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Key #3 to Efficient FP&A: Moving to the Cloud

Bobby Ellis | | July 17, 2018

As we have discussed in a previous blog post, one of the best things you can do for your Oracle software is to keep it updated. Instead of doing a manual upgrade for each release, what if you could have those updates provided automatically via the cloud?

In a 2017 survey, IT research and advisory firm Gartner found that 71 percent of organizations are in partial or full deployment of a cloud solution for their planning, budgeting, and forecasting software. This statistic has more than doubled in just one year – up from 30 percent in 2016 – which is solid proof that FP&A departments are overwhelmingly looking to cloud-based solutions to support their mission-critical functions.

Additionally, the companies that are moving their financial processes into the cloud are more likely to be industry leaders. According to the Aberdeen Group, high-performing organizations are 53 percent more likely to use cloud EPM software for planning, budgeting and forecasting.

These statistics prompt a kind of “chicken or egg” question: Do high performers move to the cloud because they have a better understanding of its benefits, or does cloud software make them better performers in the first place, allowing them to unlock a higher plane of success? The answer, in many cases, is “both.”

The Benefits of Cloud FP&A Software

Although there are still holdouts using on-premises software, often for reasons of data security and regulatory compliance, the future of enterprise applications looks increasingly cloudy.

As they pertain to FP&A processes, some of the most important advantages of cloud software are:

  • Lower costs: Rather than upfront capital expenditures and costly software licenses, cloud applications usually have a subscription-based pricing model. This makes it easier for small businesses to adopt, and easier to scale the number of users up and down as your company grows and evolves.
  • Single source of truth: Much of the time spent on FP&A processes such as consolidation and close is used to reconcile potentially conflicting data sources. A database that serves as a single source of truth gives everyone in the organization access to the latest data, so that plan and forecast data is current across the enterprise.
  • Analysis and reporting: Enterprise financial planning and analysis has become increasingly difficult. While the pace of change in the outside world accelerates, one arm of your business still does not understand what the other arm is doing. To maintain effectiveness, organizations need a platform that evolves as rapidly as the demands on their business. Top-of-the-shelf FP&A software like Oracle EPM comes equipped with dashboard functionality that gives you real-time insights into your most important metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). This enterprise-wide view makes it easier for different departments to communicate and collaborate.

Final Thoughts

The good news is that Oracle has worked hard to make its FP&A cloud offerings, such as Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS), just as feature-rich as their on-premises software – and often more so.

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