NetSuite Presents New Suites at SuiteWorld

I recently attended SuiteWorld, NetSuite’s annual user conference. In the opening keynotes and throughout the event speakers emphasized benefits for NetSuite users resulting from the merger of...Read more

Host Analytics Empowers Office of Finance

Ventana Research defines financial performance management (FPM) as the process of addressing the often overlapping people, process, information and technology issues that affect how well finance...Read more

Zuora Acquires Leeyo for Revenue Recognition

Zuora, a subscription commerce and billing software company, recently acquired Leeyo, a company that provides software that automates the revenue recognition and forecasting processes. The terms were...Read more

Vendavo Brings Intelligence to Pricing and Profitability

Vendavo recently held its annual Profit Summit, a combination of a user group conference and a forum for covering evolving trends and techniques in business-to-business (B2B) pricing. Especially in...Read more

Anaplan Enables Connected Planning across Business

Anaplan recently held Anaplan Hub, its annual user group meeting. The company offers a cloud-based business planning platform that incorporates a modeling and calculation engine. The tool makes...Read more

CFO and Finance Should Take Leadership Role in Pricing

Pricing is an issue that affects almost every for-profit company that doesn’t sell purely commodity products. A corporation’s approach to pricing can range from highly disciplined to ad hoc and from...Read more

Oracle Growing ERP in Cloud

Oracle recently held its second ERP Cloud Summit with industry analysts. The all-day event wasn’t just about ERP. The company covered a range of its business applications, including financial...Read more

ERP on the Brink of Change

Ventana Research recently announced the results of its latest Benchmark Research, Next-Generation ERP. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is at the core of nearly every company’s...Read more

Digital Process Reengineering Drives Business Change

Business process reengineering was a consulting fashion in the early 1990s that spurred many companies to purchase their first ERP systems. BPR proposes a fundamental redesign of core business...Read more

B2B Pricing Management Can Strengthen Bottom Line

More businesses are using software to implement and support a strategic pricing strategy designed to optimize revenue and margins in business-to-business (B2B) transactions because it can help...Read more

The Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2017

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize the value of technology as a key tool for doing high-quality work. Consider how poorly your...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Addresses Today’s Tax Challenges

I’ve long advocated the use of effective technology in the tax function, especially for organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions or have complex legal structures manage direct tax...Read more

B2B Price and Revenue Optimization Goes Mainstream

Price and revenue optimization (PRO) is a business discipline used to produce demand-based pricing; it applies market segmentation techniques to achieve strategic objectives such as increased...Read more

Kofax Kapow 10 Advances Robotic Process Automation

Kofax offers Kapow, robotic process automation (RPA) software used to acquire information from a range of sources without human intervention and without having to write code. These sources include...Read more

Financial Performance Management Software Vendors Face Challenges

Ventana Research defines financial performance management (FPM) as the process of addressing often overlapping issues involving people, process, information and technology that affect how well...Read more

Treasury is More Effective with Technology

The treasury function in finance departments doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s a fundamentally important one: to ensure that all funds are accounted for and that there is sufficient cash on...Read more

IBM Watson and Cognitive Compliance

Ventana Research awarded our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Business Innovation Award for 2016 to IBM for IBM Regulatory Compliance Analytics, powered by Watson (IRCA). This application...Read more

Oracle Plus NetSuite Equals More

Oracle and NetSuite have completed their merger. The combination is likely to be positive for customers because NetSuite will have access to “more,” a word repeated many times over the course of...Read more

Taking Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin and Payments

To the extent that they know anything about blockchain distributed ledgers, people associate it with bitcoin, banking or payment systems in general. However, as I mentioned in an earlier research...Read more

Workday Planning Improves Control and Visibility

Ventana Research recently awarded Workday a 2016 Technology Innovation Award for its newly released application, Workday Planning, because it simplifies and streamlines the budgeting and planning...Read more

SYSPRO Advances with Collaboration and CRM

SYSPRO is a 35-year-old software vendor that focuses on selling enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to midsize companies, particularly those in manufacturing and distribution. In...Read more

Intacct Advances Subscription Billing and Reporting

Intacct, a cloud-based ERP vendor focused on midsize companies, recently held its annual user group meeting. Two of its products that were covered in the keynote are worth noting. One, already...Read more

Oracle Adapts Business Applications Intelligently in the Cloud

The annual Oracle OpenWorld user group meeting provides an opportunity to step back and take a longer view of business, industry and technology trends affecting the company. Last year, after...Read more

Ditch Presentations to Improve Corporate Governance

The topic of corporate governance received renewed attention recently after the publication of an open letter signed by 13 prominent business leaders, including Warren Buffett of Berkshire...Read more

Processes and Software Make Long-Term Planning and Investing More Effective

Effective capital planning and capital investment are vital to a company’s long-term success. The choices a company makes in this regard – how much to invest and in which facilities or projects –...Read more

ERP Can Help Transform Finance

Like many other industry observers I’ve heard overblown claims for information technology for decades. However, I’ve also observed that – eventually – reality catches up with vision. Finance and...Read more

Get to Know Enterprise Spreadsheets to Improve Business Effectiveness

Ventana Research coined the term “enterprise spreadsheet” in 2004 to describe a variety of software applications that add a desktop spreadsheet’s user interface (usually that of Microsoft Excel) to...Read more

Corporate Controllers: Always Be Closing!

It strikes me that the motto of successful salespeople – “ABC: Always Be Closing!” – could apply equally to corporate controllers, albeit in the accounting sense. For a while now I’ve been advocating...Read more

Vendavo Builds Price and Revenue Optimization into Business Processes

Vendavo is a vendor of business-to-business (B2B) price and revenue optimization software, which I have written about. A major focus of the conference sessions this year at the company’s annual...Read more

Unit4 Adds Financial Performance Management with Prevero Acquisition

Unit4, a Netherlands-based vendor of financial management software focused mainly on midsize companies, recently acquired prevero, a German vendor of performance management and business intelligence...Read more

Recurring Revenue Billing: Where Back Office Meets Front Office

Invoicing and billing are mundane business activities that hardly anyone outside of the accounting department cares about, but they are where the back office meets the front office. How well a...Read more

IBM Watson and Cognitive Computing to Streamline Compliance

Today’s proponents of artificial intelligence (AI) tend to focus on its spectacular uses such as self-driving cars and uplifting ones such as medical treatment. AI also has the potential to aid...Read more

Distributed Ledgers Have Business Value beyond Bitcoin

The blockchain distributed database was invented to create the peer-to-peer digital cash called bitcoin in 2008. Although the future potential of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been...Read more

Modeling Revenue Recognition for Contracts to Meet New Regulations

I recently wrote about the challenge some companies will face in planning and budgeting when new revenue recognition rules go into effect in most countries in 2018. It’s important for companies...Read more

Accounting for Sales Compensation Faces Challenges under ASC 606 and IFRS 15

New standards governing accounting for contracts will go into effect for most companies in 2018. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which administers Generally Accepted Accounting...Read more

Workiva Automates Composite Documents with Wdesk

Workiva offers Wdesk, a cloud-based productivity application for handling composite documents. I use the term “composite document” to refer to those in which text is created and edited...Read more

Big Data Drives Price and Revenue Optimization

Information technology enables a data-driven management style that was not feasible until powerful, affordable computers became generally available. There’s no bright line marking when this became...Read more

