The latest trend – enterprise performance management systems

2015-07-08 by Marina Astapchik

Software development has enabled many businesses to achieve high operational efficiency due to the newly developed software. Obviously, it is high time to manage this excellence. Enterprise performance management (EPM) is something new in software development. Gartner defines it as the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise with the goal of improving business management. EPM systems integrate and analyze data from many sources, including, but not limited to, e-commerce systems, front-office and back-office applications, data warehouses and external data sources. Enterprise performance management hosts a company's budgeting and planning data, combines actual costs and revenue drivers using transactional data from an ERP system. As a result, managers can get a holistic view of the whole enterprise, project goals into results and improve corporate performance.

As for more details, Gartner divides enterprise performance management into 2 categories: office of finance processes and strategic processes. Office of finance processes includes financial consolidation, close and disclosure management, and external reporting. Strategic processes include planning, profitability modeling, and managing initiatives and strategies.

Why does software development enable new processes due to EPM?

Generally speaking, with enterprise performance management, companies can gain an obvious advantage by finding a deeper insight into the market situation more agilely than competitors, drive better decisions and undertake better actions. Secondly, software development enables businesses with implemented EPM systems to adopt latest market developments and define the right strategy. Thirdly, enterprise performance management aligns external and internal data to pursue the right objectives coordinating planning correspondingly.

EPM systems are, first of all, big-data related software, or business intelligence software with a variety of data sources. Software development companies implement EPM into organizations to let all the personnel from senior executives to information employees understand how the organization is performing, how financials, human capital and supply chain are interrelated and how to value from them as much as possible.

Ad hoc inquires, detailed analysis, proactive detection, advanced reports, etc. belong to category-leading capabilities of EPM. Since EPM system is about optimizing enterprise performance not just managing, business intelligence and analytics tools with what-if scenarios deliver managers best-in-class reporting and analysis capabilities to drive informed decisions and improve overall health of an organization. People involved in decision-making take advantage of gaining a deeper insight of their company and value from heterogeneous data resources. Due to EPM, software development implements an analytical mindset in businesses.

Some software development companies have recently jumped on the enhanced data visualization and analytics train. Enterprises can take advantage of new charting and graphing features of EPM systems. The result is relevant and timely access by decision-makers beyond the finance function at the right time in the right form.

EPM systems also save managers from having to search for trends in history, external sources, macroeconomic numbers, etc. Instead of it, EPM provides businesses with predictive analytics on a self-service basis. All the history data, metrics, calculations, hierarchies are at a manager's disposal to have a consistent visibility into past, current and future operations and make deliberate decisions within a single environment.

How is this agility reached? It would not be out of place to note that EPM software development increases use of in-memory computing that works with data from a computer's memory instead of hard disks. This benefit results in high speed of calculations in extremely short periods of time. In other words, due to in-memory computing, EPM software can create aggregations on the fly from all transactional data.

Enterprise performance software development goes further, beyond financial planning to operational planning and unifies them all together into integrated planning. Integrated planning capabilities create a semantic layer of an enterprise with multiple data channels to deliver persuasive performance management.

If we are talking about optimizing of enterprise software, software development companies enable enterprise performance systems to be more user-friendly and easy-to-learn-and-use. The trend is welcome and regards not only user interface but also cloud deployment capabilities. Gartner in its Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management dated April, 2015 says that in spite that the base of cloud EPM applications is still larger for small and mid-market organizations, the number of larger organizations (more than $1 billion in annual revenue) turning to the cloud for EPM continues to increase.

Access through web browsers to cloud EPM simplifies decision-making, improves its accuracy and timeliness as well as mitigates security risks in comparison with what people were doing through Excel spreadsheets. However, we shouldn't underestimate the significance of spreadsheets. The familiarity with them does affect software development. The latter integrates Microsoft products, incl. Excel, Power Point, Word, into enterprise performance management systems. According to a survey of EPM buyers, 80% still use spreadsheets to supplement the system.

A new virtue of enterprise performance management software is mobility. It is still on the early stages. Nevertheless, CFOs take advantage of access their data on iPads linking strategic information to plans and monitor their execution. With adoption of mobile devices on the rise, there could be made a prediction for mobile enterprise performance management to be a welcome trend.

Apparently, software development has a unique offering for businesses to link their strategies to plans, gain business alignment and optimize enterprise performance. Backed by EPM systems, companies can stay far ahead than their competitors.

Industries and Technology Areas

Industries: IT

Technology Areas: software development, enterprise performance management software development

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