The Benefits of Enterprise Performance Management

As a long-time corporate professional, my thoughts towards my schedule is a combination of sincere appreciation and healthy skepticism. I remind my colleagues often that if it’s “not on my calendar, it’s likely not going to happen.” Each day presents its own challenges as I shift from project-to-project and client-to-client. New client meetings, client luncheons & coffee, project status updates, project kick off’s, and do-they-really-need-to-delay-this-flight-for-another-two-hours pop up and it’s a wonder I didn’t join the circus years ago with my continuously improving juggling skills.

While I’m able to shift priorities, tasks, budgets, and events personally, I don’t always have the same insight into my own practice at work. It is an absolute certainty that the plan I set forth in January will change and yet, internal systems aren’t always agile enough to keep up with those changes in real-time.

I can’t help but think that if I have this flexibility as an individual, I should have the same flexibility with how I manage my P&L and my client portfolio. With a strong enterprise performance management system, I can have both the 360-degree view and the lowest level details of any organization’s pertinent data points. Let’s explore some of the benefits that EPM offers:

Scale to support

Our company has scaled significantly over the past 5 years. We have built up new internal functions, improved existing support services and grown our client base. These activities take time, thought, and planning. There is little to no room for inefficient processes and redundancies. We knew we’d have to thoughtfully scale to keep up.

In the same way, as our client’s organizations grow, we’ll add new functionality, hire new resources, step-up on-line security, and totally enhance reporting and analytical capabilities.

Strategic alignment

The up-to-date project plans and forecasts keep my team on the same page. We know we are expected to deliver a final product to the client two weeks from now. To my knowledge, no one from my team is jumping off the bus anytime soon – in fact, many of my team members solving for how we’ll get the documents to one client are also working on a SOW for another! My team is creating value-added work because they are anticipating the scenarios in advance.

By doing this, you can create loyalty within your organization by having insight into potential “speed bumps” in the financial universe and allowing your employees to do what they are hired for: solving complex business and system problems and helping our client’s reach their daily, monthly, and yearly goals.

Same work, less time

How long does it take me to pack for a work trip? Not long, I have a routine, I follow a process. I have learned to be strategic about anticipating my needs so my packing becomes a simple exercise, not a drawn out laborious one. I have also learned that if I deviate from that process (more often than not) I end up at my destination without some of my essentials and for anyone that travels for work - that is simply not fun! 
 
So let’s think in terms of planning (i.e. packing) with a formal EPM solution, your team will be given the tools to run a more efficient process driven forecasting exercise. There is workflow, continuity between historical data from your ERP and the planning model and required inputs built into your tool. By streamlining business processes in FP&A & Accounting, and formalizing the steps to completion you’ll enable faster and broader adoption and more accurate forecasts.
 

Real-time analysis

I remember thinking at a recent company meeting when they announced my five-year anniversary how quickly time flew by. I slowly grew my team, re-analyzed the situation, and upgraded technologies as needed. Today, I’ll text my team when scenarios change (a team member is sick, and someone else needs to assist on a client project) and adapt as necessary.

CFOs want answers into any changes they see and will delegate the “hunt and peck” tasks to their team. When companies consolidate their financial systems, they can gather the needed data and see the changes in real-time. If sales are down, you can dig into the data and adjust your forecasts and projections as necessary. If you need to know your operating costs, you can drill down by functional area and project to see where you can impact change and savings. By having these operational insights, your team can stretch their roles to meet the demands of future strategic priorities.

Companies utilize EPM solutions to fill the strategy to execution gap. As a professional, I sometimes wonder “How are we going to do this?” but with the support of a capable team who understand expectations, and anticipate they might have to be flexible and change plans, we make it work. Our performance as a unit improves after each round.

If you’re asking why your company can’t do the same, it’s time to think about your EPM foundation.

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