The purpose of this blog entry is to help you assess the decision-making capabilities of your organization today versus those of a best-in-class business.

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.

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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.

Few companies have both mature financial planning and analysis processes and a strong, unified CPM platform, and this presents a significant improvement opportunity for companies that want to drive their performance by using modern CPM that helps enable employees to make world-class decisions.
Let’s talk about a typical situation of a company in the table on the left versus what an ideal state may look like. The vast majority of organizations have added different systems over time, and often without looking at the bigger need of the organization to centralize key data and use fewer, more integrated and easier business intelligence tools. The result is sub-optimized decision-making, frustration, higher cost, more training requirements, and so on. The “ideal situation” looks like integrated CPM technologies that, when carefully selected based on proper needs analysis and successfully implemented, can result in numerous benefits and ultimately act like a single solution that enables world-class decision-making across the company. And when you juxtapose that with what’s common, you have an illustration of typical, core CPM technologies managed in an uncoordinated, non-strategic fashion and with the resulting lack of benefits versus a highly planned, strategic implementation of a CPM platform with major advantages achieved.
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. Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, 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.

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