Businesses investing in innovative digital platforms is on the rise, transforming how companies operate today and for the future. Industry is shifting from a functional basis to a more process-focused approach and now further towards a digital platform basis. Digital platforms are altering businesses and data represents the core of these systems.
Data is the key to business transformation
Companies are progressively becoming more data-focused and those that tackle and master the application of data are the ones generating the benefits. Five of the leading Fortune 500 businesses are platform companies and studies suggest that the worldwide data and analytics markets will reach $135 billion by 2025. It is also predicted that data management and analytics will form one of the most important services and a priority function for generating business success for the future.
How business management is changing
A process-applied approach focuses on the tangible results of business activity. In order to remain competitive, businesses need to consider the experience of their customers and the entire business chain. Digital platforms have enables companies to improve the entire experience, something that businesses need to consider to enhance their operations. Transforming from functional to process thinking was a significant process and today, the transition from process to the platform is another giant step. It is difficult to measure what time and investment companies will require to allocate to manage, secure and apply data in the most efficient manner.
The rise of innovation is encouraging increased automation and shifting the business’s approach towards the process. The increased availability of analytics represents a great opportunity for businesses to gather insights on both customers and their employees. For businesses moving to a platform focused perspective, the importance of data management becomes more challenging. The business must consider how to capture and clean data, how it develops and stores data to ensure it can be readily accessible.
The results of data services
Rather than arranging a business around general processes, companies are now focused on data capture, management and the application of data across the range of platforms they are developing. This creates a significant change in where companies invest their money. Data has risen in terms of its importance to business and continues to grow. As a result, the number of money businesses will spend on data management is likely to continue rising in the near future. Unfortunately investing in data management and analytics in order to deliver a quality and power service is expensive.
Data has evolved into a critical part of business processes and companies are quickly trying to establish a strong understanding of data management and utilising the platform to its best ability. One of the challenges facing many companies in a clear shortage of available talent in data management and analytics. Many businesses are targeting investment in this market in an attempt to attract the best talent available and position themselves in a rising market for the future.
The significant rise of data has created a number of new opportunities and as a result, the role of finance professionals is expected to change. In order for the industry to be continually viewed as a value-added service, finance professionals must continue to change and maintain pace with changing technologies. Laura Timms, representative of MHR Analytics highlights a number of significant changes we are likely to see in the years to come.
Rise of business consultancy in finance
Finance professionals have conventionally had to rely on historical data to generate insights. This technique created certain limitations and lacked a clear insight into how our decisions would shape the future. Predictive analytics has enabled finance teams analysis to progress from a stage of asking ‘why did it happen’ to focusing on ‘what will happen next’? The availability of richer insights has allowed finance professionals to monitor customer information in real-time and progress further than just maintaining records to deliver in-depth data analysis. The role of finance professionals has progressed beyond the days of working on numbers in the background. The future of the finance role is likely to see more individuals using new systems and analytics to position themselves in a more strategic and stronger position within a business. The power of information will enable finance teams to measure and interpret anomalies and patterns within a business. This information can be communicated within internal management to enable important decisions to be made.
The rise of cloud computing has significantly transformed opportunities for finance professionals. Traditionally fixed to the office space, the cloud has enabled more flexible working and remote work opportunities, creating a number of benefits for employees and further cost savings for businesses. Further security within cloud systems will allow finance teams to measure and share insights from any location without having concerns about handling sensitive information outside of core office locations. In the not so distant future, finance teams will be capable of sharing and analysing information with their colleagues simply by clicking a button and generating a real-time portrayal of business activities to multiple locations.
Implementing Non-Financial Data
For years, financial data has been the core focus of finance activities. This represented the data where patterns were identified, reports were generated and general observations were made. In reality, financial data only represents one part of a business. As data availability continues to rise, there will continue to be other sources of information capable of using to expand on financial data. For example, customer data on behaviour patterns can be used to identify fraud and suspicious activities. Finance professionals can use other data sources such as employee performance data to assess the ROI that each individual can provide for a business.
Implementing this type of data into the general assessment of business supports revenue generation and provides greater value for financial information. Studies have proven that finance teams that use non-financial data sources with their standard financial data are able to create forecasts with accuracy levels exceeding 90%.