SAP Faces Challenges with Customer Assurance and Digital Boardroom

There were two noteworthy themes in SAP CEO Bill McDermott’s keynote at this year’s Sapphire conference. One was customer assurance; that is, placing greater emphasis on making the implementation of...Read more

Accelerating the Close Can Fix Other Problems

In our Office of Finance benchmark research 60 percent of participants said it takes their companies six or more business days to complete their quarterly close; that exceeds the best practice...Read more

Planning Is Necessary for Revenue Recognition Under ASC 606 and IFRS 15

New rules governing revenue recognition for contracts will go into effect for most companies in 2018. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which administers Generally Accepted Accounting...Read more

Infor Pursues Innovation for Business Applications

Infor recently held its annual Innovation Summit at its New York City headquarters. The company has shown leadership and creativity in business applications on two fronts: focusing its development...Read more

SAP Releases Transformative Universal Journal

I recently attended the SAPinsider Financials 2016 conference, a regular event that focuses on the interests and practical needs of people in the finance function of corporations. In several sessions...Read more

Exploiting Cryptic Data for Securities Analysis

I coined the term “cryptic data” to mean information that isn’t easy to find or access by people who could make use of it. In one instance, cryptic data offers professional investors – portfolio...Read more

FinancialForce Springs Forward with Latest Release

The evolutionary pace of technologies that shape the design of ERP systems has been accelerating over the last couple of years. In addition to cloud computing there is the increasing availability of...Read more

Centage’s Budget Maestro Enables More Effective Budgeting and Planning

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is one of the core functions of any finance department. Preparing a budget, measuring performance to financial objectives and forecasting the company’s...Read more

Cryptic Data: Challenges and Rewards in Finding and Using It

Using information technology to make data useful is as old as the Information Age. The difference today is that the volume and variety of  available data has grown enormously. Big data gets...Read more

The Office of Finance in 2016

The imperative to transform the finance department to function in a more strategic, forward-looking and action-oriented fashion has been a consistent theme of practitioners, consultants and business...Read more

Aria Enables Effective Recurring Revenue Management

Aria Systems provides companies with software for managing subscription or recurring revenue business models. A recurring revenue business models includes three types of selling and billing...Read more

Transforming Tax Departments into Strategic Entities

The steady march of technology’s ability to handle ever more complicated tasks has been a constant since the beginning of the information age in the 1950s. Initially, computers in business were used...Read more

ERP and Financial Performance Management Begin to Overlap

The ERP market is set to undergo a significant transformation over the next five years. At the heart of this transformation is the decade-long evolution of a set of technologies that are enabling a...Read more

Steelwedge Enables Actionable and Continuous Planning

Supply and demand chain planning and execution have grown in importance over the past decade as companies have recognized that software can meaningfully enhance their competitiveness and improve...Read more

Workday Financial Management Gains Momentum

Workday Financial Management (which belongs in the broader ERP software category) appears to be gaining traction in the market, having matured sufficiently to be attractive to a large audience...Read more

Evolving to the Next Generation of ERP Systems

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a pillar of nearly every company’s record-keeping and management of business processes. It is essential to the smooth functioning of the accounting...Read more

Tidemark Enables More Effective Business Planning

Tidemark Systems offers a suite of business planning applications that enable corporations to plan more effectively. The software facilitates rapid creation and frequent updating of integrated...Read more

Oracle Must Pivot to Business Applications

Whatever Oracle’s cloud strategy had been the past, this year’s OpenWorld conference and trade show made it clear that the company is now all in. In his keynote address, co-CEO Mark Hurd presented...Read more

Continuous Accounting Enables a Strategic Finance Department

Many senior finance executives say they want their department to play a more strategic role in the management and operations of their company. They want Finance to shift its focus from processing...Read more

Finance Transformation Requires Strong Leadership

The theme of transforming the finance organization is hot again. The term “finance transformation” refers to the longstanding objective of shifting the focus of finance departments from transaction...Read more

Tagetik’s Solid Financial Performance Management Suite

Tagetik is a long-established vendor of financial performance management (FPM) software. Its full-featured suite includes planning, budgeting, consolidation, close management, disclosure...Read more

Optimization Analytics Comes to the Mass Market

Optimization is the application of algorithms to sets of data to guide executives and managers in making the best decisions. It’s a trending topic because using optimization technologies and...Read more

The Strategic Tax Department is a Priority for Longview

Longview’s recent Dialog user group meeting highlighted the company’s continued commitment to providing much needed automation tools for improving tax department performance – tools that enable...Read more

Host Analytics Modeling Cloud Simplifies Planning and Reporting

Our benchmark research on next-generation business planning finds that a large majority of companies rely on spreadsheets to manage planning processes. For example, four out of five use them for...Read more

Unit4 Defines Strategy to Disrupt ERP Market

Unit4 is a global business software vendor focused on business and professional services, the public sector and higher education. Recently company executives met with industry analysts to...Read more

IBM’s Vision Features Analytics

IBM’s Vision user conference brings together customers who use its software for financial and sales performance management (FPM and SPM, respectively) as well as governance, risk management and...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Supports Tax Department’s Effectiveness

Companies trust their tax departments with a highly sensitive and essential task. Direct (income) taxes usually are the second largest corporate expense, after salaries and wages. Failure to...Read more

Order-to-Cash Cycle for Revenue Recognition

Revenue recognition standards for companies that use contracts are in the process of changing, as I covered in an earlier perspective. As part of managing their transition to these standards, CFOs...Read more

New Revenue Recognition Rules Require Software

For most of the past decade businesses that decided not to pay attention to proposed changes in revenue recognition rules have saved themselves time and frustration as the proponents’ timetables...Read more

Infor Makes User Experience A Reason for New Business Applications

Recently, Infor held its second innovation conference with industry analysts at its New York City headquarters. Infor’s products include the major categories of ERP, human capital management and...Read more

Adaptive Insights Highlights Importance of Strategic Finance

Adaptive Insights held its annual user group meeting recently. A theme sounded in several keynote sessions was the importance of finance departments playing a more strategic role in their...Read more

Nomis Solutions Targets Price and Revenue Optimization in Financial Services

Price and revenue optimization (PRO) software uses analytics to help companies maximize profitability for any targeted level of revenues. PRO utilizes data about buyer behavior to gauge...Read more

SaaS Buyers and Customers Beware: Data Issues are Cloudy

There’s a long history of companies not paying close enough attention to the contractual elements of acquiring software. Today, this extends into the world of cloud computing. Many companies are...Read more

Effective Process Management Ensures a Fast Close

Because my research practice is centered on important business issues where technology is a key part of a solution, my written perspectives tend to focus on technology. However, it’s almost never the...Read more

Does Pricing and Revenue Optimization Make My Bottom Line Look Fatter?

