Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Oracle Hyperion Products Challenged by New Generation of Expectations

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 16, 2013 7:23:32 AM

Oracle continues to enrich the capabilities of its Hyperion suite of applications that support the finance function, but I wonder if that will be enough to sustain its market share and new generation of expectations. At the recent Oracle OpenWorld these new features were on display, and spokespeople described how the company will be transitioning its software to cloud deployment. Our 2013 Financial Performance Management Value (FPM) Index rates Oracle Hyperion a Warm vendor in my analysis, ranking eighth out of nine vendors. Our Value Index is informed by more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers and their products and how well they satisfy specific business and IT needs. We perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. Our assessment reflects two disparate sets of factors. On one hand, the Hyperion FPM suite offers a broad set of software that automates, streamlines and supports a range of finance department functions. It includes sophisticated analytical applications. Used to full effect, Hyperion can eliminate many manual steps and speed execution of routine work. It also can enhance accuracy, ensure tasks are completed on a timely basis, foster coordination between Finance and the rest of the organization and generate insights into corporate performance. For this, the software gets high marks.

Read More

Topics: Mobile, Planning, Social Media, ERP, forecasting, Modeling, Reporting, Budgeting, close, closing, Consolidation, Controller, driver-based, Finance Financial Applications Financial Close, Hyperion, IFRS, multinational Oracle, process management, report, strategy, Tax, tax department, tax optimization, tax planning, XBRL, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Oracle, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Chief Financial Officer, compliance, Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), benchmark, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, GAAP, Integrated Business Planning, Price optimization, Profitability, SEC Software, spreadsheet

Rising Rates Will Catch Companies Flat-Footed

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 13, 2013 10:37:08 AM

One of the important lessons company executives should have learned over the past 15 years is that it’s dangerous not to do contingency planning, a subject that I’ve written about before. By this I mean real, think-outside-the-box contingency planning (not just extrapolating), which is especially important when doing long-range planning. The past decade or so has been punctuated by periods of elevated volatility in financial and product markets, and there’s a good probability it will occur again in predictable yet improbable ways. The dot-com boom and its resulting bust as well as the real estate bubble and collapse were in part liquidity-driven events. Many people recognized the artificiality of the rise in values during both of those boom times. There were naysayers questioning the longevity of the upturns, but as they continued unchecked and proved the skeptics wrong, most investors, analysts and advisors grew complacent and unwilling to consider truly unfavorable scenarios. By not planning for a bust, companies and individuals were not in position to react as swiftly and intelligently as they could have.

Read More

Topics: Planning, forecasting, Reporting, Budgeting, contingency, currency, driver-based, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, interest rate, spreadsheet

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2012 9:39:46 AM

I’ve been examining how corporations plan and budget for more than decade. One clear pattern that has emerged is the difficulty that using desktop spreadsheets imposes on the process. Ventana Research recently published findings from our trends in business planning benchmark research, and the research once again confirms this observation. It shows that companies that use dedicated applications are consistently more satisfied (and much less dissatisfied) with the software they use than users of spreadsheets. Twice as many said their third-party planning application performs very well in financial and cash-flow forecasting. While one-third (32%) said their dedicated application performs the complex task of compensation planning very well, just 7 percent of spreadsheet users say so. Dedicated applications also have capabilities that spreadsheets lack; those include easily integrating data from multiple systems, drilling down on demand to understand the underlying causes of variances in reviews and performing extensive what-if planning. All of these enable more accurate planning.

Read More

Topics: Planning, 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’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2012 11:12:27 AM

People have been complaining about the budgeting and planning processes in their organizations for decades. If you’re old enough, you may recall President Carter’s failed attempt to use something called zero-based budgeting to impose discipline in federal outlays. (In his first year in office the federal government reported a whopping $54 billion deficit.) Some complaining is almost inevitable, but some reflects the one-way nature of the process. People spend time on creating a budget and don’t feel they get enough back from their time spent.

Read More

Topics: Planning, 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

Business Planning Benchmark Shows No Improvement in How Companies Plan and Budget

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 13, 2012 10:42:44 AM

Organizations engage in a range of forward-looking activities. Sales organizations have pipelines to forecast sales. Manufacturing organizations set and reset demand plans and near-term production schedules, often in response to longer-term production plans that determine what they will make and where and how they will make it. Logistics people plan inbound and outbound shipments. Marketing departments plan advertising and promotion campaigns. HR departments project staffing requirements and associated salary and benefit costs. A lot of planning goes on in any business, but most of it is done in business silos and little of it is integrated, so companies spend a lot of time on planning but get less out of the effort than they should. We recently completed our integrated business planning benchmark research, which followed similar research we completed in 2008. The research shows that companies have done little to mature their planning processes over the past four years.

Read More

Topics: Planning, 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

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.

Read More

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

How to Start Integrating Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 26, 2012 10:57:03 AM

Usually, just figuring out how to start the process of change is a major barrier to improvement in business. I think that’s especially true when it comes to integrated business planning (IBP). I started using that term six years ago to differentiate that process from financial budgeting and the many other forward-looking activities used in companies. IBP applies to a longstanding objective: bringing together the disparate strands of forward-looking activities across a corporation to foster internal alignment, enhance agility and therefore increase financial returns and improve strategic position. Especially in larger companies, fragmented planning efforts prevent companies from achieving these goals. They miss opportunities to sell more, incorrectly allocate their resources to less productive or less profitable activities and react too slowly to changing market conditions.

Read More

Topics: Planning, forecasting, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Business Collaboration, 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