Mark Wright - Director of Oracle Planning Solutions

Mark Wright, Director of Planning at GK shares his experience of working in finance transformation and offers insights on what to expect when working with us.  

There is a piece missing in the finance transformation market – a hands-on approach at a senior level, so this is what we are offering at GK.     

My role is focused on leading design and implement of Financial Planning solutions, but as with our directors, I’m a Chartered Accountant by trade.  

Before GK I worked in large enterprise businesses with finance teams to build up systems, processes, and controls, this has led me to focus heavily on system implementation process re-engineering and making sure that finance teams can be as efficient as possible using the systems and technologies that exist now to make the delivery of finance requirements (reporting and analysis) as effective as possible. 

Understanding the client’s challenges 

When you begin to work with a client it’s important to understand their specific needs for the project Every client will have their own challenges and requirements, however there are some common themes that we often see; not being able to determine the best way forward and not fully understanding what the products possibilities are. That’s where, with our level of expertise and breadth of experience, we can really help.  

It is sometimes very difficult when you’re in a high-pressure environment like finance because of the tight and non-negotiable deadlines that you must address. Then throw in any new requirements which diverts a team’s attention away from day-to-day tasks. It’s sometimes very difficult to be able to stop and think outside of the box, and with your eyes on full beam, if you like, look down the road and really evaluate what you could or should be do. 

We guide the client, showing what’s available in the EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) suite, what the potential routes for them could be. Once a client begins implementing the project, we help them stay on track, when you’re in the heat of it and having an alternative perspective is essential to identifying the opportunities and risks.  

Why this alternative perspective helps 
Implementation is not just changing an IT system. Think of the other touch points such as process and people. We help companies by designing processes in line with the system they are working with. Getting the resourcing right also has a significant impact on the success of the project, we ensure that people are on board and have the knowledge they need to use the system effectively and in a timely manner. Sometimes it is difficult to accept change and so it’s making sure we really understand where the concerns are, or the training needed, so that everyone in the finance team can move in the same direction.  

Overcoming the barriers to change 

There are no magic bullets, but I certainly am very process driven (and I think most of the GK directors are very process driven) and because of that I think of the outcome. We work with client to be outcome and goal orientated. They don’t get burdened with the negatives – what’s going to discontinue, what’s different in comparison and what you won’t be able to do? We focus on making sure that everyone sees the positive possibilities – what you will get out of the new application and the day-to-day process, then moving towards it becomes easier.  

We take away those blockers in your current processes and systems.  

What happens once the system is implemented  
You go live and you’re using the system, and that’s a great point in time, everyone’s pleased. But it doesn’t really end there, from GK’s perspective we want to help you developed the system further and make use of those systems to support your business as it adapts and changes. We aim to implement it in such a way that the flexibility allows our clients to accommodate these changes, building a partnership and going forward. 

We don’t just do the job and then leave; I think it’s important to bring the people along and continue to look at how that that process is running. I that has a lot to do with why GK have 100% implementation success rate.  

Making it work in the most optimal way now and making sure that they have the scope for the future. You know that’s a skill, a particular mindset to be able to do that. And I think that’s probably where we’ve succeeded. 

Sometimes it’s awkward to push back and say we’d rather do it a different way. And, you know, maybe take a bit longer but it will put a client in a better position for the future. 

We’re so pleased to be a certified Oracle partner, they have the vision to be able to try and pull those best of breed pieces together, and that’s with the cloud-based solution. They are continually developing and improving the EPM product to ensure it is fit for the future needs of their customers.  

We believe in delivering the best we can 

The biggest thing for all of us is that we take a huge amount of pride in what we do. We want our systems to do the speaking for us. We speak about always improving so we always offer more from a value perspective.  

Making sure that the client is happy with what you’re doing, but also making sure the client is understands why you are giving that advice and using your knowledge and your experience to back it up.  

Ultimately it is about collaboration and building a strong working relationship, so as a team, GK and the client can move forward together and come up with the best solution for everyone to be successful.