The personal greeting on websites is becoming a more common tool and often is the first interaction a user has with a business and therefore can be a vital influence in understanding how customers are treated at this particular business. Quite often, it will be a chatbot or a digital assistant providing this service, rather than an actual human.
Digital assistants are text-based platforms that are created to work within a single purpose application. Services are continuing to improve algorithms based on user behaviour and language conversion to enhance digital assistant development and improve the overall user experience. Many industry leaders believe that digital assistants will have a great influence on the way financial professionals operator. Digital assistants can enable finance teams to simplify and automate certain repetitive tasks, enabling finance professionals to spend more time on value-focused activities.
Technology businesses are integrating voice assistant into software support with processes such as recommending suppliers, completing expense reports and providing support on which invoices to pay first. Oracle is implementing innovative digital assistants into a product to assist in capturing and monitoring expenses, claims and generate useful algorithms that recommend the most suitable suppliers to engage with.
Automation to enhance business efficiency
Oracle believes that digital assistants will begin to support improvements to year end, budget management and financial forecasting. Businesses will start to use intelligent assistants to remove duties previously performed by employees, enabling teams to use their skills to develop insights and create more informed business decisions. A fine example of digital assistants in action is at Exelon who implement digital assistant to create a rapid customer service experience. Exelon was looking for quick digital assistant implementation to cover a number of platforms that include web, social media and voice assistants like Alexa. Exelon utilised the rapid digital assistant tools from Oracle Mobile Cloud and created faster response times, reduced costs due to lower call centre expenses and over 10 million users covered via the service.
In the finance industry, digital assistants can offer similar functions to automate and cover repetitive processes that are generally time-consuming for employees, time that could be used to focus on high-level jobs that influence the financial performance of a business. Digital assistants will potentially provide informed answers to specific questions such as ‘annual spend on travel and expenses’. Information like this can allow a financial manager to determine how much budget is available for employee spend.
Industry leaders believe that digital assistants will soon be able to automate complete financial processes, eliminating the need for human involvement. Financial employees will be given more freedom from repetitive jobs and the ability to spend more time on the critical and necessary work. This means more benefits in terms of a business and its financial strategy as well as keeping employees more engaged and challenged at work. Innovative digital assistants are likely to be a vital part of empowering employees and enhancing business performance.
Insightsoftware, the leading financial reporting and enterprise performance manager supplier has confirmed the acquisition of Jet Global Data Technologies, a worldwide provider in reporting, analytics and budgeting tools for Microsoft Dynamics.
The latest acquisition adds to Insightsoftware’s key objective to generate a diverse portfolio of leading reporting platforms, enabling businesses of all sizes efficient access and the means to distribute insightful financial data. Furthermore, the latest acquisition will strengthen the advanced excel-base reporting capabilities used specifically for users of the top ERP reporting platform, Microsoft Dynamics. The new plans will further strengthen the commitment of Insightsoftware to its international partner network.
Operating in 14 countries, Jet Global provides a simplistic alternative to conventional reporting systems, which generally involve manual work, are time-consuming and can be over complicated. Jet Global offers a solution and rapid access to data, a flexible reporting system from any Microsoft Dynamics source, including Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and GP. Jet Global has over 14,000 customers spanning over 90 countries and includes major global brands such as Amnesty International.
Mike Lipps, CEO of Insightsoftware explains that businesses are currently sitting on a ‘virtual treasure of data’, but points out that the opportunity to utilise and act on this data pool in real time is generally lost in the complications and rigidity of ERP solutions. Lipps believes their business is providing a leading reporting portfolio and transforming this process. With the acquisition of Jet Global, Insightsoftware can offer even more flexibility, additional reporting, analytics and budgeting capabilities to empower customers to make quicker and more informed decisions that really influence their business.
Joe Little, CEO of Jet Global highlights that over the last 16 years, Jet Global has developed into a market leader in reporting, analytics and budgeting processes for users of Microsoft Dynamics. Little points out that their services have been in great demand by enterprises requiring solutions that enable rapid access to vital data and allow for quick and informed decisions and more agility within a company. Little believes the integration with Insightsoftware will create further opportunities for customers and partners worldwide, generating a higher level of market responsiveness and solutions covering reporting, analytics and budgeting.
