A cloud solution that plays to win

Caesars Entertainment moves to cloud-based data management and analysis

Cloud-based HR scoops analytics, communication Summary: Multi-national gaming and entertainment company Caesars Entertainment wanted to work “better, faster, cheaper, smarter,” standardizing its financial and HR systems, processes and data across more than 50 locations to reduce costs and drive real-time decisions. Grant Thornton helped Caesars plan and implement a unified solution with 20–30% efficiency gains, 80% cost savings and better decision making that helped to fundamentally transform the business.

Challenge To win new business tomorrow, you must understand new data today.

Fast-moving business demands real-time data to fuel decisions, strategies and innovations. And business moves very fast in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, where companies need to outpace established rivals and emerging new trendsetters.

Caesars Entertainment became a market leader through a history of visionary management and strategic acquisitions. But each acquisition bought in another variation of IT systems and processes. Even the company’s most comprehensive system was a decades-old, on-premise Infinium solution that was highly customized and hard to integrate with other solutions. Managing more than 50 casinos, hotels, golf courses and other properties worldwide, the company found it hard to analyze comprehensive data fast enough to stay ahead of competitors. The company’s talented finance and HR staff were spending their time deeply mired in manual processes, multiple systems and spreadsheet maintenance, leaving little time for higher-level work that could truly drive more business value. Rather than forming new decisions, strategies and innovations, these skilled staff members were absorbed by day-to-day transaction processing.

Apart from being inefficient for daily operations, all of the disconnected systems added up to significant costs for upgrades, patches, security updates and other maintenance. Caesars recognized that it needed to work “better, faster, cheaper, smarter” by integrating its financial, HR and reporting systems – plus its individual spreadsheet-based processes – across its range of properties.

Caesars wanted to contain and reduce its IT maintenance costs, while centralizing and analyzing real-time data to drive decisions that were one step ahead of the competition.

With advanced data analysis, “we can start predicting customer behavior so that we can focus our reinvestment in those customers in a much smarter way.”
– Caesars Entertainment former CEO Mark Frissora, in Forbes

Solution Caesars Entertainment established a vision for a finance transformation and cloud migration, selecting the Oracle Cloud Platform because it offered the most comprehensive solutions and readily integrated with the company’s on-premise toolsets.

But Caesars knew that successful migrations require more than just software. The company wanted insight into how to successfully achieve its vision of cloud, and it sought proposals from the largest firms as well as boutique specialists. Caesars ultimately chose Grant Thornton based on its qualifications for large-scale multi-pillar implementations, and its collaborative fit.

Our implementation strategy Caesars initially engaged the Grant Thornton team for a Phase Zero planning project, where the team helped identify manual processes and inefficiencies that could be streamlined in the new solution. Then, the team outlined an approach for Caesars to transition processes and implement technologies on a schedule that would reach the project’s objectives and ultimately transform the business.

Phase One of the team’s plan migrated the company’s general ledger, accounts payable and cash management functions into Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and its HR functions into Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud. Phase Two migrated capital project functions to Oracle Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Cloud, further optimized reporting with Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud (EPRC) and automated account reconciliation functions with Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud (ARC). This phased approach used cloud integrations that efficiently reduced support costs while providing scalability to migrate processes to the cloud as the business evolved. The project also took advantage of existing on-premise Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) tools across all phases, to share accounting metadata across systems and support financial reporting.

Throughout each phase, the Grant Thornton team worked with Oracle to ensure coordination from planning through implementation.

Advisory case study caesars pie charts

Our change management strategy While the project phases were completed on-time and on-budget, user adoption was also a critical measure of success for the Grant Thornton team – because a solution isn’t successful until it is successful with users.

Since the Caesars staff was only familiar with the existing on-premise system, the Grant Thornton team saw that user adoption and change management could become a challenge. In preparation, the team established a robust change management strategy that drove adoption and acceptance. The strategy included regular project communications and user training, building a champion network that included early adopters at 40 locations. Each champion served as a local point of contact for users, and a local resource for ongoing communications and training.

The change management and adoption efforts were rewarded, as the ERP solution engaged more than 1,100 unique users and processed 2.5M journal lines, 440,000 AP lines and 28,000 payments in the first month it was live. The HCM system captured nearly 200,000 transactions within the first year.

With a smooth migration and ready user adoption, Caesars soon saw benefits from its shift to the cloud – and the company transformed its standard to cloud-based solutions.

Benefits Caesars Entertainment wanted to work “better, faster, cheaper, smarter,” standardizing its HR and financial systems, processes and data across more than 50 locations to reduce costs and drive real-time decisions. It also wanted a platform that could grow into the future.

Caesars collaborated with Oracle and Grant Thornton to design and implement a solution that achieved:

  • 80% cost savings: The old on-premise solutions had an annual maintenance bill of $15 million, while the new cloud solution costs $2 million to $3 million a year to maintain because of streamlined updates, standardized configurations and reduced consulting and audit fees.
  • 20–30% efficiency gains: Caesars is on track to achieve 20–30% efficiency gains in the first three years of the new solution, with improved standardization, higher productivity and faster new hire readiness.
  • Better and faster decision making: Company leaders can improve and accelerate decision making with real-time data and reporting across the enterprise, enhanced analytics and personalized dashboards.
  • 75% faster filing: The full integration between the company’s general ledger and Hyperion reduced the close cycle that took more than 20 days and missed SEC reporting deadlines to a cycle that took only 5 days and achieved best-in-industry SEC filings.
  • 35% quicker audits: The new solution reduces audit hours and fees by more than 35%.
  • 55% better retention, with easier recruiting: Caesars has reduced its 40% attrition rate down to about 17%, and now has a leading-edge cloud-based system that the top job candidates know and want to use.
  • Closer control of policies: Caesars has closer policy control now that manual processes have been moved into the new cloud system.
  • Quicker acquisitions: In the midst of heavy acquisitions, Caesars now has a general ledger platform that is more standardized and easier to deploy and scale.
  • Alignment for innovation: As the cloud solution adds new features, the company gains new capabilities – meanwhile, resources can focus on more differentiating and innovative work.

It’s just a very, very efficient and real-time system that you’re silly not to take advantage of.”
– Caesars Entertainment former CEO Mark Frissora, in Forbes

Bill Behen
Principal, Business Consulting
T +1 402 513 5912