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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

Why the House Always Wins in the Cloud

Lynne Sampson
Managing Editor

Talk about complexity: Today’s largest gaming companies don’t just operate casinos. They span multiple industries including hospitality, dining, theater, and conventions—all in a white-hot competitive landscape and a heavily regulated environment. Legacy financial systems simply can’t keep up.

That was the situation that one diversified gaming-entertainment company faced recently. The company was managing its financials using a legacy on-premises Infinium system from Infor, Excel spreadsheets, and cumbersome manual processes. On top of that, its ERP system was customized to a degree that made updates a nightmare. As part of a multi-pillar digital transformation, the company turned to Oracle’s cloud-based ERP and HCM systems to streamline its processes, reduce IT overhead, ensure high-level data security, and free up resources for strategic initiatives.

People, Processes, Technology

For this highly diversified organization, digital transformation and a transition to cloud-based systems meant embracing a new role for the finance function—enabling business agility for the organization’s management and development. This encompassed:

  • Adopting applications with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) built in
  • Establishing centers of excellence to support multi-disciplinary teams
  • Starting to use advanced data analytics for planning and other decisions
  • Encouraging strategic awareness of digital opportunities

But the digital transformation was not limited to technology. To stay ahead of its competitors, the company reset on every aspect of the organization, including people, business processes, and technology.

People: In many ways, people represent the greatest challenge for change agents. If you don’t lead them through the transformation, it is unlikely to succeed. The company recognized that it’s critical to communicate how transformation will improve the everyday life of employees and how that fits into the strategic goals of the organization. The transition to Oracle ERP Cloud represented a shift from antiquated, green-screen technology, bare-bones functionality, and a lack of real-time reporting. Users had limited ability to run financial reports or analyses. They couldn’t drill down from financials to journal entries or A/P details. And training aids and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were all but nonexistent.

Thanks to Oracle ERP Cloud, users are now working in a familiar, user-friendly system and have easy access to data via tablets and smartphones. Reporting is in real time for all users, with drill-down functionality for transactions. Current SOPs and training are readily available. In addition, Oracle’s embedded social collaboration tools mean that people can work together more effectively.

Processes: Efficient, standardized business processes are a highly beneficial outcome of the organization’s digital transformation. By reducing time and resources spent on repetitive and disconnected processes, companies can redeploy their workforce to take on higher-value strategic work. The gaming company’s legacy system was rife with manual controls and lacked clear workflows. Systems weren’t fully integrated and did not offer critical functionality, so they required customization and supplementation with other products. This created complexity, data silos, and opportunities for error.

Once the company implemented Oracle ERP Cloud, the finance function had new tools to help streamline and automate processes using AI. The team soon created a bot that now conducts one of the company's audit processes. The fully integrated system, encompassing GL/AP, fixed assets, and project accounting, offered a single source of truth, reduced data-entry errors, and provided stronger internal controls around data management, chart of accounts, and system access.

Technology: The organization often found itself hamstrung by the limitations of its outdated technology. In addition, the on-premises infrastructure required extensive IT resources to maintain, and the business had to rely heavily on IT for the timing and implementation of system updates.

After migrating to Oracle ERP Cloud, it is the business, rather than IT, that owns the solution. The ERP system remains current thanks to quarterly updates from Oracle that require minimal downtime or IT intervention, saving the gaming-entertainment company millions in annual IT costs. Instead of complex customization, the Oracle solution provides advanced out-of-the-box functionality with extensive configuration options. Perhaps most surprising of all, the deployment itself took less time than expected. The company was able to implement the reporting module of Oracle EPM Cloud in just 10 weeks, allowing the finance team to engage and fully adopt the solution before Oracle ERP Cloud went live.

The gaming-entertainment company continues to realize its vision of a fully integrated HR and finance system in the cloud, positioning it to respond more quickly to customer needs and an ever-changing environment. By implementing Oracle ERP and HCM Cloud, the company didn’t just switch to new technology. It gained streamlined best practices across finance and HR functions, real-time reporting, in-depth analysis to support decision-making, and a solution that remains up to date—so the IT team will never find itself having to upgrade a 20-year-old ERP system again.

Considering a move from Infor? Learn what to look for in a cloud ERP system.

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