Top 5 CPM Trends for 2017

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This article will highlight the top 5 corporate performance management trends for 2017, zooming in on features and functionalities and looking at the bigger picture roadmap for the marketplace.

It’s that time of the year again – the beginning of the year, specifically – where we move from organizing ourselves and goalsetting to the work of achieving our objectives.  There appears to be a collective understanding that 2016 was a rough year, at least in pop culture, no doubt a result of social media and specifically, the meme-driven culture.  Regardless of your perspective on how the business world fared in 2016, a new year brings with it a chance to do better, to improve processes and outcomes of teamwork.  And in that vein, this article will zoom in on the trends you can expect to see emerge for Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM).

I’m not going to surprise anyone with this (I hope), but here goes: cloud will dominate, increasingly so. Simply, cloud technologies continue to grow in the CPM space.  More CPM independent software vendors (ISVs) will move to true, multi-tenant public cloud versions not only because it is trending up for customers, but also because it is good for companies – from the business end user to the management team.  Zooming out, it is a good thing for customers because, there were not many options before.  More vendor competition drives better products and better pricing.

Furthermore, as both ERP and CPM vendors move to the cloud, your quality of analytics life will improve, specifically in terms of combining all of your data from disparate sources.  Because of the shift in technology and solution management, vendors will be naturally building new and dynamic APIs (application program interfaces) to make it much easier to set up integrations.  Strong, sound integrations are key to moving your data from ERP systems, as well as other data sources, and into CPM solutions, which will save consumers time and money, as well as reduce the risk of bad, manual integrations.  Generally, an accelerating pace of people are transitioning from either weak native ERP reporting and budgeting features and/or manual spreadsheet models to professional CPM solutions for a best-in-breed experience.  And with this shift, processes can be automated, which saves you time and resources and delivers better insight.

Bigger picture: as people transition into web-based CPM, there’s an organic trend of expanding self-service analytics for collaboration at all levels of the organization.  The web browser as an end-user platform makes analytics more accessible, so companies are able to expand their user base of reports and dashboards to more and more of their information workers – not only because of accessibility, but also because of the growing general belief that better information in the hands of more employees leads to better, faster decision-making.  Additionally, as a result of this expanded CPM usage, an increasing number of vendors are adding more functionality for report alerts, advanced report viewing, and analysis with commentary.  You’ll also see the cost of end user licenses go down, so more users can get involved affordably.

In 2017, it should become perfectly clear that, where there might have been a hierarchy in data previously, is irrelevant now.  In other words, no data type is better or more important than another, and access to combine and compare disparate data is what matters.  As different types of information workers become involved in managing and analyzing data, sharper information calls for texture and context.  Diverse data types will come into play, and the dismissal of any information as lesser than another simply won’t matter.  Instead, plan to integrate more data into your analyses for a more complete picture.

Because of the emphasis on web- and cloud-based solutions in the CPM space, it is officially time for the IT team to become workplace heroes.  Haven’t they always been?  Because we used to operate older products that were not “self-service” or even just simply that easy to use, IT had to be involved at almost every step of the way in terms of turning your data into reports, budgets, and/or dashboards.  With all of the other responsibilities that IT departments were and are managing, there tended to be a derailment in the relationship with accounting/finance folks.  Thankfully, those days are behind us, and IT is able to shine as they enable the rollout of truly self-service CPM solutions, functioning as a true partner to the business while more easily managing the security of your data.  IT will become the gatekeeper to the future of business, an era marked by accessibility to large amounts of the lifeblood of any organization: data.

Speaking of data, in 2017, analytics will more clearly move from traditional reporting to storytelling.   I think the theme of this article could simply be that, as BI and CPM continues to evolve, the user experience will become more accessible and less limited because developers are refining solutions with the business end user in mind, not IT.  Instead of hard coding, scripting, and pivot tables, modern solutions offer drag-and-drop functionality, natural text, and language, with narrative reporting as an example.  In general, storytelling is a much more effective way to receive information because it takes the data analysis and spells it out, which is a head start in the decision-making process.  Leadership teams might be used to interpreting cells, rows, and columns of data, but as company data pans out to a more inclusive and collaborative experience, telling the story of the data will empower end users to make decisions and take action.

New year, new you?  Regardless, this is a new year and a newer user experience, one that is more cloud-y, accessible, inclusive, and collaborative for end users across the organization.  Your options might seem overwhelming and perhaps urgent, and Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and dashboards as a way to accelerate company performance management.

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