“This data is 90 days old, but that’s okay.”
When was the last time you heard a C-level executive say that? My guess is it’s been a while, because these days, if you don’t have real-time access to the data that drives your business, it’s all but impossible to arrive at meaningful results that help you grow and compete.
Unfortunately, this problem is all too common in enterprises today, where enterprise performance management (EPM) platforms fail to produce actionable insights from current and relevant data. On top of that, most EPM implementations remain complex and difficult to manage requiring power users that serve as data gatekeepers. Not exactly a recipe for success.
But EPM is changing, and as a result, it’s changing the way enterprises operate around the world. So here are 10 ways that a new approach to enterprise performance management is changing the game for businesses globally.
1. Cloud-first is the new normal
IDC Research predicts cloud technology spending will grow by 25 percent in 2014, reaching over $100B. Along with further adoption comes further specialization – and cloud services are increasingly becoming differentiated as vendors seek to provide more infrastructure capabilities.
Better infrastructure for the public cloud begets more capable and scalable enterprise apps, with Amazon, Google and others offering more tools for companies to run on the cloud. EPM solutions that offer improved cloud capabilities will be the ones leading growth for businesses in the New Year.
2. Mobility cannot be ignored
Workforces are now global and remotely connected all the time, so it’s not surprising that tablet and smartphone growth is predicted to continue into next year. Mobile is now the de facto platform on which business people and consumers are devouring data, and unlike in previous years, they are now acting on the data as well.
EPM tools now need to be able to provide reports on the fly – on any device. Technologies that aren’t designed to be device-agnostic will lose market share in the coming year.
3. Big data turns to focus on actionability
Big data is a key consideration for any EPM system – and today data crunching capabilities alone aren’t enough to move the needle. Decision-makers are now looking for easier-to-manage apps that provide more granular, actionable insights in real time.
Expect cloud apps with the ability to sift through disparate data streams to become widespread in the finance department.
4. Collaboration has emerged from its awkward adolescence
Several years ago, collaborative technologies in the enterprise were new and a little clumsy. But that’s history. Platforms that don’t include collaborative features are becoming extinct.
Innovative technologies such as Yammer and Box that enable employees to collaborate and share information have become critical business functions, not just the latest shiny object. IDC also expects that by 2016, 60 percent of the Fortune 500 will have social-enabled innovation management solutions in place.
This also has implications for EPM: Solutions that enable collaboration across the organization fit into today’s enterprises, while those that don’t literally have no place to go.
5. CFOs have become more influential
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on how CFOs have a bigger say than ever in determining where and how companies place their bets. Citing new research from Gartner, the Journal notes how CFOs now have 40 percent more influence over IT investments than they did two years ago.
So while CFOs have a leading role to play in transforming organizations, many are still struggling to identify best practices for implementing EPM solutions that can help them make the most of their growing influence.
6. In-context analytics drive decision-making
We are moving from an age in which log analysis was enough, to a business analysis perspective that is predicated on what’s happening right now. The importance of context and real-time data is now mission-critical for EPM.
In the coming year, the role context plays in making smart use of data will start getting the recognition it deserves.
7. Machine-generated data is now part of the package
With more data attached to every system, machine-generated and unstructured data represents a wealth of information that EPM solutions need to take into consideration. RFIDs, sensor data and more will become more important.
8. Enterprise technology innovation will start to drive consumer technology innovation
The enterprise is becoming a new source of innovation. While in past the consumerization of IT drove enterprise trends, next year the enterprise will start to take the lead.
The intersection of cloud, mobile and social at enterprise scale is helping to create highly available and user-friendly experiences in the workplace. Enterprise applications that aren’t designed with these considerations in mind will not be adopted.
9. Competition will drive rapid technology adoption
It’s dawning on CFOs that their systems are outdated, and budgeting platforms that still require up to four months to complete a budget are no longer sufficient. On average, companies that employ rolling forecasts save between five and 25 days each year in their budgeting process, according to research by the American Productivity & Quality Center.
CFOs are beginning to understand that the current environment is “eat or be eaten,” and if they don’t adopt new technologies to reduce the time they spend planning, they will become irrelevant.
10. Agility always wins
In today’s evolving market, there is no silver bullet to success – in any industry. But what does work is to continually be looking to the future, and considering the next move.
Forward-thinking CFOs will be looking for EPM solutions that think like they do – well ahead of the now – and if the variables change, they want a solution that can pivot quickly and adjust to the new conditions. For the only constant is change itself – and even that needs to be planned for.