How data is changing the role of the finance professionals

July 30, 2019

MHR Analytics recently highlighted some of the key ways data is transforming the role of finance professionals and how to adapt to the future market. Data has created multiple opportunities for finance professionals but in order for finance teams to continue being seen as a value-added service, finance professionals need to continue evolving and take advantage of the new technology available to them. MHR Analytics recently highlighted some of the main changes the finance industry is likely to experience in the next few years.


The Rise of Predictive Analytics

Traditionally, finance teams utilized historical data to generate information and insights. This process was relatively limited due to the overall scope of the data and also lacked a complete representation of how particular decisions would influence the business. Predictive analytics has enabled finance professionals to expand beyond asking why things happened to understand what will happen next. Access to insightful information will allow finance teams to monitor customer data in real-time and develop a detailed analysis of their data. The future role of finance professionals increasingly is focused on using value-added analytical data to develop highly effective information to deliver business strategies.

Remote working options

The rise of cloud computing has allowed for more flexibility in finance work. Improvements in the security of cloud systems enable finance professionals to share and manage information wherever they may be, without worrying about the traditional concerns of handling sensitive information outside of the office space. An additional benefit is an increase in businesses moving towards a single operating system, putting all data in one place, creating a more streamlined and simplistic system.


Utilizing financial and non-financial data

Finance data can be supported with other data streams to enrich overall financial insights for business. This can include examining customer behavior patterns to determine fraud or suspicious activity. Finance teams can use internal data such as employee performance metrics to determine the ROI according to each employee. Adding this type of data into the entire process creates further value to overall financial insights. Recent research shows that CFOs utilize a large bulk of non-financial data in business forecasting.


Improving Standard of Service

An increase in analytics is creating a more augmented working environment, meaning previous tasks completed by people are now being performed by machines. Augmented analytics is enabling people to focus on creating more insights and value for their business. As a result, the combined forces of augmented analytics and the ability for more insight generation means the overall standard of service is higher than ever.


Introduction of new data-focused roles

Whilst there are concerns augmented analytics will mean fewer jobs, it does mean we are likely to experience a rise of more data specific alternatives to traditional finance positions. As data continues to become more important to finance teams and for generating insights for business strategy, it will result in a higher demand for specialist data professionals. New data science roles are expected to emerge as a result of the rising demand for skilled data specialists.

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How automation is transforming finance activities

July 30, 2019

Technology is rapidly changing how organizations do business. Finance teams, in particular, are being transformed from focusing on traditional paperwork activities to effectively automating processes such as invoicing, workflow and data analytics. Technology has created an efficient automated strategy, enabling finance teams to harness the true potential of their workforce and strengthen their contribution towards their business.

At first, technology was perceived as a potential threat to employment and job availability. In reality, as technology and the digital era has emerged even further, technology has proven to provide wider opportunities and empowered businesses, accelerating overall company development. Streamlining basic and tedious activities with automated software means the lengthy tasks of data entry and spreadsheet management, which commonly result in errors, are being completed in a matter of minutes.

This is a significant change for finance professionals, allowing CFOs and other financial members to have more influence over their entire businesses. Instead of spending time on paperwork, finance employees are capable of moving into a more strategic position, exploring new opportunities and creating real value for their company. Automation has also provided more control and visibility of data and other records for finance professionals.

The development of innovative analytical models allows finance teams to carefully measure and manage overall performance, as well as identify trends or potential errors that previously would have been overlooked. All of these factors create added value, supporting their business in making complex decisions and generating more accountability within the entire business. According to the Finance 2020 report by Accenture, Finance is now creating things it could never do before due to progression in digital technology. Finance has transformed from a traditional spreadsheet-focused accounting and reporting hub, into a sophisticated predictive analytical system providing real value for a business. It comes as no real surprise that automation technology is expected to expand further within finance over the coming years. A 2016 EY survey of finance professionals suggested that 65% believed automating processes would become a significant factor for future financial organizations.

