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The Future of Best Practices: Less Work, More Automation, Better Outcomes

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Steve Cox, Group Vice President of the Cloud Business Group at Oracle, wrote about what he believes the future of best practices has in store – less work, more automation, and better outcomes.

The Future of Best Practices

Reflecting on Simpler Times

Cox reflected on simpler times when the internet was ubiquitous – a time when it was used primarily by academics, researchers, and the military. Then, the development of the World Wide Web in 1991 introduced the internet to the public at large. All of a sudden, everyone with a computer and a modem could open a web browser to surf the internet. This advancement changed the world in ways that many never imagined. It enabled the rise of social media sites, “big data,” analytics, cloud computing, and mobile devices and applications.

The Next Shift

Cox feels that a similar shift is nearly upon us again. At Oracle OpenWorld 2018, Oracle founder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison declared that a new technology, machine learning, is the most important technology since the internet. Cox predicts that it will have a similar level of economic, technological, and sociological impact.

In 2014, Oracle released the guide Modern Best Practice – Explained because of an epiphany that Cox had. He realized that the business processes in almost every organization needed to change. What used to be called “best practices” were suddenly out of date in a rapidly changing business climate that was being disrupted by advanced technologies.

Six technologies, in particular, were reshaping how work was being done and what the expected outcomes from that work would be. Everything started moving must faster as cloud, mobile, analytics, social, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data spawned new definitions of value and new models for business and business systems. Oracle produced Modern Best Practice – Explained to help customers realign internally and best navigate this new terrain.

Today, technology is changing faster than ever. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have added elements like “automation everywhere” to best practices. Along with the original six drivers, these newer technologies have further accelerated business change and are presenting even bigger opportunities for transformation and reinvention.

Oracle’s Response to the New Shift

To address these future changes, Oracle is releasing Modern Best Practice – Predicted.

In Cox’s new book, he explains Oracle’s future vision of eight processes used in finance, supply chain, human resources, and customer experience as they evolve hand-in-hand with advanced technologies.

He explains that the good news is that best practices are about to get significantly better. Work will be a more human place with an emphasis on people using insight and experience to plan and make decisions rather than perform the same tasks over and over.

For finance teams specifically, processes will be simplified drastically due to software automation. For example, Cox predicts that 70 to 90 percent of account reconciliations/transaction matching will be automated – allowing accounting staff to focus on more complex cases. In fact, automation will completely change some basic concepts in finance, such as “the close.”

Oracle predicts that the frenzy around period close could become obsolete as AI/ML capabilities expand and the process becomes autonomous; that is, the process is “always closing” without human involvement. The new process could look like the image below (compared with today’s transaction-focused process).



Another process predicted to compress is Report to Forecast. AI/ML will streamline data analysis and detect variances from forecast. The “people” part of the process will be to strategically respond to this information. In this case, too, the best practice shifts from report creation to insight discovery.

Procurement will also completely change. AI/ML will enable procurement professionals to do things like dynamically negotiate the most beneficial terms on outstanding payables based on in-the-moment analysis of treasury position. They will also be able to maintain optimized supplier portfolios with the intelligent, multifactor merging of ERP data with other trusted business data.

The changes in Modern Best Practice go beyond finance, of course, into every line of business.

The original six disruptive technologies have become mainstream, and indications are that this cycle will repeat with AI/ML, blockchain, and AR/VR. In fact, this cyclical disruption is the new normal, and best practices enterprise-wide will continue to evolve and change.

To learn more about the future of best practices, check out the Oracle blog attached below or read Modern Best Practice – Predicted.

Additional Resources

COLLABORATE 20 will take place April 19-23, 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada! Don’t miss this chance to share inspiration, insights, and solutions with your peers, vendors, and the Oracle team! Register before March 6, 2020, to take advantage of Early Bird pricing.

The Future of Best Practices: Less Work, More Automation, Better Outcomes