Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Why and How to Move to EPM Cloud

Jennifer Toomey
Senior Director, Cloud Business Group, Oracle

Cloud applications continue to prove their superiority over on-premises alternatives, but that’s not necessarily making it easier for cloud advocates to spark a cloud migration at their organizations. Often, they find it difficult to articulate a business case for what some see as an unnecessary risk to stable operations.

Some Oracle Hyperion customers, for example, recognize that using Oracle EPM Cloud would bring immediate and long-term benefits to their organizations, but their pleas fall short of convincing decision-makers to replace already-installed technology.

One place to find valuable context to build a business case is the collective experience of the thousands of Hyperion users that have migrated to Oracle EPM Cloud. Not only are these organizations saving money, but they have transformed business processes to be more agile, flexible, and inclusive of best practices and the latest technologies.

The change was not as difficult as some imagine because Oracle EPM Cloud was engineered as an evolution from Hyperion to a singular, unified platform for enterprise performance management. For example, the enterprise planning capability in EPM Cloud shares significant DNA with Hyperion Planning, and popular functions such as Smart View remain. This minimizes the learning curve and makes the cloud migration more straightforward.

EPM Cloud: Benefits Beyond Savings on Licensing

Many people incorrectly believe the No. 1 reason businesses move finance functions to the cloud is to lower IT costs. Lower total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) is definitely a benefit, but according to users, cloud-based EPM solutions can result in significant process improvements in planning, financial consolidation and close, and management reporting.

TCO calculations might not pick up on this because TCO often is miscalculated and understated when comparing on-premises applications to cloud versions. People tend to simply compare current on-premises license and support costs to the subscription costs of a new cloud service. However, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. When making the business case for cloud, include the following material benefits that are separate line items:

  • Hardware: Cloud EPM eliminates the need for large, upfront hardware costs, and this can lower TCO over the course of several years. Even hardware that is paid off can be expensive to maintain because it must be periodically upgraded.
  • IT charges: It’s not uncommon for IT service costs related to the maintenance and upgrade of hardware and applications to be charged back to finance.
  • Upgrades: The costs associated with upgrades can be substantial and include implementation consultants and hardware refreshes.
  • Also take into account that on-premises finance applications can be a barrier to process innovation. This won’t show up as a line item, but it can absolutely influence performance because the cloud is where—increasingly—customers and competitors are working on new product and process solutions.

Plus, when new application features are available, cloud services can push them to users immediately. By contrast, traditional on-premises software can go two to four years between upgrades.

Create a More Agile Organization

One of the biggest benefits of Oracle EPM Cloud is agility in financial and operational EPM processes, and this agility is due in large part to the fact that Oracle EPM Cloud is delivered on one integrated platform. The current on-premises Hyperion suite has proven successful for thousands of companies around the world, but it rested upon two different pillars of technology: HFM and Planning.

In the cloud, this has dramatically changed. Oracle EPM Cloud allows users to design easy-to-access business processes that are supported by the integrated platform as well as cross-functional navigation. Because workflows draw on unified and current data, decisions can be made quickly based on shared insights. 

This agility is a significant new capability to consider in a business case because, in the modern global economy, organizations need to react to threats and market opportunities quickly.

Rolling Out Oracle EPM Cloud

Oracle EPM Cloud is a paradigm shift, not an equal swap, because it offers out-of-the-box frameworks for automating common finance functions. When you can take advantage of these embedded best practices, which continue to evolve as new technology is rolled out, it helps you to realize quick wins. This can help achieve user buy-in, as finance team members find their work less redundant and frustrating thanks to automation.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a lift-and-shift of all current EPM processes is the best route just because it is the fastest. This approach might be appropriate for unique, company-specific EPM processes, but for most common ones—expense planning, workforce planning, financial consolidation, and so on—adoption of best practices built into the cloud should be considered.

It’s also important to recognize that you don’t need to migrate all of your Hyperion applications at once. For example, many customers start by moving just a portion of their on-premises planning applications to the cloud.  Many features have been introduced to help ensure that Oracle EPM Cloud can interoperate with existing on-premises software.

Get More Data for Your Cloud Business Case

In truth, the possibilities for beneficial change through cloud can’t be contained in just one article. For a deeper explanation of how to have a successful migration from Hyperion to Oracle EPM Cloud, download the e-book Reimagine Your Financial Processes in the Cloud.

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