Finance leaders from Cardtronics and Allegis Group with more than three years of combined experience using Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close joined Perficient and Oracle for a panel discussion regarding their cloud journey.
Richard Ng, Director, Financial Systems, Cardtronics, and John Oliphant, Financial Developer Lead Allegis Group, shared the stories of their organizations’ migration from Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) to Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close. In the first blog post of a four-part series, Richard and John discuss Oracle Cloud Benefits from a Customer’s Point of View. In part 2, read about Consolidation Times in HFM vs FCC. In part 3, Richard and John discuss financial reporting in FCC. In this fourth blog post of a four-part series, Richard and John discuss what they would change if they had to do it all over again.
To view the spotlight video on this topic, click on the link below. To view the entire webinar, click here.
If you had to do this all over again, what would you change?
[John Oliphant] We would have done a proof of concept on our data set. Also, we would’ve learned where we didn’t have parity, for certain things like constant currency, and the multiple alternate hierarchies for entity. Some of these things are just not possible because FCC is meant for eliminations and consolidations. It shouldn’t necessarily become the reporting tool for your organization, especially if you have a large number of dimensions.
Taking the extra time is hard to do, but give yourself some time so that you can analyze and understand how the data should look in the product and if you want to push other components to another product. For reporting, understand what you want each one of your products to do, because if your data set is large, FCC can handle it, but it’s going to be a journey to get where you want to be.
[Richard Ng] I think there’s a lot of expectations that FCC is just like HFM, but that is not the case. I would lay out all your functions that you have customized today in HFM and then map it to the FCC. How does it work in FCC? People think, I thought FCC is supposed to work like HFM but in reality it does not.
It also has new features like the movement dimension. So that’s where the cash flow report comes into play. We could have involved that side of the house earlier because like many, many companies I’ve been to, the cash flow usually is an offline process. In FCC, the movement dimension helps to make it become more of a system-driven process. I wish I involved the controller earlier just to understand their cash flow process so that we can map out a movement dimension to see what could be done. I wish we would have done that sooner instead of having to shorten the discussion during the project when we grew short of time. And looking back, we, we are not able to truly utilize all the movement dimension, but I think this is something I would go back and start this process much, much earlier. For us, our functional users/business partners are always busy with closing and other activities. You only can get so much of their time. So get out in front of them as early as possible.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and our panel certainly called out some considerations for implementing Cloud Consolidations (FCC). To address some of the items identified above, keep these things in mind:
- Cloud Consolidations performs wonderfully in accepting disparate data, performing translations, eliminations, consolidating and reporting. Focus on those capabilities.
- Look at your legacy Consolidation application and what it is doing. Many applications become “specialized” over the years and their purpose and use change from the original intent. Your consolidation application is not a budgeting application or management reporting application. We’ve seen multiple legacy applications with custom dimensions to capture low-level product detail (sometimes to the SKU!), project data, and multiple hierarchies to facilitate budget to actual reporting.
- Look at your data set. Not only custom dimensions and multiple hierarchies, look at your historical data requirements. This is almost always a key discussion point as companies think they need to have a detailed history for years, which is often not the case. If years of history are required, invest the time to understand what level of data is required and for what years. Historical data saved off to reports or a historical cube or application is often times the easier and cheaper alternative. Remember that any historical data needs to be validated and that often delays projects. As a general rule, we typically suggest two years of history, plus the current year in an application. There are other excellent tools in the Oracle suite of products to do Budget and Management Reporting.
- If you are a legacy HFM customer, remember that Cloud Consolidations is NOT HFM in the cloud. It is a net new product with extended capabilities and parameters.
- Invest the time on the front end of your project to understand the new capabilities and coordinate with your business stakeholders what they need the application to do and how it will be done in the new system, especially taking into account new features like the flow dimension.
- If you have concerns about any area of an implementing, trust your instincts and invest the time to perform a prototype of how the application will perform that function. This will take additional time and potentially additional budget, but it is better to understand any challenges earlier rather than later.
These are some considerations for implementing Cloud Consolidations as well as any Oracle product. Looking back is 20/20, but most project leaders can tell you before a project starts where the issues will be. Lack of participation, highly specialized legacy applications, not understanding or communicating the capabilities of the new applications all fit in this category.
Proactive planning as you prepare for a project and working closely with your implementation partner will help identify potential risks and formulate the appropriate approach.