SME or MNC, it’s time for CPM to replace your XLS
In today’s data-rich environment, whether you’re classified as a small and medium enterprise (SME) or a multi-national corporation (MNC), you collect terabytes to petabytes of data every single day. Fortunately, that data is also the key to staying competitive – you can use it to understand your customers and stakeholders and feel the pulse of the market in which you work.
However, spreadsheets – the XLS files we’ve all come to know as the “data crunching” tool of yesterday’s business intelligence specialists – won’t cut it in today’s world.
The software makes it difficult for you to actually “crunch” a vast amount of data without too much computing power at your disposal.
To compound the problem, it’s difficult to share the spreadsheet, track changes, and be sure about the accuracy and integrity of the figures once a file has been shared a few times. Models based on this data are definitely not something a business should make decisions on, because projects and insights generated will be just as flawed as the data itself.
The right (and best) way to gather insights from that data, in real-time, is to leverage a corporate performance management (CPM) software. It’s a tool that helps you collect, manage, and test your data, run simulations and test hypotheses, and finally, give you useful insights about how you should run your business.
Although now seems to be the perfect time to invest in CPM software, it’s hardly a new invention. In fact, it’s been around for more than two decades.
Over time, developers have improved it in many ways. In the past, for example, it was complex and relied on expensive hardware. It was also suited to large organizations and needed to be tailored and customized extensively to suit the specific needs of a particular business.
Today, however, the new generation of CPM software is agile, flexible, and can be used right out-of-the-box. It hardly requires any customizations and the ones it does require can easily be make. The fact is, like any modern software, new-age CPM doesn’t need to live on-premises. It can be hosted in the cloud and made accessible to employees across geographies.
This aside, CPM software wins over spreadsheets because they make it easy to track data and changes made to data sets, and they also reduce human error by either automating data collection or ensuringdata is only entered once and then copied over to whatever model or database that requires it.
Finally, a key advantage that CPM software possesses over spreadsheets is its ability to help visualize data, on the fly, with historical or real-time data. This not only helps other teams in the business that don’t benefit from a dump of raw data, it makes reporting to senior business leaders much more appealing and effective – all with just a few clicks.
To better understand CPM software and how it can help businesses, let’s examine the top four solutions on the market. Highlighting some of their popular features will also shed light on what the market demands and why clients invest in the solution in the first place.
So a successful planning solution has to be easy enough for everyone to use. Creating products that people really can and will use has always been Adaptive Insights’s priority. Whether you are building models or consuming data, its products are owned and managed by business users. Its ease of use results in rapid time to value with a relatively small professional services requirement.
With Adaptive Insights, companies of all sizes and industries can plan smarter, report faster, and analyze better – transforming business performance in ways never before imagined. Adaptive Insights’s goal is to free you to do your best work and to empower you and your team to better manage your business.
Traditional planning is too hard and too slow for today’s agile businesses. So Adaptive Insights is delivering a powerful new generation of business planning, offering shared insights and seamless collaboration across your organization. It’s powerful modeling for any size business, yet easy for people to use, on a platform so fast and easy to deploy that it can be owned by you and your team. And, it’s backed by a company that’s easy to do business with, where people will move mountains to ensure your success to give you business agility in a fast-moving world.
Adaptive Insights is consistently rated as a top performer on sites like Gartner Peer Insights, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, and more. With over 3,700 customers worldwide, Adaptive Insights prides itself on being suited to a wide range of industries, including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, business services, energy & utilities, among others, across companies of all sizes. In fact, it even provides solutions for non-profits and the higher-education sector – two sectors which often find themselves underserved in the software market.
Swiss software company BOARD International wanted to build a solution that could maximize the efficiency of organizational decision-making processes using ‘management intelligence’. To bring its concept to life, it married business intelligence with CPM – and added analytics to the mix.
Twenty-five years of evolution later, BOARD 10.1 boasts of embracing a toolkit approach that allows clients to quickly build, customize, and maintain applications. It also provides end users with an interactive interface that turns the self-service creation of any report or analysis into the simplest of tasks.
BOARD boasts of smart analytics capabilities and offers features such as data discovery, drill-through and drill-anywhere, OLAP slice and dice analysis, what-if and goal-seeking scenarios, business data modeling, and ad-hoc queries – all of which help clients gain a good understanding of their data and a holistic view of their company.
The company embraces simplicity, speed, pervasiveness, integration and self-sufficiency, and offers solutions for a variety of industries such as banking and insurance, government and education, and utilities, among many others – and clients get to choose whether they want to host BOARD in the cloud or on premise.
Named a leader in two Gartner Magic Quadrants, Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management and Cloud Strategic Corporate Performance Management, the company positions itself as an enterprise performance management (EPM) platform.
Host Analytics offers an interesting mix of planning, consolidation, modeling, reporting and analytics solutions via its cloud offering, ensuring end-users have access to their data, anytime, anyplace.
The platform also boasts of planning templates for any kind of planning activity, factors in workforce planning needs, and helps teams collaborate with live-chat to help plan workflows.
The EPM platform also helps users automate repetitive processes to accelerate data processing and insights generation. Regardless of size or complexity, Host Analytics aims to help clients become nimble and efficient.
If you’re a business that’s still glued to Excel spreadsheets, a feature they call AirliftXL allows you to move your model structures, formulas and formatting from Excel templates into Host Planning with ease. AirliftXL also easily migrates models from other legacy EPM applications too, such as Oracle Hyperion and Essbase.
A useful feature Host Analytics offers is offline planning. Finance and budget owners can now update and revise their budgets and forecasts anytime, from anywhere. Synchronizing online and offline data is a quick and simple process, so budgets are accurate (and on time) no matter what.
Acquired by Netherlands-based Unit4 in July 2016, Unit4 prevero is a CPM and BI solutions provider that helps more than 4,000 international clients optimize their financial and operational functions, using business data to uncover deep insights and take quick action.
Unit4 prevero helps business leaders align strategy, finance and operations by making smart decisions using data from across their business.
The product is known for its strengths in predictive analytics and business insights, modeling and simulations, access to information via in-memory technology, corporate-wide collaboration and planning capabilities, and customizing content for CxO offices and specific verticals.
The solution enables a greater understanding and collaboration through a single, transparent, shared system ensuring visibility, and allows for changing requirements through intuitive and easy-to-access tools.
Unit4 prevero helps the client understand the past, manage the present, and drive the future.
The solution aims to provide customers with the tools and the understanding necessary to thrive in the digital age.
*Some of the companies featured in this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia