The options for Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software are myriad and deciding “what’s best” can often be a daunting task. Many organizations start with office tools such as Microsoft Excel, or build their own solutions using database technologies such as Microsoft Access or SQL Server.
Most sophisticated organizations, however, soon find that the additional power, flexibility, and efficiency of dedicated CPM software more than offset the added cost and effort required for implementation. When looking at implementing a new CPM solution, the array of options and capabilities is as varied as are the needs of organizations.
So, when you’re ready to make the move to dedicated CPM software, where to start in your decision-making process? Taking the following considerations into account can help you better evaluate what option may be best for your organization.
Hosted or On-Premises?
The CPM software market has traditionally been split between “on-premises” vendors––where the software is hosted on your computers and/or data center––and “cloud” or “SaaS” (Software as a Service) vendors where the application and all data are hosted in a secure data center and provided over the internet. As more and more organizations have become receptive to using cloud tools (such as Workday and Salesforce), most on-premises vendors have also created cloud-based versions of their tools. Either way, it’s important to distinguish “built-for-cloud” and “retro-fitted” models as performance, features and security are generally stronger in pure “built for cloud” offerings.
What are you looking to achieve?
- Simple consolidation and budget variance reporting?
- Distributed budget and forecast development and consolidation?
- Allocations for Line of Business reporting?
- Financial forecast development, possibly with rolling forecasts?
- Easy report development and ad-hoc analytics?
- Operational planning and forecasting, including integration with ERP systems?
- Widespread use in the company or just limited to a few key users in Finance?
Answering these types of questions is critical before embarking on your software search. If you don’t know what you want – today and in the future – the risk of picking the wrong tool is significant. It’s also important to note that all platforms demo well in the hands of a skilled sales rep; the question is how will these shiny objects really perform in your real-life planning and reporting cycles.
Need some help finding the right solution for your organization? Contact us to start the conversation.
Vendor Evaluation Considerations
Once you know what you want to achieve, you will need to evaluate the unique strengths, capabilities, and weaknesses of some subset of the vendors. Here are some of the key considerations:
- Scalability of solution
- Affordability, which encompasses acquisition, maintenance, and operating costs
- Ease and speed of implementation
- Flexibility of design
- Dependence on IT and/or consulting resources for development and support
- Connectivity to source data / integration with ERP and other existing systems
- Support for different use cases (e.g. financial planning/forecasting, operational planning, sales/revenue forecasting, etc.)
- Organizational preference for cloud vs. on-premises solution
- Strength of your user community
- Robustness of underlying business processes
Selecting a Vendor
Please see our overview of CPM Software Vendors to learn more about available CPM software options.
Many companies look to go down the route of a full RFP (Request for Proposal) process. We often find this to be time-consuming with the process yielding questionable value: most vendors will tend to answer “yes” to most questions. An alternate approach is to invite a limited number of vendors to work with you to build a small model that meets your specifications. This allows you to see potential solutions in action so that you can better judge if a vendor is a good fit for you.
At BetterVu, we can oftentimes deliver value faster than even the most scaled down selection process. In fact, we offer a ONE-HOUR challenge. In just one hour, we can review your business planning problem and current processes and deliver a high-level prototype solution. Click here to take the BetterVu challenge. #BetterVuChallenge