While nothing new, the cloud has become more and more important for businesses looking to increase speed and accuracy, improve collaboration, and thrive in the new, digital economy. Today, we would like to discuss a new survey and the impact that it could have on Finance and HR as companies embrace ERP and HCM software in the cloud.
The Power Partnership of HR and Finance
A recent Oracle and MIT Technology Review study looked at the relationship between finance and HR, and how organizations leveraging the cloud are able to align the two in order to push forward business strategy and success—rather than just cost savings. The whitepaper, titled Finance and HR: the Cloud’s New Power Partnership, was written to understand how closer collaboration between Finance and HR could support digital transformation and unlock new benefits.
This whitepaper explores a wide variety of trends in the finance and HR community, most notably that the two are embracing new levels of collaboration previously considered impossible or improbable. Now, the path to success is in embracing these newly unfounded levels of collaboration—leveraging the collaborative mentality in a path to increased agility and industry disruption.
Improving Speed in the Cloud
Of course, one of the main insights is one that we’ve discussed since embracing the cloud in the early 2010s, that finance is often one of the most logical first steps in the move to the cloud, and that moving to the cloud offers immense improvements to speed of business. From the report:
“Cloud technology serves as a common catalyst, ensuring companies can successfully adapt to, and compete in, the digital economy. The goal: equipping the businesses to thrive in a worldwide marketplace steeped in digitization and overflowing with competition. Finance and HR often pair up when venturing into the cloud, given their joint stakes in areas like budgeting and workforce planning. Ultimately, these two disciplines can serve as role models for other corporate functions interested in moving to the cloud.”
Survey Says: Companies Choosing Cloud for Cost and Performance (It Just Depends who You Ask)
The MIT Technology study went on to survey over 700 respondents in the C-Suite, Senior Management, and Mid-Level Management to discuss rationale for moving to the cloud, finding that the reasons between each level differed.
For instance, while the C-Suite and Mid-level managers were highly focused on the performance value of the cloud, nearly half of mid-level managers saw reduced costs as a primary objective while only 18 percent of C-Level respondents listed cost as a leading concern.
Among the other leading takeaways:
- The C-Suite sees the value of the cloud in reducing burdens on IT, with 48% of respondents seeing this as a top priority.
- Priorities such as improved communication, increased security, and enhanced speed were all found to be highly important across the board, with over 30% of each level seeing this as a top priority.
- Anytime, anywhere access was a leading concern for senior management, with this level seeing both customer and staff needs as a top priority more frequently than their C-Level and Mid-Level peers.
The Cloud Meets or Exceeds Expectations
Both Finance and HR have both seen that the cloud has made life easier and helped the business run more smoothly than ever—94% have said it meets or exceeds their expectations, with 39% of the respondents saying it exceeded, and 28% saying greatly exceeded. This is driven by the cloud’s ability to deliver on the following:
- Ability to meet senior management’s information requirements (46% better than expected)
- Agility to respond to market opportunities and challenges (45% better than expected)
- Ease of transition (44% better than expected)
- Quality of decision making (44% better than expected)
- Integration (43% better than expected)
How The Cloud Has Made Finance and HR Better
If one thing is certain, it’s this. The cloud has improved relationships—and not just between finance and HR.
Improved Relationships with IT
In fact, the move to the cloud has improved the relationships both departments have with IT, as it eases many strains that came when end users and managers had to call IT for every minor fix that needed to take place. Now, IT is thought of as a strategic partner now more than ever, as opposed to the “no” department or the troubleshooters.
Automation and Integration
What came to many respondents was just how much the cloud has made integration easier—even with traditional applications. Integrating on-premises apps with cloud apps no longer represents a thorny challenge; in fact, only about one-third (32 percent) of respondents from finance and HR identify it as a top obstacle in the survey, and nearly half (49 percent) judge that aspect of the transition as being less problematic than expected.
According to survey respondents, the teamwork required to integrate cloud technology improves once the cloud is fully deployed. At that point, 46 percent of respondents from finance and HR say that collaboration has significantly improved. In keeping with the pattern, 49 percent of HR/finance respondents view the relationship between the two functions as significantly improving in the next two years.
Seeing a New World of Data
From cost control to better analytics, organizations have found that the cloud is improving the way they make decisions. By providing better technology, organizations can leverage enhanced reporting and analytics to help leaders make smarter decisions faster.
While the report did share statistics from a new viewpoint (finance AND HR), it hasn’t brought up anything we haven’t been talking about for the last half-decade. We know that the cloud improves integrations, enhances analytics, and improves relationships with IT—as well as reducing costs, improving performance, and offering anytime, anywhere access. We would like to invite you to watch a recent webcast from Wipfli/Brittenford titled How to Build a Highly Engaged Workforce, which shared an in-depth look at how finance and HR can work together more effectively to improve recruiting and retention.