Managing a large organization is difficult—and it only gets more challenging as your company grows. Solutions such as enterprise performance management (EPM) promise the services you need to run a tight, productive ship, but if you don’t know the technology behind the name, all you’re left with is a vaguely comforting phrase that doesn’t offer any specific benefits to your business.
But EPM software can be extremely valuable to any large organization, as long as it’s implemented and utilized the right way. To maximize the value of this software, it’s essential that business leaders understand how enterprise performance management can transform their organization.
What Does Enterprise Performance Management Look Like?
At a large company, disorganized data and business processes can lead to inefficiencies and hampered performance. Enterprise performance management is aimed at improving a range of business processes—including planning, reporting, and analysis—by ensuring the information used in these processes is both accurate and consistent.
EPM software connects your day-to-day operations and performance to your company’s business goals. But it’s not just a connective tissue within your business. Enterprise performance management is designed to manage better results from everyday activities, all in service of your company’s financial and strategic goals—while laying a foundation for the future.
Although the finance department is chiefly responsible for the tasks and sees most of the benefits, EPM can also be used by other departments in your company—especially when you’re using software that breaks down silos and improves access to this business management function.
Here’s how a successfully deployed EPM solution might render changes in your organization.
Delivering Value Beyond Finance
EPM software is primarily a financial tool, and it’s owned and managed by the finance department. But the reach of this business solution stretches across the organization, as do the benefits of its powerful tools.
Financial reporting, planning, and modeling are all critical financial tasks enabled or supported by enterprise performance management, but the software’s ability to integrate with other business solutions allows its functionality to benefit all departments across an organization.
The easy platform management offered by modern EPM solutions alleviates demands on IT; their resource management capabilities support project management, production, and other business tasks; and their analytics and real-time data can be utilized by sales, marketing, customer service, and virtually every other department within the company.
For finance teams demonstrating the value of EPM to business decision makers, this company-wide value is essential to communicate as you seek executive buy-in and support for EPM.
Improving Cross-Team Collaboration
One of the greatest benefits of EPM software is its ability to coordinate resources, activities, and tasks across multiple departments and teams. Although a workflow management solution can provide a similar function for your organization, EPM enables these workflows to be managed in relation to their support of enterprise performance.
A comprehensive EPM solution will provide collaboration tools as a built-in component of its platform. This allows financial planning and other activities to incorporate modern workflow solutions that coordinate activities and exchange communications and information both seamlessly and instantly.
When used widely in your company, your EPM will improve the efficiency and productivity of projects spanning departments, producing faster results and better ROI for your business.
Efficiency Through Automation
Without automated tasks and tools, enterprise performance management wouldn’t be practical for organizations. It would be too resource-dependent, too time-consuming, and too unreliable when it comes to data accuracy.
Automation solves all of those problems, enabling value-added business processes that weren’t possible in the past. Data is gathered and consolidated automatically, and in real time, eliminating time-consuming tasks that were previously managed by accountants.
That data serves as the fuel for analytics platforms, allowing the deep insights that businesses use to strategize for various scenarios, execute what-if modeling, forecast future needs and challenges, and learn more about operational performance to improve efficiency and ROI in the future.
A critical feature of this data is its incredibly low error rates. Unlike manual data management processes, automated gathering and consolidation can reduce error rates and help identify discrepancies and anomalies when they arise. Business leaders are used to making the tough choice between speed of performance and quality of results. Automation improves both, creating a ripple effect of benefits that run throughout your company.
Better Financial Management Through Strategic Decision-Making
EPM software provides a flexible framework for managing various tasks throughout your organization. With better data and tools to drive analysis and forecasting, planning cycles and other financial variables become more predictable and defined. Decision makers have to grapple with fewer uncertainties when making tough choices, which ultimately leads to smarter decision-making because your company’s reliable data provides an easy platform to manage the business.
When you don’t have full visibility into your company’s operations, it’s impossible to make well-informed decisions that are in the best interest of the company and its business goals. Better transparency into financial and operational data should be a top priority of any organization, and EPM software helps turn this ambition into a reality.
One Eye on the Future
Businesses can get into trouble when they’re focused only on short-term results. To be sure, this short-term planning and consideration can’t be overlooked. Budgets need to be balanced, KPIs need to be tracked, and business leaders must ensure that the organization remains not just solvent, but also on track to meet larger, long-term goals.
When it comes to planning for long-term scenarios, it helps to have software designed for this purpose. An EPM solution is designed to offer the scenario planning and modeling that can help you anticipate these changes and needs well before they arrive on your doorstep—whether it’s growth projections, new hires, changes to your company’s expenses, new regulatory restrictions, or other business changes that are projected in the future.
Meanwhile, a fully scalable, cloud-based EPM solution provides the flexibility needed to grow and evolve along with your business. Your present-day needs are met while your organization makes a solid investment in its future.
More Than Planning
Financial planning is uplifted by an EPM solution, and this has traditionally been the primary source of value from embracing EPM at an enterprise organization. But today’s software greatly expands the capabilities and value of EPM, thanks in large part to the improved data visibility throughout an organization.
Integrated EPM software will gather data continuously, and in real time, from across your organization, resulting in valuable data sets that you can run through a built-in analytics solution. Performance analytics can deliver not only deep insights related to financial matters, but also other operational insights that shape financial data—which might otherwise go unnoticed by both the CFO and other key decision makers.
Meanwhile, today’s EPM software combines a number of financial services and tasks into a consolidated, comprehensive suite. Your company’s financial planning, close, and reporting can all be managed and monitored as integrated parts of an EPM solution, raising the ceiling for what your organization can achieve in regard to financial forecasting, KPI tracking, and any other data-driven financial process.
As your company’s operations become increasingly data-driven, your strategic decision-making needs to follow suit. But this approach delivers value only when your strategy is connected to performance data that reflects the financial and other activities taking place across your organization.
Enterprise performance management offers the structure and scale necessary to effectively connect performance and strategy. By validating data and ensuring consistency across the organization, your enterprise can evaluate its performance and make critical business decisions with the assurance that its data is both accurate and reflective of present and future needs.
Enterprise performance management remains integral to effective financial management, but its value has expanded to affect all aspects of an organization. To learn more about the value of EPM to your strategic planning process, check out our Continuous Planning guide.