IT Pro Portal has created several steps they believe finance leaders should be considering to develop an automation strategy and reshape their role within their entire business.

Defining your overall proposition, what you want your team to deliver and how you intend to add value to the business. How do these changes impact your team’s function and existing work?

Defining your team and its capabilities – What can be changed to deliver business value and what can you transform through automation.
Considering your team and overall structure – where should automation technology be applied to reduce certain individual tasks, enabling additional time for people to develop new skills.

Developing your automation plan – work with your team and the business to confirm what processes need to be automated to meet your goal. Identify areas where automation will reduce errors, significantly free up time for employees and add value elsewhere, as well as generate higher levels of data analysis.

Create a testing framework – testing automation plays a crucial part in the success and failure of an automation project. Within the testing stage, all processes, technology, and roles should be considered, as well as determining the best time to deliver the project and who will be responsible for implementing and measuring the results.

Testing your automation environment – working alongside your IT team to test software, manage any potential errors before implementing anything live.

Enabling continuous improvement – finance leaders need to ensure there are a continuous learning and improvement process within the business.

Receiving feedback from business members and another stakeholder within the automation process and refining the strategy as necessary.

Moving towards automation means CFOs can harness the true potential of their position and ensure they provide a lead within business activities and ensure their organization remains active and competitive within this progressive market.

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Case Study: How Hindalco improved financial processes with Oracle EPM Cloud

July 24, 2019

Hindalco recently automated its financial systems by implementing cloud software, saving time and effort with manual tasks and at the same time, improving both results and security.

Emerging regulatory controls and a progressively competitive business landscape are placing further pressures on financial leaders. Added into the mix is the growth of innovative digital technologies, greatly influencing the rate of development within the market. Being capable of reducing time spend on financial closing with compliance and regulations being met is a significant challenge and a factor that can influence the reputation of a business.

Manufacturing business Hindalco Industries is a fine example of how a business has utilized Oracle cloud to meet these rising challenges. Handling multiple streams of data, combined with completing financial reports in real-time proved very challenging for the business. Integrating multiple reports into a singular version under relatively tight deadlines became a difficult process to manage for Hindalco and is a common issue for other businesses within multiple industries. For Hindalco, many tasks were depending on specific employees, required manual intervention to eliminate any potential errors and required further monitoring and checks from other members of the business.
Hindalco was looking for a solution that would streamline their financial management process and regulatory reports, explains Sunita Menon, Head of Solution Delivery at the business. Financial reporting continues to be one of the most complex and expensive processes. End-to-end reporting involves a number of complicated stages which all have the potential to disrupt the overall flow of the process. Menon explains that Hindalco was looking for a solution that demonstrated a proven case for the business. Oracle EPM Cloud solution was selected as it offered the services that enabled Hindalco to combine finance and IT services together.

The introduction of the new solution began with identifying the underlying problem, selecting the right technology and determining an implementation partner and delivering the solution to meet business expectations. Menon explains that this process involved a combination of design thinking, stakeholder management, training, validation checks, user acceptance testing and the final delivery of the tested product. Data was collected from over 20 locations and was inputted into Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and later combined with the cloud solution.

The benefits of the move to Oracle

The new solution enables simultaneous updates from a select number of points at any time. Users are able to share report segments with the option of implementing review and responsibility settings. The system also includes a number of validation to monitor financial data and any potential errors.

Menon explains that the business now has the ability to assess and deliver multiple versions within a single link to source data. Menon highlights the improvements through greater accuracy, explaining that any opportunity to free up the time of professionals will result in higher levels of accuracy. The business has improved its use of resources and additional time can be spent specifically on analysis, rather than the time-consuming process of collecting data

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Defining the success of Oracle in Cloud Applications

July 24, 2019

Businesses today are actively looking to enhance their systems by integrating with new technology, reducing their expenses and simplify their internal activities. Whichever market your business may be in, all industries are trying to manage a range of demands from employees, customers and partners, adding more pressure to deliver strategic and informed decisions quicker than ever before.