Managing prices has always been an activity of keen interest to businesses, but it has become even more critical to do it well. Over the past decade many companies have found their ability to raise...Read more

The Importance of Well-Managed Processes for Planning

It’s stating the obvious to say that how well executives manage planning processes has a big impact on how well a business unit or company plans. However, one significant source of the value of our...Read more

Recurring Revenue Challenges Finance Departments

As I noted in a recent analyst perspective note the recurring revenue business model is gaining increasing use worldwide. Our recently completed recurring revenue benchmark research shows...Read more

How to Get Business Users to Switch from Spreadsheets

In our benchmark research at least half of participants that use spreadsheets to support a business process routinely say that these tools make it difficult for them to do their job. Yet spreadsheets...Read more

Integrated Business Planning Is More Effective

Ventana Research recently released the results of our Next-Generation Business Planning benchmark research. Business planning encompasses all of the forward-looking activities in which companies...Read more

Recurring Revenue: An Increasingly Important Business Model

Recurring revenue is a term applied to business models that involve three types of selling and billing structures: a one-time transaction plus a periodic service charge; subscription-based services...Read more

Giving Tax Departments More Corporate Clout

One of the issues in handling the tax function in business, especially where it involves direct (income) taxes, is the technical expertise required. At the more senior levels, practitioners must be...Read more

Giving Tax Departments More Corporate Clout

One of the issues in handling the tax function in business, especially where it involves direct (income) taxes, is the technical expertise required. At the more senior levels, practitioners must be...Read more

Making Business Planning More Accurate, Effective and Useful

Business planning includes all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage. Companies do a great deal of planning. They plan sales and determine what and how they will...Read more

Research Agenda: The Office of Finance in 2015

Last year Ventana Research released our Office of Finance benchmark research. One of the objectives of the project was to assess organizations’ progress in achieving “finance transformation.” This...Read more

Office of Finance Research Demonstrates Importance of Using Effective Financial Software

Our recently published Office of Finance benchmark research assesses a broad set of functions and capabilities of finance organizations. We asked research participants to identify the most...Read more

Make Automating the Office of Finance and Accounting a Priority

Our recent Office of Finance benchmark research demonstrates the importance of using automation to execute finance department functions. Information technology systems do at least two things...Read more

Deciding When to Replace ERP Is Complicated

A company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is one of the pillars of its record-keeping and process management architecture and is central to many of its critical functions. It is the heart...Read more

SYSPRO Offers Supply Chain Visibility for Midsize Companies

SYSPRO is a 35-year-old ERP vendor that focuses on products for midsize companies, particularly those in manufacturing and distribution. In manufacturing, SYSPRO supports make, configure and...Read more

Intacct Improves Cloud of Collaboration, Payments and Reporting

Financial management software provider Intacct recently held its seventh annual user conference. In addition to a long list of enhancements in current and upcoming product releases, the company...Read more

Intacct Improves Cloud of Collaboration, Payments and Reporting

Financial management software provider Intacct recently held its fourth annual user conference. In addition to a long list of enhancements in current and upcoming product releases, the company...Read more

Technology Can Enhance Performance in Finance Departments

Finance transformation” refers to a longstanding objective: shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing to more strategic, higher-value functions. Our upcoming...Read more

Data-Driven Business Processes Essential for Optimization

When applying information technology to drive better business performance, companies and the systems integrators that assist them often underestimate the importance of organizing data management...Read more

Finance Needs Better Analytics and Analytic Skills

Finance and accounting departments are staffed with numbers-oriented, naturally analytical people. Strong analytic skills are essential if a finance department is to deliver deep insights into...Read more

Infor Advances Business Computing

Infor recently held its annual Inforum user group meeting, along with a series of sessions with analysts. The $2 billion business software company has products in the major categories of ERP...Read more

Oracle Financials is in the Cloud

Like most vendors of on-premises ERP and financial management software, in moving to the cloud Oracle has focused on developing for existing and potential customers the option of multitenant software...Read more

FinancialForce Brings More Mobile, Social and Planning Technology to Market

FinancialForce’s 2014 summer release incorporates improvements in mobile and collaboration features and provides enhancements to the planning dimension of its professional services automation...Read more

What’s Next?: The Interplay of Software and Hardware with Business and Consumers

“What’s next?” is the perennially insistent question in information technology. One common observation about the industry holds that cycles of innovation alternate between hardware and software. New...Read more

Tax Data Warehouses Become Essential as Governments Raise the Ante

I’ve written before about the increasing importance of having a solid technology base for a company’s tax function, and it’s important enough for me to revisit the topic. Tax departments are...Read more

Businesses Must Make Self-Service Reporting a Priority

One of the charitable causes to which I devote time puts on an annual vintage car show. The Concours d’Élegance dates back to 17th century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered with judges on a...Read more

NetSuite Rides Wave of Cloud ERP Adoption

Like other vendors of cloud-based ERP software, NetSuite offers the key benefits of software as a service (SaaS): a smaller upfront investment, faster time to value and potentially lower operating...Read more

Tagetik Advances Disclosure Management for Office of Finance

Tagetik provides financial performance management software. One particularly useful aspect of its suite is the Collaborative Disclosure Management (CDM). CDM addresses an important need in...Read more

IBM Advances Business Experience in Using Advanced Analytics

The developed world has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to information technology. Individuals walk around with far more computing power and data storage in their pockets than was required...Read more

Longview Tax Software Helps Tax Departments Be More Strategic

Longview Solutions has a longstanding presence in the financial performance management (FPM) software market and was rated a Hot vendor in our most recent FPM Value Index. Several years ago...Read more

SAP Sets Course for Simple ERP

The keynote theme at this year’s Sapphire conference in Orlando was Simple. Top executives from SAP, a software company associated with complexity, stated and restated that its future direction is to...Read more

Finance Analytics Require Training to Improve

Analytics has long been a core discipline of Finance, applied to analysis of balance sheets, income statements and cash-flow statements. However, as I’ve noted, most finance departments have not...Read more

Epicor Faces a Challenging Future

Epicor used its recent user group conference to explain its strategic direction and product roadmap. The company is the result of multiple mergers of business software corporations over the past 15...Read more

Infor at the End of the Beginning

From my perspective, Infor’s strategy to accelerate revenue growth is to offer companies more innovation and a lower and more predictable cost of ownership than its rivals in the business software...Read more

Finance Analytics Requires Data Quality

Our research consistently finds that data issues are a root cause of many problems encountered by modern corporations. One of the main causes of bad data is a lack of data stewardship – too...Read more

Requirements for Becoming a Strategic Chief Risk Officer

The proliferation of chief “something” officer (CxO) titles over the past decades recognizes that there’s value in having a single individual focused on a specific critical problem. A CxO position...Read more

Finance Departments Still Lag in Using Advanced Analytics

Business computing has undergone a quiet revolution over the past two decades. As a result of having added, one-by-one, applications that automate all sorts of business processes, organizations now...Read more

Anaplan Springs Forward with Winter Release

Anaplan, a provider of cloud-based business planning software for sales, operations, and finance and administration departments, recently implemented its new Winter ’14 Release for...Read more

Cloud Computing is More Than Multitenancy

There’s a growing realization that the multitenant approach to the cloud isn’t the only option that companies should weigh in deciding between deploying software on-premises and in the cloud. That...Read more

The Virtues of Automating Reconciliation

Reconciling accounts at the end of a period is one of those mundane finance department tasks that are ripe for automation. Reconciliation is the process of comparing account data (at the balance or...Read more

ERP’s Future Is Hybrid Cloud

Information technologists are fond of predictions in which the next big thing quickly and entirely renders the existing thing so completely obsolete that only troglodytes would cling to such outmoded...Read more

Microsoft Shows Off More than ERP with Dynamics

Convergence is the Microsoft Dynamics business software user group’s meeting. Dynamics’ core applications are mainly in the accounting and ERP category, descendants of products Microsoft...Read more

Building a Better Business Case for Buying Software

When it comes to making a business case for software investments, many people fail to recognize that the case itself is just one part of what amounts to an internal sales and marketing effort that...Read more

