"Ocado is re-platforming all our software to work in the cloud. The technology side of our business has always been a disruptor, always wanted to challenge things. We had always used Excel for internal and external reporting, and had our general ledger with Oracle eBusiness Suite. As Ocado grew and financial activities became more complex, questions arose about integrity of data and the error rate was growing. We got everyone on board, sitting down with the whole finance department to ask: what do you want from a system? We set out to create better reporting, speed, accuracy, understanding for stakeholders, and to enable the finance team to spend time on more valuable tasks. We considered what we needed for reporting and planning, and chose Oracle. It has been amazing. We implemented it in just three months.
For external reporting, it was originally one person's whole job to pull in numbers from spreadsheets around the business, into a huge amalgamated spreadsheet with multiple pivot tables, then make it pretty. It took a week. We then had to review it to be certain of the integrity of the numbers and might still report the odd wrong number that had been hard-coded. Now we build the same reports and management accounts: we upload the numbers, hit refresh, and it's there.
Our budgeting and reforecasting was also built in Excel, and again it was someone's role to do a job of linking spreadsheets and creating the group forecast, then break it out for just Ocado, then show it for IT spending, etc. After people submitted numbers, it would take a few days to output, then numbers had to be checked. It would take a fortnight to really see what the numbers were - still with a risk of errors. With Oracle we have empowered the users to do their own checks; they get their management report page, and don't have to wait to get numbers.
It has been an empowering, accurate and efficient process that saves time, money, effort, blood, sweat and tears."
Vineta Bajaj, Group Financial Reporting Manager