Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Prophix – Financial Performance Management for Midsize Organizations

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 12, 2017 5:47:01 AM

Prophix is an established provider of financial performance management (FPM) software for planning and budgeting, forecasting, analysis and reporting, and managing the financial close and consolidation process. Its eponymous software is designed specifically for midsize companies or midsize divisions of larger corporations. These organizations are a distinctive segment of the market in that they have almost all the functional requirements of large enterprises but have fewer resources to apply to these critical tasks. Fortunately, the evolution of information technology over the past decade has been especially beneficial to midsize customers, bringing them expanded capabilities, substantially better performance and greater automation of routine tasks at an affordable total cost of ownership.

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Topics: Planning, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, Consolidation, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, accounting close, Price and Revenue Management, Work and Resource Management, Sales Planning and Analytics, Midsize

Kinaxis Kinexions Advances Supply Chain Value for Customers

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 23, 2017 8:52:34 AM

From my perspective, supply chain management (SCM) and sales and operations planning (S&OP) are two of the most underappreciated disciplines of modern corporate management. Properly applied, they can improve performance and competitiveness by increasing customer satisfaction and reducing costs. A combination of more capable information technology with advances in operations research and analytics has made managing supply and demand chains potentially more impactful by making them more flexible and adaptable to market conditions. Consequently, companies can enhance profitability, reduce working capital and improve customer satisfaction by providing more reliable service.

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Topics: ERP, Kinaxis, Supply Chain Planning, Analytics, SCM, S&OP, Sales and Operations Planning, supply chain management, procurement

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Business Applications

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 26, 2017 7:18:56 AM

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to business computing will have a profound impact on white collar professions. This is especially true in heavily rules-based functions such as accounting. Companies recognize the transformational potential of AI and ML, but the progression and pace of the adoption of these technologies is unclear. Some applications of AI and ML are already in use but others are a decade or more away from replacing human tasks.

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Topics: Big Data, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Analytics, CFO, finance, CEO, AI, AICPA, natural language processing, Accounting

Unit4 Prevero Provides a Practical Alternative to Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 22, 2017 8:15:20 AM

In 2016 Unit4 acquired Prevero, a financial performance management software company. The acquisition reflects a trend toward the convergence of transactional and analytical business applications. ERP and financial management software vendors increasingly are adding analytic capabilities – especially in financial performance management (FPM) – to the core functions of transaction processing and accounting in order to broaden the scope of their offerings. The integration of transaction processing and analytical software is especially valuable to Unit4’s core customer base of midsize organizations, which we define as those with 100 to 1,000 employees. Midsize entities have almost the same systems requirements as larger ones but lack the resources the latter enjoy.

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Topics: Marketing, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Workforce Management, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Work and Resource Management, Operations & Supply Chain, Sales Planning and Analytics

Centage’s Budget Maestro Version 9 is a Big Step Forward

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 3, 2017 9:43:09 AM

Centage recently released Budget Maestro Version 9, a complete revamping of its longstanding budgeting application designed for midsize companies. The software, now offered as a multitenant cloud-based offering, delivers several structural improvements that can enhance the effectiveness of a company’s planning processes and at the same time is easier to use. Budget Maestro Version 9 is designed to support what Centage is calling a “Smart Budgets” approach to replace traditional budgeting. This approach is consistent with what we have been calling integrated business planning.

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Topics: Planning, Reporting, Budgeting, Consolidation, Analytics, Business Planning

Longview Solidifies Tidemark for Cloud-Based Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 10, 2017 6:43:35 AM

Longview recently completed the acquisition of Tidemark Systems, a planning software vendor. Longview Plan powered by Tidemark is a suite of cloud-based applications that enable corporations to plan, assess performance and communicate results more effectively. The software facilitates what Ventana Research calls “continuous planning.” This is a highly collaborative, action-oriented approach to planning that relies on frequent, short cycles to rapidly create and update integrated company-wide operational and financial plans. This structural approach makes it easy for individual business functions to create their own plans while enabling headquarters to connect those plans to create a unified view. Viewed in the long term, this acquisition provides Longview with a platform that will enable it to apply its existing on-premises intellectual property to a broader suite of web-based performance management and tax applications.

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Topics: Mobile, Office of Finance, Recurring Revenue, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics, revenue recognition

Host Analytics Empowers Office of Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 27, 2017 12:44:16 AM

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 departments operate and support the activities of the rest of their organization. FPM deals with the full cycle of finance department activities, which include planning and budgeting, analysis, assessment and review, closing and consolidation, internal financial reporting and external financial reporting, as well as the underlying information technology systems that support them.

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Topics: Mobile, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Recurring Revenue, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

Vendavo Brings Intelligence to Pricing and Profitability

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 9, 2017 9:54:23 AM

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 emerging categories like pricing and revenue management, this sort of event provides an opportunity to assess the state of the market and the maturity of the applications. As I’ve noted, adoption of price and revenue management software has been slow in the B2B segment of commerce due to multiple obstacles. The challenges include change management, as well as data and process issues.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Sales Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Digital Commerce, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution, Sales Planning and Analytics

Anaplan Enables Connected Planning across Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 27, 2017 11:04:56 AM

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 it relatively easy to add or expand the scope of plans that can be connected and monitored as a central source. Companies typically use Anaplan software for financial planning or budgeting, sales, workforce, marketing and IT planning. These are the types of plans in which companies often need to create models that incorporate their specific requirements, their strategy and their business systems.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Office of Finance, Recurring Revenue, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, HRMS, Sales Performance Management, Workforce Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Work and Resource Management, Operations & Supply Chain, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics

CFOs and Finance Should Take Leadership Role in Pricing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 21, 2017 9:18:05 AM

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 fully centralized to decentralized. The issue of centralized or decentralized depends a great deal on the markets the company serves, its organizational structure and its culture. However, a disciplined approach to price setting and negotiation is always superior to an ad hoc approach. This is especially true for non-commodity B2B businesses, which I believe have lagged other types of business in managing their pricing strategically. (Some would argue that there is no such thing as a pure commodity business, but that’s another issue.) Increasing pricing discipline in the company is one way for the CFO to engage more strategically in managing the business.

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Topics: Big Data, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Analytics, Sales Performance Management, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Pricing and Promotion Management, Sales Enablement and Execution, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Sales Planning and Analytics