FinancialForce Broadens Its Reach with ERP and More

FinancialForce recently introduced FinancialForce ERP, a family of cloud-based software designed to support a variety of customer-centric businesses such as professional services...Read more

Five Priorities for the Office of Finance in 2014

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...Read more

The Challenge of Making ERP Systems More Configurable

In the wake of the past year’s usual crop of failed ERP implementations, I’ve read a couple of blogs that bemoan the fact that ERP systems are not nearly as user-friendly or intuitive as the mobile...Read more

Boardwalktech Addresses Spreadsheet Woes in Business

Our benchmark research on enterprise spreadsheets explores the pitfalls that await companies that use desktop spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel in repetitive, collaborative enterprise-wide...Read more

Opportunity for the Office of Finance in 2014

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize that technology is a key tool for doing high-quality work. To test this premise, imagine how...Read more

IBM Integrates Risk Management for Financial Services

Integrated risk management (IRM) was a major theme at IBM’s recent Smarter Risk Management analyst summit in London. In the market context, IBM sees this topic as a means to differentiate...Read more

FinancialForce.com Expands into Human Capital and Supply Chain Management

FinancialForce.com, a provider of cloud-based financial applications, recently announced two pending acquisitions. One is Vana Workforce, which makes a human capital management (HCM) application...Read more

Host Analytics Lifts Spreadsheets to Cloud for Finance

Host Analytics has introduced AirliftXL, a new feature of its cloud-based financial performance management (FPM) suite that enables its software to translate users’ spreadsheets into the Host...Read more

Finance Can Get a Big Advantage from Big Data

All the hubbub around big data and analytics has many senior finance executives wondering what the big deal is and what they should do about it. It can be especially confusing because much of what’s...Read more

The Cloud Can Help You Get Smarter If You Let It

One of the potential benefits of cloud computing to access business applications and data is its potential to improve the situational awareness of executives and managers. By this I mean their...Read more

PROS Will Acquire Cameleon to Enhance Sales Effectiveness

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...Read more

Informatica and Exterro Partner for More Effective E-discovery

Informatica and Exterro have announced a partnership in the market for discovery of electronic data and documents (known as e-discovery). Exterro has made its reputation in e-discovery...Read more

Tidemark Unifies New Generation of Business Planning Software

Tidemark announced the release of the Fall 2013 version of its eponymous cloud-based application that my colleague assessed earlier in 2013. This new release adds capabilities for labor...Read more

CEOs and Executives Need Business Planning Software

Business planning is a new software category. These applications enable senior executives to integrate all the plans of business units into a single, integrated view, which helps them have more...Read more

Oracle Hyperion Products Challenged by New Generation of Expectations

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...Read more

It’s Past Time for the Next Generation of Business Planning

Business planning as practiced today is a relic, a process hemmed in by obsolete conceptions of what it should be. I use the term “business planning” to encompass all of the forward-looking...Read more

Find Out Which Is the Hottest Financial Performance Management Software

We recently issued our 2013 Value Index on Financial Performance Management. Ventana Research defines financial performance management (FPM) as the process of addressing the often overlapping...Read more

Gamification Must Drive Software Ergonomics

In business, the first rule of gamification is don’t call it gamification. An interesting event at the recent Oracle OpenWorld was a panel on this topic led by Ken Comee, CEO of Badgeville....Read more

Next-Generation ERP Must Take a Giant Leap

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems emerged in the 1990s. Even though they don’t do much in the way of planning, the systems provide companies a means of centralizing and consolidating...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Helps Tax Departments Increase Effectiveness

Technology for the Office of Finance can have transformative power. Although progress has been slow at times, today’s finance organizations are fundamentally different from those of 50 years ago. For...Read more

Transforming Treasury with Kyriba Enterprise

Many finance executives want to improve their department’s effectiveness in order to play a more strategic role in their company. However, frequently they find at least three serious challenges to...Read more

Transforming Lease Accounting with Better Software

Because of its impact on the Office of Finance, I’ve written in the past about the proposed timeline and IT implications of the convergence of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles...Read more

Eliminating the Strategy/Execution Disconnect

This is the beginning of the season when companies that are on a calendar year begin their strategic and long-term planning. Ventana Research performed an extensive investigation in this area with...Read more

Spreadsheets Consume More Time Than It Seems

The spreadsheet is one of the five most important advances in business management over the last 50 years. It has changed all aspects of running an organization. It was the original “killer app” that...Read more

Profitability Management vs. Managing Profitability

Pricing and profit margins appear to be trending topics, which is normal at this stage of the business cycle. North American companies achieved high levels of profitability coming out of the last...Read more

Pricing, Planning and Performance Management Software Creates Business Value

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....Read more

Making Treasury More Strategic

Along with other aspects of the finance organization, there’s increasing emphasis on having the treasury function play more of a strategic role in the organization. Typically, Treasury is charged...Read more

Big Data Will Make Elephants Dance

IBM’s Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference started me thinking about the longer-term potential impact of big data and related technologies on business management. I covered some of the...Read more

IBM Showcases Big Data and Analytics for Business

IBM hosted the Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference in Toronto recently to emphasize the strategic importance of this topic to the company and to highlight recent and forthcoming...Read more

Planview Improves Potential of Long-Range Planning

Planview recently announced general availability of Planview Enterprise 11. The new release enhances the user experience through a comprehensive redesign of the interface to promote ease of use....Read more

IBM’s 2013 Vision Bodes Well for Finance

I recently attended Vision 2013, IBM’s annual conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and sales performance management software. These three groups have little in common...Read more

Social Collaboration Is in Finance’s Future

Finance departments don’t immediately come to mind in conversations about social collaboration technology. Most of the software used for social collaboration that I’ve seen demonstrated focuses on...Read more

Software Aims To Prevent Foreign Corrupt Practices

In some parts of the world, bribing government officials is still considered a normal cost of doing business. Elsewhere there has been a growing trend over the past 40 years to make it illegal for a...Read more

Nomis Advances Price Optimization in Financial Services

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...Read more

Infor Demonstrates Steady Stream of Advances to Customers

At this year’s Inforum user group conference, Infor representatives showed the progress the organization has made since last year in transforming itself from a ragbag of mostly small, often...Read more

International Integrated Reporting Framework Takes Shape

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) recently published a draft framework outlining how it believes businesses ought to communicate with their stakeholders. In this context...Read more

Investigate User-Friendly Spreadsheet Alternatives

I’ve been using spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology tool among the five most important advances in business management of the 20th century. Spreadsheets have...Read more

Adaptive Planning “Suitens” Its Offering

For four years Adaptive Planning has been building out its cloud-based financial software. Starting with budgeting, planning and forecasting, it added analytics, data visualization,...Read more

The Importance of Managing Details in Long-Range Planning

Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As I define it, long-range planning is the formal quantification of the more conceptual...Read more

How New Information Technology Will Transform Auditing

A recent news release by Robert Half, a staffing company that specializes in accounting and finance personnel, covered what it sees as the most important attributes required for auditors in...Read more

SAP’s New Fraud Management Analytical Application

SAP recently announced its new Fraud Management analytic applications. Currently in “controlled” (limited) release, it’s a promising start for the product and a good example of the...Read more

Public XBRL Vendors Should Go the Extra Mile

This is annual report season, the time of year that a majority of European and North American corporations issue glossy paper documents aimed at investors, customers, suppliers, existing and...Read more

