Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Price Optimization and Sales Incentives Deliver Profitability

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 24, 2011 2:30:43 PM

Two software applications I follow, price and revenue optimization (PRO) and sales compensation and incentives, can be highly complementary when used together. Unfortunately, since they typically are developed and sold by different kinds of software vendors, scant attention has been paid to the value of using them in tandem. I advise companies that have adopted a PRO strategy to use an incentive management application also to support and reinforce their optimization efforts. It is also part of our research agenda and education on sales  for 2011 and beyond.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Operational Performance Management (OPM), revenue optimization, sales management, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), incentive management, Price optimization, Profitability

Predictive Analytics Support Human Judgment

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 10, 2011 12:29:46 PM

Predictive analytics can be valuable tools for performance management. When the term is applied to planning or forecasting, many people take it to mean the ability to automate plans or forecasts. It’s true that using predictive analytics correctly is likely to enhance their accuracy, but these techniques do not eliminate the need for judgment; in practice, many organizations may realize more value from applying predictive analytics  to assess results than to forecast outcomes. Moreover, as regards performance management the usefulness of predictive analytics extends beyond planning and forecasting. They also can serve to set benchmarks that can be used to assess performance or generate alerts to accelerate necessary action. Although I advise companies to be more aggressive in adopting predictive analytics, I doubt that they will adopt them as fast as they should because of perceptions that the tools are too hard to use and the data too hard to get at.    

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, forecasting, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Budgeting Is So Unimportant

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 8, 2011 1:08:35 PM

I think one of best epigrams attributed to Mark Twain is, “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody ever does something about it.” This also has relevance to the situation with corporate planning and budgeting. Bemoaning its lack of value and calling for some sort of change goes back a long way, but few companies have matured their process. In the 1970s something called “zero-based budgeting” was all the rage in business and accounting periodicals. It was energetically advocated by President Carter to counteract the incremental budgeting that made it so difficult for the U.S. Congress to cut spending. (Of course, nothing changed.) Efforts to reform budgeting gathered steam in the 1990s as software vendors began offering dedicated applications designed for planning and budgeting. Even if one doesn’t fully embrace the idea of going budgetless, the book Beyond Budgeting is full of sensible management approaches (such as using league tables for internal benchmarking or using relative rather than fixed measures of performance). Of course, unlike the weather, people can change company practices. Yet when it comes to budgeting and planning, the same old stuff persists even as people like me continue to point out how using the right software can help transform the process into a valuable business tool. I’ve discussed why it’s important to adopt integrated business planning from my research, in which the budget is an automatically generated end product of the process, not the objective itself. And I’ve explained why driver-based planning produces better results. If it were just me advocating change, I might take its absence personally, but there have been scores of people, libraries of books and years of webinars focused on this topic for decades. Why has so little changed? 

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Topics: Planning, Predictive Analytics, Agility, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, contingency planning, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Beyond Budgeting, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

IBM Cognos Gets Ready for the Revolution in Analytical Processes

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 8, 2011 12:28:25 PM

Over the past six years big technology corporations have been acquiring all sorts of software companies, accelerating a general consolidation of the software industry since the dot-com boom ended in 2001. The consolidation has been driven in part by the deceleration of technology innovation in the business software market. Technology evolution, however, has been steady and progressed far enough now that I think we’re about to witness a revolution in how companies use analytics in business processes. I don’t used that overworked term lightly: I expect this to be as revolutionary as the impact that client/server computing had on transaction processing and related systems such as ERP and CRM. These analytical processes address performance management processes of all kinds, including planning, budgeting and reviews.     

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, IBM, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), Cognos, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), acquisition, BI