Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Addressing Key Operational Risk Requirements

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 13, 2013 10:00:22 AM

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 stand-alone software categories, including IT governance, audit documentation and industry-specific compliance management, to name three examples. While it’s still common for specific types of software to be purchased piecemeal by different departments, these disparate areas have started a long convergence process. Since just about all controls and risk management efforts require a secure IT environment to be effective, there is a growing interdependence between effective IT governance and everything else connected with enterprise GRC.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Management, Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, financial risk management, IT Risk Management, Sarbanes Oxley, SOX

Long-Range Planning Does Not Work in Isolation

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 11, 2013 11:52:08 AM

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 plan and how that strategy is expected to play out over a period of time. The benchmark demonstrated that there’s room for improvement in almost every aspect of the long-range planning process. Almost all (95%) of those participating in the research see the need to advance their process. The research confirmed that long-range planning does not work well in isolation. Greater integration of the annual budget with the long-range plan and deeper integration of individual capital projects and initiatives are two ways to enhance the value of long-range planning process.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

A Profile of Strategic and Long-Range Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 8, 2013 9:42:46 AM

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 and analysis about their company’s strategic and long-range planning processes, which pointed to the need for clarity in using the terms “strategic planning” and “long-range planning.”

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Profit Velocity’s New Dimension in Managing Profitability

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 20, 2013 10:15:58 AM

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 assets (ROA). Companies in industries such as specialty chemicals, building materials, integrated steel mills and silicon chip fabrication (to name just four) routinely fail to make the right decisions about pricing, production and sales management because they use analytic methods that, from an economic perspective, present a distorted measure of profitability. Profit Velocity’s approach is to use profit contribution per unit of time as the core principle for driving decisions about production, pricing and CRM-related issues, including compensation-, customer- and account management.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), PV Accelerator, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Price Optimization, Profit Velocity, Profitability, Software, S&OP

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 16, 2012 12:04:20 PM

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 six decades ago. It’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, that CEO must master the basics of IT just as he must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. Only a handful of business schools give prospective MBAs a good grounding in the practical elements of information technology or preach the necessity of mastering an understanding of IT as they would, say, the efficient market hypothesis.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), competition, executive, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), IT, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, FPM

Using Maturity Assessments to Improve Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 30, 2012 11:04:07 AM

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 principles. One is the general assertion that companies differ in their ability to do anything along a range from nonexistent to advanced. The second is that at any time it’s possible for a knowledgeable individual to construct a scale of competence for some business function from least to most mature based on the important characteristics about how an organization designs and executes that function. Using maturity scales is a handy way for executives and managers to size up where they lie on a continuum of capabilities and an easy way to define the steps necessary for improvement. Maturity assessments have the advantage of being straightforward, but there’s the danger that they can be overly simplistic.

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Topics: Performance Management, Social Media, Customer Experience, Governance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), 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), benchmark, FPM

SAP Takes Business and Finance Mobile Using SAP HANA

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 19, 2012 12:20:14 PM

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 version 10 suite, which it introduced last year. It’s a first step in what is likely to be a portfolio of general-purpose, lightweight and relatively low-cost apps designed to be used on mobile devices. Using HANA on the back end, the applications can deliver high performance in accessing masses of business data and deliver actionable information to executives and managers. The three on-demand apps in EPM are for expense management, profit-and-loss (P&L) analysis and capital project management. They also just released its SAP Business Planning and Consolidation that has a mobile version on the Apple iPad that is part of its recently announced EPM UnWired. The move is another indication of SAP’s emphasis on cloud computing, which my colleague Mark Smith covered earlier this year.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, SAP, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), expense, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Business Applications, 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), FPM, HANA

Oracle Fusion Financials: Boring is Cool

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 16, 2012 12:03:47 PM

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 best interest to kick up a lot of dust about ERP migration. The financial applications software market is mature, and market share leaders such as Oracle have less interest in getting customers to upgrade than they did a decade ago. For a software vendor with a large installed base, cashing rich maintenance checks is more profitable than selling new software, and arguably is as dependable a source of revenue as software-as-a-service (SaaS) contracts. Companies, and especially CFOs and controllers, see replacing ERP systems akin to a root canal procedure: expensive and painful and best put off as long as possible. In North America (and to a much more limited extent in Europe) a major upgrade of a company’s current ERP software usually means it’s time to evaluate alternatives. For the incumbent, any time there’s a major upgrade there’s the potential to lose a customer.

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Topics: Performance Management, ERP, Office of Finance, financial, Cloud Computing, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workday, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft

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, Human Capital Management, Modeling, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, driver-based, 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), best pracices, business value, cash management, challenge, financial planning

Companies Need Unified Approach to GRC for IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 12, 2012 11:55:22 AM

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, companies developed islands of automation for largely numeric functions such as billing, inventory management and accounting. Each ran on a proprietary system and engaged the time of a relative handful of employees. Today, just about everyone works with an IT system for at least some of their operational or administrative tasks. They rely on these systems to support many of their daily routines, from recording transactions to using analytics to provide alerts, insights and decision support.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Management, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Risk, financial risk management, IT Risk Management