Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

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

Making Better Use of Ratios in Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 17, 2012 12:01:56 PM

For the past several years Ventana Research has focused more on analytics and their importance to improving business performance. We’ve done extensive benchmark research in business analytics, detailing how they are used generally in business and in major functional areas of companies as well as their application in specific industries. We adopted this focus  because technology advances are changing the landscape of analytics. Its use in business management, for example, is getting new scrutiny these days because of three important changes in information technology.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), performance indicators, Budgeting, driver-based, ratio analysis, Analytics, Business Analytics, In-memory, 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), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 29, 2011 11:08:57 AM

Management decision-making typically involves a three-step process of inform, analyze and act. In the earliest days of what came to be known as business intelligence, developers created decision support systems that provided information and analytics to help executives and high-level managers choose the best course of action. Working with numbers rather than gut instinct still is viewed as a best practice. After all, a pilot who doesn’t trust his or her instruments is heading for an accident.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, closed loop, contingency planning, driver-based, driver-based planning, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, In-memory, 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), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 5, 2011 12:48:36 PM

I thought of writing a note on this topic when multinational corporations started to withdraw their deposits from eurozone banks, but the pessimism that event engendered was short-lived. Now, as the monetary crisis deepens in Europe, it’s perhaps time to ask what your company would do if parts of its financial system implodes. You may think that your company will not be affected because it doesn’t do business with the eurozone. Or you may believe that it’s unlikely to happen and therefore not worth spending the time to consider the implications. I think both assumptions are mistaken.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Social Media, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, contingency planning, crisis, driver-based, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, 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), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

A Practical Look at Driver-Based Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 12, 2011 11:23:28 AM

I hadn’t thought about the exact definition of “driver-based planning” until the question came up in the context of our planning benchmark research showing that only 6% of companies with more than 100 employees do driver-based planning. Broadly defined, the term could be applied to the use of any spreadsheet-planning model because these almost always have built-in volume-times-price formulas, which are components of driver-based plans. However, this is not what most people have in mind when they talk about driver-based planning, and that’s reflected in the low percentage of those employing the technique.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, driver-based, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

Apps Hard To Find at Oracle Open World

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 7, 2011 8:23:04 AM

The assessment of a major focus of Oracle Open World by my colleague David Menninger sums up what I also see as the key strategic element of the event: the new appliance including that called Exalytics. My focus as an industry analyst is on the needs of the line-of-business user, not IT. And that’s the source of my ongoing frustration with this event: It’s not an application user’s conference, especially compared to the PeopleSoft and Hyperion annual gatherings of the past before Oracle acquired and absorbed them. Open World seems almost grudging in addressing their needs, and so it’s not surprising that there don’t appear to be many business users here. For example, other than the Finance IT folks, I’m not sure who from the finance organization was in attendance. In their case, most companies with fiscal years ending in December, March, June or September – and these constitute the vast majority of corporations – are busy with their quarterly financial close this week. Applications sessions focused on the basics and, while I might have missed the one or two line-of-business  show-stopper success stories, the ones I saw were ho-hum. Another indication that applications are not the focus of the event is the location of the Hyperion breakout sessions, which were a 15-minute walk from the Moscone Center this year.

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Topics: Hyperion, Open World, technology stack, vertical, Analytics, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Applications, financials, Fusion Applications

Infor Simplifies Hospitality Management Software

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 23, 2010 6:46:53 AM

Midsize companies typically lack the economies of scale that larger ones can bring to bear when it comes to buying and implementing software. They usually don’t have the resources to customize packages such as generic enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and they don’t have enough internal IT staff to make ongoing refinements in response to business needs. Observing these constraints, software vendors selling to companies of this size range long ago discovered that verticalization is a necessary market strategy.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Hospitality, Business Performance Management (BPM), Infor, Applications