Jedox has been working with Microsoft as a Gold Partner for more than five years. The Jedox Enterprise Performance Management solution leverages the scalability and security of the Azure Cloud. Jedox complements Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 with cross-departmental and integrated performance management for organizations. Finance at Microsoft uses Jedox for planning in all of its subsidiaries.

We recently spoke with Christian Schätz, CFO of Microsoft Germany, about digital transformation in the finance sector.

Mr. Schätz, please introduce yourself

As Chief Financial Officer (CFO), I head the finance team at Microsoft Germany. Together with my team, I am responsible for business planning, accounting, forecasting and supporting the sales segments.

I joined Microsoft Germany in 2000 as a Senior Financial Analyst and spent 16 years in the finance team in Germany and Switzerland in various positions. Before moving into the CFO role, I was Commercial Director in the Enterprise Business of Microsoft Germany, managing the licensing business as well as the sales excellence area, among other things. Before that, I was CFO at Microsoft Switzerland, as well as Finance Director responsible for Sales, Marketing and Services for the Central and Eastern Europe region.

What does digital transformation mean to you?

Digital transformation is increasingly critical to long-term business success, but it also brings with it an urgent need for greater agility, improved transparency, and more efficient end-to-end processes across the enterprise. Based on intelligent Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) tools, digital transformation has brought about an evolution of the finance function through which the CFO can deliver real value to the entire business. EPM has evolved from process automation to providing deeper insight into how the entire business is run. The CFO has transformed from an accountant to strategic advisor.

To stay competitive, it is important that firms invest more in digital FP&A solutions. According to a recent Ernst & Young study*, 61% of respondents found that their systems and tools are not sufficiently future-proof. Far less than half use cloud solutions while 95% still use spreadsheets or similar.

How is Microsoft implementing digital transformation in Finance?

As a technology company, we naturally rely on digital solutions – and this also applies to Finance. For example, we are using the possibilities of automation, visualization of data in real time and easy data analysis through dashboards. Microsoft has moved over 90% of its finance applications to the Azure cloud. This allows us to take full advantage of the cloud to make faster and more sustainable financial decisions. The Jedox solution is also used in this environment.

For us, digital transformation means gaining insights on the best decisions and actions faster. In the past, Finance staff spent a lot of time manually creating static reports. Today, we use predictive analytics and machine learning to create faster and more accurate forecasts to help us manage the business. Actions in risk management and compliance are now also derived using AI and predictive analytics. Another focus of our digital transformation is business process automation, the use of bots and the application of low-code/no-code applications in financial processes.

In your opinion, what value does Jedox offer as an enabler for the digital transformation of finance?

The Jedox solution offer organizations the ability to turn data into information – providing a good foundation for accurate and fast decision-making. Many CFOs are currently still in the early stages of digitalization in FP&A. Jedox offers the opportunity to accelerate their processes.

What is your experience with the Jedox solution?

Microsoft uses Jedox internally in the Office of Finance at its national subsidiaries, including in Germany. We use Jedox for driver-based business and budget planning and it enables us to make faster and more sustainable financial decisions. In addition, the Jedox platform tools are flexible to use and integrate well with our existing systems.

What’s next for the collaboration between Jedox and Microsoft?

We are pleased to count Jedox among our Microsoft partners. With this collaboration, we will continue to support Jedox to establish cloud solutions. This also includes an exchange on a technical level: Of course, with Microsoft Azure, we want to offer the best cloud platform for their solutions in interaction with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

We would like to thank Christian Schätz for the interview. If you want to learn more about our partnership with Microsoft, visit our solutions page.

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* Ghumman, D. (28 Januar 2021). How digital technology is transforming financial planning and analysis. Abgerufen am 9. März 2021 via https://www.ey.com/en_us/consulting/how-digital-technology-is-transforming-financial-planning-and-analysis.