Global private equity and investors into insightsoftware have highlighted the progress insightsoftware has made on delivering TA’s initial vision of developing the leading reporting software for financial reporting and EPM. Hythem El-Nazer, the MD of TA Associates explains that they continue to see more opportunities for increased organic development by offering leading products and solutions that meet the requirements of their 20,000 customers worldwide.
EPM solutions enable businesses to respond quickly to changes in revenue, managing sales or marketing pipelines and having a clearer understanding of consolidated graphics of accounts. The responsibility of financial employees has changed, to become more strategic and value-focused. Finance teams are leading the transformation of business innovation as a part of the wider digital initiatives.
Today’s CFOs look beyond reporting to provide decisions that support strategies with business execution. CFO’s enable more strategic solutions, utilising EPM solutions to plan, measure, optimise and close financial results in a comprehensive framework.
In an earlier report by CEB into finance in terms of company performance, the findings suggested that analytic capabilities are vital to a finance team’s ability to influence business partners and play a critical role in driving business outcomes.
Benefits of EPM Solutions
There are a number of benefits resulting from implementing EPM solutions, including enhanced quality of data, improved management efficiency and informed decision making. EPM solutions empower finance professionals with the systems required to enhance existing systems and really transform the potential performance of a business. This includes improving the agility and speed of planning cycles, improving decision making processes and reducing the time spent on manual activities.
A business that has a range of disconnected systems with separate data systems does not have the real-time visual information and opportunities available for industry leaders. Integrated EPM solutions can improve operations and eradicate manual tasks within a business. Business managers and responder quicker to measure revenue, manage Marketing or Sales pipeline and a clear representation of accounts.
Time spent analysing excel spreadsheets, measuring discrepancies and checking formulas is time that could be spent on other value-adding activities. EPM solutions enable finance professionals to save time spent on manual activities related to management reporting, budgeting and forecasting.
In a related study delivered by BPM Partners, the results showed that over 20% of respondents use spreadsheets as the main solution for financial reporting. In the same study, 12% stated they used spreadsheets as the main solution for financial consolidation. Over the years, many businesses have upgraded spreadsheets and deployed financial and reporting applications on-premise. These solutions have proven to be time consuming and expensive.
This has increased the interest and demand for new cloud-based financial consolidation and reporting services. Many cloud-based solutions offer similar capabilities as on-premise solutions, with added advantages of considerable cost savings, quicker service deployment, reduced reliance on IT and improved security in the cloud.
With access to more accurate, consistent data and analytics systems, businesses can make quicker and intelligent decisions with EPM. Integrated planning systems enable users to perform detailed scenario analysis to understand the impacts certain decisions would have on business performance. Implementing a leading EPM solution can support the transition of conventional finance from measuring assets and financial data to supporting an enterprise and determining the factors that influence performance levels across the entire business.
Apple and leading software business SAP are accelerating their partnership after plans to increase focus on the use of iPhone, iPad and Mac within an enterprise. The recent report by Reuters explains that both companies are partnering to support businesses in the development of applications using machine learning technology at Apple.
The report suggests the partnership will focus on enhancing augmented reality activity within businesses. For example, SAP and Apple will focus on augmented reality for things like machinery repairs. Furthermore, the new applications developed within the partnership will be compatible with iPhones, iPads and the Mac. Tim Cook recently attended the annual SAP Sapphire user conference to highlight the planned partnership expansions with SAP. Cook explained that security and privacy are key elements of this new partnership. Cook emphasises that enterprise mobile devices are vital pieces of technology that must be protected. Cook went on to explain at the event of the continued freedom that technology can create for workers wanting to do their jobs whilst on the move, something that both companies are working on.
Apple and SAP first partnered back in 2016 with the objective of expanding the use of iPhones and Macs within the enterprise industry. The latest announcement highlights a stronger partnership with more focus on machine learning, augmented reality and privacy.
