Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Tagetik Advances Disclosure Management for Office of Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 16, 2014 9:05:58 AM

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 finance departments, which routinely generate highly formatted documents that combine words and numbers. Often these documents are assembled by contributors outside of the finance department; human resources, facilities, legal and corporate groups are the most common. The data used in these reports almost always come from multiple sources – not just enterprise systems such as ERP and financial consolidation software but also individual spreadsheets and databases that collect and store nonfinancial data (such as information about leased facilities, executive compensation, fixed assets, acquisitions and corporate actions). Until recently, these reports were almost always cobbled together manually – a painstaking process made even more time-consuming by the need to double-check the documents for accuracy and consistency. The adoption of a more automated approach was driven by the requirement imposed several years ago by United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that companies tag their required periodic disclosure filings using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), which I have written about. This mandate created a tipping point in the workload, making the manual approach infeasible for a large number of companies and motivating them to adopt tools to automate the process. Although disclosure filings were the initial impetus to acquire collaborative disclosure management software, companies have found it useful for generating a range of formatted periodic reports that combine text and data, including board books (internal documents for senior executives and members of the board of directors), highly formatted periodic internal reports and filings with nonfinancial regulators or lien holders.

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Topics: Mobile, ERP, forecasting, Modeling, Reporting, Budgeting, close, closing, Consolidation, Controller, Finance Financial Applications Financial Close, IFRS, multinational Tagetik, process management, report, strategy, XBRL, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Chief Financial Officer, compliance, Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), benchmark, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, GAAP, Integrated Business Planning, Profitability, SEC Software, spreadsheet

Host Analytics Lifts Spreadsheets to Cloud for Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2013 9:49:35 AM

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 Analytics format. I find it significant in three respects. First, it can substantially reduce the time and resources it takes for a company to go live in adopting the Host Analytics suite, lowering the cost of implementation and accelerating time to value. Second, it enables Host Analytics users who have the appropriate permissions to create and modify models and templates that they use in planning, budgeting, consolidation and reporting. This can enhance the value of the system by making it easier to maintain. Third, it can make it far easier to routinely collect and connect planning and analytical models used by all departments and business users as it has outlined in its planning cloud offering. Although it has limitations in its initial release, AirliftXL gives corporations a workable alternative to stand-alone spreadsheets and has the potential to substantially increase productivity and effectiveness of an organization in the full range of budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting functions.

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Topics: Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, closing, Consolidation, Controller, Host Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Allocations, Financial Performance Management, FPM, spreadsheet

Oracle Hyperion Products Challenged by New Generation of Expectations

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 16, 2013 7:23:32 AM

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 of expectations. At the recent Oracle OpenWorld these new features were on display, and spokespeople described how the company will be transitioning its software to cloud deployment. Our 2013 Financial Performance Management Value (FPM) Index rates Oracle Hyperion a Warm vendor in my analysis, ranking eighth out of nine vendors. Our Value Index is informed by more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers and their products and how well they satisfy specific business and IT needs. We perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. Our assessment reflects two disparate sets of factors. On one hand, the Hyperion FPM suite offers a broad set of software that automates, streamlines and supports a range of finance department functions. It includes sophisticated analytical applications. Used to full effect, Hyperion can eliminate many manual steps and speed execution of routine work. It also can enhance accuracy, ensure tasks are completed on a timely basis, foster coordination between Finance and the rest of the organization and generate insights into corporate performance. For this, the software gets high marks.

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Topics: Mobile, Planning, Social Media, ERP, forecasting, Modeling, Reporting, Budgeting, close, closing, Consolidation, Controller, driver-based, Finance Financial Applications Financial Close, Hyperion, IFRS, multinational Oracle, process management, report, strategy, Tax, tax department, tax optimization, tax planning, XBRL, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Oracle, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Chief Financial Officer, compliance, Data, Financial Performance Management (FPM), benchmark, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, GAAP, Integrated Business Planning, Price optimization, Profitability, SEC Software, spreadsheet

Making Better Use of Ratios in Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 17, 2012 12:01:56 PM

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, detailing how they are used generally in business and in major functional areas of companies as well as their application in specific industries. We adopted this focus  because technology advances are changing the landscape of analytics. Its use in business management, for example, is getting new scrutiny these days because of three important changes in information technology.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), performance indicators, Budgeting, driver-based, ratio analysis, Analytics, Business Analytics, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

IBM Encourages Adoption of Predictive Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 28, 2012 12:14:01 PM

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 – especially predictive analytics – should play a larger role in managing organizations. Making it easier to create and consume advanced analytics would help organizations broaden their integration in business planning and execution. This was one of the points that SPSS, an IBM subsidiary that provides analytics, addressed at IBM’s recent analyst summit.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, forecasting, Marketing, Modeling, Sales Forecasting, Analytics, IBM, Uncategorized, SPSS

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 29, 2011 11:08:57 AM

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 support systems that provided information and analytics to help executives and high-level managers choose the best course of action. Working with numbers rather than gut instinct still is viewed as a best practice. After all, a pilot who doesn’t trust his or her instruments is heading for an accident.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, closed loop, contingency planning, driver-based, driver-based planning, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 5, 2011 12:48:36 PM

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 monetary crisis deepens in Europe, it’s perhaps time to ask what your company would do if parts of its financial system implodes. You may think that your company will not be affected because it doesn’t do business with the eurozone. Or you may believe that it’s unlikely to happen and therefore not worth spending the time to consider the implications. I think both assumptions are mistaken.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Social Media, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, contingency planning, crisis, driver-based, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

IBM Cognos 10 Does Profitability Management

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

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

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

A Practical Look at Driver-Based Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 12, 2011 11:23:28 AM

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 more than 100 employees do driver-based planning. Broadly defined, the term could be applied to the use of any spreadsheet-planning model because these almost always have built-in volume-times-price formulas, which are components of driver-based plans. However, this is not what most people have in mind when they talk about driver-based planning, and that’s reflected in the low percentage of those employing the technique.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Modeling, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, driver-based, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet