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Tips to Better Utilize Cloud-Based Technology for Finance, HR, and Supply Chain Leaders

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Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win, was a speaker at the Oracle Modern Business Experience conference in Las Vegas last month. The conference brought together thousands of business leaders from finance, HR, and supply chain organizations. All of these leaders were there to learn how to use cloud-based technology to make their companies stronger.

Moore uses an analogy that shows what line-of-business professionals get wrong about using their technology. He said that they think of their software as a restaurant when it’s actually a gym. Companies feel like IT should bring them a system, much like a waiter would bring food to your table at a restaurant. If you don’t like the food, you’d send it back and write a bad review. However, it’s important to think of your technology more like a gym where the equipment is provided to you, but it’s up to you to utilize it correctly.

In the world of finance, HR, and supply chain leaders, the “equipment” is a modern system of cloud-based technology to run the company’s functions. IT can bring the equipment, but it’s up to LOB professionals do improve processes, train staff, and change business models to get bottom-line results.

A recent Forbes article written by Chris Murphy, Director of Cloud Content at Oracle, highlighted key takeaways from Moore’s presentation at Modern Business Experience that can help LOB professionals better utilize their cloud-based technology. Some of the takeaways include:

  • The Cloud is ‘Move-in Technology’
  • Take Care of Employees, Not Just Customers
  • Big Companies Can’t Always Act Like Startups
  • Talk Revenue, Not Logistics, to Win Support
  • We’re in the “Experience Economy”
  • AI and Machine Learning Aren’t Widespread—Yet

The Cloud is “Move-in Technology”

The term “move-in technology” means that Cloud-based technology is ready to be utilized exactly as it is delivered. They are like furnished apartments—they already have everything that you need in order to live in them. Many executives have elected to change their processes to fit the way Cloud applications are working instead of the other way around.

Having no customizations is a big benefit when leveraging Oracle products because Oracle is continuously improving applications and delivering new functionality. When customers avoid customizations, they can adopt these new features and functionality more quickly and easily. Oracle delivers this functionality with best practices and customer usage in mind. Cloud-based technology provides companies with everything that they need to transform their business processes to fit the ways of the move-in technology.

Take Care of Employees, Not Just Customers

HCM Cloud applications are helping HR departments drastically improve their hiring process. For one HR leader’s company, HCM improved the hiring process so that more than 90 percent of job applicants are now finishing the application—an impressive comparison to the industry average of 60 percent. This jump is due to the fact that the department focused on the job applicant’s experience when it decided to implement Cloud software.

However, that same HR leader faced a problem when implementing Cloud—hiring managers didn’t want to use the new system. Configurations that the firm had made required managers to complete complicated fields and drop-downs. As a result, the lesson learned was to put the employee experience first in order to get the expected results.

Big Companies Can’t Always Act Like Startups

Big companies do not function the same as startups, so they can’t always act like startups. Not all parts of a big company need to focus on just one thing.

In fact, Moore explains that parts of the company should focus on performance and productivity zones while other parts focus on the transformation of business models and incubation of new technology. While it can be easy to get distracted by one goal while others fall behind, it’s important to have multiple, successful moving parts within a company.

One key component is to ensure that these parts don’t compete with one another. Finance leaders are responsible for allocating assets to each zone to ensure that companies don’t have to make a false choice between zones. To achieve financial success there needs to be a healthy balance between all parts.

Talk Revenue, Not Logistics, to Win Support

Updating an old software system seems to always make the bottom of the priority list. It seems costly and unnecessary, so people avoid it. However, when you need a solution with benefits that outweigh the cost, moving to cloud-based technology that is continually updated is the solution for you.

What’s the best way to gain support for moving to cloud-based technology? Talk about the revenue it will bring in. Compare the cost of switching to the Cloud to the cost of repairs and lost revenue if the old software were to break down. That should be convincing enough on its own. And be sure to review the Essentials for a Strategic Transition to Cloud Services.

We’re in the “Experience Economy”

Once a purchase is made, what a consumer does and how they do it should not go unnoticed. Consumer’s opinions matter now more than ever. Rob Tarkoff, Oracle Executive Vice President, explained that customers are the innovators in the way they use and experience products.

A new era is emerging—the “experience economy.” To benefit from the experience economy, companies need to help customers find the products that they need and help them make decisions and solve problems before they face them. In addition, companies need to be capturing numbers to help gauge how customers are engaging with marketing, sales, service, and commerce applications.

AI and Machine Learning Aren’t Widespread—Yet

The rapidly improving knowledge of consumers comes with emerging technologies. Changing business models in the experience economy require new and different systems.

One example of a new system is the subscription model. Customers may lose interest and ultimately unsubscribe from the service if the features that are offered don’t meet their needs. With a subscription model, it’s important for the company offering the service to know what features are popular with your customers, and which are not, in order to adapt and improve in the future.

Moving forward, Cloud-based technology that is powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning—which Moore calls “systems of intelligence”—will be the next platform.

First came the on-premises applications. The last wave of these applications gave companies the “systems of record” that helped them accurately track finance, sales, manufacturing, supply chains, marketing, and HR. These on-premises applications were followed by “systems of engagement” like e-commerce, mobile applications, and interactive websites. These systems helped companies build new ties with customers. Systems of intelligence are the next step.

They will combine big data, Internet of Things (IoT), and AI in order to provide companies with new and faster insights about customers and products. This vital information can give companies a more competitive edge. Those who have already implemented “systems of intelligence” are ahead of the pack.

For more information, check out Murphy’s full article in Forbes, attached below. Additionally, you can browse through the additional Quest resources below to learn more about priorities for leaders in the digital age of Cloud.