Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Profitable vs Unprofitable Decision-Making

Oracle finally gets it, at least in words. Frank Buytendijk’s blog on “Management Excellence and Oracle EPM part 1” suggests that Oracle may have tried to solve the challenge of making profitable Operational decisions by including the underlying Financial data. He further suggests that Oracle is two years ahead of their closest integration competitor. While I don’t believe the latter and have evidence as to its untruth, I do believe that Frank is focused in the right direction to suggest that a diet of pure financial data or pure operational data is drought or famine, but certainly not a balanced meal. A truly healthy business will make vital decisions that combine up-to-the-minute financial data with the operational systems data to ensure a data-enriched decision process. Decisions in a financial vacuum are anemic and life-threatening when variables such as gas prices, finance rates, currency translation and inventory levels are critical to a decision process and have a delay or periodic update cycle that is out of synch with the decision-making continuum. Multi-dimensional data still lags behind transactional data in its ability to be accessed in a time-sensitive manner due to the very systems that created the data. The power of the cube, such as delivered by Hyperion, created a one-way flow that is now antiquated in theory. The strong financial instincts of today’s CFOs and rising finance stars begs the use of this cube data downstream, co-mingled with the operational decisions of the lines of business. This is the innovation of which we speak; the ability to ask for more and initiate change to older patterns of behavior to uncover a fresh use of data, propelling the business forward into leadership.

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