A new study finds that finance and HR leaders play a crucial role in driving digital transformation

Open access no. 53/2017

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A New Oracle and MIT Technology Review study points to the human factor behind cloud automation and reveals how the roles of finance, HR, and IT departments evolve to meet the needs of connected enterprises.

To enable enterprises to thrive in a vibrant digital marketplace, Oracle and the MIT Technology Review released a new study highlighting the importance of collaboration between finance and HR departments within a unified cloud. The study, entitled Finance and HR: The Cloud’s New Power Partnership outlines how a holistic view into finance and HR data, made possible by the cloud, helps enterprises better manage continuous change.

Based on a survey of 700 senior executives and finance, HR and IT managers, the authors of the study found that a shared cloud-based finance and HR system is a key component of successful cloud transformation. The benefits of integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human capital management (HCM) systems include facilitated tracking and forecasting of employee costs for budgeting purposes. Additionally, integrated HCM and ERP cloud systems can improve collaboration between departments, as 37% of respondents use the cloud to enhance data sharing.

The research report also identifies the human factors behind successful cloud implementation, with employees’ ability to adapt to change playing a critical role. Among organisations that have fully implemented the cloud, almost half (46%) say that their ability to reshape or resize their operations has improved significantly — as do 47% of top-level executives.

The cloud also brings significant benefits in terms of productivity. Nearly one-third of respondents (31%) say that after moving to the cloud, they spend less time doing manual work within their departments and that the automation of processes has freed up time to work towards achieving strategic goals.

“As strategic organisational transformation is increasingly led by HR and finance departments, return on investment includes not just financial savings for the enterprise, but also better insight into financial and HR data thanks to the cloud. At the heart of any successful company are its people, which is why finance and HR department leaders are increasingly spearheading cloud transformation,” says Arkadiusz Sikora, Application Sales Director at Oracle Polska. “The improved collaboration between these departments makes it possible to manage changes ahead and sets an example for other departments, pointing the way towards a cloud shift.”

The study has also revealed that the boundaries between departments and individual roles are blurring as the cloud increasingly connects various back-office systems:

Increased collaboration: 46% of finance and human resources professionals say that full cloud deployment has significantly improved collaboration between departments, with nearly half of them expecting significant improvements in the next two years.

  • This also extends to IT. As many as 52% of respondents believe that, following cloud deployment, the relationship between IT, HR and finance departments is better than expected.
  • Cross-department intermingling: As finance and HR professionals increasingly work with data and the cloud, 43% of businesses plan to bring IT people into these departments to help employees take advantage of new technologies.
  • New skillsets: The desired skills which respondents want to improve upon include:
  • time management — currently 40% of respondents consider it to be an issue;
  • active learning;
  • problem solving, mathematical reasoning and analytical skills;
  • IT departments are also undergoing change. As many as 56% of executives state that after cloud deployment, their IT department has made a lot of progress in introducing innovations.

“As organisations introduce technological changes, it is crucial for the senior management to empower employees to develop their business competences,” says Arkadiusz Sikora. “Many businesses understand this, with 42% planning to provide their employees with management training to help them break out of their traditional back-office roles. The lessons learned from the move of finance and HR departments to the cloud will spread across the enterprise, with the departments working together to conceptualise further changes.”

About the research

Together with the MIT Technology Review, Oracle surveyed HR, finance and IT professionals to gather information about the state of cloud transformation in their companies and learn more about how moving to the cloud has improved collaboration among departments. In total, 700 HR, finance and IT professionals were polled across North America, Asia and EMEA.


Task 1. Key phrases.

Read the text carefully and study the vocabulary. Translate the selected key words from the text into English:

  1. stać na czele:
  2. pełen energi:
  3. zaplecze:
  4. całościowy:
  5. przemieszać:
  6. ułatwiać:
  7. wdrożenie:
  8. zamazać:
  9. wgląd w:
  10. prosperować:

Task 2. Words in context.

Use the words from task 1 in correct forms to complete the sentences below:

  1. It is said that, thanks to social cohesion, the borders between health care and social assistance .................... in the nearest future.
  2. Social networking is mainly about building business relations between people who can freely ......................... in more conducive and less tensed environments than regular offices.
  3. The development of renewable energy investments should ........................ the setting-up of new partnerships and business alliances.
  4. The process of distributing and installing of new software in a company is called the ................. stage.
  5. According to the most recent press releases quoted by the leader of opposition, the economy in our country ......................... and flourishing.
  6. The results of a survey have provided a deep ..................... the core subject and have enabled the investors to introduce necessary changes into the project schedule.
  7. With the right combination of a ...................... approach and social care policies there is a real chance to bring down the financial side-effects of the forthcoming second wave of illegal immigration.
  8. Integrating modern HR systems in our company will require a number of highly-skilled professionals who .............................. the process of change.
  9. A ......................... debate is expected to be going on at the moment in the back rooms of Joined Chambers.
  10. The .......................... personnel has promised to resume talks with trade union representatives only if their pay rise postulates are met within 3 months at the latest.

Task 3. Comprehension check.

Decide whether the sentences below are true (T) or false (F) according to the text:

  1. It is crucial for finance and HR departments to cooperate within a unified cloud. .....
  2. The integration of the ERP and HCM systems has more drawbacks than benefits. .....
  3. If employees are unable to adapt to change, the cloud implementation process will turn out to be totally futile. ......
  4. As far as efficiency goes, the role of an integrated cloud has been blown out of all proportion. ......
  5. Only IT specialists and CEOs should be actively involved in the deployment of the cloud. ......
  6. According to the article, the internal borders between key departments are diminishing. ......
  7. The inability to manage time successfully applies to more than a half of interviewees. ......
  8. The majority of respondents lack basic skills in analytical thinking and common-sense reasoning. ......
  9. The role of IT departments can change significantly for the better due to the introduction of unified clouds. ......
  10. Sooner or later, at least 42% of back-office staff will undergo some sort of in-company management trainings. ......

KEY to exercises.

Task 1

  1. spearhead
  2. vibrant
  3. back office
  4. holistic
  5. intermingle
  6. facilitate
  7. deployment
  8. blur
  9. insight into
  10. thrive

Task 2

  1. will blur
  2. intermingle
  3. facilitate
  4. deployment
  5. is thriving
  6. insight into
  7. holistic
  8. will spearhead
  9. vibrant
  10. back office

Task 3

  1. T
  2. F
  3. T
  4. F
  5. F
  6. T
  7. F
  8. F
  9. T
  10. F

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