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ERP and EPM to the Cloud
There was a time when implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software was a daunting prospect for corporate IT teams. The timeline of business computing is littered with red flags representing problematic, old-style ERP projects.
Fast forward to today’s IT environment where cloud computing has given chief information officers and chief financial officers a better way to implement ERP applications without all the headaches of the past.
Oracle ORCL -2.04%, with its Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud, has proved that software as a service (SaaS) offers significant advantages in terms of implementation, reliability, scalability, and security. It also provides users access to advanced analytics and reporting functionality, global currency and data support, and tight enterprise application integration.
That helps explain why Oracle experienced remarkable growth recently in its ERP and EPM (enterprise performance management) Cloud services. Here are a few data points from the company’s Q2 FY2015 earnings statement:
At the same time, Oracle on-premises customers, looking to simplify their IT environments and gain access to the latest technology innovations through a cloud-based delivery model, have stepped up replacement of their existing financial and enterprise performance management systems with Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud services.
The compelling features and functionality of Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud are swaying a particularly no-nonsense group of corporate executives—CFOs—who are attracted to the online services’ cost-effectiveness and room to move. “Oracle Applications Cloud is integrated and scalable,” says Dr. Markus Harder, director of finance and IT for SoundCloud, the world’s largest online music and audio community. “It’s designed to support our long-term growth and adapt to our needs.”
Innovative, fast-growing companies, in particular, are tapping Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud to support rapid expansion. Last November, lynda.com, a growing online education company specializing in creative business skills, acquired Oracle ERP Cloud.
Looking to replace its aging on-premises financial system, lynda.com conducted a “very thorough vetting process” of ERP cloud vendors and their offerings, says CFO Elaine Kitagawa. “It was not a low bar for them to meet,” she says.
Oracle ERP Cloud stood out for several reasons. First, it offered a “strong, cohesive, and complete set of features” that impressed the financial team, as well as scalability and security the IT team took note of, Kitagawa says. At the same time, the Oracle team “really showed their commitment to lynda.com’s success,” she says.
Implementation of Oracle ERP Cloud is underway at lynda.com, says Kitagawa. After that’s done, lynda.com will be looking to upgrade other systems, including HCM (human capital management system) and planning, and Oracle Cloud applications will be in the running. “If they hold true to their commitment to their cloud offering, I think I’ve found a vendor I can build my financial operations and infrastructure around on a long-term basis,” Kitagawa says.
Other Oracle customers are also modernizing finance operations and driving digital transformation with Oracle ERP Cloud and EPM Cloud.
RE/MAX Holdings Inc., the familiar real estate franchisor, needed a systems upgrade. As a result of the company’s IPO in 2013, “our financial information has become transparent,” says Karri Callahan, acting CFO and corporate controller. And requirements changed. “To support our ambitious growth strategy, we needed a more efficient finance system with embedded controls and extensive reporting capabilities,” Callahan says. “Oracle offered us preintegrated, state-of-the-art cloud services.”
RE/MAX signed up for Oracle ERP Cloud and EPM Cloud to help meet its increased planning and reporting demands. Yet, the online applications also address another corporate imperative: supporting its franchisees. “This was a compelling value, since we prefer to invest in technology innovations for our brokers and agents rather than maintaining separate systems,” Callahan says.
Ringo Mobile, an Italian wireless company with ICS Group, is also moving toward SaaS, and in particular, Oracle ERP Cloud as a way of unifying the ERP systems within its holding company.
“Cloud for us is a natural choice because our business is distributed and we already have a strong company culture that understands the value added of SaaS,” says Luca Brignone, managing director with Ringo Mobile. “The cloud solution matches perfectly with our local needs and at the same time supports our multicountry approach.”
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