Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How Can High-Growth Businesses Predict Tomorrow?

Steve Cox

There’s been a generational shift in computing, thanks to the cloud. With it, Oracle can deliver a constant stream of innovation to our customers, allowing them to take advantage of not just one, but all the major transformational technologies (mobile, analytics, social, big data, the internet of things, machine learning, blockchain, intelligent process automation, autonomous computing, and new human interfaces) and much more

In today’s business, too many factors change too quickly for your growing business to cling to old technology. Longing for the “good old days”—even if it was just yesterday—isn’t enough.

When so much is uncertain, you need to predict what’s coming next.

Think about all the now-defunct companies that didn’t change fast enough to stay ahead of curve and keep up with constantly changing customer behavior—from the adoption of smart phones, to online shopping, to eschewing movies theatres for streaming videos. Every industry is facing similar threats—grocery stores, universities, furniture manufacturers (to name a few).

Innovation is disrupting everything. It’s behind the major challenges all types of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are facing, including:

  • Ever-increasing customer expectations
  • New and revitalized competitors
  • Brand reputation management
  • Drawing meaningful insights from exponentially increasing data volume
  • Constantly changing regulatory frameworks
  • Overcoming the skills gap
  • More challenging sustainability goals
  • Growing cyber and physical security risks
  • The ever-increasing need to innovate (and then innovate some more)

SMBs with outdated ERP systems are discovering that existing processes, software, and systems are no help. Built for a different era, legacy IT infrastructure hinders their ability to find and use data to glean immediate, meaningful insights that help them make good planning decisions. 

Like many SMBs, you’ve probably invested in the latest technology to deliver a superior customer experience. But isn’t it time we recognize that having Jetsons software for the front office and relying on Flintstones software for the back office just isn’t a viable proposition for any business, let alone one with a high-flying compound annual growth rate (CAGR)?

For finance, which plays a central role in helping leaders understand the business, there are both challenges and opportunities. But the bottom line is that in adapting to the new realities, finance leaders can transform their teams’ back-office cost centers into business-value generators. A critical component, however, is having the right technology and focus.

Predicting Tomorrow with Modern ERP

This transformation requires finance to develop a new attention span. Finance has to complement its understanding of the past and present (for the compilation and management of financial transactions and reports) but add a focus on the future (finding, analyzing and sharing business insights from ever increasing volumes of data).

In short, finance teams must be able to predict the future quickly and accurately.

Predicting the future is not a matter of knowing exactly what will happen, but what could happen and then choosing the best strategy based on the knowledge you have — all of which comes from data. To be able to perform effective analysis, you need to be able to generate and apply internal data quickly, as well as incorporate data from outside sources.

It’s like scenario planning of old, but on steroids. Instead of data being collected and analyzed over weeks or months by a select group of executives, data is analyzed continually in the background to support quick decision-making, in the moment, by everyone. It’s the end of multiple pet spreadsheets each telling a different story but all purporting to cover the same information about the business.

Technology is both a driver of this change and a solution. As more companies adopt the latest ERP and EPM solutions for predicting the future, they’re able to make decisions much faster, thus setting a faster pace for competitors.

3 Must-Have Capabilities for a Future-Focused ERP

For companies looking to stay at the leading edge, here’s what technology for predicting the future looks like:

  • Based in the cloud, it’s easily accessible via any device. The software itself is updated every 90 days, ensuring that you can rapidly uptake the latest technologies, respond to ever-evolving legislative and regulatory requirements, and stay up-to-date with the latest security and risk controls. An upgrade to cloud ERP is the last upgrade required.
  • It offers dashboards for every employee, providing the data they need, when they need it, across any device — enabling finance teams to work in a truly modern and engaging way.
  • It incorporates enterprise performance management, advanced analytics, and intelligent automation, augmenting the skills of your finance team and allowing them to manage by exception, while the technology takes care of the routine transactions.

When everyone in finance has access to the right information to do their jobs and can share it across the organization, people can quickly perform “what-if” scenarios on issues big and small and then create plans based on the outcome.

Oracle ERP Cloud (including Oracle EPM Cloud) is the only ERP cloud built on machine learning, providing the future-ready technology you need to predict tomorrow.  

With disruption happening in all industries all the time, companies that cannot manage for the best-possible outcomes — whether risks or opportunities — will quickly become irrelevant.

To learn more, read the new ebook: 7 Must-Haves for a Future-Proof ERP Cloud.

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