When it comes to Corporate Performance Management (CPM) most tend to think about the technology or tools they are using for their budgeting, planning and forecasting. However, when you look at the totality of corporate performance management it is more than just technology and tools and expands to your people and internal processes. With the manufacturing, distribution and retail industries dealing with so many moving parts the importance of a CPM solution is something that needs to be considered.
As with any technology it is only as good as the people, process and data that surround it. Many companies introduce technology with the idea that it will solve a problem. In our experience we find the technology to be the simplest part of the equation. The people, their capabilities, their knowledge of data and their ability to adapt to a digital workflow or digital mind set are often the major hurdles.
The journey to transforming major functions like planning, budgeting and forecasting should start with a good evaluation of current process and defining the expected future state. On this journey for many clients, we have typically found is that a lot of work that is being done is not standard, is mostly manual and typically uses Excel. This work comes from a variety of departments within an organization – from accounting to HR and operations. These departments rely on Excel and its capabilities to do their job on a day-to-day basis.
Your Current Situation: Excel
Let’s talk a little about Excel. Excel is a great tool that is easy to learn, simple to use and relatively inexpensive. However, over time the process and the rules that are used to capture, arrange, and analyze data are lost to spreadsheet owners who design the spreadsheet based on their skills. When these owners leave, the knowledge or business rules within them can be lost. These rules can be thought of as intellectual property and should be standardized and secure so that processes can be repeatable and not key person dependent.
When to Move on from Excel
Companies come to the crossroads of needing technology to improve processes and increase controls for many different reasons. This manifests itself in different ways, such as;
- Cycle of growth
- Decentralized process with many contributors
- Need to do more aggressive planning such as continuous planning or rolling forecasts
- Desire to create multiple plans with various targets, new products or acquisitions
- Driver-based forecasting
As you begin to notice these factors within your organization it is time to consider moving on from Excel. Moving from Excel to a cloud-based solution can provide a host of benefits to your organization.
The Impact of the Cloud
Modern technology is cloud based, easy to access, and provides controls often not found in spreadsheets. Moving financial information to the cloud will provide immediate benefits to your organization including improved access to information and even cost savings. Imagine no longer needing to be connected with your organization’s server in order to view the data you need to do your job. As someone who deals with finances and forecasting in the manufacturing, distribution and retail industries you know that dealing with data and information from multiple locations can be a challenge – and often time consuming. By working with a cloud-based solution, you’ll be able to access this information from anywhere at any time, and on any device. As your organization continues to grow, moving to the cloud can also provide savings due to the fact that a cloud based subscription includes installation of upgrades and enhancements, eliminating the need for you to manually upgrade and pay for changes to the solution. To make this an even easier transition, many cloud-based solutions provide companies with an easy way to migrate their current processes from spreadsheets into their controlled platforms. Newer solutions build off of the Excel spreadsheet framework and add enhanced features. By using an Excel-like framework, new users find the move to the cloud to be relatively simple with training focused on the enhanced features.
The case for implementing a corporate performance management solution for your organization is straight forward. Key company data, from all of your sources, in one place, that can be accessed from anywhere at any time, providing you with a deep look into the organization. This will also give you the ability to transform your data into information that will guide management, serve as a catalyst for decision making and provide a rudder to assist management on the direction of their business. With CPM, your organization will have the ability to organize their data around the goals of the company, streamline the future of the data gathering process and allow for more time to analyze this information. In order to make the most informed decisions about guiding your business into the future, you need not only reliable data, but data that you can act on. Having a corporate performance management solution is becoming a necessity for any business to be successful in this era of digital transformation.
Are you feeling trapped in an endless cycle of data? Endless spreadsheets to update, multiple users working on countless versions which are often out-of-date can amount to manual, error-prone, time intensive reporting. Learn how implementing a CPM solution can help your organization improve your data and reporting needs. Download our eBook to learn more.