I interact with a lot of finance professionals in my line of work because they are the core users of enterprise performance management (EPM) applications. But that doesn’t mean finance people are the only ones who could benefit from Oracle EPM Cloud. By its very nature, the modern data-driven business is highly connected and always working from the same data. Oracle’s cloud applications are designed to drive that integration. Let’s take a look at how the EPM cloud encourages collaboration and data sharing and two use cases outside of finance.
Prebuilt business processes are one way a complete EPM cloud platform like Oracle’s can help finance and non-finance people work faster and with more confidence through connected applications and integrated data.
The ready-to-go processes are built on best practice disciplines and allow you to configure them specific to your business. For example, with the workforce planning business process, anyone can look at factors like headcount and related expenses across the entire organization — modeled for now or the future based on historical workforce data from HR applications.
By using these processes, anyone who is planning can start to understand needs on a more granular level and where gaps (i.e., cost) are likely to occur. This can be particularly beneficial for midsize and medium businesses because they tend to have less of a cash-flow buffer than large companies. Being able to model the cost implications of employing new hires or moving internal headcount can quickly highlight the people/salary/HR cost implications of increased headcount across your business.
For example, let’s say sales and marketing data is indicating a higher demand for manufactured products in the future. Using organizational data from HR and production planning, any department could model workforce needs and costs, i.e., for training or retraining, new equipment, and services, space requirements, compensation and benefits, etc.
With everyone working on one common platform for planning and forecasting, a highly effective and collaborative way to work is created. People from one department no longer need to call, email or chat people in another department (and then wait for a reply) in order to effectively plan. The validated information they need is already in the planning business process they are using.
Now let’s talk about the CIO. There's a business process within the Oracle EPM Cloud called Project Financial Planning, and it actually can be used in several areas of an organization. For IT leaders, it could help them manage their projects more as a portfolio of investments, which is becoming a more common mandate.
To show what value is being added from IT project inputs and expenditures, IT leaders need concrete ways to measure costs and outcomes. The tools within the Project Financial Planning business process allow them to clearly see if they are hitting targets for value creation and take proactive action if not.
You can’t make those determinations without project data being married to the financial data. That's why it’s critical for IT leadership to have that visibility and be able to share the outcome of their analysis back to finance, so finance can incorporate that into the financial forecast of the organization.
Now these two functions have a set of related, connected models that are consistent but provide each function with what its specialists need. So, if IT is supporting sales, for example, then IT has the capability within Planning in the Oracle EPM Cloud to go to those models and say, "Here's what we've spent to manage your systems and help you solve your technology problems."
Medium-sized organizations need to be as agile and accurate as possible when it comes to planning and execution. With Oracle EPM Cloud, they not only get a great set of connected business processes for financial planning and budgeting, but also a prebuilt set of business processes that invite other functions in to share the benefits.
Becoming a streamlined, data-driven organization can take time, but automation through connected business processes can help speed up that process by providing easy-to-access tools to facilitate sharing of data through needs planning.