High standard of service
The continued rise of data analytics is enabling an augmented work environment, enabling simpler tasks to be completed by machines rather than people. Augmented analytics will enable many administrative duties that have traditionally been part of a financial position to be replaced and swapped for other important duties, creating a more efficient way of working. This will enable finance professionals to work closely with data, generate leads and insights for their business. Data will leverage the skills of finance teams, allowing them to focus on creating a high-value service. Overall, data analytics will enhance industry performance, with both businesses and clients recognising the influence these roles can have on business profits.
Developing data-focused positions
Augmenting traditional positions will lead to the creation of data-focused alternatives to conventional bookkeeping and accounting jobs. As data becomes more important and embedded in finance, businesses will become even more reliant on financial insights to improve their strategy and the relationship between finance and data will become even more clear.
In the future, most finance professionals are likely to require to have some understanding of data analytics. Before this transition occurs, we will likely experience a rise in data science roles, created out of demand for data specialists in the business. Finance professionals that are training to become more skilled in data analytics are likely to be the type of talent in demand over the next few years.
Valued at over $26 billion and ranked as one of the most valuable global brands, Oracle has established itself as one of the largest businesses in the world. Oracle is dedicated to ensuring people view and use data in different ways, discover insights and create new opportunities. The business creates, manufacturers and sell innovative hardware and software products to multiple sectors. Acquisitions have played a major part in developing the Oracle brand and delivering new technological solutions.
Business Progressions with Acquisitions
During 2018 Oracle completed a number of acquisitions, ensuring the business remained at the forefront of technological progression in the industry. Earlier this year, Oracle acquired Zenedge to integrated a market-leading cloud application and network security services, providing an added protective service for its users. In April, Oracle acquired SparklineData to combine its PaaS services to support customers moving to big data solutions. Oracle also signed a deal to take over DataScience.com, supporting the management of data science tools, projects and infrastructure in the workspace.
Most recently Oracle acquired DataFox and goBalto in October, in a move which Oracle believes will enhance their cloud applications, enabling customers to generate better decisions and business outcomes.
Improving Services with stronger partnerships
During 2018, Oracle created a strong partnership with FireEye, creating the first Oracle cloud solution for FireEye. The collaboration supports customers in moving to the cloud environment, offering a flexible, cost-effective, secure and simplistic offering. At the beginning of 2019, the US-based technology company confirmed another partnership with the VANTA network, focusing on expanding its reach to both consumers and enterprise customers.
A strategy for introducing new technology
Oracle is continuously looking to introduce the latest technology with a goal of enhancing business operations. Oracle is exploring methods to support the migration of infrastructure to the latest cloud platform services. This will involve all corporate applications being hosted on the oracle next-gen cloud. A move like this will reduce overall infrastructure costs and reduce both space and power consumption worldwide. Cloud migration, or data centre consolidation is moving ahead and will support the reduced requirement for physical data centres and the increased demand for flexible infrastructure services.
Introducing emerging and disruptive technologies
To ensure businesses are equipped with the tools to utilise innovation, Oracle has confirmed a continued focus on emerging technologies in Oracle Cloud, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, IoT and other human systems. Oracle is dedicated to ensuring emerging technologies are available and readily accessible across its cloud services. To support its customers and ensure they can utilise new technologies, Oracle has implemented a number of innovative technologies into its services and generate new products into its platform to allow customers to take advantage of each service.
Oracle has integrated machine learning and AI into its cloud services. The Oracle CX application includes embedded AI tools that improve better predictions for selected services, automating answers and providing a more personal service. Oracle also integrated machine learning into its security services to support the detection of potential security threats.
Research and Development Focus
Oracle continues to make a significant investment in research and development to ensure the business delivers innovative solutions. Net investment for 2019 is believed to be just over $6 billion USD. The company in-house R&D facilities are constantly exploring a range of new products that are applied to global business operations. The technology combined with other applications creates a competitive advantage for its product offerings.
