Guide to Finding the Best CPM Solution for Your Company


By pinpointing the current ability of your information workers today to make optimal decisions and measuring these against an ideal state, it is easier to establish where you should be looking for improvement opportunities and then document these in your master plan to achieve world-class decision-making across your organization. As you go through the self-assessment for your organization, it should become quite clear (if it wasn’t already) that people and processes are just as important as technology when it comes to establishing the right foundation for world-class decision-making.

It is a well-known fact that every organization needs to get to know its strengths and weaknesses to evaluate its capabilities and potential. Usually this is done in conjunction with corporate strategy documents and by using a popular matrix format referred to as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. However, because the focus of this blog is to help enable world-class decision-making through the use of modern CPM technology, let’s take a look at a more specific self-assessment format to help you determine the current status of decision-making capabilities in your organization.

Steps for Choosing the Best CPM Solution

 Determine Organizational Goals & Solution Scope

Let’s talk about goals. Employees who are involved in the budgeting and planning process should know the company’s strategy and goals prior to planning. Imagine your company’s goals on a map. The destination is the organization’s purpose and mission, and the cities you need to hit to get to your destination are your organizational goals. These can also be broken down to departmental goals as well. Read more about corporate and departmental goals in our article, “How to Build a Corporate Performance Management Solution.” Some of these goals may not change over time, but it should be reviewed annually to ensure they remain true.

Your set of goals will help define the correct scope of the new tool. As an example, if the goals that you have set require weekly or monthly monitoring (most do), you should consider a CPM tool that has the ability to produce dashboards and reports that will help you track those at the push of a button. The main takeaway here is to accurately define the scope of the tool: what are looking to accomplish with your CPM tool? Which goals will be tracked? The answers will help keep you on track in the buying process, and make it a worthy investment.

Choose Deployment Options: Cloud vs. Private Host 

Decide if an on-premise or cloud CPM platform is better for your company. The Cloud business is growing rapidly. Eventually, all companies will host all of their data in the cloud without exception. In the meantime, if your team is split between the two, there are vendors that offer both options. This allows you and your team some flexibility, but always keep your sights set on the future of technology and find one that will get you there easily.

In terms of software maintenance, Cloud solutions are easier to maintain. When you go the on-premise route, any system requirements are the customer’s responsibility. Your IT team is the gatekeeper of your software. If all your data sources are already in the Cloud, it may be smarter to also have your CPM in the Cloud. It will be more cost-effective and easier to integrate and upgrade. Access to a product hosted in the Cloud is via the internet so security risks are inherently present, but Cloud computing services such as Azure spend billions of dollars every year to keep your data safe.

Focus on your current setup and how the CPM tool will sit on top of the other data sources that make up your company’s unique data structure, but also look ahead and think of which tool will be able to navigate your current and future plans. After all, you will be implementing and adopting a tool that will encapsulate all of your data and impact decision-making across the entire organization for years to come. You will want this tool to scale with your business.

Study B2B Product Review Sites

Another factor to consider in your buying process is a product review site. Software review sites reveal customer reviews for the products you are evaluating. They also share grids based on the size of the business, services, and ratings. This makes it easy to learn about the product from the customer’s perspective. For example, G2 Crowd shares a grid that ranks leading CPM solutions based on customer review data.

You will find two tables below. The first one lists questions for each readiness area to help your thought process and insight when filling out the second table with answers for your own organization.

Readiness Area Readiness Conversation Starters
  • Do we have a vision of how the organization will operate with everyone having full, online access to a centralized CPM solution?
  • Are we able to see and verbalize the benefits of a CPM solution to internal decision-makers and key users?
Executive Support
  • Do we have, or will we be able to get, executive support for the purchase and implementation of a CPM solution?
  • Any major obstacles (such as other top priorities, change in management or upcoming mergers/acquisitions) to a CPM project?
  • Do we have the hardware/platform infrastructure to support a CPM project?
  • Or…are we better off implementing a cloud-based CPM solution?
Availability of Data
  • Do we have clean (or clean enough) data sources to feed to the CPM solution?
  • Are our current data sources open/accessible so data can be extracted?
  • Do any critical source systems need to be in place prior to a CPM solution?
Resources/Power Users
  • Do we have capable internal resources to implement and maintain the CPM solution?
  • If not…do we need to hire resources prior to the CPM implementation?
  • Are there any internal politics do deal with (such as “I don’t want to learn another system”)?
Funding Available
  • Do we have, or can we get, the required funding?
  • Should we purchase or rent (SaaS – software as a service) the CPM solution?
Business Requirements Documented
  • Do we have a structured business requirements document (BRD) that clearly lists and explains our requirements, both to assure internal agreement as well as to optimize communication with CPM vendors?
  • If not…who will write it (internal resource or consultant)?
CPM Solution Selection
  • Who will create a short list of CPM solutions to evaluate?
  • Who will be on the internal selection committee?
  • Have we documented how we are going to conduct the evaluation process?
  • When is the best time to conduct the evaluation process?
Partner Selection
  • Do we need outside assistance to conduct the evaluation?
  • Can we save time/money by finding, e.g., a local implementation partner?
  • Who are the most skilled partners/consultants we can work with?

Based on the above questions, you can see some fictitious answers have been entered in the three columns to the right to provide an example.

Readiness Area Urgency
(Note: The comments below are examples)
Vision High Completed Business Requirement doc with 5 year vision.
Executive Support Mid CFO is sponsor.
Infrastructure Low High Not needed. Will implement cloud solution.
Availability of Data High Mid ERP and Payroll vendors have confirmed data export format/API. Data is clean.
Resources/Power Users Mid Mid Hire CPM analyst prior to implementation.
Funding Available High Mid Waiting for board approval.
Business Requirements Documented Mid Low Will be one of the first tasks for the new analyst we will hire.
CPM Solution Selection Mid Mid Have seen 1st round of demos and narrowed down to 2 solutions
Partner Selection Low High Have list of certified partners to select from.

Contact Solver for CPM Solutions

As you do your research and consult with your own leadership team about the potential benefits to your organization when it comes to deploying a modern CPM solution for reporting, planning, and analysis, the previous blog articles, this entry, and the answers you have provided in the two tables above should provide you with a high-level understanding of what CPM solutions offer and how your organization can benefit to help enable world-class decision-making for all your information workers.