Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Why Maturity is Important for More Effective Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 28, 2012 9:09:18 AM

Ventana Research does benchmark research that assesses the maturity of organizations across four dimensions: people, process, information and technology. We examine business issues along those dimensions because we recognize the interconnected relationships among them. Especially in larger companies, data issues such as accuracy and accessibility are often a root cause of poor performance of a core function. It may be a factor in such areas as poor customer service, sales execution or operations planning, to name just three.  Addressing only the people-related issues of some challenge a company faces (such as communications, training or management style) may produce positive results in the short run, but these gains are likely to fall short of their potential or prove to be transitory unless companies tackle related process, technology and information problems at the same time. Our comprehensive approach is the foundation for our research, and what makes our benchmark research different and relevant to executives and managers.

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Topics: Planning, Social Media, forecasting, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet

What Every CEO Should Know About Software for Finance and Sales

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 26, 2012 7:11:51 AM

This is the third in a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT and its impact on running a business. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted, it’s not necessary for a CEO to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, CEOs must grasp the basics of IT just as they must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. My second post was about four supporting technologies that will drive change in business computing over the next five years. It relates examples of how applications can help every part of a business operate more effectively, not just efficiently. Now let’s turn our attention to finance and sales – and as I’ve noted in the previous posts, what follows is an “elevator pitch” treatment of what could be a much longer discussion.

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Topics: Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales, Customer, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, close, closing, plan, PRO, sales management, strategy, Analytics, Business Analytics, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), CEO, FPM, Profitability, SPM

Quantrix Unveils Release 5

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 21, 2012 11:18:27 AM

Quantrix recently unveiled Quantrix 5, an updated version of its financial modeling software designed to fill the gap between spreadsheets and business intelligence (BI) systems. Quantrix provides users with many of the capabilities of an enterprise system and addresses shortcomings of desktop spreadsheet software without requiring extensive training.

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Topics: Planning, forecasting, FP&A, Reporting, Budgeting, multidimensional, plan, Quantrix, report, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), BI, FPM, spreadsheet

Saving Microseconds with Informatica’s Ultra Messaging

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2012 11:23:08 AM

Increasingly, global financial markets compete on speed, so much so that high-speed trading capabilities have become a performance differentiator for the largest financial services firms and some investment funds. Transmitting messages with quotes, prices and trade data is a core capability for currency dealers. Informatica recently introduced Ultra Messaging, which is designed to offer global currency traders an efficient, high-throughput, lower-latency (that is, faster) and more secure method of linking their worldwide operations.

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Topics: GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), credit, currency, LAN, Informatica, Business Performance Management (BPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), trading, WAN

Adaptive Planning Helps the University of Central Florida Plan Faster and More Accurately

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 18, 2012 11:26:18 AM

When they were first introduced three decades ago, electronic spreadsheets provided a major advance in corporate planning compared to the paper spreadsheet-and-adding-machine systems they replaced. However, time passes and, as our research shows, desktop spreadsheets often hamper productivity because they were designed for personal productivity, not for managing repetitive, collaborative, enterprise-wide processes such as financial planning. The finance organization at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine was grappling with this reality.

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Topics: Planning, forecasting, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, leadership awards, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet

Making Back Office Apps Fun

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 17, 2012 11:14:14 AM

Business software is beginning to undergo a design revolution comparable to the seismic shift from the green screen to the graphical user interface (GUI) that began in the mid-1980s. Three forces are at work. One is the retirement of large numbers of members of the baby-boom generation and the rise of a generation that grew up with computers and computer games from a young age. Also, software and technology vendors have been recognizing the need to “consumerize” business applications as mobile device interactions, gestures and other newer user interface (UI) conventions, and are incorporating these innovations in their stodgy products. I commented on this in my assessment of Tidemark early this year. A third factor, “gamification” is all the rage in business consulting circles. The idea is to engage younger employees more completely by transforming dull, routine chores into more entertaining pursuits. I join with those skeptical of just how fun one can make clerical tasks. But software can – and should – be made less tedious (and therefore more productive), especially for a new generation of users.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, OpenWorld, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Cloud, Cloud Computing, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Dreamforce, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Tidemark, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Business, Applications, design, development, GUI

Longview Helps 3M Shape Its Future in Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 14, 2012 11:47:05 AM

Effective planning has always been a challenge for companies, and it’s all the more so today. Even when companies deploy dedicated planning applications, they often do not or cannot use them to full advantage. I had a chance to learn more about 3M Corp. use of business planning in our recent 2012 Leadership Awards, who is the diversified global manufacturer of consumer and industrial products, several years ago acquired a dedicated planning application, but because the system could not scale to handle all of its planning contributors, it was forced to collect data from its worldwide business units using Excel templates. Desktop spreadsheets impose severe constraints in the planning process and do not readily handle the complexities of a large multinational firm, such as intracompany allocations, multiple currencies and changes in organizational structure. Modeling both product and financial elements is difficult and, for a company of 3M’s size, the processes do not scale well. The planning process was therefore prolonged, complex and could not readily adapt to change.

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Topics: Planning, forecasting, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, leadership awards, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, spreadsheet

Using the Close as a Finance Department Diagnostic

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 7, 2012 11:12:59 AM

Earlier this year we published our Trends in Developing the Fast, Clean Close benchmark research findings. The most significant was that, on average, it takes longer for companies to close their books today than it did five years ago. In 2007, nearly half (47%) we closing their quarters within five or six days, but now only 38 percent can do it as quickly.

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Topics: close, closing, Consolidation, Controller, effectiveness, process management, report, XBRL, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Data, Document Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Financial Performance Management, FPM