Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 27, 2012 1:28:10 PM

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 readily available in the necessary form and format, or that shiny new IT bauble you want to deploy will fall short of expectations. Our research benchmarks cover a range of core business and IT processes, and they regularly demonstrate that data deficiencies are a root cause of issues organizations have in performing core functions; typically the larger the company, the more severe the data issues become.

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Topics: Social Media, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), IBM Business Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, CIO, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Companies Are Lagging in GRC Maturity

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 7, 2012 10:51:48 AM

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 sometimes very different processes, on the whole these activities affect each other: Effective corporate governance ensures compliances with laws, regulations and company policies, and without governance, there’s no way to control risk. Separately or considered together, managing governance, risk and compliance is increasingly important.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Management, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Risk, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), financial risk management

Oversight Systems Focuses on Saving Money and Preventing Fraud

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 31, 2012 11:26:44 AM

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 fraud, and reinforce corporate governance and compliance efforts. Ventana Research views operational intelligence as an emerging technology with the potential for a high return on investment. By continuously monitoring activities in a company’s IT systems, Oversight’s Web-based software continuously, consistently and objectively monitors all business processes to identifies opportunities to save money, cut fraud, minimize risk and provide real-time controls to support governance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), audit, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), controls, Oversight Systems

Consolidation Software Is a Key to Faster Closing

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 10, 2012 9:41:09 AM

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 that finance organizations that take longer should work to reduce their closing intervals. In updating our last benchmark research on the closing process, Ventana Research has found this not to be the case. In fact, the latest research shows that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to close their quarter or half-year period within six business days back then, just 38 percent are able to do so now. Similarly, five years ago 70 percent of companies were able to complete their monthly close in six days; today only half can. To be sure, closing quickly still gets lip service: The research confirms that most companies (83%) view closing their books quickly as important or very important. Yet far from demonstrating progress, the results show slow closers are regressing.

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Topics: Office of Finance, close, Consolidation, Controller, XBRL, Business Analytics, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, Data, Document Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Financial Performance Management

Infor Presents Itself as a Large Software Startup

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 30, 2012 11:28:33 AM

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 stealth mode for the past three years: a limited marketing presence, no unified message and a weak, sometimes inconsistent brand identity. It also needed to formally introduce Infor to customers of Lawson, the ERP supplier it acquired last year. The “startup” designation is meant to signal that Infor has been able to render a decade-long consolidation of dozens of smaller companies into one cohesive entity.

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Topics: Performance Management, Salesforce.com, SAP, Social Media, Sustainability, ERP, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Epiphany, expense management, Lawson, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Infor, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management

BizNet Enables Enterprise Spreadsheet-Based Reporting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 19, 2012 10:39:24 AM

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 marry a Microsoft Excel user interface with a business rules server and a relational or multidimensional data store. This approach offers the best of both worlds in the sense of taking advantage of widespread familiarity and training with Excel while substantially reducing issues stemming from the desktop spreadsheet’s lack of data integrity, referential integrity and limited dimensionality as well as limited auditability and control. One example of the enterprise spreadsheet is data consolidation and data reporting software offered by BizNet Software. It enables business users to work within an Excel environment to assemble, manage and deliver periodic reports from enterprise data sources. It offers greater efficiency than stand-alone spreadsheets while effectively addressing the above-mentioned core issues.

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Topics: Planning, Social Media, Sustainability, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Budgeting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheets

Full Use of XBRL Is Not Here Yet

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 12, 2012 11:01:53 AM

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 for several years. (XBRL is a core element of our Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2012.) One of the most important ideas behind this “interactive data” requirement was to make it as simple as possible for investors to be able to consume and analyze corporate financial data filed with the SEC. This intent sets the SEC mandate apart from most other XBRL tagging requirements, which are designed for the needs of regulatory bodies such as the Bank of Japan, the Australian federal and state governments and the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Moreover, I believe the depth and breadth of the SEC’s database and the size of the U.S. equity capital markets make this the most important public-focused use of XBRL in the world. Considerable progress has been made toward the main objective, but considerably more is needed, and the sooner the better.

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Topics: Office of Finance, extended close, US-GAAP, XBRL, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, compliance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), financial reporting, SEC, Digital Technology

Algorithmics Acquisition Deepens IBM Software for Financial Services

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 2, 2011 1:02:42 PM

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 thematically consistent with its other acquisitions in risk management and analytics such as IBM’s OpenPages risk management documentation that I have already assessed. It’s also a good fit for IBM’s professional services organization, which has a significant position in the financial services industry.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Dodd-Frank, Business Analytics, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), capital adequacy, financial regulation, Financial Services

Predictive Analytics Support Human Judgment

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 10, 2011 12:29:46 PM

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 forecasts. It’s true that using predictive analytics correctly is likely to enhance their accuracy, but these techniques do not eliminate the need for judgment; in practice, many organizations may realize more value from applying predictive analytics  to assess results than to forecast outcomes. Moreover, as regards performance management the usefulness of predictive analytics extends beyond planning and forecasting. They also can serve to set benchmarks that can be used to assess performance or generate alerts to accelerate necessary action. Although I advise companies to be more aggressive in adopting predictive analytics, I doubt that they will adopt them as fast as they should because of perceptions that the tools are too hard to use and the data too hard to get at.    

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

SAP Advances Enterprise Performance Management in Version 10

Posted by Ventana Research on May 18, 2011 5:09:17 PM

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 and managers. In our Value Index assessment of financial performance management suites and my analysis of it last year, Ventana Research gave SAP’s offering the highest score, and this new release builds on that solid foundation that I already assessed in my blog. It has been several years since SAP began acquiring and assembling its performance management and analytical software assets, and the company has progressed to the point where discussing the integration efforts is becoming irrelevant. This release revamps the user interface of the different components to provide a more consistent look and feel – a crucial factor in facilitating training and improving user productivity. Outside of the suite itself, the current release is designed to integrate better with ERP, SAP NetWeaver BW, risk management and BI. In facts it establishes a foundation for finance analytics that I have researched and is essential for doing what I call and have written about in putting the “A” back in FP&A

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Topics: Planning, SAP, Forecast, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), budget, Budgeting, XBRL, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), agile, budgeting software, CEO, Corporate Finance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning