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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

  • May 27, 2020

Unified finance and HR: The CIO's new superpower

Guest Author

By Cara Clinton-Vollmer, Senior Content Manager, Oracle

Recent events have dramatically changed the way people work. The continual change in business operations means that organizations have to be more agile than ever to respond rapidly, and with efficiency. Finance teams, HR professionals, and employees expect to complete tasks simply, quickly, and intuitively. And they expect consistent, reliable data each and every time. 

The starting point for this agility and reliability is a unified finance and HR cloud. When finance and HR share the same data, it streamlines processes, improves analytics, and informs strategic planning. 

As organizations look to breakdown finance and HR silos, the chief information officer (CIO) assumes a pivotal role. 

CIOs align teams to enable growth

CIOs can take the lead by acting as the bridge between lines of business. The CIO and IT department can be an objective third-party resource, guiding finance and HR teams toward a shared cloud. They can support the process and reassure colleagues that the transition is not as hard as they might think. 

According to a recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBRAS) report, 79 percent of management, HR, finance, and IT executives said that the benefits of combining finance and HR in the cloud can make the CIO a growth enabler within the organization. 

Roughly nine in 10 respondents (89 percent) said that integrated reporting and analytics can lead to increased data sharing across HR and finance. When you include the IT team in the equation, you also get other important benefits.

  1. Improved efficiency

When cloud solutions are automated and streamlined, collaboration and productivity improve. Work is no longer duplicated across siloed departments. Delays due to mistakes, inconsistent data, or misunderstandings are eliminated because each department is drawing on a single source of truth. In budget approvals, supplier invoicing, project management, and other areas where finance and HR overlap, a unified cloud reduces manual work and allows for faster processing times. 

When this functionality is baked into a combined cloud and updated regularly by the vendor, there is less demand on the IT team, leaving them free to spend time on more high-value activities. 

  1. Better decision-making

When HR and finance leaders work from the same data, they can closely collaborate to determine workforce gaps and opportunities, sync headcount to budget, and scale as needed. With the right cloud—that has emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning built-in—teams across the organization can make smarter decisions with uniform, transparent data and analytics. 

Here, the CIO can act as a silo-buster, joining finance and HR data to inform decision-making. For example, by combining headcount data with booking data, sales leaders can see the full employee cost structure and make better choices to hire the right talent. 

  1. Accelerated change management

Imagine that you have the data you need at any given moment to anticipate changing expectations and needs. Let’s say your company has a jump in demand for a product or service, or suddenly needs to adhere to a different leave policy based on new regulations. Change management is easier when you have the immediate, accurate data that a unified cloud provides. 

Longer term, bridging HR and finance helps the organization plan and shape its future workforce. During times of rapid change and uncertainty, organizations need to be nimble and adapt quickly. The CIO and IT team can provide stability with consistent, reliable analytics. 

  1. Better user experience

Employees are adjusting to working remotely (a huge change for many) and they have limited patience with complicated processes and frustrations. An exceptional employee experience is a key retention strategy. It’s up to IT to deliver a level of technology that is intuitive with consumer-grade simplicity. To meet these expectations, 57 percent of IT personnel prefer a combined ERP-HCM cloud from a single provider, according to the HBRAS survey. 

CIOs as champions of collaboration and partnership

CIOs can become champions of finance-HR collaboration, while preparing their organizations to seize opportunity and stay ahead of change. 

Read the full report to learn more about how CIOs can play a strategic role with a combined ERP-HCM cloud. 

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