Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

Get to Know Alternatives to Desktop Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 1, 2013 9:54:20 AM

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 organization. It was the original “killer app” that made it necessary for people to go out and buy a personal computer. Yet our recent benchmark research project Spreadsheet Use in Today’s Enterprise confirmed advice we have been giving for the past decade: Spreadsheets are a fabulous tool but they have limits, and those who fail to respect those limits wind up paying a price. The consequences may be obvious, as JP Morgan found when faulty spreadsheets used by its trading desk cost it dearly. Or it may be more subtle, as with all the time people waste trying to make spreadsheets do things they were never designed to do.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Analytics, Business Analytics, Visualization, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 10, 2013 9:02:37 AM

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 business process or technique and the time it takes to become mainstream. When we write our research agendas at the top of each year, we have to strike a balance between focusing on the new and different, which is still many years away from general acceptance, and the mainstream, which has been anticipated for so long that it almost seems passé. Our research agenda for office of finance to support business for 2013, which I just finalized, is once again an attempt to balance the leading edge and the mainstream with an eye to practical solutions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, close, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Financial Institutions Need Dynamic Risk Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 19, 2012 11:48:10 AM

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 of givens or constraints. For example, capacities are fixed, because it’s impossible to wave a magic wand and bring a new factory on line, stuff more machine tools into already jammed facilities or source more raw materials in a capacity-limited supply chain. Short-term plans also incorporate assumptions about external forces (such as the economy, competitive moves or regulation) that are fixed or change very little in this period. By contrast, long-range or strategic planning is relatively unconstrained. The countries, markets or products that an organization can offer, for example, are not limited by current conditions. Indeed, that’s an essential point of long-range planning: assessing the impact of significant changes to today’s givens or assessing how to manage the impact of expected future trends.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), Business Planning, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

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

Operational Risk Management Is a New Imperative

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 29, 2012 12:36:45 PM

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 effectiveness – especially operational risk. A majority of companies lag in their overall GRC maturity, as I covered in a recent blog post. Operational risk management should be of greater interest to executives today because they can have greater control of it than before. The expansion of IT systems to automate and support most business processes has made it easier than ever to measure, monitor and report on what’s going on in a company. It’s now practical to expand the scope of operational risk management and improve companies’ effectiveness in handling risk events when they occur.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), compliance, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), financial risk management

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

Action-Oriented Analytics Can Help Manage Risk

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 12, 2012 9:37:08 AM

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 identifies risks to support successful operations of an organization, estimates the monetary and other measurable impacts if a risk event occurs, establishes methods for mitigating the severity of impacts should they occur, continuously measures the probability of a risk occurring within a relevant period of time, periodically reports on the risk environment to appropriate decision-makers and alerts executives and managers when risk thresholds are crossed. These important activities should make operational risk management of greater interest to executives in today’s volatile business environment.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, balanced scorecard, enterprise risk management, KRI, Business Analytics, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 3, 2012 11:50:22 AM

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 executive talent and solid financial backing. There’s a strategic link with Workday that reflects a common background at the operational and investor levels. As it gets rolling, Tidemark is targeting large and very companies as customers for its cloud-based system for analyzing data. It can automate alerts and enhance operating visibility, collaboratively assess the potential impacts of decisions and support the process of implementing those decisions.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Warehousing, Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Risk Analytics, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, In-Memory Computing, Information Management, Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workday, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, Strata+Hadoop

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2011 10:14:52 AM

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 message on its strategic direction a decade ago. The overarching objective in its roadmap now, as then, is to have information technology increasingly adapt to the needs of individual users and how they choose to execute established/repetitive or ad-hoc processes,  rather than forcing them to adapt to the limitations of the technologies they are using. Back then the idea was to create a comprehensive process framework – a closely coupled approach. Today, it’s essentially the opposite, as SAP products run on an architecture that enables flexibility – a loosely coupled approach – both in how the computing infrastructure is organized and how people execute their tasks. It seems to me that this reflects the impact of having choices between cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems and the need to enable access through a variety of devices (from desktops to mobile handhelds and tablets). Mobility is important both for people whose roles take them beyond the firewall (in sales, service and logistics, for example) and executives and managers who often find themselves managing by walking around. Tablets, smartphones and similar devices are attractive also because people consider them personal items and associate them with fun, whereas desktops and notebooks are corporate and work-related.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, SAP, ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, In-memory, Mobility, Business Performance Management (BPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Financial Performance Management

Risk Analytics Has Benefits for Optimizing Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2011 11:09:41 AM

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 importance of using information technology to manage risk is growing because today’s systems can automatically measure and analyze a much broader set of risk factors than individuals can, and do so more reliably. But a key challenge companies face in implementing enterprise risk management is developing a process for defining and measuring risk.

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Topics: Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Reporting, balanced scorecard, enterprise risk management, KRI, Business Analytics, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Risk, Sales Performance Management (SPM)