Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Patent Documents Useful for Buyers of Price Optimization Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 30, 2011 8:03:55 AM

Doing one’s homework is vital in buying business software. However, unless you’re replacing a relatively simple application, it’s hard to know exactly what to evaluate. Indeed, if people in a company given this task don’t have experience in using a specific type of business application or don’t understand how new or improved functionality will help execute business processes better, they may do a poor job of assessing the available alternatives. Third-party consultants may be helpful, but their prejudices and familiarity with a vendor’s products may cloud their objectivity. In the end, a buyer might agree with their point of view, but this agreement should be an informed decision.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Zilliant, Model N, Navetti, Nomis Solutions, PROS Pricing, Servigistics, Signal Demand, Analytics, Business Analytics, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Vendavo, Price Optimization, Profitability, Software, Vistaar Technologies

IBM Cognos 10 Does Profitability Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 18, 2011 7:56:07 AM

I believe that one of the more important analytical applications that a company can implement is profitability management. IBM Cognos offers Profitability Modeling and Optimization as part of its Cognos 10 offering that my colleague has assessed. As I’ve noted, most people in a corporation are focused on profitability, but not necessarily in a way that optimizes results across the organization in a day-to-day, consistent fashion. Those responsible for each component piece that contributes to profitability (such as departments, product lines or divisions) have objectives, but in pursuing these individual objectives they may make decisions that degrade the overall profitability of the corporation. Moreover, companies rarely seek to maximize short-term profits. They routinely make decisions that diminish their bottom line, such as promotional pricing, warranties or services included at no additional cost, with the aim of achieving strategic objectives. The question they must answer in making these decisions is whether these moves are justified. Similarly, they also must ask what they are including in their offer that they might be able to charge more for, such as shipping or warranties.

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Topics: Performance Management, Forecast, Modeling, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), enterprise profitability management, Business Analytics, IBM, Business Performance Management (BPM), Cognos, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), financial services, Profitability

A Good Example of More Effective Tax Data Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 17, 2011 7:28:57 AM

Right after I posted my blog about the dearth of useful content for the line-of-business and finance audience at this year’s Oracle Open World, I attended a truly useful session. (Of course, it had been shunted to the next-to-last time slot on the final day of the event.) It was a case study presented by AT&T’s tax group, discussing its use of Oracle Hyperion Financial Management to manage the corporation’s tax data.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Office of Finance, chart of accounts, Tax, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM)

Risk Analytics Has Benefits for Optimizing Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2011 11:09:41 AM

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but dealing effectively with risk is a progression. Indeed, history shows businesses adapting and coping better with risk through innovation. The importance of using information technology to manage risk is growing because today’s systems can automatically measure and analyze a much broader set of risk factors than individuals can, and do so more reliably. But a key challenge companies face in implementing enterprise risk management is developing a process for defining and measuring risk.

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Topics: Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, balanced scorecard, enterprise risk management, KRI, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Crystal Ball Is Cloudy for ERP Market

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 11, 2011 5:49:28 AM

As Workday continues to expand and the likelihood of its IPO becomes a more frequent topic of discussion, so does the movement of ERP systems to the cloud. Thus far, only a minority of companies have chosen to put their ERP and accounting systems in the cloud, but the numbers are growing and there’s evidence of success. NetSuite, for example, reported a 26 percent increase in its revenues to $145 million in the nine months up to Sept. 30, 2011. To be sure, this is not close to Salesforce.com’s size and growth rate over the past decade, but it does indicate a growing acceptance of the cloud for this software category, which I have commented on. Moreover, I expect that as more companies adopt cloud-based systems successfully, we’ll see accelerating adoption by more cautious buyers in the classic diffusion of innovation pattern described by Everett Rogers (and later reworked by Geoffrey Moore).

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Topics: Microsoft, Sales, ERP, NetSuite, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Dynamics, Epicor, Lawson, QAD, Cloud Computing, IBM, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Infor, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), financial software, Intacct, PeopleSoft, Software

Managing Mountains of Cash Is Harder than It Sounds

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 7, 2011 6:56:47 AM

At first thought, it seems as if having a mountain of cash to manage is a problem most companies would like to have, but it’s a real problem nevertheless. To be sure, the large majority of companies are able to deal with their cash and short-term and longer-term monetary investments because the amounts are small enough to be manageable. Indeed, many companies, especially smaller ones, face the opposite problem and spend more time focused on their uncertain funding requirements. Still, over the past decade highly profitable companies have been generating more cash than they need to fund expanding operations and capital spending requirements (Apple and Oracle are two examples), and now they have to manage it. Larger companies may have portfolios in the tens of millions to billions of dollars in multiple currencies in multiple jurisdictions, so there’s a lot at stake.

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Topics: Performance Management, Office of Finance, credit, Tax, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, cash management, GAAP

Host Analytics Decision Hub Offers Central Financial Repository

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 4, 2011 11:23:17 AM

Host Analytics is taking advantage of one of the inherent advantages that vendors of software as a service (SaaS) have compared to on-premises ones: It’s easier for them to offer their customers data services and shared data repositories. The company’s  Decision Hub has been available since last summer. Although it doesn’t break new ground, it is a solid offering of this type and its value should be considered in any evaluation of Host’s offering.

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Topics: Planning, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, closing, Consolidation, Host Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), benchmark, Decision Hub, Financial Performance Management, SEC