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Scott Stern | Oct 29, 2019

Finance Transformation Hits the Road at OneStream Finance Unleashed Events

By now you’ve heard the news.  What news?  That, like our friends in sales and marketing, it’s OK for finance folks to network too.  You know, to actually get out of the office and meet other like-minded professionals like us.  Why do it?  To listen.  To exchange ideas.  To discover what’s happening outside the walls of our own organizations, of course.  What a concept, right?

Part of being an effective Finance executive is knowing your own business, but also getting out of the office and networking with other Finance execs to compare notes and best practices.  This is the goal of the OneStream Finance Unleashed Event Series.  Read on to learn what the key findings were at some recent events, and to learn about upcoming events.

5 Steps to Unleashing Finance

As we shared in our recent blog series titled “5 Steps to Unleashing the True Value of Finance,” finance teams across the globe are beginning think bigger and create a foundation for finance transformation with CPM 2.0 solutions.  Unlike legacy tools that require finance teams to build process around technology, CPM 2.0 solutions like OneStream provide a foundation for finance transformation with a unified solution for all CPM processes within a single platform.  And with a CPM 2.0 platform in place, finance teams can rip off the shackles of legacy tools and spreadsheets and begin to unleash their true value.  Where to start?  Here’s a brief summary of the 5 steps to unleashing finance:

  1. Know the business – Engage regularly with business partners and understand their key success metrics and KPIs
  2. Drive agility in planning & forecasting – Adopt dynamic forecasting processes that are less focused on a 1X event, such as the annual budget
  3. Streamline the financial close Simplify tasks with automation; eliminate manual data movement, errors and risk; and provide complete audit trails and visibility
  4. Automate reporting Create self-service reporting for business partners, drive standardization and reduce risk
  5. Leverage advanced analytics – Consider predictive analytics or scenario analysis to enhance dialogue with business partners

We’ve recently taken the 5 Steps to Unleashing Finance on the road.  With my colleague and OneStream Director of Sales Randy Cramp, we made our first stops in Philly and Pittsburgh.  Here’s a quick recap of the events.

Modern Finance is at an Inflection Point

We kicked off both events with a brief discussion on the 5 steps to unleashing finance.  From there, we quickly moved into a discussion on finance transformation and key processes like budgeting, planning & forecasting and advanced analytics.

The finance journey (see figure 1) is taking modern finance groups well beyond the focus of the previous generation.  Want proof?  Just point to the words that finance teams now use regularly – business partnership, rolling forecasts and, of course, advanced analytics.

Finance JourneyFigure 1: The Finance Journey

But while the finance team’s journey has come a long way, finance leaders are no longer accepting the same old tools and disjointed processes they’ve used for the past 20 years.  Nor are modern finance leaders simply willing to “accept” 60+ hour work weeks anymore.  And as finance leaders expand their roles with new responsibilities and adapt to new technologies like predictive analytics or machine learning, something has to change.

And that something brings us to the digital inflection point, which was the focus for our customer panels and finance roundtables.

OneStream Customer Success is Front and Center

If you follow OneStream, you’ll know that 100% customer success is our mission.  And you’ll also know that, because we work so incredibly hard to achieve that mission, we love to put our customers front and center.  And for those finance leaders who want to gain a fresh perspective, OneStream customers love to tell their stories too.

With representatives from Kennametal, Wesco Distribution, Evoqua Water Technologies, Solenis, Endo International and PCI Pharma Services, the customer panels and roundtable dialogue covered a range of topics.  More importantly, the panel and Q&A setting gave finance leaders a direct opportunity to learn how their peers are tackling finance transformation.

Here’s a quick summary of the key themes in the customer panels:

  • Looking Forward Not Backward ­– All panel members discussed how rationalizing core CPM processes like the financial close and budgeting, planning & forecasting enables their teams to maximize their time for analysis and “look forward.” One panel member noted that using OneStream helped reduce the financial close by several days compared to the previous close using legacy Hyperion products.
  • Drill-Through and Drill Back Is Powerful – This was a major theme in Philly. The panel and audience members emphasized the importance of the ability to support reporting, analysis and planning with seamless drill-through of the data to capture underlying operational details that comprise the financials.  Also noted was the ability to drill-back to source systems like ERP and HCM systems to capture transactional details and increase transparency and trust in the numbers.
  • A Single Version of the Truth Is Attainable – Attaining a true single source of data for finance and business partners is an often talked about but commonly out-of-reach goal for finance transformation. Event guests asked the panel(s) several questions about how they are leveraging OneStream to create a common book of record across disperse lines of business with multiple ERPs to standardize and scale reporting and analysis.
  • OneStream Replaces Multiple Legacy Tools – This was a major theme with the Pittsburgh group. Event guests were curious to learn how the customers on the panel replaced several Oracle Hyperion products like HFM, Hyperion Planning, Essbase and other tools with one single OneStream application.  The panel members shared their insights on the pros and cons of a big-bang or phased approach for implementation.  And of course, those on the panel were quick to share their excitement for OneStream’s XF MarketPlace, which enables finance teams to expand their OneStream solutions as new business needs evolve, without paying for new software.

So the next time you have an opportunity to network with other finance folks, think twice before you turn it down.  Why?  Because there’s always going to be another month end close, planning cycle or board report.  That’s a certainty.  And of course, nobody is suggesting you blow off important responsibilities.  We’d get nowhere if we all did that.

But we’ll also learn very little about the possibilities for finance transformation if we don’t talk to others who are also going through it.  And we certainly couldn’t get a fresh perspective on what’s possible if we never reach beyond the walls of our own finance teams.  Or in this case, spend time learning more about our own business of finance.

And that’s how you unleash finance.

Unleashing Finance with OneStream 

Couldn’t make Philly or Pittsburgh?  Join us for additional Finance Unleashed events in San Francisco, Des Moines, Denver and Omaha featuring OneStream partners and customers by registering here.

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