Supporting Industry Transformation
The market is experiencing significant transformation, supported by a considerable rise in new technology services. Oracle is investing heavily in new technology, delivering insights and solutions for digital customers. Oracle’s dedication to innovation is a driving force that ensures it remains an industry leader. Their continued investment plans in research and development and focuses on providing the highest quality service has enabled Oracle to support customers in meeting their goals. Their new products and services are supporting industry transformation, utilising the potential of disruptive services and successfully meet rising regulatory demands.
Anaplan, leading business in connected planning has confirmed it has been named on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, an established list of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecoms, life science and energy tech companies within North America.
Frank Calderoni, chairman and CEO of Anaplan believes it is an honour to be recognised by Deloitte for the third year running. Calderoni states that as businesses try to manage their performance during economic uncertainty, business leaders are utilising the Anaplan Connected Planning platform to execute informed and real-time decisions with confidence, providing them with a competitive advantage within their selected market.
Sandra Shirai, the vice chairman of Deloitte and US technology, media and telecoms leader explains that this is the 25th anniversary of their Technology Fast 500 awards. Shirai highlights that once again the list included considerable innovation, with software businesses continuing to dominate the top ten. Shirai stated that it was very positive and inspiring to see how each company was influencing and transforming business activities within the world we live in.
With continued technological innovation, it comes as no surprise that software businesses continue to dominate the winning list again this year. Mohana Dissanayake, a partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP believes it is exciting that we have 25 years of innovation stories to reflect upon, including businesses that are pushing innovation, supporting organisations in becoming more productive and efficient.
About Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500™
Now in its 25th year, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 includes a rank of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies across North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2015 to 2018.
Anaplan is a market leader in Connected Planning. Supported by Hyperblock™ technology, purpose-built for Connected Planning, provides dynamic, collaborative, and intelligent planning. Big global enterprises use our solution to connect people, data, and plans to enable real-time planning and decision-making in rapidly evolving business environments to provide customers with a competitive edge.
Anaplan has confirmed the release of Intelligent Forecasting, an integrated artificial intelligence focused sales solution created in collaboration with Salesforce. Intelligent Forecasting will enable sales managers to combine opportunity data from Salesforce Sales Cloud and data from Anaplan forecasting models, utilising analytical services from Salesforce to offer AI-supported variables to measure win rates.
Chris Badger, the director of technology partnerships at Anaplan explains that sales leaders can measure opportunities within their entire business, creating predictions to ensure you stay close to the most likely deals and share accurate sales forecasts with other members. Badger highlights that for decision-makers the solution can ensure less time is spent on aggregating and compiling data and instead spend more time developing and executing important plans.
Badger highlights the solution will enable sales professionals to leverage data systems to make more informed decisions at a quicker rate. Whilst primarily targeted for sales forecasted, Intelligent Forecasting isn’t limited to sales. The system can be used across a number of divisions including marketing, finance, supply chain and many more.
Digital professionals today are becoming more innovative and technologically capable than ever before. Digital teams are moving away from traditional sales techniques and instead are expecting new, personalised and more engaging presentations. On a similar level, sales professionals are taking advantage of all modern channels and understand the new types of engagement that today’s buyers expect.
Whilst it may sound like both sides are working together, many sales professionals lack the right tools to measure, engage, qualify and convert leads and many presentations and pitches fail to meet the expected quality of engagement. To combat this area, Oracle is creating a new digital sales solution catering for high-volume sellers, business development and account managers, providing an efficient and rapid service.
The system includes:
-High Speed – A new UI support sales professionals with qualifying opportunities quicker and move on from other ‘weak’ opportunities.
-Efficient Service – An automated, efficient service with shortcuts and support from a digital assistant decreasing the time spent on data entry and other time-consuming tasks.
-Prescriptive Technology – The new solution offers constant reminders, real-time support and artificial intelligence (AI) recommendations that enable sales representatives too important to not act upon.
Oracle Digital Sales combines an intuitive and guided selling service with AI, data, automation and integrated voice and sales services that are primarily created to support how digital sales professionals work. Oracle believes the new systems will help sales reps focus more of their efforts on leads and potential deals and reducing time spent on data entry and updating CRM systems. For example, a sales professional using a conventional CRM system would be required to make in excess of 15 data entries and clicks to find a lead or make a call.
