Highlights from the Oracle Hyperion Financial Management Executive Roundtable
A critical part of the discussion was how to quickly and accurately identify, harness, and implement best practices for optimizing financial management.
by Sasha Banks, September 2011
The 2011 Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) Executive Roundtable brought together some of the world’s leading automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers for a candid discussion about the impact of post-recession economics on enterprise performance. A critical part of the discussion was how to quickly and accurately identify, harness, and implement best practices for optimizing financial management—from disclosure to data relationship management.
Kicking off the discussion was David Berg from Johnson Controls (JCI). JCI has long been a leader among automotive suppliers, and is currently number 76 on the Fortune 500 list, It is the largest public company in Wisconsin, operates in over 150 countries, and has 154,000 employees across three business units (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; batteries; and vehicle interiors) which generate nearly 50 percent of its US$35 billion in revenue outside of the Americas.
Berg discussed Johnson Controls’ Hyperion Financial Management upgrade, and how it enabled them to scale with the firm’s business growth— in both size and expanded geographic footprint — and to re-align the functional performance of the system to support increased tax and external reporting requirements.
According to Berg, “Enterprise has served us well over the years, but with increased business complexity and the global growth of Johnson Controls, this was our time to make the move to HFM.” Berg added, “Overall, our transition to Oracle Hyperion Financial Management has been very successful and has positioned Johnson Controls to meet our increasingly complex external, management, and tax reporting requirements going forward. Our Oracle Hyperion Financial Management system was also designed to meet future IFRS reporting requirements, which was a key original objective.”
After Berg delivered his presentation about JCI’s HFM implementation, Rich Wilkie, senior director of EPM product management at Oracle, delivered an informative guide on “How to Master the Financial Close.” According to Rich, “The most fundamental challenges of the financial close process include lengthy and cumbersome closes, inefficient and disconnected processes, complex reporting and analysis, ATA quality issues, inability to keep pace with change, lack of process governance, too many spreadsheets, and audits.”
The most critical elements of the close process, as reported in a study sponsored by Ernst and Young, cite documentation, entity-level and anti-fraud controls, financial statements and disclosure, IT controls, mergers and acquisitions, multi-location considerations, and personnel. Wilkie elaborated on Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Close Suite capabilities, and said, “Oracle’s Financial Close suite of products help companies to more effectively manage critical processes for financial close, disclosure and database relationship management.” Among the highlights discussed:
Financial Close Management. Oracle Financial Close Management (FCM) has expert capabilities for automating close analysis, trend and improvement monitoring, active calendar management, compliance, workflow management, account reconciliations, and email notifications. With FCM, organizations can collapse activity timelines by removing process “windows,” balance and evaluate workload across resources, integrate close solutions from sub-ledger to regulatory filings, and deliver process visibility and task management across the entire close process.
Disclosure Management. Oracle’s Disclosure Management provides collaborative document creation, document versioning, workflow and approvals, multiple report formats (Edgar, XBRL), embedded XBRL, and seamless data integration. Not only does Oracle’s Disclosure Management solution add rigor and process transparency, it also delivers self-service XBRL reporting.
Data Relationship Management. Oracle’s Data Relationship Management provides unique capabilities that enable companies to consolidate and rationalize dimensions across sources including multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, codify business rules, and provide line-of-business users control over maintaining custom views. In addition, DRM also facilitates change request/approval workflows, configurable exports, audit, versioning and change control, data security, and role-based access.
“We have helped dozens of companies in the automotive sector improve upon their financial management processes by leveraging the Oracle-Hyperion EPM platform,” said attendee Greg Feld, managing partner at Checkpoint Consulting. “These include Meritor Inc., Visteon Corporation and Delphi Automotive Systems. We have seen firsthand how the Oracle platform, coupled with the appropriate commitment to implementing best-practice business processes, can transform the finance function. Our clients have experienced improved insight into their results, more predictability of future performance, and stronger controls through these implementations.”
“We started our HFM journey more than two and a half years ago, and have gone into cash management subsystems, taking HFM and pulling accounts payable, accounts receivable, and cash balances daily,” said attendee Robert Omilian, finance director at Visteon. “We were able to look at the current state and forecast one, two, three, four or even five days out. Having a day-to-day look at our cash was critical. We couldn’t do that without Oracle HFM.” Omilian says their next implementation will be Oracle DRM. “DRM is a key piece of the puzzle that helps with our chart of accounts and general ledger—and will ultimately be integrated with all of our Hyperion applications, PeopleSoft Asset Management, and QAD Manufacturing,” he says.
Sasha Banks is senior director of industry strategy and marketing at Oracle.