consolidated perspective. And to be able to do that in a more turnkey fashion was hyper-critical for us.
“With Oracle, you’re dealing with a business partner that is best-in-class. As we think about the complexity of all of our different products, it was important that we had a tool that could deal with what we knew about today, but also partner with us in terms of the innovation for tomorrow.”
“Having one ERP is going to make everything easier. It’s going to make our close easier, it’s going to make planning the business easier, and it’s going to make ad-hoc reporting on performance easier.
“With 200 micro fulfillment centers, and servicing over 500 markets today—and that’s going to grow quickly—we’re able to get you whatever you need in 30 minutes or less for a flat $1.95 fee. We bought BevMo! [which operates 161 stores throughout California, Arizona and Washington] not for the retail footprint in of itself, but more as a platform for us to launch goPuff. So it’s going to be really important that we understand how all of our businesses are performing.
“It’s really important for us that we have one single source of truth across our enterprise. And we want to make sure that our front-end and our back-end are fully integrated. This big acquisition was strategic for us, and we want to make sure that we’re optimizing the value there. Oracle is going to be a key partner to us.
“In my seat, you want to understand the ‘why.’ You want to understand the KPIs that support the numbers. Having your supply chain and underlying KPIs all in one central repository, and one single set of the truth, obviously unlocks a ton of value as you think about what the financials mean and what the numbers mean.”