With Oracle Digital Sales solution, all of these activities have been integrated into a singular system that only requires several data entries and clicks. Sales professionals can ask Oracle to search key information such as when new leads have been assigned, but also add particular products or updates to a lead or opportunity without having to search for the transaction. The home screen is continuously updated with notifications that require attention or links to access specific records. With a consolidated interface, sales reps can be ready to develop relevant and informed conversations each time they engage. AI is implemented within the system to offer additional support on which leads to focus on and details in terms of prioritising tasks.
After a valuation of $1 billion earlier this year, OneStream Software LLC has confirmed the appointment of a new CFO with a strong finance background with Microsoft and other leading technology businesses. Bill Koeford starts at a company that has experienced significant growth, thanks partly to a $500 million investments from US-based private equity company KKR & Co. Inc. Koeford’s initial task will be to develop a specific financial planning and analysis team, with guided support from OneStream software. Koefoed stated that it wasn’t often you get an opportunity to be a CFO of a business that is developing software for CFOs.
Launched in 2010, OneStream specialises in developing software that offers a simplistic option for financial consolidation, planning, reporting, analytics and financial data. OneStream has a large number of clients using its services, including UPS, Fruit of the Loom, Carlyle Group and Melrose PLC.
OneStream founder and CEO Tom Shea state that the business will work on creating an initial public offering, but Koefoed said he couldn’t confirm a timeline on when this will happen. Company revenue exceeded $88 million last year and achieved 68% year-over-year sales growth in H1 of 2019. It now has in excess of 370 global customers and employs 415 people worldwide, of which 200 were hired in the last year.
OneStream believes its cloud-based OneStream XF platform as a disruptor of corporate performance management software, an area they believe has lacked any real developments in recent years.
Cloud-based systems are rapidly transforming the way companies operate, from hiring and human resources to operations and supply-chain management. Koeford relates OneStream to innovative cloud-based technology businesses such as Salesforce and Workday, but OneSteam is the first firm to integrate smoothly for CFO’s.
A new report by Protiviti has stated that data, privacy, analytics and customer service are the main priorities within the finance market. The report called ‘Today’s Finance Priorities: Security, Data, Analytics and Internal Customers’ states that CFO’s and other finance industry leaders are equally focused on strategic and operational issues.
The report explains that businesses are focused on innovative systems including robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, predictive analytics and cloud-based systems. According to the report, the top priorities for finance industry leaders are:
Security and privacy of data – 84%
Enhanced data analytics – 79%
Process improvement: process and data analytics – 75%
Changing demand and expectations of internal customers – 73%
Embracing new technologies – 73%
Internal controls – 73%
Accounting and finance implications of IT – 72%
Financial planning and analysis – 71%
Strategic planning – 71%
Profitability reporting and analysis – 70%
In addition to these high priorities are key areas identified by finance leader to enhance knowledge and capabilities over the next year:
Embracing new technologies – 73%
Recruiting and retaining talent – 70%
Leadership (withing the organization) – 69%
Working effectively with outside parties – 65%
Six Sigma/continuous improvement – 65%
Coaching/mentoring – 62%
Soft skills – 62%
Change management – 61%
Finance leaders are clearly taking a more active role in ensuring their business is protected against potential data attacks and other threats. The report highlights that CFOs are now taking a more active role in ensuring their business is completely protected against potential data attacks and other threats. Cyber Security is becoming a larger focus for many businesses. Representing the main finance position in business, CFOs have a lot of pressure in maintaining valuable information assets and avoiding any potential compliance or data privacy issues.
The Protiviti report highlights that continued and significant shifts in business priorities and the role of CFOs, driven largely by the increased emphasis on using data as a key resource. The report explains that finance leaders are more dedicated to meeting the increased expectations of internal customers. Finance executives are more concerned with data security, privacy and governance and ensuring financial planning and management reports generate more insights to stakeholders.
