Power to the people! The fundamental shift in enterprise decision-making
With so much data involved in the day-to-day operations of today’s businesses, it is important to ensure it is used to its full advantage. Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) tools help with the effective management of corporate data through functionalities like financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, consolidation and reporting. Ultimately, a comprehensive EPM will enable organisations to optimise their decision-making processes, drive performance improvements and achieve strategic objectives with greater precision.
‘Self-service’ EPM tools are a more recent development that allow business professionals and managers to directly engage with data pertinent to their responsibilities. The end-user does not require technical knowledge or data experts to create reports, perform analyses and generate insights, as the tools are designed with intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Data-driven decisions can be made more quickly and by more people, facilitating agility in the organisation.
TechHQ takes a deeper look at how state-of-the-art EPM tools make a real difference to organisations that use them to their full potential.
Vaillant Group, one of the leading providers of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology in the world, integrated the renowned self-service EPM CCH Tagetik into its SAP-HANA environment as its tool for multi-year planning. The system aligned Valliant’s budget figures closely with actual targets, and Christoph Siemons, the company’s Head of Planning and Forecasting, said that they “were unable to come anywhere close to this kind of detail in the figures” with previous solutions.
The integration gave staff direct access to accurate business warehouse data, enabling data-driven decision-making from a larger proportion of the business and cultivating a culture of accountability. It also encouraged market research and product roadmap formulation enabled by the platform, fostering forward-thinking strategies.
Chitra Balasubramanian, the CFO of CircleCI said in a recent interview: “Investments in data and data infrastructure [have] become really important. Overarching the trend of a distributed workforce, as well as companies needing to continue to innovate, […] is this need to have a managed democratisation of data. Not just in terms of product data, but also operational data and people data too.” Self-service EPM tools make data available to planners across the organisation, allowing them to uncover the root causes of performance trends in different departments and take necessary action.
AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms in EPM tools can analyse extensive datasets swiftly, detecting patterns and correlations that would have otherwise been missed. They can create predictive models that forecast future outcomes and critical business drivers based on historical and real-time data. Some of the most powerful EPM tools, like CCH Tagetik, also offer ‘explainable predictions’ – i.e. insights into why certain outcomes are projected – aiding users in understanding and fully trusting data-driven decisions.
Similarly, real-time analytics provided by self-service EPM solutions accelerate precise decision-making. Market shifts are dynamic by nature, and having the ability to do instant scenario modelling – for example, with cash flow – provides the necessary agility for quick responses. EPM also enables real-time performance evaluation and the continuous monitoring of key metrics, providing executives with a comprehensive understanding of their organisation’s operations.
MONETA Money Bank, a prominent Czech bank in consumer financing, implemented CCH Tagetik to automate tasks like IFRS adjustments and group consolidation. It took just 15 weeks for the solution to be implemented and it was immediately adopted across departments. This was partly thanks to CCH Tagetik’s intuitive interface and interactive dashboards, which initially encouraged staff to integrate it into their workflows. Modern self-service EPM systems tend to be user-friendly to reduce the learning curve for employees and allow them to navigate the data analytics and ad hoc reporting functionalities with ease.
Strong cross-departmental communication is an asset in any business, and the systems they rely on should facilitate it. The top EPM platforms add real-time collaboration capabilities to pre-existing software like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, so there is no barrier for teams to collaborate. By providing transparency and a single source of truth across reports – including financial statements, management reports and earnings presentations – the tools create a sense of ownership among contributors. They also ensure everyone has access to unified, up-to-date information to make strategic decisions and cohesive plans.
Operational data is no longer the only data type critical to business, as comprehensive sustainability reporting is now mandatory by law for many institutions. Many organisations, regardless of size, prioritise their environmental responsibilities and align them with financial goals. As a result, many self-service EPM platforms have Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting integrated in their systems. They can streamline data collection, calculation and disclosure of ESG KPIs to ensure compliance with evolving standards like the EU Taxonomy and CSRD.
EPM platforms are also incorporating AI-driven analytics to provide deeper insights into ESG performance trends and create predictive models. This enables businesses to meet regulatory requirements, proactively strategise and optimise their ESG initiatives for long-term sustainability and, therefore, competitive advantage.
A2A, an Italian utilities company, has over a hundred KPIs focused on stability and publishes a mandatory sustainability report annually. It integrated CCH Tagetik to simplify the process of gathering, analysing and reporting on its ESG data.
Alberto Comi, the company’s Sustainability Planning and Reporting Manager, said in a recent interview: “CCH Tagetik allowed us to anticipate the trends to homogenise all the reporting in A2A because we are a very complex group, made up of more than a hundred companies. In putting all these aspects together […] it was very important to have a tool that allows us to homogenise, to standardise, because environmental data [is] very different from HR data, from supply chain data. It was a very crucial tool, in my opinion.”
Flexibility and scalability
Cloud-based EPM solutions provide businesses with unique flexibility and scalability. For example, SOLEVO, a prominent distributor of chemicals and equipment for agriculture in African countries, integrated CCH Tagetik into its cloud-based infrastructure. The company experienced a notable enhancement in its financial consolidation and reporting capabilities. The EPM’s flexibility enabled easy accommodation of various currencies, local regulations and diverse reporting standards prevalent to each geography. The finance department could swiftly and independently adjust the system through changes in workflows, validations, and individual working methods, making the solution scalable to evolving business needs.
Robust data security measures are essential to EPM tools. Organisations that fail to protect their data and that of their customers suffer the consequences, ranging from fines, lawsuits and reputational damage. However, this data must also be accessible to authorised users in the organisation for operational purposes. It is, therefore, imperative that EPM tools implement stringent security practices and give individuals confidence in the safety of their information in the platform.
With financial consolidation and reporting being critical functions at SOLEVO, implementing CCH Tagetik demonstrates a level of trust in the platform’s ability to handle sensitive financial data. The solution allows for the management of financial statements, intercompany reconciliations and adjustments while ensuring the integrity and security of the data. That’s crucial for a company operating in diverse regions.
Despite the benefits EPM tools currently bring to businesses through informed decision-making and operational efficiency, it doesn’t appear that they have reached their peak. In the not-so-distant future, EPMs could start to integrate blockchain technology – a digital, public ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed anonymously. This could be used to streamline and automate reconciliation tasks across various datasets and further enhance data security and transparency.
Solutions could also incorporate ‘augmented analytics’. “AI is a continuum of capabilities, going from process automation on one side to autonomous intelligence. Somewhere in the middle is what we call augmented intelligence,” said Jean-Claude Saghbini, CTO of Wolters Kluwer Health, in a recent interview. The technology will enable users to derive deeper insights from complex data sets, understand correlations more efficiently, and make more accurate predictions and recommendations. The trajectory of EPM tools suggests a future where empowered decision-making becomes more prevalent in a company’s workforce and, therefore, the wider business world.
To find out how your business could benefit from this shift in enterprise decision-making, book a personalised CCH Tagetik demo today.