Getting to the Next Generation of Finance Analytics

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...Read more

Software to Fend Off Earnings Restatements

I’m wondering whether the rapid rise in earnings restatements by “accelerated filers” (companies that file their financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that have a...Read more

Addressing Key Operational Risk Requirements

I’ve frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category of governance, risk and compliance (GRC). The term is used to a cover a combination of what were once viewed as...Read more

Long-Range Planning Does Not Work in Isolation

Ventana Research completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning recently. As I define it, long-range planning is the formal quantification of the strategic...Read more

A Profile of Strategic and Long-Range Planning

Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As part of the research we had discussions with CFOs and those involved in financial planning...Read more

Make XBRL Data from EDGAR More Accessible

I was discussing the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) mandate with a former head of investor relations at a Fortune 100...Read more

Spreadsheet Denial is a Big Issue

Our recent benchmark research project, Spreadsheet Use in Today’s Enterprise, demonstrated that some companies have made modest progress in addressing spreadsheet issues, but there’s still much...Read more

Use – Don’t Abuse – Spreadsheets

I’ve been using electronic spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology among the 20th century’s top five most important advances in business management. Spreadsheets have...Read more

Profit Velocity’s New Dimension in Managing Profitability

Profit Velocity Solutions’ PV Accelerator is an analytic application designed to enable capital-intensive companies to consistently achieve substantially wider margins and higher return on...Read more

Rising Rates Will Catch Companies Flat-Footed

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...Read more

Happy Birthday XBRL

To mark the fourth anniversary of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) interactive data mandate, Columbia Business School (my alma mater) and its Center for Excellence in Accounting...Read more

IBM to Acquire Star Analytics for Financial Data Integration

IBM this week announced its pending acquisition of the Star Analytics product portfolio. Star Analytics is a privately held company that offers products designed to provide easy access to...Read more

Get to Know Alternatives to Desktop Spreadsheets

The electronic spreadsheet is among the top five most important advances in business management to come along in the last hundred years. It revolutionized almost all aspects of running an...Read more

Vertex Enterprise Advances Tax Management

Taxes – both indirect (sales or value added taxes, for example) and direct (income taxes) – are one the largest expense items on the corporate income statement. In recent years it has become common...Read more

The Spreadsheet and the Whale

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...Read more

SAP Announces Business Suite on HANA

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...Read more

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

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...Read more

California Blue Shield Foundation Uses FinancialForce to Improve Finance Effectiveness

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...Read more

Why Maturity is Important for More Effective Planning and Budgeting

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...Read more

What Every CEO Should Know About Software for Finance and Sales

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...Read more

Quantrix Unveils Release 5

Quantrix recently unveiled Quantrix 5, an updated version of its financial modeling software designed to fill the gap between spreadsheets and business intelligence (BI) systems. Quantrix...Read more

Saving Microseconds with Informatica’s Ultra Messaging

Increasingly, global financial markets compete on speed, so much so that high-speed trading capabilities have become a performance differentiator for the largest financial services firms and some...Read more

Adaptive Planning Helps the University of Central Florida Plan Faster and More Accurately

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....Read more

Making Back Office Apps Fun

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...Read more

Longview Helps 3M Shape Its Future in Business Planning

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...Read more

Using the Close as a Finance Department Diagnostic

Earlier this year we published our Trends in Developing the Fast, Clean Close benchmark research findings. The most significant was that, on average, it takes longer for companies to close...Read more

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Key Supporting Technologies

I recently started a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted there,...Read more

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

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...Read more

Hewlett Packard Charges Fraud at Autonomy– Lessons Learned?

Many people enjoy mystery stories or crime thrillers; in the same vein of savoring the whodunnit and howdunnit, I like a good accounting scandal. My fascination with cooking the books started when I...Read more

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

The business/IT divide is a barrier that prevents most companies from achieving their true performance potential. The divide has remained a constant impediment since the dawn of business computing...Read more

What’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

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...Read more

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

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...Read more

Using Maturity Assessments to Improve Performance

The idea of devising and using maturity assessments to improve business performance has been a staple of management, functional and strategic consultants for decades. It’s based on two unassailable...Read more

SAP Takes Business and Finance Mobile Using SAP HANA

SAP has inaugurated a new series of business applications it calls Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) OnDemand as a cloud-based subscription service. The applications are part of SAP’s EPM...Read more

Oracle Fusion Financials: Boring is Cool

There weren’t any headlines (or even many tweets) about Oracle Fusion Financials emanating from this year’s Oracle OpenWorld (#OOW12) conference. Maybe that’s by design, because it’s not in Oracle’s...Read more

Putting XBRL to Work in the Mortgage Market

Unless you have some combination of a very strong credit rating, a high income-to-debt payment ratio and a relatively low loan-to-value ratio, it’s not especially easy to refinance a mortgage these...Read more

Cloud Computing Challenges On-Premises for Software Preference

Salesforce.com’s recent Dreamforce user conference got me wondering about how far the market for cloud-based software has come. To answer that question, I looked to our own research. For the past...Read more

Encountering New Bottlenecks with Oracle’s Breakthrough Technology

Two key themes that emerged from Larry Ellison’s Sunday night keynote at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld were faster processing speed and cheaper storage. An underlying purpose to these themes was to...Read more

How Effective Is Your Company’s Planning for Long-Term Investing?

Effective capital planning and capital investment are vital to a company’s long-term success. The choices a company makes – how much to invest and in which facilities or projects – have a profound...Read more

Salesforce Helps Midsize Company Dreams Come True

I cover the meat-and-potatoes aspects of corporate computing. I also pay attention to the special needs of midsize companies (by our definition, those with between 100 and 999 employees), which are...Read more

Rethinking Budgeting for 2013

Budget season is about to open at most companies that operate on a calendar year, so this is probably as good a time as any to rethink the process. Almost all companies will undertake the...Read more

Tagetik Offers a Suite Spot for Financial Performance Management

If you’re considering purchasing a financial performance management (FPM) suite, you shouldn’t overlook a recent entrant in the category, Tagetik (which sort of rhymes with “magnetic”). The company,...Read more

What a Bugatti Can Teach Us About Information Management

One of the community groups to which I donate my time is an organization that puts on a Concours d’Élegance – a vintage car show. Such Concours date back to seventeenth-century France, when wealthy...Read more

Good Data Stewardship Is Critical for Business Analytics

Our research consistently finds that defects in data are the root cause of a wide range of problems encountered by modern corporations. The magnitude of the problem correlates with the size of the...Read more

Midsize Companies Find ERP in the Cloud Increasingly Attractive

Midsize businesses “pay” for their use of entry-level accounting systems by not having the essential information they need readily available and by using up valuable time that could be better spent...Read more

Making Better Use of Ratios in Analytics

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,...Read more

Put a Smile in Your Last Mile of Finance

People used to use the phrase “the last mile” solely to refer to a condemned prisoner’s path to execution. Then the telecommunications industry picked it up to describe that part of a circuit between...Read more

Make IT Spending Transparent

What does it cost to run an IT department? That’s an easy question to answer, but for most companies, why it costs that amount is not. IT departments often complain that most of their...Read more

Meeting the XBRL Challenge Takes Inventiveness

For several years the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has mandated that filers apply eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) tags to their financial statements. XBRL was developed...Read more

How to Start Integrating Business Planning

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...Read more

Financial Institutions Need Dynamic Risk Management

Planning portfolio risk follows the same basic tenets as other sorts of business planning. It must be done in the context of a time dimension. In business, short-term plans are developed with a lot...Read more

Is Your Vendor Hot in Financial Performance Management Software?

