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Big Oracle cloud migration just one more challenge for IT-trained CFO

For a CFO, Chad Eckes sure has a lot of experience implementing ERP, a background that is serving him well as he leads a major Oracle cloud migration. Perhaps it's not surprising, considering a career that started with a bachelor's in MIS led to an MBA and senior management roles that closely blend IT and the business side.

Eckes is CFO and executive vice president of corporate services at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, a 12,500-employee healthcare provider based in Winston-Salem, N.C. He talked about his priorities for the Oracle cloud migration in a video interview at the Oracle OpenWorld user conference in San Francisco.

Eckes, whose previous jobs involved PeopleSoft, SAP and Workday deployments, is responsible for all of Wake Forest's corporate services, including human resources, finance and IT. He inherited the organization's Oracle PeopleSoft system and is now overseeing the migration to a full suite of Oracle cloud applications for financials, supply chain management, human capital management and payroll.

Eckes said his main concern as CFO is ensuring the new Oracle cloud system is fully integrated and all of the organization's business processes are "laid out" and the software's best practices are adopted.

"The big thing for me is, keep it out of the box -- make sure that we're choosing an adopt strategy versus and adapt strategy," he said. "Many organizations feel that they should make the system fit to their business processes, when, in actuality, the system is designed to function around a prebuilt set of business processes. So, it's more of [an approach of] let's adopt those business processes and go through the change management in our departments."

Change management starts on Day 1, he said. "We're helping people understand how their job is going to change in the future in the new environment."

Eckes described the role of IT, which he also oversees, in the Oracle cloud migration project. "Their focus is on methodology: aligning business process [with] what the technology brings out of the box." IT must also educate people and ensure the new software is integrated into the entire ecosystem. "In our institution, we have 731 systems, and we want to make sure that those are all glued together."

He added that strong data analytics on the back end is critical to ensuring the information brings value to the business.

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