With new opportunities come new threats to businesses, including data breaches and it seems that business leaders are looking at their CFOs and finance leaders to implement the changes needed to tackle data security. Protiviti surveyed over 800 global finance leaders and 84% stated that data security and privacy were top priorities. Based on the number of data attacks affecting businesses today, it is no surprise that security and data privacy are viewed as key priorities for finance businesses. Chris Wright, managing director of Protiviti explains that a data breach can have severe financial implications and an impact on business reputation. As the number of cyberattacks increases, finance leaders need to ensure they have the budget and resources available to tackle security and data protection.
Over 70% of CFO and VPs of finance believe strategic planning is one of the key areas that need additional focus. This emphasises the need for finance members to focus on strategy, including daily operations, financial and transaction matters. The data-focused approach of today’s financial market makes the role of CFOs essential in delivering strategy, particularly when it comes to measuring trends and other patterns. Finance leaders are focused beyond financial issues, but also expected to generate insights that really transform and support business decisions. As a result, data analysis is critical and CFO customers are continually seeking a financial system that offers real-time information, detailed insights and enhanced analytics concerning the financial and operational performance of a business.
Approximately 80% of finance leaders pointed to data analytics as a top priority for finance in enhancing knowledge and improving their capabilities. Meeting rising demands and requirements of internal customers is a driving force finance team. Finance leaders want to really focus on security and data management capabilities and improve how these systems can meet the changing requirements of internal customers. The report suggests that failing to make clear progress in data protection and leveraging data insights could result in a potential failure in meeting strategic business expectations.
The introduction of Cloud Native enables industry leaders the flexibility to incorporate 5G, IoT and deliver innovative digital business systems. Digital companies today are radically transforming their monetization systems in order to manage rising demands for 5G and other new digital services.
The new cloud-native system from Oracle Communications for Billing and Revenue Management (BRM) Cloud-native deployment option gives market leaders the agility to embrace 5G, IoT and future digital business models, enabling businesses to meet requirements by integrating the features of an established charging network with the performance and agility of cloud systems.
The Cloud Native option offers a new monetization solution to utilise the opportunities available in digital services. The option supports any industry, providing a platform for 5G networking.
Industry analysts have highlighted that the latest version of Oracle’s Billing and Revenue Management solution is well placed to enhance the business’s ability to support new 5G focused cases. Cloud-native offers internal IT teams to integrate DevOps procedures to enable and launch new services efficiently. Businesses can improve their operations by effectively managing business development with improved scaling and simpler updates. Billing and Revenue Management improves technology agility even further when implementing Oracle’s next-gen Cloud infrastructure, offering autonomous services, adaptive intelligence, and machine learning security options.
Jason Rutherford, the senior VP and general manager at Oracle Communications believes service providers and businesses are actively looking for agile solutions to take advantage of 5G and IoT services. Rutherford highlights that Cloud Native BRM launched on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enables customers to operate efficiently, respond to competitors and introduce new pricing and business models that take advantage of digital innovation.
Most businesses are transforming their focus and continuing to incorporate advanced data and analytical systems. Analytics has been proven to not only add value to business performance, as well as increase profits but also generates a number of other opportunities. Yet, many companies are struggling to take full advantage of the benefits of data and analytics. There are several challenges that businesses need to address before they can really utilise the benefits of data and analytics.
For one, data continues to be spread across multiple systems and sourcing and data management continue to be performed manually. Data industry experts are relatively scarce, yet the availability of data and information, along with security regulations are continuing to rise. In order to become more reliant on information and access the insights provided by data today mean businesses need to address these challenges and understand the real potential of analytics.
Creating a data plan for your business
Businesses need to ensure they maintain a clear strategy that connects with business goals. Any data or analytics projects need to clearly identify their value and show how this corresponds with overall business objectives. Investing further into innovative technologies such as AI and Machine Learning can support automation of some processes, reducing time spent on data management.
Delivering data in company culture
Creating a data-driven culture is vital to determine your business from other companies. Incorporating data into company culture is critical to ensure people connect decision making with data and information. This process requires effective communication of data strategies across all teams and departments within a business. In order to progress and be an agile business, company culture needs to incorporate data and innovation and exactly how data and analytics are tools for your business.
As more businesses transform towards data, data professionals need to really emphasise the value. Incorporating new data tools and aligning these with business strategy will enable data leaders to highlight the potential benefits and investment returns that many business leaders are looking to see.