We recently issued our 2012 Value Index on Financial Performance Management (FPM). Ventana Research defines FPM as the process of addressing the often overlapping people, process,...Read more

CODA Financials Has a Flexible Approach to ERP

CODA’s Financials has a specific target market, from companies in the upper half of the midsize range to the lower end of the large range (that is, companies with 500 to 2,500 employees) in...Read more

Make Spreadsheet Competence a Priority

I’ve written frequently on issues that confront desktop spreadsheet users, such as business modeling and capital investment, as well as the risk and control...Read more

Companies Need Unified Approach to GRC for IT

One of the most important trends in business over the past 20 years has been the broadening use of information technology to manage and support activities. In the early decades of business computing,...Read more

Get Serious about Managing Customer Profitability

It’s clear that certain customers generate more profits than others, just as some products offer greater economic returns than others, as I’ve noted before. For this reason, efforts to improve...Read more

The Financial Close Measures CFO Effectiveness

What’s a fast, free and reasonably reliable way of gauging the effectiveness of a finance department’s management? It’s the number of days it takes it to close the books. Companies that take six days...Read more

Operational Risk Management Is a New Imperative

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but our recent Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) benchmark research shows that companies deal with risk with varying degrees of...Read more

IBM Encourages Adoption of Predictive Analytics

Our benchmark research on business analytics finds that just 13 percent of companies overall and 11 percent of finance departments use predictive analytics. I think advanced analytics...Read more

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Anyone who focuses on the practical uses of information technology, as I do, must consider the data aspects of adopting any new technology to achieve some business purpose. Reliable data must be...Read more

Why Our Benchmark Research Is Different and Matters

We started Ventana Research a decade ago, with the objective of providing the highest quality in business-focused information technology research available. We were particularly interested in...Read more

Cognos Express Gives Midsize Companies Outsize Capabilities

A main reason why desktop spreadsheets are pervasive in midsize companies (which we define as those with 100 to 1,000 employees) is that these organizations do not have the financial and manpower...Read more

Companies Are Lagging in GRC Maturity

Ventana Research recently completed benchmark research on governance, risk and compliance (GRC), three business activities that are naturally linked. Although managing them requires separate and...Read more

Oversight Systems Focuses on Saving Money and Preventing Fraud

I recently spoke with Oversight Systems, an operational intelligence analytics company that uses predictive analytics and optimization to help companies save money, reduce the risk of loss and...Read more

What’s the Rush in Adopting IFRS?

I have commented before on the movement to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the United States to replace US-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Most recently I...Read more

Ariba Acquisition Will Bolster SAP’s Growing Cloud Presence

SAP is planning to acquire e-commerce company Ariba in a transaction worth about US$4.3 billion expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Ariba provides cloud-based collaborative...Read more

IBM Displays Software for GRC at Vision 2012

I recently attended Vision 2012, IBM’s conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and performance optimization software. I reviewed the finance portion of the program in a...Read more

IBM Shows Off Vision for Finance

I recently attended Vision 2012, IBM’s conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and performance optimization software. From my perspective, two points are particularly worth...Read more

JDA’s Revenue Recognition Issues Have Lessons for Finance

JDA Software is an established vendor of (among other categories) accounting software for the retail sector. So it is a bit ironic that the company is in the process of restating its earnings...Read more

Consolidation Software Is a Key to Faster Closing

For at least a couple of decades completing the financial close within five or six business days after the end of the period has been accepted as a best practice. As such, that creates an expectation...Read more

Nomis Global Pricing Forum Highlights Pricing Optimization

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...Read more

Infor’s Local.ly Could Help with Tax Provisioning

One of the new products that Infor announced at its recent Inforum user conference (which I covered here) is Local.ly, which is designed to facilitate localization of its applications (that is,...Read more

Infor Presents Itself as a Large Software Startup

Infor described this year’s Inforum user group meeting as a coming-out party for a large startup company. Such a debut was necessary because Infor had been operating in something of a...Read more

BizNet Enables Enterprise Spreadsheet-Based Reporting

I’ve been advocating more intelligent use of spreadsheets for the better part of a decade. Ventana Research coined the term “enterprise spreadsheet” in 2004 to describe software applications that...Read more

Host Analytics Introduces Its Own Business Analytics

Host Analytics has added new analytics and reporting resources to its cloud-based performance management suite. Business Analytics will offer a broad set of built-in analytics and...Read more

Full Use of XBRL Is Not Here Yet

The mandate by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that requires its filers to apply eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) tags to their financial statements has been in effect...Read more

Time To Consider How Accounting Rules Changes Will Affect IT Systems

The evolution from United States Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (US-GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has been under way for more than a decade. I’ve commented...Read more

Data Plays a Key Role in the Close-to-Report Cycle

Ventana Research recently completed an update to our last benchmark research on the financial closing process. It shows that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did...Read more

Process Improvement Is Key to a Faster Close

Ventana Research’s new financial close benchmark research reveals that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to...Read more

Slow Closers Aren’t Serious about Improving Financial Performance

The most intractable issues that face finance departments are those that “everyone” knows must be addressed but somehow never muster the collective urgency to do so. Many couch potatoes know they...Read more

SAP Rolls Out Business Planning and Consolidation on HANA at SAPinsider

For me, the most significant announcement to come out of the recent SAPinsider conference was the company’s formal release of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) running on HANA,...Read more

Don’t Treat Real Estate as a Fixed Cost

Financial analysts typically classify real estate as a fixed cost. Strictly speaking, that’s correct, but looking at it this way leads many organizations to overlook and miss opportunities to more...Read more

It’s Getting Easier To Go Beyond Spreadsheets for Modeling

One trend in business software that’s still in its early stages but gathering momentum is the availability of modeling tools that fill the gap between desktop spreadsheets and enterprise systems....Read more

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2012

As this year begins, “finance transformation” is a trend gaining favor with strategic consultants. The term is associated with the objective of shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from...Read more

GAAP and IFRS Harmonize Revenue Recognition Standards

The melding of the world’s two main financial accounting standards – United States Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (US-GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – continues...Read more

Workday’s Financials: Maturing

I recently got an update from Workday that focused mostly on its Financials software. This part of the company’s business management suite has received less development attention than the...Read more

Some Ways To Get More Bang for Your IT Buck

One of the major issues IT executives face is how to charge their departmental costs back to each part of the business according to their usage. It’s a touchy issue that can be the source of end-user...Read more

Vertex’s Tax Data Warehouse Matures

I recently had a briefing from Vertex on its tax data warehouse (TDW), a key component of its tax technology platform Vertex Enterprise. The TDW concept has been around for decades, but the...Read more

Reorganized Epicor Has Strategy for Competing

I recently received an update from ERP software vendor Epicor, my first since it was acquired in May 2011 by Apax Partners, a private equity company, and simultaneously merged with...Read more

Infor’s Management Outlines Corporate and Software Strategy

I recently met with Infor’s management team, led by CEO Charles Phillips. Phillips joined Infor in October 2010 after leaving Oracle, taking several other executives with him, including Duncan...Read more

Action-Oriented Analytics Can Help Manage Risk

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but as I’ve noted, companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness. A complex, ongoing process, operational risk management...Read more

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently chatted with executives of Tidemark, a company in the early stages of providing business analytics for decision-makers. It has a roster of experienced...Read more