Earlier this month SAP introduced a range of new services that will influence how consumers and enterprises interact with one another. After recently completing its acquisition of Qualtrics, SAP has launched a number of new offerings that integrated experience data (X-data) with operational data (O-data) to measure and enhance the experience for customers, employees and improve the product and brand. Industry experts believe this product launch highlights a new level in enterprise software. The new system launch will enable companies to listen to the beliefs and intentions of customers, employees, suppliers, partners and other interested parties. SAP CEO Bill McDermott highlights that experience management is a top priority for leading businesses worldwide. McDermott emphasises that SAP is really focused on supporting customers as a key factor in encouraging growth, innovation and confidence.
For customer experience, SAP has launched three Experience Management solutions that can transform HR platforms into enterprise systems. The new solutions collect experience data from employees within the employee lifecycle and empower leaders and managers within HR to gain a true understanding and use these insights that will deliver a leading workforce.
At the Sapphire Now event, SAP and Apple announced that the CORE ML on-device machine learning technology will be available as part of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS. Within the partnership with Apple, SAP has redeveloped some of its most popular mobile apps for SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Concur solutions to operate on iOS. The applications are completely integrated with iPhone and iPad, enhancing levels of security and performance. SAP also confirmed it will expand its application offerings to the Mac, with the launch of new apps that offer the power and simplicity similar to SAP iOS apps. The new Mac applications will introduce the detail and richness of the SAP iOS experience to the desktop.
Bill McDermott, the CEO of SAP explains that Apple is on the rise in an enterprise. McDermott states that their customers really like the security and simplicity of iOS and it provides a superior platform to develop innovative business applications. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple highlights that enterprise customers are experiencing real business benefits when using iOS. Cook highlights they are excited for SAP to extend their experience more soon iPhone and iPad, and bringing services to the Mac for the first time. Cook highlights that the partnership is an important milestone for Apple and are excited to be working with SAP to empower users with the leading business process data available in iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Teesside University has confirmed a partnership with leading data analytics provider MHR Analytics in order to support its financial and fee planning system. Financial workforce planning software, managed by IBM Planning Analytics, will be integrated to reduce time and money spent on spreadsheet-based tuition fee planning and spend more time on strategic development within each department.
Teesside is one of many educational organisations that is turning its attention towards analytics to support transformation in economy and continued industry developments. The new analytics solution will enable the finance team at Teesside University to actually visualise, test and measure a range of scenarios and revenues. The University can segment data based on student retention rates, course profits and the effect of curriculum changes without relying on conventional spreadsheets.
Kendra Pink, the Deputy Director of Finance at Teesside University explains that it is vital that financial forecasting and fee planning processes are effective and accurate. Pink highlights that by eliminating time spent on manual processes will enable teams to be more strategic and remain focused on providing the best educational experience for all students.
Nick Felton, the Senior Vice President of MHR Analytics states that they are pleased to welcome Teesside University to join the increasing number of UK universities partnering with their platform. Felton highlights that competition for funding streams and student numbers is high and becoming more complicated to measure accurately. Felton highlights that the planning analytics platform will enable universities to improve performance and continue to deliver world-class education to students in the UK and worldwide.
Leading provider of connected financial planning and solutions, Host Analytics confirmed details of the Perform 2019 Enterprise Performance Management event.
The event is to be held on May 20th-22nd in Las Vegas and will involve the collaboration and networking of nearly 1000 finance professionals worldwide.
The event theme of Perform 2019 is focused on how finance is leading the transformation of business and specific sessions will highlight how modern finance teams are utilising new technology to become the strategic hub of their business.
Perform 2019 highlights the collaboration of ideas between finance professionals, industry leaders and Host Analytics partners. Event participants will get to understand how finance can enhance business performance and how other professionals are using Host Analytics solution to improve the strategic value of finance. Specific sessions will focus on new approaches to networking with business partners, workshops on new technologies and advice from professionals implementing and utilizing EPM.
Event speakers at Perform 2019 will include Ron Bade, the CEO of Hosts Analytics, Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, an organisation providing clean water and sanitation worldwide and many others.
