This article explores the realities of cloud revolutionizing the technology and business worlds, especially for enterprise software, like cloud corporate performance management solutions.
In the recent years, cloud services have rapidly gained in popularity. An increasing number of organizations now choose to implement their accounting system, customer relationship management (CRM), corporate performance management (CPM), web site analytics and more using vendors’ cloud offerings. Still for years ahead, many companies will keep some of their data sources on-premise as well, and even if they one day have moved every single business application to the cloud, their data will be spread across many vendor clouds. In other words, the CPM suite’s underlying data warehouse and its integration capabilities will be key to enabling world-class decision-making in your company because it will bring all your key data together in one place, whether this is on-premise or in the cloud.
Now, with the rapid growth of cloud offerings, there are other exciting services being offered by the largest cloud providers, and these include services for machine learning, deep learning, big data and more. The cloud-based CPM suites of the future will increasingly make it easier for users to take advantage of these services even if they are not a native part of the CPM solution itself because the cloud platform provider offers them easy ways to connect the services to your data warehouse. The result is an array of extended CPM functionality that can offer advanced analysis of otherwise hard-to-find relationships in your data that ordinary reports and dashboards may not catch, and that can be used for automated forecasts or to discover new opportunities. Today, only the largest companies out there take full advantage of such features because they have dedicated data scientists and highly technical developers. In the future, CPM suites will offer very easy, low-cost integrations with external specialty web services so that an ordinary business user can take advantage of this functionality to drive world-class decision-making.
Preparing to take maximum advantage of the CPM suites of the future
As exciting as technologies can be when users truly see how they can automate previously manual tasks and free up time for better analysis, as well as offer insights that otherwise would be close to impossible without computer assistance, none of this will provide the same huge advantages unless your data is good. Now that this blog has discussed a number of the ways future CPM suites will improve your decision-making, it is time to revisit the data issue because it can take years to get good data, and it is critical for success. Sometimes a transaction system, like an ERP system, is simply not capable of capturing the information required for later detailed, high-quality analysis, and it requires a replacement of the system itself. But, just as often, it is a process issue where users are simply not capturing accurate or detailed information when they enter data into the business application. Either way, the sooner your team understands and accepts and is motivated to prepare your organization for a future CPM suite implementation, the sooner they can start improving the processes and systems that are going to provide quality data to the CPM system.
Some of the processes and issues you may need to work on are:
- Getting executive and key personnel buy-in for CPM and CPM system process improvement.
- Hiring (if needed) the required personnel to manage the system and the project.
- Updating internal transaction systems (such as your ERP system) that will be generating the highest quality transactions upon which to base decisions in the future.
- Designing internal top-down and bottom-up planning and decision-making processes.
- Integrating strategic planning, forecasting, budgeting and reporting processes.
- Defining the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) for each business unit, upon which to measure both the performance of the business and to hold employees accountable.
- Create/refine a cloud strategy (roadmap for the systems to deploy in the cloud).
Even if the future is not here today, you can do much to prepare for it because most of the required time and work lies in getting clean data in your systems of record and organizing and connecting planning, reporting and analysis processes. In most companies, this can take several years, and in the meantime, modern CPM suites will advance rapidly and deliver what is needed from a technology side to simplify and automate so you can enable world-class decision-making in your organization. Should some or many of your data sources and processes be ready today, then most CPM suites allow for modular implementation so you can start, e.g., with your data warehouse, then the reporting, then tackle budgeting and forecasting and so on, eventually ending up with a complete CPM implementation and great information available to any user, anywhere, at any time.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver offers BI360 through cloud and on-premise deployment and is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.