Would you spend as much on a planning/reporting system as you do on your core system?
Most people can see the value in a core business process system to run the business. After all, invoices need to be sent, inventory needs managing, customers need servicing and so on.
When most companies put in their shiny new core business processing software, there are great expectations. They expect shiny dashboards, flexible drilldown reporting and analysis tools, business planning and forecasting regimes.
The disappointment from a management perspective is that the key business questions they want answered still take someone in Finance half a day’s legwork of extracting and recompiling in order to provide an answer. And the answer is probably going to throw up more questions anyway.
What they thought they were getting was the ability for self-service and answers on the fly.
It still takes someone half a day to answer a question from the CEO because a whole load of compiling consolidating and finding out ‘what would happen if….’ What if interest rates go up, the currency rate goes down, a major customer account is lost and so on.
And what happens in board meetings, when questions arise about the effect of major changes on business drivers? This kind of decision making process is often relegated to Excel. Excel is the decision support tool. Is it really fit for purpose for a business tool? Is one of the most important functions being relegating to a desktop application?
What many companies do not realise is that it is possible to put in planning and reporting regimes that transform their business. Not only that, it is quite possible to achieve startling results quickly and cost effectively. What’s more, this can be achieved over time, building from a core and added onto as needs and capability emerges.
What I’m talking about is a flexible business platform that carries out a number of functions in the business.
It has the capability of building discrete custom applications that remove a number of disparate applications in the business. It has the ability to centralise reporting for a number of business applications. It becomes a single place users go for a number of reporting, analysis and planning tasks.
I understand the importance of a core business system.
But am I on my own here or is there a gaping hole in the business systems landscape which many companies are yet to step into?
You can read more about Professional Advantage and budgeting and forecasting here.
Want to get a better understanding of what performance management really means and how to achieve it simply and effectively? Register for our upcoming CFO Academy seminar here.
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