Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

About the Analyst

Robert Kugel

Rob heads up the CFO and business research focusing on the intersection of information technology with the finance organization and business. The financial performance management (FPM) research agenda includes the application of IT to financial process optimization and collaborative systems; control systems and analytics; and advanced budgeting and planning. Prior to joining Ventana Research he was an equity research analyst at several firms including First Albany Corporation, Morgan Stanley, and Drexel Burnham, and a consultant with McKinsey and Company. Rob was an Institutional Investor All-American Team member and on the Wall Street Journal All-Star list. Rob has experience in aerospace and defense, banking, manufacturing and retail and consumer services. Rob earned his BA in Economics/Finance at Hampshire College, an MBA in Finance/Accounting at Columbia University, and is a CFA charter holder.


Recent Posts

Anaplan Enables Connected Planning across Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 27, 2017 11:04:56 AM

Anaplan recently held Anaplan Hub, its annual user group meeting. The company offers a cloud-based business planning platform that incorporates a modeling and calculation engine. The tool makes it relatively easy to add or expand the scope of plans that can be connected and monitored as a central source. Companies typically use Anaplan software for financial planning or budgeting, sales, workforce, marketing and IT planning. These are the types of plans in which companies often need to create models that incorporate their specific requirements, their strategy and their business systems.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Office of Finance, Recurring Revenue, cloud computing, Continuous Planning, revenue recognition, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, HRMS, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, analytics, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Work and Resource Management, Operations & Supply Chain, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

CFO and Finance Should Take Leadership Role in Pricing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 21, 2017 9:18:05 AM

Pricing is an issue that affects almost every for-profit company that doesn’t sell purely commodity products. A corporation’s approach to pricing can range from highly disciplined to ad hoc and from fully centralized to decentralized. The issue of centralized or decentralized depends a great deal on the markets the company serves, its organizational structure and its culture. However, a disciplined approach to price setting and negotiation is always superior to an ad hoc approach. This is especially true for non-commodity B2B businesses, which I believe have lagged other types of business in managing their pricing strategically. (Some would argue that there is no such thing as a pure commodity business, but that’s another issue.) Increasing pricing discipline in the company is one way for the CFO to engage more strategically in managing the business.

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Topics: Big Data, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Sales Performance Management, analytics, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

Oracle Growing ERP in Cloud

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 17, 2017 7:26:10 AM

Oracle recently held its second ERP Cloud Summit with industry analysts. The all-day event wasn’t just about ERP. The company covered a range of its business applications, including financial performance management as well as its Adaptive Intelligent Applications. And it wasn’t just about the cloud. After more than a decade of steady developments, ERP systems have begun to change fundamentally, facilitated by the growing availability of new technologies including cloud computing, advanced database architecture, collaboration, user interface design, mobility, analytics and planning. Here are my key takeaways from the event:

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Topics: Big Data, data science, Mobile, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, . cloud computing, revenue recognition, Analytics, Data Integration, Internet of Things, Cognitive Computing, HRMS, Financial Performance Management, Mobile Marketing Digital Commerce, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting

ERP on the Brink of Change

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 7, 2017 10:26:56 AM

Ventana Research recently announced the results of its latest Benchmark Research, Next-Generation ERP. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is at the core of nearly every company’s record-keeping and management of business processes. Its smooth and uninterrupted functioning is essential to an organization’s accounting and finance functions. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP manages inventory and logistics. Some companies use it to handle human resources functions like tracking employees, payroll and related costs.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Office of Finance, cloud computing, revenue recognition, Collaboration, Inventory Optimization, Work and Resource Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting

Digital Process Reengineering Drives Business Change

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 23, 2017 9:28:13 AM

Business process reengineering was a consulting fashion in the early 1990s that spurred many companies to purchase their first ERP systems. BPR proposes a fundamental redesign of core business processes to achieve substantial improvements in market and customer responsiveness, productivity, cycle times and quality. ERP systems support business process reengineering by guiding the step-by-step execution of the redesigned process to ensure that it is performed consistently. They also automate the handoffs between individuals and departments to accelerate completion of that process.