Businesses are looking to larger cloud providers like Oracle to streamline IT processes and simplify systems for investors and at the same time provide continuous improvements in the integration of AI and machine learning systems.

Rondy Ng, the senior vice president of applications development at Oracle explains that technology can provide significant support to businesses, not just from a streamlining perspective but improving engagement and transforming internal business activities and models. Many businesses today understand the importance of technology and its role in transforming business functions. Oracle Cloud enables the management of financial processes, HR and other data sources within one simplistic platform, delivering a single source of information to improve business efficiency and generate company insights.

Oracle’s position within the Cloud is highlighted by a recent statement by the CEO, Mark Hurd in the latest earnings report. Hurd refers to the IDC annual market share results, highlighting that Oracle received the highest market share worldwide out of all enterprise applications for the last three years running. Hurd points out that several leading businesses have selected Oracle as their cloud provider, including Ferguson, a wholesale distributor valued at over $20 billion, which have moved to Oracle ERP Cloud, EPM and Supply Chain. Other recent businesses moving to Oracle include Argo Insurance, Experian, Wright Medical and Emerson Electric.

Oracle continues to show success in the enterprise cloud app market through continued results for its customers, delivering solutions to the rising challenges facing many businesses today. According to recent converts, Baylor University, moving their core financial, planning and HR systems to one cloud-based platform enabled the university to enhance business insights and improve their ability to adapt to challenges faced within the education market.

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Grant Halloran appointed new CEO for Host Analytics – what does this mean for the business?

July 24, 2019

Host Analytics has confirmed Grant Halloran as their new CEO. The news comes nearly six months after Vector Capital acquired Host Analytics and placed Ron Baden as temporary CEO. Baden has now moved into his previous role as Chief Revenue Officer.

Host Analytics has announced how excited they are to have Halloran as the CEO during their exciting development period. David Fishman, the Chairman of Host Analytics and MD at Vector Capital believes there are considerable opportunities ahead and with Grant’s significant experience in enterprise software combined with years of experience, Fishman believes the business will continue to expand considerably.

Fishman believes Grant is the ideal person to manage Host Analytics as the business intends to develop into a global leader in financial planning and close solutions.

Halloran originally founded Orbis, a specialist SaaS marketing resource management company which was eventually acquired by Infor. Halloran then became the Global VP & GM at Infor before taking up the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Anaplan.

His experience gained at Vector Capital is something that Fishman is hoping will be replicated at Host Analytics. Halloran decided to leave his leading senior role at OmniSci, the analytics platform that has also experienced significant growth. Halloran recently explained that it is an honor to be working as the CEO of Host Analytics, a business that he believes is set for substantial growth, contains a strong customer base and an experienced and talented workforce.

Since being acquired by Vector Capital, the business has focused specifically on expanding its position in the US and International market. Halloran believes there are considerable opportunities out there with finance leaders looking for techniques to be more agile, strategic, and enhance their financial performance. Halloran believes Host Analytics is perfectly equipped with the capabilities to support finance leaders in delivering their goals.

Positive times for Host Analytics

With new leadership, host analytics is expected to continue expanding, particularly with recently published results and continued expansion plans. Whilst there is little details in how Halloran will continue to grow the business, the company is in a good position to take advantage of an industry that has been forecast to exceed $3 billion by 2022.
Host Analytics was named as a leader in the G2 Grid for Corporate Performance Management (CPM) and was recently selected as a leader in the 2019 Dresner Wisdom of Crowds EPM Market Study.

Howard Dresner, the founder, and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services states that Host Analytics has continued to accelerate their position as a market leader within the EPM space. Dresner congratulates Host Analytics for their performance and remaining an industry leader.

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Simplifying the data and analytics industry

July 17, 2019

Big data is a popular trending phrase used at present, referring to the gathering of large volumes of data sets and then using this information with new technologies to make informed decisions. Industry analysts highlight, however, that technology businesses are not simply focused on big data but more broadly on data strategies. Whilst big data is getting a lot of media attention, many technology experts highlight that businesses require the integration of big and small data to really see the total value.

