In Part 1 of this blog series, I asked our finance data management experts Phillip Nifong and Robert Paramore about planning for ERP cloud migration projects, the complexities involved in such initiatives, and the elements of a good migration plan. In this blog, I will explore how tools can help organizations implement successful ERP cloud migration projects efficiently and cost-effectively.
Prash: Phillip and Robert, welcome back. Thanks for the great insights you’ve already shared with us. Can we now talk about the tools that are available for organizations to ensure a successful ERP cloud migration project?
Phillip: There are many tools available. However, it is important to pick a tool that addresses both current and future needs. For example, Excel spreadsheets can be treated as a tool, but they aren’t a strategic choice when you’re maintaining segments and hierarchies. Spreadsheets don’t offer audit, security, and integration capabilities. You need a tool with built-in workflow, audit, security, data quality, and integration capabilities. The tool should also offer intuitive self-service capabilities for business users who need to manage hierarchies and segments.
Robert: Although ERP transformations can be done without tools, there are inherent challenges due to repetitive tasks and manual processes involved in managing the quality of the data. You won’t be able to capture audit trail, roll back changes, and maintain version control. Lack of documentation and little to no approval or capability for oversight are the other shortcomings of this approach. With a purpose-built application, companies can centralize the management of finance data by multiple teams. Besides, purpose-built applications provide a detailed audit, versioning, governance, and approval process. This allows the business team to understand what decisions were made and why, resulting in a quicker, easier, and much less risky transformation process.
Prash: What are some of the benefits of using a tool? How does the tool benefit on an ongoing basis?
Phillip: Tools provide better visibility into the cloud migration process. They allow you to track changes, such as who asked for the change, why the changes were made, who approved it, what systems/processes are impacted, and when the change will occur. Tools help streamline changes to hierarchies and segments while they reduce costs.
Robert: The benefits of using a tool are a quicker and less costly transformation. Tools help in the governance of finance data and clarity on the data quality process.
Prash: Can you talk cost implications of using tools and how the investment in tools justifies cost savings?
Phillip: There are hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs are direct to the bottom line, either through expense or revenue. Typically, companies can expect to see a 20-30% cost reduction over the existing transformation project related to data. As they embark on newer initiatives that will benefit from business data definitions and hierarchies organized in a central location, companies should expect 40% or more in cost reductions on an ongoing basis. The soft cost benefits come from not requiring multiple people to do redundant tasks, fewer dependencies on IT to make changes, and better visibility into the change process.
Prash: What are the additional considerations to keep in mind?
Phillip: You have to look at bringing data quality, integration, governance into one single solution. These capabilities are critical for successful ERP transformation. An all-in-one solution that combines these capabilities into a single platform will ensure the projects are completed in time.
Robert: What is the plan after the project goes live and the transformation is complete? Did you introduce new tools and processes to ensure that the data quality and governance rules are still in place, 6 months or a year from now? Master data management tool for finance data is a long-term fix for finance data challenges and data quality issues.
Prash: Can you tell us how Informatica can help?
Phillip: Informatica’s Finance 360 solution makes it easier for organizations to create, edit, and orchestrate finance data updates across environments that require system-specific hierarchies and attributes, different versions, and cost-center roll-ups. It provides a self-service module that lets finance users define new finance data sets and rules without going through a resource-intensive IT release management cycle. Finance 360 is fully cloud-enabled, easy to set up, and designed to provide complete life cycle management for the chart of accounts.
Robert: Yes. The Finance 360 solution we offer consists of an easy-to-use, configurable business-friendly user interface, self-service management of finance data by finance users, role-based approval and publishing workflows, ability to import, export, and control versions of finance data.
I hope you all enjoyed this interview. You can learn more about the Finance 360 solution by downloading a copy of this data sheet. You can also connect with me on Twitter at @MDMGeek if you have any questions.