Profit: How are you achieving ROI on your IT investments?
Epstein: When I asked the Oracle finance team for ideas for improving finance automation, we came up with almost 300 projects. We asked ourselves, “How can we determine which ones have the biggest return?” With the help of the Oracle Insight team, under the direction of Harry Ghuman, we were able to prioritize our IT investments. Harry and his team did a fabulous job leading us through this process. For each process improvement project, we’re creating a business case and saying, “What’s the cost to automate? What are the benefits in terms of lower cost of operations, faster speed, better information, faster cash collection, and fewer errors?” Then we’ll be able to evaluate the cost and benefits and prioritize.
Profit: What Oracle technologies have you deployed recently?
Epstein: We’ve had great success with our enterprise reporting initiative, which is based on the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus, analytic applications. For example, I now have on my desktop a dashboard showing every dollar of travel and entertainment expense spent in the company, by person and by department. I can review what we spend overall, what we spend in North America versus Europe, and so on, and drill down all the way to what an individual spent last month. We’re disseminating this throughout the organization so managers can understand the investment they’re making in travel and entertainment and decide whether it’s worthwhile. We started with travel, and now we’re rolling it out to telecommunications and other expenses as well.
Profit: What plans do you have for meeting with customers?
Epstein: Face-to-face meetings with customers—especially those at the CFO level—are especially valuable. I spend about 10 percent of my time with customers, either in sales teams meeting with a single customer or at events and presentations to groups of customers. In 2010, I’ll be hosting events to explain our strategy to our CFO customer base and gather their feedback on our products, services, and strategic direction.