One of the core challenges facing companies is finding the correct tool to manage and measure all of these varying data sets. Many advanced analytical systems run on Apache Hadoop, an application capable of managing data processing and storage. However, it is difficult to find one software solution that can meet all the requirements for all industry issues. There are multiple technologies available today that enable users to explore and measure large volumes of data. Businesses will continue to expand and diversify using new innovative technology and software solutions that are designed to manage specific data sets. Businesses need to seek and integrate with the best technologies available to meet their requirements and not necessarily select and rely on one particular technology to fulfil their expectations.

Keeping data simple

What many clients are looking for is an opportunity to simplify data systems and processes. The sheer volume of data available to enhance business performance often means many businesses will utilise various software systems to control and assess their data and analytics operations. For many, this investment has spiralled out of control, with multiple people working across a number of different systems, which for most companies is simply unsustainable. In order to continue expanding, businesses are looking for ways of simplifying this process and seeking fewer platforms to work with.

The Teradata Vantage data intelligence platform enables users to combine a selection of tools and languages, providing flexibility with multiple data types. Teradata believes it is the only software available that is capable of managing all data, all of the time.

Taking automation even further

Many businesses like Teradata are providing useful automation solutions for managing the processing and storage of data. Data industry professionals believe the future of big data and analytics now lies with expanding automation even further. 

Automation is heavily used within data handling and analytics and still requires a high level of human development and monitoring to ensure everything is running smoothly. Industry leaders are now asking the question of how to remove data scientists from the automation process and apply the principles of AI, Maths and statistics to enhance data collection, learning model development and the deployment of information.  

To truly deliver end-to-end analytics requires a range of skilled professionals that can provide a specialist service. This means you need data engineers, scientists, software engineers, BI and design professionals and many more skilled individuals. These people will still be required to design analytic models but many experts believe that a large part of the more time-consuming management and monitoring tasks will slowly be eradicated. Instead of skilled professionals manual handling data sets, businesses will focus more on AI algorithms to automate these processes.

Applying Blockchain in the future

AI and automation is the current focus for many businesses but there are always new, emerging technologies appearing in the technology market. Blockchain is regarded as one of the next big things to disrupt business and may have some potential as a security solution for technology. Maintaining the balance between the system intelligence of AI with levels of trust and confidentiality are challenging. With larger volumes of data available and more analytics developed mean a greater level of machine intelligence. Businesses need to ensure they understand the implications of their data processes in terms of trust and security and many industry experts believe that Blockchain will play a part particularly as data volumes are increasing rapidly.

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Revolutionising the digital workplace for the future

July 17, 2019

In today’s business world there are a number of emerging trends that are impacting and influencing the digital workplace. The rise of AI and machine learning is, for many, a decisive factor that has raised engagement and empowered people. New insights enable businesses to utilise tools and applications to deliver their jobs. By following how people use these systems, machine learning can create learning pathways to the individual to enhance their use of a service, increasing efficiency and productivity levels further.

The focus on engagement and empowerment and the rise of user adoption of other platforms are transforming the way businesses work with technology partners. Users are now expecting suppliers to have adoption management specialists and have a specific management methodology to implement new technologies within the workplace. The level of adoption and user satisfaction is becoming a specific factor to measure overall performance. Applying this process can empower employees to generate better outcomes.

The rise of innovative and intelligent technology

Technology today is capable of gathering information from users and implementing changes to their functionality to enhance user experience and improve business activities. Many businesses are applying machine learning processes to analyse business activities and monitor any changes or potential disruption to their overall business. Performance. Such techniques are enhancing efficiency, saving money and improving overall business performance levels.

