What is Expected of a CPM Solution?

Adaptability

So, what does it mean for a CPM solution to be able to provide agility, flexibility and adaptability? First, let’s see how much an organization needs these capabilities.

In a dynamic economy, uncertainty and financial presuppositions that were reasonable yesterday may not be tomorrow; efficient management of the Working Capital, credit availability and general issues related to revenue, can invalidate the strategic plan in a matter of days. Besides, the regulation environment can change in seconds or, at least, there might be imminent possibility of regulation changes that require a contingency planning designed for a variety of possible scenarios.

When there is something unpredictable daily, the main capability that any CPM solution must have is the aptitude to assess the current situation quickly and generate a revised plan, fed by new realities and with broad sustenance for the best possible decision making, under the new circumstances.

In terms of software, that means ability for modeling and the creation of scenarios and complex simulations quickly. Simulations that are more than an Excel spread sheet, with limited reach. Ones that can generate designed Accounting and Financial statements, especially considering the business consolidation of an economic group. And that are easy to use, intuitive and capable to be used by who really has these demands, business and not technology people.

Transparency

Today’s finances professionals are well aware of the transparency needs regarding legal and regulation requirements. Traded companies demand permanent audits for their shareholders and for the CVM. Besides, there is the additional value in transparency. The accuracy of numbers brings reliability and stimulates greater commitment to plans and budgets. The users must be able to view not only the more detailed levels of numbers that result from upright movement in hierarchy, but also the formulas that can produce a number. That helps users to understand the financial rules of the company in a concrete way. From the perspective of a user, this functionality must be native in the CPM solution and not demand the opening of other products or consults to infinite reports. This capability is fundamental and gives the base to all the process of decision making.

Use of Technology

Always representing a means to an end, the IT (Information Technology) is essential for the improvement in the processes and decision making really occur. A Solution CPM is a software suite, the tool technology that allows the implementation of the concept in the organization.

It is a convergence of corporate applications that offers support to the processes indicated through a workflow engine and includes or integrates a Business Intelligence platform.

It is important to understand what the reach of the BI concept in the macro concept of Comprehensive Performance Management is, once the software manufacturers themselves have a tendency to try to solve predictive and collaborative problems with simple Business Intelligence platforms, only automating the generation of reports with very pretty graphs about what has already happened.

Easy to use 

The technology must be undisputedly easy to use. In general, easy de use is the capability to deliver the product to the administration and the use by its own users, with minimum support from the Technology area. A good example is the financial modeling activity. Many products allow you to make copies of a certain existing model and its data, but that often involves a process in the IT area, with the creation of a new database, new cubes, data import, etc. A good CPM solution must allow the simple creation of a whole new model, with all the dimensionality and data of the original, conducted only by the solution users.

Return on investment

When the money is scarce, any investment in software will go through a scrutiny and – very probably – will have to show return on the investment. It must also overcome internal political tendencies, resistance for the exposition of the power demanded by the widespread use of worksheets, and overcome the arguments that the company business is different or too complex. The best way is to elaborate a Business Case that should look into intangible, factual and tangible benefits, the most obvious regarding to saving time and money in the processes made by the CPM. The people productivity, not only from financial area, is currently the largest factor of appreciation of human capital in the organizations.

About Antonio Dutra Junior

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