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

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...Read more

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

At its annual Influencer’s Summit in Boston, SAP offered multiple perspectives on where the company’s strategy and products are heading. Overall, I was struck by the essential similarities to its...Read more

Users Should Apply ERP To Manage End-to-End Processes

ERP systems not only collect information about transactions, they also automate processes. The latter includes managing the handoffs between roles and enabling electronic document creation and...Read more

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

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...Read more

Patent Documents Useful for Buyers of Price Optimization Software

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...Read more

IBM Cognos 10 Does Profitability Management

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...Read more

A Good Example of More Effective Tax Data Management

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...Read more

Risk Analytics Has Benefits for Optimizing Performance

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...Read more

Crystal Ball Is Cloudy for ERP Market

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...Read more

Managing Mountains of Cash Is Harder than It Sounds

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...Read more

Host Analytics Decision Hub Offers Central Financial Repository

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...Read more

Successful Price Optimization Has Multiple Dimensions

As its name suggests, demand-based pricing is a method that uses the buyer’s demand, based on an estimate of a good’s or service’s perceived value to the buyer, as the central element in setting...Read more

Kinaxis Users Deal with Supply Chain Complexity

I recently attended Kinaxis’ users’ group meeting and learned some interesting things. The company, which has been around since 1995, provides software for large corporations with complex supply...Read more

Planning for Fixed-Asset Investment Requires the Right Tool Not Just a Spreadsheet

In today’s economy, all companies are contending with a dynamic business environment characterized by volatile commodity prices and exchange rates, a shaky global financial system and slow growth in...Read more

A Practical Look at Driver-Based Planning

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...Read more

The Value and Limits of the Term “GRC”

My colleague Mark Smith and I have frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category governance, risk and compliance (GRC). To be sure, once stand-alone categories...Read more

Apps Hard To Find at Oracle Open World

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...Read more

Just Buying Software Does Not Add Value

I read a blog post by Ben Lamorte, VP of marketing and sales at Alight Planning who delivers business and financial planning applications, who askswhy financial reporting tools deliver no business...Read more

Professional Services Automation Makes Sense in the Cloud

Cloud computing has changed the fundamental economics of business software, bringing new capabilities within reach of large numbers of small and midsize companies for the first time. Cloud-based ERP,...Read more

Manage Your Software and Providers or Waste Money Unnecessarily

I was reminded by a recent piece in InformationWeek about the need to manage the mounting cost of software more carefully that this issue never seems to become old news. I have read variations of it...Read more

Mining Its Business, Alight Partners with Scope Systems

Alight has announced that it is partnering with Scope Systems to provide the mining industry with planning and financial reporting systems tailored for extraction companies. Scope creates ERP...Read more

Accelerating the Close Makes Business Sense

As the third calendar quarter draws to an end, most companies will be preparing their financial close, which is part of the ongoing accounting cycle. Periodic closing is a core finance function....Read more

Global Tax Optimization Is Worth the Effort

The globalization of business is having a profound impact on corporate taxation worldwide, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who covers international tax laws. The impacts on corporations operating in...Read more

Rolling Forecasts Are a Good First Step toward Smarter Financial Planning

I recently participated in a panel discussion about the rise in the use of rolling forecasts in corporate planning. I’m not surprised by this trend; I have encouraged it. Ever since the financial...Read more

Algorithmics Acquisition Deepens IBM Software for Financial Services

IBM’s announced pending acquisition of Algorithmics is an important addition to the company’s portfolio of business applications aimed at financial services companies, and it is...Read more

Finance Now Lives in the Cloud

This year’s Dreamforce is likely include a focus on the value of moving a company’s accounting systems and related record management processes (for instance, invoicing and ordering) to the cloud....Read more

Finance Analytics Innovation

Our recently completed benchmark research on how finance departments use analytics makes clear that while they have a distinct competence in this area and execute the basics well, a majority of...Read more

IFRS for the U.S.? Yes – But When and How Are Still Iffy

Hans Hoogervorst, who just succeeded Sir David Tweedie as the chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), recently said he is “optimistic the SEC will move to fully incorporate...Read more

Analytics Can Make Finance More Relevant

Ventana Research recently completed groundbreaking benchmark research on how finance organizations use analytics these days. Of course, analytics have been a mainstay of finance organizations since...Read more

Taxes on Internet Sales Would Drive Software Adoption

Many companies have automated their sales and use tax processes to cut the effort required to execute them and to reduce the number of errors and their cost in dealing with a fiendishly complex set...Read more

Price Optimization and Sales Incentives Deliver Profitability

Two software applications I follow, price and revenue optimization (PRO) and sales compensation and incentives, can be highly complementary when used together. Unfortunately, since they typically are...Read more

Predictive Analytics Support Human Judgment

Predictive analytics can be valuable tools for performance management. When the term is applied to planning or forecasting, many people take it to mean the ability to automate plans or...Read more

Budgeting Is So Unimportant

I think one of best epigrams attributed to Mark Twain is, “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody ever does something about it.” This also has relevance to the situation with corporate planning...Read more

IBM Cognos Gets Ready for the Revolution in Analytical Processes

Over the past six years big technology corporations have been acquiring all sorts of software companies, accelerating a general consolidation of the software industry since the dot-com boom ended in...Read more

IBM Provides Clarity for Finance

IBM Software recently held a user group conference called Vision 2011 that focused on its Clarity Systems acquisition’s users but also covered broader finance department topics. For me, the highlight...Read more

SAP Advances Enterprise Performance Management in Version 10

SAP announced the release of version 10 of its SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Solutions suite, an enhanced and updated set of applications and capabilities for executives...Read more

Disaster, Risk Management and the Lean Supply Chain

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant trifecta that devastated Japan has had a negative impact also on companies that embraced the concept of managing a lean supply chain – one that minimizes...Read more

Acquisition of Lawson Complements Infor’s Portfolio

Golden Gate Capital and Infor (which is owned largely by Golden Gate Capital) will acquire Lawson Software for approximately $2 billion  in a transaction that is expected to be completed...Read more

Zyme Solutions Tackles Channel Data Challenge

Companies (especially in high technology) that sell through an indirect channel face a difficult challenge because global sales channels are complex, fragmented and changeable, with different...Read more

Prospects for Ending Forklift Migrations of ERP

Back in the old days (20 years ago or so) companies that wanted to expand or update their telephone systems had to do what was called a “forklift migration.” In other words, they had to remove big,...Read more

Alight Does Agile Planning

Alight Planning sells planning and budgeting software mainly to midsize  companies and stresses its software’s ability to support a more effective approach to corporate planning and...Read more

OpenPages 6.0 Enhances GRC by Integrating Data and Text

Although I continue to believe that governance, risk and compliance (GRC) is not a firm software category, software vendors continue to add depth and breadth to their offerings that support corporate...Read more

Infor Helps Midsize Multinationals Manage Finance

While Europeans have long had to adapt to working in many languages, currencies and legal jurisdictions, a generation ago most midsize companies in the United States did all their business in their...Read more

SunGard IntelliMatch: Financial Governance and Reconciliations

Back-office operations in commercial and investment banks are among those critical functions that are underappreciated until they stop working well. This includes transaction reconciliations and the...Read more

With IT Departments, Companies Get What They Deserve

One of the many interesting findings that came out of Ventana Research’s comprehensive benchmark research on business analytics was partly buried in an analysis of maturity groups. The Maturity Index...Read more

