The difference CFO’s need to know
Modern BI and CPM software solutions are essential to effectively address the management and financial processes of all enterprises, regardless of size. These solutions can make a ready change in how the operations are managed and how decisions are made which has the immediate effect of driving growth and innovation.
Deciding which software solution answers to your organisation unique needs best is a key factor in software success and implementation. Below we look at some of the software platforms in the market, and the key differences between two types of modern technology, BI and CPM/EPM (Corporate/Enterprise Performance Management), which are sometimes confused as doing the same thing.
The basic difference is that BI is focused on, and generally only does, dashboards and reporting. CPM on the other hand is focused on budgeting and planning but also does dashboards and reporting. Arguably visualisations in CPM tools are not as good as in pure BI tools, but it all depends on what you are looking for. Excel was the forerunner of modern CPM tools, and as anyone who uses Excel knows it is very powerful in terms of calculations and flexibility, but it is predominantly a personal productivity tool never designed to be used as a multi-user tool.
Where the confusion comes from is that, at their core, they are both driven by, and dependent on, basically the same data … data that is extracted from operational and financial systems, both internal and external and integrated into a format that allows for better analysis, drill-down, slice and dice and also what-if and scenario planning. One key and obvious difference between the two is data entry …. CPM and EPM tools allow for data entry whereas BI tools on their own don’t.
CPM tools also allow for What-if and scenario planning and simple and complex calculations and rules. Complex calculations like Salary and Shift calculators, three-way forecasts, financial consolidation including allocations and eliminations etc can’t be done with BI tools.
We will look at 3 of the leading platforms in the market today with which we have extensive first hand experience from both a developer and user aspect.
BOARD is a decision-making platform for medium and large-size businesses that want to move from pure data analysis to decision-making processes. The cloud-based solution supports budgeting, forecasting and analysis, simulation, and planning processes across the organization, with the flexibility to allow individual users to adjust the technology based on their unique business needs.
Businesses that use BOARD have the ability to connect and integrate into a multi-dimensional data store. They can collect data from multiple sources and integrate and automate the the process to occur on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis so the data is always current. This data can then be shared with multiple users, based on security profiles, within a larger organisation.
Financial Processes: BOARD helps businesses combine their planning budgets, forecasts, financial consolidation, reports, dashboards and scorecards. In the software the user can perform what-if analysis, scenario planning and goal seeking to manage various scenarios. With the automatic allocation of changes, you can modify data at all levels of aggregation and distribute those changes automatically.
Predictive Analytics: BOARDS predictive analytics tool enables organisations to simulate various future scenarios and then make important decisions based on what they uncover. The self-service platform, builds predictive analytics into the decision making process and enables companies to uncover deeper insights about the sustainability of the business.
Reporting: BOARD’s business intelligence reporting tools combine traditional reporting functions with Performance Management application tools, making it possible for you to make decisions based on a single, collaborative information base. Your account can be setup to allow for an unlimited number of report authors and consumers and completed reports can be exported in multiple formats. Financial/Management reporting is most commonly a key component of any BOARD implementation.
Jedox is an Enterprise Performance Management software solution for planning, analysis and reporting across all business units. Each area gets a shared view on all relevant financial and operational data allowing you to create strategic and operational plans collaboratively and continuously measure and monitor. It enables integration of data from various sources, combining them in a unified single source of the truth for planning, reporting and analysis.
Plan/Analyse/Report: Jedox will provide you with the ability to conduct self-service budgeting, analysis and reporting within a single platform. Users across all departments in your organisation can create integrated plans based on the same data models.
ExcelPLUS: Jedox allows you retain the familiarity of Excel based reporting whilst simultaneously improving and increasing their usability by driving the spreadsheets with the integrated data model in Jedox. You can improve both the detail and robustness of your spreadsheet reports and models with Jedox, taking advantage of controlled access, workflows, and seamless data integration.
Financial Reporting: With it’s Excel like design, customised Financial and Management reports in Jedox are very straight forward. A standard P&L type layout and format can be somewhat difficult in pure BI tools, but with Jedox you can format exactly the same as you do in Excel, but with the added power of the integrated data platform behind it, making it easier for period/budget comparisons and consolidated reporting.
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics service that provides a full overview of your most critical data. Connecting to all data sources, Power BI simplifies data evaluation and sharing with scaleable dashboards, interactive reports, embedded visuals and more.
Dashboards: Dashboards are interactive panels that correlate disparate data through smaller displays called tiles. Dashboards are linked to each dataset for comparison and evaluation, and they can be shared with colleagues to easily exchange information.
Reports: Power BI’s reports can be created from scratch to ensure only critical information is included. These custom reports can be imported to any dashboard for quick, simple sharing among colleagues.
All of these solutions provide significant benefits to the ongoing operations of an organisation. However, CFO’s and business leaders need to clearly identify the organisations unique needs to choose the solution that will give their business the upper hand.
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