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Perspectives

The CFO guide to transforming finance with Oracle Cloud

Building your digital finance platform

Our new Crunch time report, the CFO guide to transforming finance with Oracle Cloud, describes how Oracle Cloud helps CFOs reimagine what’s possible.

Digital platforms can make finance organizations faster and more effective than ever before. But the devil is in the details. What’s the right digital architecture for your company? When are you ready to begin implementation? How can new technology help you keep pace with expanding business and regulatory requirements—or even meet challenges posed by a global public health crisis? As you consider your options, you’ll want to take a look at Oracle Cloud.

Oracle Cloud transformation offers Finance a whole new tool kit: Centrally hosted digital software licensed by subscription, accessible over the web. No in-house data center, operating system, or platform to maintain. The vendor manages the product, not IT. New capabilities delivered quarterly. This is the cloud model, and it gives Finance a whole new toolkit. Explore how an Oracle Cloud transformation can make finance organizations faster and more adaptable than ever before.

The CFO guide to Oracle Cloud

The digital finance toolkit

Cloud-based systems and digital software have fundamentally changed how finance technology is developed, delivered, and consumed. And Oracle has long been at the leading edge of this trend, investing $64 billion since 2004 in its flagship cloud product and making available nearly 400 new finance features in 2019 alone.

Tomorrow’s capabilities today

Regular readers of Deloitte’s Crunch time series may recall our 2018 predictions3 on Finance in the year 2025. Among other things, we envisioned core finance processes conducted with limited human intervention. Real-time information available on demand to anyone who needs it. Finance professionals focused primarily on discovering new insights, not gathering and scrubbing data. While we’re not there yet, this future is coming into view, and cloud technology can bring it closer to reality.

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Explore more with on-demand learning

Dbrief webcast: Exploring the Oracle Cloud finance transformation journey | Driving Enterprise Value

The finance function is facing a new frontier in which CFOs are expected to drive growth strategies, demonstrate agility, deliver real-time simulation capabilities, and still provide effective risk management. What role do cloud ERP systems play in this new world, and how can they help change the way finance operates by introducing advanced technical capabilities? We'll discuss:

  • The need for Oracle Cloud and why now.
  • The business benefits and key functionality.
  • Key considerations for the Oracle Cloud journey.

Reply the Dbrief and gain a basic understanding of Oracle Cloud's capabilities and explore how other companies are approaching, executing, and reaping benefits from their transformation journey.

Standardization and simplification

In large part, Oracle Cloud’s secret sauce is its “vanilla mandate”—which means the underlying components of Oracle’s standard software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications can’t be modified. This is a big change from past practice. Historically, when you bought a database or application from Oracle you could do what you wanted with it. Your IT team could customize it to meet business requests. Database administrators would monitor system performance and make changes to keep things running smoothly.

Now, Oracle manages the technology for you. This takes responsibility off IT’s plate, so fewer in-house resources are needed to maintain your finance platform. But it also means the CFO, without significant consideration, can’t knock on the CIO’s door and ask her to build a unique capability. For that to happen, the CIO will need to work with Oracle to create it or leverage Oracle’s cloud-based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capability to develop the new internal application.

That’s the constraint. The upside is that it forces standardization and simplification, making it easier to update software, enhance capabilities, and drive innovation quickly—without turning a desired change into a massive project.

Thinking about your business case

When considering a digital finance transformation, the first question many CFOs ask is, will I gain efficiencies and reduce cost? New technology can let you complement humans with machines, creating cost efficiencies. The “however” is, these gains can take some time to materialize. In fact, your costs may even increase slightly at first, as new roles and expertise are needed to run and optimize new processes. So if cost reduction is your main objective, you might be disappointed initially.

But let’s take a step back. The primary value Finance provides is generating the right information at the right time so business leaders can make good decisions. As you build your business case, consider how digital technology can help increase Finance’s value contribution. Here’s an example. A large retailer asked its finance team to project what would happen if the price of television sets were reduced in specific geographies. How would it affect sales and profit margins, after accounting for supply chain impacts, merchandise buying decisions, product placement, and other issues?

Before it modernized its finance organization, the retailer would have simply marked down the T.V.s and then asked Finance to reactively report the results. Now, with smarter scenario planning, Finance was able to provide a range of expected outcomes that could mean a difference of tens of millions of dollars.

Ready for prime time?

Digitizing and transforming your Finance organization can be an agonizing decision, with a lot at stake. But hundreds of companies have made the move already, and you can benefit from their experience. So let’s look at some issues and risks you’ll want to consider.

  • Process supportOracle’s cloud services cut across the three segments of Finance and can perform or support nearly all processes, except aspects of treasury. In addition, some data services (e.g., exchange rates and tax rates) and third-party services (e.g., EDI services and credit card services) will need to be integrated separately.
  • Global requirementsOracle Cloud can meet many regulatory, statutory, legal, and management reporting requirements in countries where global organizations operate—and new requirements are addressed as requests come in from Oracle’s large customer base. Nonetheless, you’ll need to determine if there are any gaps in your country-specific needs.
  • Industry-specific use cases–While Oracle Cloud has integrated solutions for many sectors and businesses—and is designed to co-exist in application ecosystems—you’ll need to define your company’s industry-specific requirements and then work with Oracle to plan how these needs will be handled.
  • Infrastructure sizingOracle’s underlying infrastructure is scalable, with processing power to handle volume surges during close cycles and other peak times. To take advantage of this flexibility, you’ll want to create a playbook that outlines performance needs, benchmarks, responsibilities, planning, and testing at each phase of implementation.
  • Cyber riskWhen you move your operations to the cloud, you’ll need to prepare for new third-party risks. Existing controls may no longer apply and will need to be refreshed. So defining which users have access to what information is paramount. You’ll also need to identify and take steps to protect your highest value data.

Legacy technology riskCompanies in mature industries often have complex, highly customized legacy systems that have grown over the years. Keeping these legacy systems up and running while you assimilate them over time into your cloud architecture is a key component of implementation roadmap planning.

Looking ahead

Moving to Oracle Cloud is transformational, but it’s not a transaction. The journey to optimize your processes and acquire new digital capabilities doesn’t end upon deployment.

Educate yourself on digitalization and what’s possible. Keep investing in ways to work efficiently and be a better business partner. Determine how Finance can learn more, produce more, and influence more.

Your competitors are doing the same.

Download the full report

Explore other "Crunch time" reports and case studies

Explore other reports and guides in our Finance in a Digital WorldTM Crunch time" series, and read case studies about digital transformation in the finance function. Whatever your interest, one thing is clear: From cloud computing and robotics to analytics, cognitive technologies, and blockchain, a new class of digital disruptors is transforming how the work of Finance gets done.

Endnotes

1 Oracle Corporate Facts, 2019.

2 Cloud Readiness/Oracle Financials Cloud, What’s New, 2020

3 Deloitte Crunch time series,Finance 2025: Our predictions,” 2018.

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