John Harris is one CFO who seems unafraid of the cloud. He recently moved his financials to the Oracle ERP Cloud and has firm opinions about the savings, reliability and deployment speed -- and why his old on-premises system could no longer cut it.
Harris talked about the Oracle ERP Cloud implementation at his organization, CREDO Mobile, in a video interview at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. CREDO Mobile, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Working Assets, is a telecommunications provider that directs a portion of its revenue to nonprofit progressive causes.
Harris, the former CFO of Marriott International and Rand McNally, said Oracle ERP Cloud replaced a two-decades-old Sage ERP system. "We clearly had a need for more timely, accurate integrated financials, and Sage just wouldn't accommodate increased flexibility and utilization," he said.
Process improvements -- one of the benefits of cloud ERP -- have reduced the financial close period from 21 days down to 10 days, and Harris said going live on Oracle ERP Cloud should cut it to as short as two days. The Oracle ERP Cloud system runs CREDO Mobile's accounts payable and accounts receivable, with supply chain management planned for early 2017.
Harris said he had no concerns about going to the cloud because of a 20-year relationship with Oracle. Reduced paper processing throughout the financial chain is another one of the benefits of cloud ERP the organization is already enjoying. Harris is also looking forward to using the artificial intelligence capabilities of Oracle ERP Cloud for financial planning and accounting.
"The win for us was to have disaster recovery built into the system and to not have to worry about expensive IT and systems and hardware," he said, adding that the total cost of ownership will be less than that of one full-time employee.
Harris offered advice to other CFOs considering a move to Oracle ERP Cloud. "Spend time upfront around requirements, reporting [and] analytics," he said. "Make sure that your chart of accounts is clean and well structured" and use the system's out-of-the-box functionality instead of customizing.