Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

The Spreadsheet and the Whale

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 29, 2013 9:06:31 AM

Banking giant JP Morgan raised eyebrows in 2012 when it revealed that it had lost a substantial amount of money because of poorly conceived trades it had made for its own account. The losses raised questions about the adequacy of its internal controls, and broader questions about the need for regulations to reduce systemic risk to the banking system. At the heart of the matter were the transactions made by “the London Whale,” the name given to a JP Morgan’s trading operation in the City by its counterparties because of the outsized bets it was making. Until that point, JP Morgan’s Central Investment Office had been profitable and apparently well controlled. In the wake of a discovery of the large losses racked up by “the Whale,” JP Morgan launched an internal investigation into how it happened, and released the findings of the task force established to review the losses and their causes [PDF document].

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Topics: GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), errors, multidimensional spreadsheet, server, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), risk management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), controls, spreadsheet, trading

SAP Announces Business Suite on HANA

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 11, 2013 11:31:24 AM

For the past couple of years I’ve been pointing to the importance of in-memory computing to the future of business applications. It’s an integral part of Ventana Research’s business and finance research agenda for 2013, and it’s one of the core technologies that senior executives should have an appreciation for because it can transform all core business processes, especially those that are analytic in nature.

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Topics: Mobile, Predictive Analytics, Real-time, SAP, ERP, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Social, Business Suite, Financial Performance Management, HANA

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 10, 2013 9:02:37 AM

Businesses always see a lag between when technology makes some advance possible and when a majority of companies actually adopt it. There’s even a longer lag between the emergence of an advance in a business process or technique and the time it takes to become mainstream. When we write our research agendas at the top of each year, we have to strike a balance between focusing on the new and different, which is still many years away from general acceptance, and the mainstream, which has been anticipated for so long that it almost seems passé. Our research agenda for office of finance to support business for 2013, which I just finalized, is once again an attempt to balance the leading edge and the mainstream with an eye to practical solutions.

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Topics: Planning, Predictive Analytics, forecasting, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, close, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, risk management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

California Blue Shield Foundation Uses FinancialForce to Improve Finance Effectiveness

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 2, 2013 11:23:00 AM

As I’ve noted before, it’s common for CFOs of companies that are transitioning from being a small to a midsize business (that is, when they grow past about 100 employees) to find that the entry-level accounting package that they have been using no longer fits their needs. This software may be inexpensive to purchase and easy to use but it lacks many of the customization and business process management capabilities that become increasingly important as organizations grow. The transition from such an application is especially difficult when it involves an on-premises system, because the up-front and ongoing costs of implementing and using these can be daunting. Usually, the shortcomings start off as minor annoyances for companies that have between 100 and 500 employees and grow over time, and usually the pain increases with the number of employees and the volume and complexity of the underlying business. Yet because of the cost, finance executives usually don’t want to migrate to a new system until their old software threatens the orderly management of the business or becomes an overwhelming burden on finance operations. For that reason, increasingly we are finding companies choosing to migrate to a cloud-based ERP system sooner in their evolution because it is usually a more affordable and easier transition than using on-premises software.

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Topics: Planning, Salesforce.com, ERP, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, close, closing, leadership awards, Cloud Computing, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, FinancialForce.com, midsize, spreadsheet, workflow