Part One - Why moving away from Excel and into Oracle EPM Cloud Planning is beneficial to your company
We all want to work more efficiently and faster to raise our productivity and the real time relevance of our data reporting, tracking and company information. No-one wants to be behind the curve or losing a contract because one departments data wasn’t collated correctly with another departments, producing a factually incorrect report you want to use for that important deadline or project meeting.
Every company you will have worked for or built will have used and is still using Excel as the foundation of your data recording and tracking for every department from HR and Accounts, to Marketing and Sales, to client lists and contractors. All vital information for your day-to-day operations and those all-important audits or tracking inventory and assets. The larger your company grows, the more staff you have accessing, using, filtering and working on these spreadsheets hourly and daily. For every extra access point created, there is the real time action of that data changing thus creating a new thread of live data needed to produce the greatest final report for those critical operational tasks. When this new data is not shared in real time with fellow departments due to spreadsheets being locked to a select few or only accessed daily by that single department, other parts of the business lack the knowledge to work efficiently. We have all experienced this and the consequences of extended delays to areas critical to that all important cashflow, such as invoicing, or the uncertainty around the profit margins of one project compared to the next tender due. Everyone loves a spreadsheet, but SMEs can unconsciously sabotage their operations and their development by becoming dependent on quick fixes. The solution to this repeated problem and a great alternative method, as practised by most successful companies, is to consolidate spreadsheets and various applications into one interconnected platform. This decreases the number of spreadsheets needed to collate the report, reducing friction within the business information flow and achieving a smooth integration of all staff members to the data sets and reporting. When you want to develop your business internationally you must have that ideal platform of your operational processes and functions mapped out at the foundational Head Office, then it is ready to be replicated in the new locations for the best and planned results. Moving to a single system of Oracle EPM Cloud Planning is the solution you need.
Example areas of your business improved by moving to Oracle EPM Cloud Planning
The Evolution of Your Business – Success and growing your business
Ultimately, we all want our business to grow and develop into a success that can be replicated in more than the
original location or format. We want that magic formula for our foundation. There are three important activities in
expanding a business – training, reporting and monitoring. Setting up systems and processes for these activities are
complicated and are usually formulated through much trial and error. Good systems are essential to increasing your
revenue without increasing your operational costs. You want to maximise margins to offset the extra salaries and
set up cost of the new location or office. Businesses large and small store critical data, such as HR and payroll, in
spreadsheets, embedding complex queries and macros to make them function like a database. According to a
survey of 500 SME owners, conducted by Xero, 26% use Excel spreadsheets to manage their businesses. Gary
Turner, CEO of Xero expressed that previous studies indicated that “88% of all spreadsheets also contain errors of
some kind. This means that billions in the economy are at risk because of a failure to embrace technology,
potentially limiting the ability to develop the economy”. You and your staff are likely to be spending excessive time
maintaining these spreadsheets each week. In fact, this stance is supported by an infographic produced by SAGE,
where it reported that 50% of UK SMEs waste between 30 minutes and 6 hours per week on spreadsheet issues such
as – data input errors, misuse of built-in functions, incorrectly copied formulas, duplicating data on multiple
spreadsheets. Not looking for new options for your foundational platform will reduce the effectiveness and
ultimately the success of your business’ evolution.
Training staff quickly and effectively is a key ability for adding new locations. To train, you first need an agreed set of
processes that your new staff can replicate. Otherwise, you will not know whether the new office will bring in
enough revenue to offset the extra salaries. Timely reporting is another requirement. Now your business has a
manager at the satellite office who needs to know whether they are hitting their targets.
All of these – training, reporting and monitoring – are improved using the one platform of Oracle EPM Cloud Planning.
The main advantage of using a single platform is that you can design workflows across critical departments such as
sales, marketing and finance. With the right rules in place, an action in one department can automatically trigger an
action in another. Thus, increasing productivity and efficiency across the whole business. Another benefit is new
employees only need to learn one interface to run the business’ systems. Fewer interfaces equal less training
required to get all staff up to speed. This means a faster return on investment in a new office. Having a company
standard that will be recognised and recommended to existing and new clients is a major asset to your company
branding and marketing. You will receive a faster return on your new office investment.
Speed of deployment is one of the reasons cloud (or online) software is so popular. You can open a new office and
log into the same cloud programme as the original home office immediately, without needing to set up a server first.
New employees using the same cloud software can view and share data with head office. These lines of
communication can help strengthen the bond and share knowledge and culture throughout the company.
Governance – A great leader has a great team with them
Every business needs a symbiotic team to make a successful model for all future development and evolution. The
board of Directors are that governing body to steer your business on the correct path. A board of directors keeps a
company focused on the numbers that matter, interrogates strategy and gives advice. For this, they will always need
the latest data and reports on how the business is truly performing. You can only provide this if reporting methods
are accurate and up to date to the hour of receiving and entering information. Directors also have a role to enforce
good governance within the business. This includes accountability and transparency among the directors to
members, shareholders and stakeholders. This will not be achieved if the trading status of a company is buried in a
series of spreadsheets. Collating data and reports from several spreadsheets and departments is a gruelling and
time-consuming task. In smaller companies, this time comes out of the CEO’s schedule when arguably it could be
spent more effectively. Instead, the CEO could be studying the reports, testing scenarios and plotting ROI. The board
meeting could discuss the assumptions and track them rather than start the strategizing in the meeting itself.
Implementing a strong reporting system allows for transparency at critical junctures such as audit time. Good
corporate governance should be a seamless process that requires minimal effort or administration to oversee. For
this you want real time information. If executives and business unit leaders have daily visibility of their financial
performance, they can measure how they are tracking against budget. This makes it much easier to pull together
reports comparing the performance and impact of each department relative to another.
A board will want to establish budgets, goals and targets, and this platform will help track them throughout the
years’ real-time reporting making it much easier to know if the processes are functioning properly and if the business
is on track to hit its targets. Opening reporting to managers can often establish training that leads to a change in
culture. Instead of staff meeting to work out a problem, they meet to discuss which action would best solve it.
Reduce your reliance on Microsoft Excel, invest in alternative software solutions that meet your business need.
Oracle EPM Cloud Planning will give your business that single platform you need to improve, grow and succeed.
Make your business management system work for you, not you work around it.