Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Five Priorities for the Office of Finance in 2014

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 20, 2014 1:35:14 AM

A core objective of my research practice and agenda is to help the Office of Finance improve its performance by better utilizing information technology. As we kick off 2014, I see five initiatives that CFOs and controllers should adopt to improve their execution of core finance functions and free up time to concentrate on increasing their department’s strategic value. Finance organizations – especially those that need to improve performance – usually find it difficult to find the resources to invest in increasing their strategic value. However, any of the first three initiatives mentioned below will enable them to operate more efficiently as well as improve performance. These initiatives have been central to my focus for the past decade. The final two are relatively new and reflect the evolution of technology to enable finance departments to deliver better results. Every finance organization should adopt at least one of these five as a priority this year.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, forecasting, Budgeting, close, dashboard, PRO, Tax, tax data warehouse, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, CIO, In-memory, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), CEO, demand management, Financial Performance Management, FPM, price and profitability optimization, scorecard, S&OP

PROS Will Acquire Cameleon to Enhance Sales Effectiveness

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 6, 2013 8:50:23 AM

PROS Holdings, a provider of price and revenue optimization software, has an agreement in principle to acquire Cameleon Software, which offers configure, price and quote (CPQ) applications. The combined company is likely to benefit from a broader geographic presence (PROS is based in Houston while Cameleon is in Toulouse, France) for their sales and marketing efforts. However, the longer-term strategic value of the merger lies in the combination of the related categories of price optimization and CPQ to improve sales effectiveness and financial performance.

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Topics: Sales, FP&A, Operational Performance Management (OPM), PRO, PROS, yield management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CPQ, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), CEO, FPM, incentive sales management, Price optimization, Profitability

Pricing, Planning and Performance Management Software Creates Business Value

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 30, 2013 10:42:14 AM

People who don’t spend much time analyzing the software market may have trouble understanding the differences between products in a given software category or the difference between two categories. This happens because vendors and commentators use the same words to describe different depths of functionality and degrees of comprehensiveness in one type of application. As well, there can be multiple categories of software that address the same general business issues but are designed for different specific uses. Not only is it worth the effort to sort through the labels and understand what does what best, but different categories of software that are sold and deployed separately can provide even greater value when used together.

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Topics: Performance Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), dashboard, PRO, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), CEO, demand management, FPM, price and profitability optimization, scorecard, S&OP

Nomis Advances Price Optimization in Financial Services

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 7, 2013 10:14:18 AM

At this year’s Global Pricing Forum, host Nomis Solutions announced the availability of its Discretion Manager software, which supports dynamic price negotiations. The annual event brings together thought leaders and practitioners interested in pricing. Nomis currently has 17 of the largest 100 banks as customers. With more customers, this year’s event had larger attendance than last year’s.

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Topics: Big Data, Operational Performance Management (OPM), credit, financial analytics, Nomis Solutions, pricing and revenue optimization, PRO, yield management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), banking, financial services

Getting to the Next Generation of Finance Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 19, 2013 11:12:55 AM

One of the most important IT trends over the past decade has been the proliferation of ever wider and deeper sets of information sources that businesses use to collect, track and analyze data. While structured numerical data remains the most common category, organizations are also learning to exploit semistructured data (text, for example) as well as more complex data types such as voice and image files. They use these analytics increasingly in every aspect of their business – to assess financial performance, process quality, operational status, risk and even governance and compliance. Properly applied, business analytics can deliver significant value by deepening insight, supporting better decision-making and providing alerts when situations require attention from managers or executives.

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Topics: Planning, Predictive Analytics, Customer, Operational Performance Management (OPM), ABC, Budgeting, close, closing, Finance Analytics, plan, PRO, strategy, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Risk, risk management, costing, FPM, price optimizaiton, Profitability

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

Nomis Global Pricing Forum Highlights Pricing Optimization

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 8, 2012 10:26:30 AM

I recently attended the 2012 Global Pricing Forum hosted by Nomis Solutions, a provider of software and services to banking and finance companies. This annual event brings together thought leaders and practitioners in the area of pricing and revenue optimization (PRO). This technique uses analytics to sift through large data sets to tease out customer behavior characteristics, identify customer segments and quantify their price sensitivities. These complex calculations require software designed for the purpose, but most in the financial services industry rely on older methods that produce less-than-optimal results. Analytics can help organizations more carefully manage the process of defining offers to customers (especially the levels of discretion offered to account managers and sales people) and the terms and conditions.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), credit, financial analytics, Nomis Solutions, pricing and revenue optimization, PRO, yield management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), pricing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), banking, financial services