Defining Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) in Digital Era

Key Points

  • What are the contemporary EPM options?
  • What are the key functionalities these latest tools offer?
  • How different is it from erstwhile tools and options from the past?
  • Why should organizations latch on to these tools ASAP?
  • Future roadmap

Speed agility, disruption, and innovation have become new the normal in the contemporary world. Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is no exception. We have seen a tremendous shift in how business leaders manage their respective organizations’ performance in the last five years. Technology is a huge enabler facilitating real-time access to critical information at the desired granularity.

EPM Platform Solutions – Market Leaders

Chief Financial Officers and their finance teams have moved from manual processes involving collation of all financial data and ensuring accuracy and timeliness to embracing sophisticated self-service tools and spending more time analysing the numbers and making critical decisions. These new tools seamlessly connect with various sources like on-prem/cloud systems, flat files, and data from diverse ERP systems. Apart from the major ERP OEMs like SAP, Oracle and IBM Congnos, which have an extended the EPM platform, some innovative and specialised EPM solutions such as Anaplan, OneStream, Host analytics have sprung up lately and are taking the market by storm. Most of these new products are cloud versions that offer the platform services on a yearly subscription basis, extending the benefits of OPEX as opposed to huge upfront cash outflows through CAPEX.

Why EPM Platform? – Addressing Performance Management Restraints

Earlier, most of the consolidation, planning and reporting was done manually using excel spreadsheets or a few on-prem tools.  It had its challenges with data integration, accuracy, accessibility, aptness and presentability. A simple process would take anywhere between 15 to 20 days. The more complex the process, the more cumbersome the solution would be. The solutions were neither sustainable nor scalable; any small change would involve considerable effort to incorporate the same. It was easier for the niche players like Anaplan and OneStream to flourish. They had some very specific solutions addressing the inherent challenges of these legacy platforms. They addressed limitations at the database and presentation layers, which directly impacted the performance and end-user delight.

Key functionalities of EPM platforms

Predictive capabilities and augmented analytics are some of the more advanced features of these latest tools. Functionalities like value driver trees, version management, collaboration, approval workflows and security and authorisations ensure that the critical and time-consuming FP&A activities are automated. Users are now more focused on the core process. Accurate budgeting and forecasting have become more accessible and reliable due to the built-in algorithms that can be applied to a data set in a few easy steps. Intuitive dashboards, graphs and grids make it aesthetically appealing and convey the crux of the story in the most effective way. The best part is that these are self-service tools; even without much technical background, users can navigate through the various options and build ad hoc stories themselves.

Variety of EPM Platforms Available Today

SAP offers some very innovative EPM products available to suit various needs. From a consolidation perspective, Its on-prem solution, SAP BPC, addresses the most complex calculations relating to currency conversions, eliminations, and consolidated reporting. SAP also offers group reporting as a consolidation solution for customers who have already embraced SAP S4 as their ERP solution. Group reporting is a value-added feature that sits on top of S4 and provides near real-time consolidated results. SAP’s solutions include SAP BPC Planning and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) Planning for budgeting and forecasting. At the same time, BPC is capable of handling voluminous data and complex budgeting and forecasting solutions. SAC provides the flexibility of connecting the data sources in real-time and replicating the data after importing it. It also provides the latest abovementioned functionalities and offers an advanced, interactive, and highly intuitive presentation layer. Likewise, Oracle offers its on-prem EPM solution Hyperion Financial Management for consolidation and Hyperion Planning for financial planning and forecasting. Lately, Oracle has modernised and is continuously enhancing the capability of its Cloud EPM suite. Anaplan has swept the market in the planning space of EPM. It offers a platform for complex planning solutions on Cloud at a lower cost compared to the established and older players like SAP, Oracle and Cognos We can connect many of these platforms to the source irrespective of their existing transactional ERP systems. But some of these have made the data integration more accessible and real-time if it is within their landscape. For example, SAP Analytics Cloud has some native connectors connecting with SAP S4 and SAP BW sources live.

Why do Enterprises Need to Act Now and How?

It has become necessary for organisations to latch on to these new technologies and leverage the offerings to become ever more productive, increasingly accurate, and operate in very controlled and sustainable platforms. While these platforms can publish the results at an overall organisation level, users can dig into the details at the desired granularity. Solutions are more scientific and process-driven Vs high-level assumptions. Dynamic Changes in the technologies also needs the old ways of workings to be discontinued and embrace the new and advanced versions. Sometimes it is forced by the OEMs through the end of maintenance for the older platforms.

Why choose Techwave for your EPM Solution?

It is tricky to choosen the most appropriate tool that fits your organisation with so many options available. A detailed assessment of your internal functional processes coupled with the existing technology landscape and the organisation’s future journey will define the solutions. This is where a systems integrator like Techwave can assist. We have over 15 years of experience offering these services in the EPM space and have successfully Implementated and engagements. Techwave believes in partnering with the customers and provides the most viable and trustworthy solutions.