Christelle Flahaux, the CMO at Host Analytics explains that Perform 2019 is an essential event for finance professionals. Flahaux emphasises that the event attracts Host Analytic customers and innovative finance professionals looking to learn strategic techniques and share their knowledge. Flahaux highlights that this year’s agenda will focus on areas that enable finance to transform business performance.
Sessions scheduled for Perform 2019 include:
Doug Henschen, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, Agility Matters: How Cloud-Based Planning Drives Digital Transformation
Dave Kellogg, Independent Director, Blogger, Consultant and former CEO of Host Analytics, The Board View: How Directors See KPIs, EPM, Metrics and Planning
Seth Lippencott, Director of Research at Nucleus Research, The ROI of EPM: A Case Study in Finance and Budgeting Transformation
Simon Reed, Vice President, Corporate Planning at American Express Global Business Travel, Journey Through the Transformation of Finance
Shane Riddle, Director of FP&A of Planar Systems, Integrating Host Analytics in a Rapidly Changing M&A Environment
The new hub will provide a platform for Oracle customers, partners and other investors, offering a clearer understanding of emerging technologies.
Leading tech company Oracle has announced the launch of its first technology and innovation hub in Saudi Arabia aimed at promoting the development of artificial intelligence, IoT and other emerging technologies within the nation.
The new office in Riyadh was officially opened this week by the Vice Minister at the Ministry of Telecommunications and IT who explained that the hub would represent one of several innovation labs planned to drive digital transformation across Saudi Arabia. The minister referred to the plans as a vital part of the kingdom’s 2030 vision to diversify the economy. The diversification plans show a strong emphasis on digital technology as a key driver of enhancing growth and development within the kingdom. The minister refers to data as the new oil and with continued economic changes, Saudi Arabia is progressing its technology plans to maintain the pace.
The hub will also provide a vital knowledge platform for Oracle customers, partners and stakeholders and provide further innovation with regional companies. Abdul Rahman Al-Thehaiban, the senior vice president for technology in the region at Oracle emphasised that digital transformation was a central piece of new government plans. Al-Thehaiban explains that businesses in Saudi Arabia now really understand the importance of embracing digital technology. He suggests that the innovation hub will promote awareness for key stakeholders, encourage further innovation and support skills development for the next wave of leaders in Saudi Arabia.
Oracle has been active in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years and works with clients and partners such as Saudi Telecom Company, Riyadh Metro and Fitaihi Holding Group.
AirAsia has confirmed that it will partner with Oracle to centralise and enhance its finance operations by utilising Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud.
The new developments support the affordable airline business growth plans and its goal of being the leading travel technology business in Asia.
Tony Fernandes, the CEO of AirAsia Groups explains that the business has supported ASEAN connectivity ever since its beginning in 2001. Over the last 18 years, Fernandes explains that AirAsia has expanded its network and launched a number of new routes across Asia Pacific, delivering new services to meet their guest’s needs.
AirAsia now sees this is as the next stage in their journey, enhancing their existing business progress and brand reputation and transforming AirAsia into something more than just an airline. Fernandes explains that AirAsia intends to be the travel technology business for the region and part of this goal involves developing into an intelligent and connected enterprise.
AirAsia has connected with over 6,000 organisations covering multiple location and industries with this development. Oracle ERP Cloud enables businesses of all sizes to effectively make use of the most recent innovations in artificial intelligence, digital assistants, the Internet of Things and other services to enhance overall productivity, reduce costs and improve control.
Pattra Boosarawongse, the CFO of AirAsia Group explains that creating agile finance operations is a vital part of delivering a successful business, creating readily available financial information in real time, which can be used to make strategic business decisions. Boosarawongse highlights that AirAsia now operates in 25 markets across Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the US, making their operations rather complicated. Their finance team needs to be capable of managing a range of data currencies and perform transactions with suppliers in various countries.
Oracle ERP Cloud provides an opportunity for AirAsia to simplify, standardise and automate all financial operations within the group and allow their finance teams more time to focus on important tasks that will expand the business.