A streamlined, more simplistic service

In order for certain application to integrate with other systems that employees commonly use today, there is a growing trend of a more simplistic user interface emerging. Recent innovations have enabled a certain task to become simpler by using a streamlined and user-friendly system. Despite this ‘simplistic’ shift in devices, many experts highlight that applications are still continuing to become more intelligent.

A smarter digital workplace

May clients are keen to explore methods of enhancing their digital workplace strategy and design a brand that really makes them stand out from others. The emergence of smart spaces, that focus on combining environments with people and processes to generate higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

The business of the future is looking at taking a more holistic approach, combining HR, Finance, IT and other business areas together to deliver a collaborative strategy that promotes culture, enhances inclusion and is more cost-efficient. Many clients have adopted a smart space strategy resulting in massive energy saving costs by measuring multiple sources of data on heating, cooling, weather and other factors.

Machine learning and analytics can play a critical part in optimising space utilisation. Due to recent accounting regulation changes, space expenses for a business are clearly visible on balance sheets. This means many businesses are looking for ways to reduce their overall office space footprint whilst continuing to maintain high levels of employee satisfaction.

Some businesses are utilising data from other relevant room-booking applications, combined with Wi-Fi and sensor information to determine where people are and how they are working together. Other businesses are designing physical collaborative areas as an alternative option to underused video-conferencing services and are experiencing an increase in engagement and a reduction in costs.

Data authenticity is clearly on the main agenda

Data has become an essential tool for businesses to achieve their underlying goals. This growing reliance on data, however, has generated concerns with the use of unverified data sources. Research by Accenture suggested that nearly 80% of business executives believe that companies are implementing their most critical systems and strategies based on data, yet many have not invested in the systems to verify the authenticity of the data. If analytical professionals avoid the verification of data their decisions could potentially be detrimental to the business. For those that are implementing verification, strategies rely on machine learning to verify data from various applications, smart space and employee engagement, enabling accurate assessments and the ability to continuously improve their business processes.

Some leading businesses are utilising machine learning to predict financial results. These companies have confidence in ML to generate a more accurate prediction of what their figures will be in the future. Data verification is a growing trend and represents another part of the bigger movement towards collaborating to create solutions.
Analysts believe that throughout this year, businesses will be more proactive to engage and empower their employees. IT teams will likely increase their efforts to communicate with employees to create a better understanding of how technology can really empower their everyday lives. AI and Machine Learning will play a pivotal role in this new trend of engaging and empowering people.

Through further insights, IT can display the tools and applications available to employees and display everything that can be done to perform their jobs to their best ability. Through a better understanding of how people use applications, machine learning can create learning pathways to each individual to enhance the adoption of specific services, increasing both efficiency and productivity.

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Software giant SAP highlights big opportunities in China

July 9, 2019

German enterprise business SAP has confirmed it is planning to expand into the Chinese market by exploring new partners within the nation.

In the last year, SAP expanded its cloud solutions for businesses operating on the Alibaba Cloud platform, a section of the Chinese e-commerce leader. Within the agreement, both businesses announced they would collaborate on innovation and commercialisation of new products.

At the World Economic Forum in China, Deepak Krishnamurthy, the Executive Vice President of China stated to media that the business believes in the partnership model and equally believes in focusing on innovation in the Chinese market. Krishnamurthy highlights that they have over 3,000 developers within China and are working on a significant acceleration plan for the nation. SAP believes there is an existing opportunity gap in China, stating that around half of businesses in the U.S. and Europe are currently looking at smart factory solutions, compared to a lower rate of around 25% in China.

Krishnamurthy highlights that SAP customers are within globally connected supply chains, and SAP can support customers manage their supply chain choices by utilising data streams.
Current trade battles between the U.S. and China have caused disruption to trade flows. Businesses are shifting their manufacturing activities from China into other regions within Southeast Asia. Importers from the U.S. and China are also exploring products from other areas that are not affected by tariffs.

Other analysts suggest that as businesses look to move their supply chains into the Southeast Asian region, small and medium companies will implement new technologies into their daily operations, that could lead to a significant opportunity believed to be in the value of $1 trillion.