SAP Solidifies Software Category with SAP BusinessObjects GRC 10.0

When the term “governance, risk and compliance” (GRC) was introduced almost 10 years ago, software for this purpose was not a real category but a loose grouping of disparate applications that had...Read more

Infor’s Hospitality Applications Software Business

The hospitality industry has a complex structure. It is highly fragmented, with many small operations but also a significant number of global companies. Moreover, a property can be managed by one...Read more

Bringing Tax Into Mainstream Finance

Taxes are a big expense for most companies, profitable or not. Many larger and midsize companies must traverse a complex and constantly shifting landscape of tax rules, rates, and jurisdictions. I’ve...Read more

Your Company Needs a Tax Technology Expert

To manage taxes more intelligently  tax departments need to focus more on execution than compliance. I’ll confess that this observation is based on informal rather than rigorous research, so...Read more

Putting the “A” Back in FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis)

People who perform the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) function in the finance organization put together and update the budgets and forecasts. In many companies, the “A” portion of this...Read more

Enterprise Risk Management Addresses the Agency Dilemma

I have written before about enterprise risk management, which is an essential piece of both performance management and corporate governance. Every aspect of business entails risk. Everyone who...Read more

Optimizing Tax Risk Exposure

I recently commented on why I believe companies must manage taxes more intelligently. One dimension of this is optimizing tax risk exposure. Most corporate tax codes are notoriously complex and...Read more

The Headquarters Effect and Salesforce.com

Wall Street has many leading indicators to work with, some serious – such as housing starts and the purchasing managers’ index – and some done a bit tongue-in-cheek. One of the latter is the Super...Read more

SAP Plugs a Gap in Financial Filing

SAP is in the process of acquiring certain financial disclosure management software assets from cundus, a German provider of BI and performance management software. SAP will be buying cundus’...Read more

A New Financial Force in the Cloud

One of the prominent salesforce.com partners on display at the recent Dreamforce in San Francisco was FinancialForce.com. It’s one of a growing list of providers of in-the-cloud accounting and...Read more

The Technology Stack and Innovation: SAP & The Rest

Vishal Sikka raised an important point about the software business during his remarks at the SAP Global Influencer Summit that my colleague just assessed (See: “SAP Elevates Technology Strategy...Read more

Sustainability and Performance Management

Years ago I was given a tour of a company’s factory by the CEO who was credited with engineering its recent turnaround. We were walking along a gallery one story above the shop floor when he pointed...Read more

SAP Hits Suite Spot for Financial Performance Management

Ventana Research recently completed its 2010 Financial Performance Management Value Index of the major financial performance management suites. Financial performance management (FPM) is the...Read more

XBRL Filing Errors Point to Need for Automation through Technology

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) “Interactive Data” initiative continues to progress forward. Thus far, some 1,500 corporations have filed their financial information using XBRL...Read more

What is the Value of Your Financial Performance Management Software?

Ventana Research has just announced its Value Index for Financial Performance Management (FPM) for 2010. Our value indexes are user-focused assessments of how well software vendors and packages...Read more

Happy BIRT Day

Actuate held its annual customer day in San Francisco amid the happy chaos of the World Series champion Giants’ ticker-tape celebration, and on that day the company’s ticker symbol changed...Read more

Corporations Must Manage Taxes More Intelligently

For the past couple of years I’ve been asserting that most larger companies (those with 1,000 or employees) need to adopt a new approach to using software to handle their taxes comprehensively,...Read more

IBM Acquires Clarity Systems for More Financial Performance Management

IBM announced it has acquired Clarity Systems, a Toronto-based vendor of performance management software and consulting. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (My most recent blog and analysis...Read more

Longview FXR Automates Close-to-Report Cycle

With its FXR offering, Longview Solutions becomes the latest entrant into the market for software that automates the close-to-report cycle. Addressing the steps in the accounting cycle after the...Read more

IBM Business Analytics Workshop Illuminates Performance Management

As part of its recent IBM Business Analytics Industry Analyst Summit, I participated in a demonstration of IBM Business Analytics Workshop, a simulation that the company uses to demonstrate the...Read more

Perillon Takes Sustainability to the Next Level

Ecology and economy are two words with the same root. Similarly, the focus on sustainability in business has two sorts of "green" impacts: on the environment and (if you do it right) on the bottom...Read more

Sneak Preview and Analysis: Oracle Fusion Applications for Financial Management

Oracle unveiled its Fusion Financials applications at its latest OpenWorld confab as part of its broader Fusion Applications announcement. The software will be generally available shortly....Read more

Actuate’s Xenos Enterprise Server Dishes Out Mounds of Content

For the past couple of decades Xenos' distinctive competence has been the transformation of print streams into content used to assemble documents. Its focus these days is in addressing the needs...Read more

Looking forward to Oracle OpenWorld

Looking forward to Oracle OpenWorld, I was recalling that about 20 years ago, when I started covering the software industry as a Wall St. analyst, I paid a visit to the company. There were many...Read more

Host Analytics Performance Management is Sweet in the Cloud

Most large corporations have embraced some form of “performance management” software – perhaps even multiple forms – including business analytics to help create key performance indicators, reporting...Read more

Dashboards for Continuously Improving the Close

Accelerating the completion of the accounting cycle remains an important objective for Finance organizations. Research shows that about half of the midsize and larger companies take more than five...Read more

Maxager Figures What it Costs for Improved Profitability

Activity Based Costing (ABC) is one several popular techniques to apply marginal cost analysis to arrive at a more accurate measure of a product’s true economic cost. It became popular in the United...Read more

Australia Adopts XBRL for "Standard Business Reporting"

In July, Australia adopted what it calls "Standard Business Reporting" (SBR), which is designed to reduce the reporting burden imposed on businesses by the country's federal and state governments by...Read more

Integrating Strategic Planning With Jonova

I’ve focused attention of integrated business planning for the past several years as our benchmark research on business planning and other related topics consistently finds companies are...Read more

Intacct Gives Professional Help

Intacct, which offers cloud-based accounting software for small and smaller midsize companies is starting to put more emphasis on addressing the needs of project-oriented, professional services...Read more

Contingency Planning, Now More than Ever

It turns out that some consumer goods manufacturers and retailers are having a hard time finding space on container ships and even finding containers to ship in. This has driven up the cost of...Read more

Adapting and Planning Your Way Out of the Recession

Anyone who has had to regularly produce a written business forecast that goes out more than a couple of months understand all too well Yogi Berra’s famous observation: “It’s tough to make...Read more

Edgar Online and UBmatrix to Merge for Growing XBRL Market

Edgar Online (EDGR) and UBmatrix announced it will be merging, pending EDGR shareholder approval. In my opinion the merger is a good thing for the two organizations and good for their customers. The...Read more

Infor Simplifies Hospitality Management Software

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...Read more

Separation of Duties at Jurassic Park

You really, really have to be a nerd to watch Jurassic Park and see the absence of separation of duties (SoD) and inadequate process controls as a core plot device. To explain, one of the pivots in...Read more

Oracles Advances Enterprise Content Management Again

Oracle has just released its latest (11g) version of its enterprise content management (ECM) suite. Oracle entered the ECM business mainly through the acquisition of Stellent more than three years...Read more

The Midsize Millennium

The word "millennium" not only means a 1,000 year span but also denotes a period of joy and prosperity. A decade into the current millennium, I think a new millennium is dawning for midsize companies...Read more

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