Summary of Benefits of Oracle to AirAsia:
Align chart of accounts and enterprise structure modelling: Oracle ERP Cloud integrates the business activities of AirAsia, enabling efficient operations and enhance decision making. The cloud solution provides the latest best practices and the implementation partner TransSys supports the standardising of business activities within finance and procurement.
Revenue accounting and integration of operational systems: Oracle ERP Cloud is combined with the current business systems at AirAsia delivering a single channel across all financial and procurement functions.
Direct cost and operation control: Oracle EPM Cloud will support AirAsia with global account reconciliation, enabling the business to define, review and produce financial and management reports.
Reliable data models for profit analysis: Oracle ERP and EPM cloud can support core business models and reporting, enabling AirAsia to enhance its decision making processes.
Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle believes AirAsia is leading innovation in their industry and provides a fine example of how technology can improve both costs and overall customer experience. Hurd explains that the Oracle systems will provide a valuable tool to enable continued development at AirAsia and strengthen their position within the ASEAN travel market.
Oracle Corp. has confirmed it will be dismissing several hundred employees next month as the leading software developer attempts to restructure its existing cloud computing strategy.
The announcement may represent a fraction of its expansive workforce but does include a focus number of people working within the infrastructure cloud units which are intended to generate growth.
The database leader intends to cut over 350 people on May 21st in a report released with the state of California. Regional media reports that the company had recently removed a number of unspecified jobs outside of California over the last week. Oracle has faced challenges to increase its revenue during a transition towards internet-based systems and services.
Deborah Hellinger, a representative for Oracle explains that as their cloud business grows, they continually look to balance resources and restructure their development group to create the right people to deliver the most effective cloud products to customers worldwide.
Strong growth and stock prices hitting a new IPO high are clear signs that Anaplan is proving it’s connected planning services are expanding to more businesses and helping transform the way companies make strategic decisions.
Started in 2008, Anaplan offers cloud-based planning software across finance, sales, supply chain, operations and human resources. The business released its first planning product in 2011 and by the start of this year, their revenue has exceeded $240 million. Anaplan is within a market that has been valued by IDC to be in the region of $17 billion, predicted to rise to $21 billion by 2021. There are reported to be over 70 million workers that are planning software users. Anaplan has replaced many traditional systems that have been incapable of interacting with other services and has removed the manual planning that quite often is complex, expensive and lacking efficiency.
Anaplan is capable of managing large data volumes processed in real-time. The system enables thousands of users to have access to a centralised data system, incorporating all levels of data enabling better decision making.
There are a number of ways Anaplan services can be used within a business. This includes budgeting and forecasting through to modelling and pricing measurement. Anaplan planning tools can be utilised to measure sales, manage department budgets, marketing spend and handle technology project budgets.
Anaplan tends to focus on securing agreements with large enterprise accounts. As of this year, Anaplan had close to 250 accounts with an annual yearly payment of over $250,000. The enterprise market is highly lucrative for Anaplan, resulting in the average contract value being just over $200,000, significantly higher than competitor Adaptive Insights, now Workday, which stands at $27,000.
Anaplan went public last year with opening trades at just over $24 and reached a post-IPO record high of just over $40 earlier this year. Data reports have also proven to show a significant rise in overall revenues at Anaplan. During the last quarter, the average size of the 10 biggest deals at Anaplan was greater than $500,000.
The partners at Anaplan are an essential part of the company as they drive new business, particularly within the larger enterprise sector. Anaplan now employs over 1,000 consultants and it is recorded that nearly half of all deals at Anaplan involve a partner.
EY has become a major partner for Anaplan, looking closely at supporting financial services companies and improving results through the use of the Anaplan platform. Anaplan has also worked with EY to provide a dedicated cloud spend optimisation system which identifies where money is not being used appropriately on cloud solutions and provides methods of improving the process.
Anaplan has also collaborated with Deloitte to create a planning system targeting consumer packaged goods companies. The tool focuses on improving demand planning with an aim to ensure products are always available to the customer.
This year, Anaplan intends to expand its sales team and continued to expand the product portfolio.