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Topics: Big Data, data science, Mobile, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Wearable Computing, cloud computing, Continuous Planning, business intelligence, Analytics, Data Integration, Internet of Things, Financial Performance Management, digital technology, Digital Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

B2B Pricing Management Can Strengthen Bottom Line

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 20, 2017 8:45:28 AM

More businesses are using software to implement and support a strategic pricing strategy designed to optimize revenue and margins in business-to-business (B2B) transactions because it can help improve results at the bottom line. “Optimize” in this instance means managing the trade-off that usually exists between revenue and profitability objectives in order to support a company’s strategy and capabilities in a given market. Business-to-business pricing management is Ventana Research’s term for such processes and applications. Software built for this purpose centralizes control and enforces consistency in pricing while assisting sales agents in negotiating prices that achieve desired business objectives. It enables agents to use techniques that can increase the revenue from a transaction, the margin on the sale or the probability of closing the sale.

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Topics: Big Data, data science, Office of Finance, cloud computing, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, analytics, sales, Price and Revenue Management, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting

The Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2017

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 16, 2017 6:33:18 AM

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize the value of technology as a key tool for doing high-quality work. Consider how poorly your organization would perform if it had to operate using 25-year-old software and hardware. Having the latest technology isn’t always necessary, but it’s important for executives to understand that technology shapes a finance organization’s ability to improve its overall effectiveness.

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Topics: Big Data, data science, Mobile, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, cloud computing, Continuous Planning, revenue recognition, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, analytics, Financial Performance Management, recurring revenue, Price and Revenue Management, Inventory Optimization, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, Sales and Operations Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Collaboration for Business

Vertex Enterprise Addresses Today’s Tax Challenges

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 7, 2017 12:14:58 AM

I’ve long advocated the use of effective technology in the tax function, especially for organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions or have complex legal structures manage direct tax provision and analysis using outdated or inappropriate tools. Our Office of Finance benchmark research reveals that most organizations use spreadsheets to manage their tax provision and analysis: Half (52%) rely solely on spreadsheets, and another 38 percent mainly use them. I recommend to corporations that operate in multiple countries and that have even a moderately complex legal entity structure that they consider establishing what I call a tax data warehouse of record.

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Topics: Big Data, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, analytics, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting

B2B Price and Revenue Optimization Goes Mainstream

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 24, 2017 12:16:39 AM

Price and revenue optimization (PRO) is a business discipline used to produce demand-based pricing; it applies market segmentation techniques to achieve strategic objectives such as increased profitability or greater market share. In essence, PRO enables companies to surf the demand curve using dynamic rather than fixed pricing to achieve the most desirable trade-offs between revenue volume and profit margins. The trade-off is defined by strategic factors such as the company’s market position, product and service portfolio, and marketing strategy.

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Topics: Big Data, data science, Office of Finance, cloud computing, Sales Performance Management, analytics, Financial Performance Management, sales, Price and Revenue Management, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting

Kofax Kapow 10 Advances Robotic Process Automation

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 20, 2017 8:15:38 AM

Kofax offers Kapow, robotic process automation (RPA) software used to acquire information from a range of sources without human intervention and without having to write code. These sources include websites, applications, unstructured documents, data stores and desktop spreadsheets. RPA software does repetitive, low-value work that otherwise may be performed by person. It saves time in these tasks, completing them sooner and freeing skilled individuals to concentrate on work that utilizes their skills to the fullest. One of the earliest uses of software robots was “Web crawling,” which automated rapid collection of data posted on websites, for example, prices and locations. This was the Kofax Kapow’s original purpose, but its scope has expanded. When used to gather information from multiple applications, the software precludes the need for setting up and maintaining a separate data store. This saves time and money while ensuring that the information has come from the authoritative source and that there is no latency in the data. Rather than taking the time to write a program with broad applicability, a robot can be quickly configured to perform a specific task in a way that mimics how an individual does the job.

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Topics: Operations, Bank, close, logistics, shipping, finance, banking, insurance, legacy systems, robotic process automation