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Business efficiency needs more than just technology – it needs culture and vision to really improve claims Oracle report

July 9, 2019

A new report created by Oracle and the WHU suggests that whilst many businesses may have invested in the right technology, they may be lacking the culture, skills and behaviour to really improve business efficiency.

Research by Oracle and the Otto Beisheim School of Management have discovered that business efficiency can improve by over 60% when the correct technology is introduced alongside several vital factors. According to the report, many companies have selected the best technologies, but are showing signs of a lack of focus on culture, skills or the right behaviours to really harness the benefits. The report suggests that without these core factors business efficiency will increase when technology is implemented, but at a much lower level.


The core factors highlighted in the report include:

  • Decision making driven by data
  • Flexibility and willingness to change
  • An entrepreneurial attitude and culture
  • A shared approach towards digital technology
  • Critical questioning and thinking
  • A learning culture
  • Open and transparent communication  and collaboration


The report involved studying the opinions of 850 HR Directors and over 5,000 employees spanning 23 nations. Researchers at the WHU highlight that the potential to be adaptable and agile is essential for businesses if they intend to compete in today’s market and provide market-leading propositions. Adaptable represents better support for users and is also an essential factor for any company wanting to attract and retain their employees. Businesses that are not prepared for constant change will not be in a position to compete for the skills required in the current and future digital market.

The rate of progress is an essential driving factor for companies in this marketplace and adaptability and agility should be viewed as essential for technology companies, according to the WHU. Oracle believes that this provides an opportunity for HR teams to manage workforce transformation and really highlight the productivity benefits of technology to a company.

There is still a perception that technology will replace traditional work activities but Oracle believes that business efficiency and further development will only come from the two sides working together. Oracle highlights that with any technology introduction, there needs to be a complete culture change and training of staff to be capable of working with machines and technology. Oracle states that the digital skills from this process that contribute to the seven core factors are essential to really understand the true benefits of any new technology and for a business to become flexible.

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Oracle confirms a new vision and experience for augmented analytics

July 2, 2019

In the last week, Oracle released a new customer-focused vision for Oracle Analytics at their latest Analytics Summit. Oracle’s leading data platform, Oracle Analytics is perfectly placed to combine data, analytics and applications and support the requirements of business users, analysts and technology users. Oracle analytics provides customers with leading AI-powered analytic capabilities for preparing data, data visualisation, reporting, augmented analysis and natural language processing.

T.K. Anand, the Senior Vice President of AI, Data Analytics and Cloud at Oracle explained to media that they are dedicated to supporting customers in ensuring they get the highest value from their data and to provide the best analytics experience. At their latest event, Anand highlighted that Oracle was announcing a new vision, a new experience and a higher level of commitment to customer success.

Richard Solar, the MD of Deloitte Consulting explains that clients today are looking for the best analytical solutions available that are created with the enterprise in mind. Business leaders have access to more data than ever and really require platforms that can convert all of this data into insightful information. Deloitte is dedicated to delivering value for businesses, driven by the Oracle Analytics Cloud system. Combining bother systems, Deloitte combines data and information and support leaders with making important decisions using the latest analytics platforms.

Oracle Analytics Cloud

Developed initially for the cloud, Oracle Analytics Cloud is the central part of Oracle Analytics. The system provides businesses with self-service analytics to prepare data, create visualisations, augmented analysis and natural language processing. Oracle Analytics users worldwide can generate quicker insights and improve overall business results.

Oracle Analytics has been essential for many businesses. For Western Digital, Bill Roy, the senior director believes that the cloud is allowing their internal customers to generate their own content and become self-serving. In today’s business environment, disruption is continuous, resulting in a number of new challenges for businesses. To be successful, business leaders must utilise their data to discover real-valued insights and deliver better, informed decisions.

By leveraging Oracle Analytics, businesses are supporting their client in delivering results by enabling them to innovate, automate and enhance business operations through clear insights that generate real business results.

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