Lion manages many of Australia and New Zealand’s most beloved beer and adult beverage brands, some of which are more than 100 years old. The company’s more than 5,000 employees take this stewardship to heart, with a commitment to championing sustainability and the well-being of customers.
Lion’s leadership must continuously fine-tune the company’s product offerings, business processes, sustainability practices, and social commitments to align with consumer preferences within the company’s rapidly evolving markets. This need to remain agile prompted leadership at Lion to embark on a massive finance transformation project in 2016. During that time, the finance and IT teams sought to simplify finance and operations, including reducing the company’s number of legal entities from 300 to 50, and adopting a single chart of accounts.
In 2020, Lion selected Oracle’s Cloud to establish a next-generation platform for financial performance and data management activities that would replace Oracle Hyperion, which had not been upgraded in years and had, consequently, become highly customized. The motivations for this move were to reduce system maintenance costs, eliminate customizations, and take advantage of new capabilities as soon as they were released.
Also, of great importance was the need to make sure financial data was perfectly synchronized with core information from the company’s SAP on-premises ERP to ensure data quality and integrity. Once Lion selected Oracle Cloud EPM, the project team was faced with the challenge of implementing the solution virtually, due to the pandemic, in a big-bang approach across multiple areas of finance.
The move from Hyperion to Oracle Cloud EPM was so smooth that we were able to immediately close our books as fast as we had before, in just a day and a half, and with no disruption or loss of data integrity and quality. The embedded best practices for planning, financial close, and enterprise data management make our lives easier, helping us to continuously simplify our processes and free up time to really think about how we can help our business partners improve our customers’ experience.
Enterprise Planning Leader, Lion
Lion’s selection team considered enterprise performance management offerings from SAP, Anaplan, and Workday Adaptive Planning. Oracle Cloud EPM was chosen because it was the only complete suite, which made it easier for a big-bang deployment approach and the related change management. Because continuous process improvement is part of the DNA at Lion, a lift-and-shift from on-premises to the cloud was not acceptable.
The best practices in Oracle Cloud EPM enabled the organization to immediately automate manual processes that had been established over time, while also not losing momentum for Lion’s transformational efforts. Additionally, users’ existing comfort with the frameworks within Oracle Hyperion Financial Management accelerated adoption and facilitated change management.
Lion’s finance and enterprise services groups teamed with third-party consultants and Oracle Development, creating a highly effective partnership that worked to go live across planning, financial close, and enterprise data management, on time, in August 2020. After migration, month-end and quarterly books were closed as fast as before, not missing a beat.
By moving to the cloud, the costs of purchasing and maintaining servers were eliminated, along with the time and expense associated with maintaining the hundreds of customizations that had accumulated over the years within the Oracle Hyperion Financial Management solution. System calculation time was reduced by an astonishing 93%.
Familiarity with Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Management helped make change management in the cloud easier, as Lion’s finance and enterprise services staff were able to establish a reliable self-service model for end users. By using Oracle’s universal adapters, Lion could integrate its SAP ERP system and Oracle Cloud EPM without disruption.
Oracle Enterprise Data Management provided data enrichment and integrity capabilities to establish unity between the Oracle and SAP solutions. As a result, end users immediately trusted the data they were seeing.
By adopting the best practices in Oracle Cloud EPM, and with innovation delivered in monthly updates, finance and IT have not broken their stride in their commitment to continuous process improvement.
The aggregate impact of all these results is that staff is now free to spend more time on consumer behavior analysis. For example, there has been a long-term shift from beer to wine by Australians, exacerbated by the decline in draught beer sales due to COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and breweries. Lion’s finance team now has better tools to analyze the impact of such a trend, enabling the group to provide enhanced guidance to operations.
In the very first month after our go-live, my key stakeholders told me that they have absolute trust in the numbers we are providing them. They’re not fighting over whether the data is right or not. That was really heartening and very satisfying to get that kind of feedback.
Enterprise Planning Leader, Lion