Improving M&A Success and Increasing Value with EPM – Part 2

Improving M&A Success and Increasing Value with EPM – Part 2

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are a common tool used by companies to position themselves to take advantage of market conditions, realign assets, or manage financial obligations.

Part 2 of this series reviews the role EPM solutions can play in the acquisition planning and integration process.

EPM in the M&A Integration Process

The Acquisition Planning and Merger Integration Process represents the major steps in the process of executing an effective M&A strategy.  This is a dynamic process, driven by information and applied by experienced practitioners.  EPM and strategic finance capabilities contribute to this cycle throughout each phase from Strategy through Optimization.

So, how does EPM, as a set of tools and practices, support the M&A Process?

  • Target identification & Planning: EPM provides a set of actual performance measures and key planning assumptions that are used to compare target performance to current operations, driving a base valuation range.
  • Operational Due Diligence & Integration Requirements: Future state models are created that combine plan/actual data from the current organization with actual data from the integrated entity.  Assumptions can then be changed and documented to do sensitivity analysis, identify areas of great return/impact and risk to planned returns.
  • Pre-close Integration Planning: Sophisticated HR functionality allows detailed modeling of staff acquisitions, impacts of benefit program changes, represented labor contracts.  Financial covenants and burdens are modeled and KPI’s for ongoing monitoring are established and integrated into standard management reporting.

MA_Integration_planning.png

  • Integration & Synergy Capture: Pull “day 1” operational and financial data into the EPM platform instead of waiting for underlying financial/operational systems consolidations.  This avoids the time and “value leakage” that often occurs in protracted post-merger integration processes.
  • Operational Excellence:  The integration with the existing EPM culture, tools and practices is
    complete, and the steady pace of “Monitor – Optimize” begins. This “Sustained Excellence” goal is not a static end state but a dynamic, information driven way of conducting business, and can represent one of the largest “Culture” gaps between the management teams.  By using EPM to keep expectations consistent through the M&A process, transitioned managers are already familiar with your operational culture, and can see the terms, expectations and measures they agreed to in the M&A process clearly reflected in the ongoing operation, reducing expectation gaps.

MA_Integration_with_EPM

At the end of the M&A process, how do we know we got it right, and more importantly, how do we know what we got wrong in a timeframe in which we can change the impact and outcome to maximize value realization?  EPM provides the information context that keeps you on track.

Value Realization – Did we Get it Right?

Once a transaction is closed, the challenge of value realization begins.  For some M&A transactions, it can take months or even years before the various financial, operational and reporting functions begin to integrate, forcing management to “fly blind” or attempt to manage the new assets with a patchwork of legacy reports, manual processes, and “gut instinct.”  How well are the assumptions playing out?  Are we capturing synergies at the rate we projected? 

Effective EPM programs, integrated with the M&A process, can avoid the “dark period”, often months or critical quarters, before management can get a unified look at the enhanced business.  Providing consistent information to FP&A, Operations and line of business managers and other reporting and analytical functions aligns the entire team around the new goals and objectives, and provides quick insight into successes and challenges.  It is during this period where value leakage is at its height, and as time passes, it becomes more and more difficult to “re-track” an acquisition. 

For most EPM solutions, delivering this enhanced view of the business is often a matter of a few hours or days work, as the final M&A scenario is folded into the base corporate forecast, new hierarchies of information (geographies, product line structures, legal entities and reporting relationships) are documented and a new set of expectations and measures for the converged entity are quickly shared and tracked.  

To learn more about WG Consulting and our M&A services please visit our web site.

Related Posts

All Posts
Leveraging FP&A for Growth: Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial on the Being Planful Podcast

Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial discusses FP&A maturity, process vs tech, preparing FP&A today for what’s coming tomorrow, upskilling, and more....

Read More
All Posts
How to Create All the Scenarios You Need. Fast, Accurate and Actionable.

Scenario analysis has taken on a whole new meaning these days. COVID-19 pushed companies into chaos, and the continuing uncertainty makes planning especially difficult. In the process, the playbook we’ve all used over the past decade or two has been rendered virtually useless. The impact of the pandemic, along with the transition to working from ....

Read More
FP&A Platforms
Want to learn something new?

Wise Up Wednesdays is a weekly 30-minute how-to live tutorial session presented by top finance practitioners and thought leaders in the EPM space. Each week, we’ll Planful a different speaker and topic to present best practices, tips, and a live demo on a specific topic....

Read More
Using EPM and ERP to Improve Business Performance

Using EPM and ERP to Improve Business Performance

As a business grows, it becomes increasingly challenging to manage the finances and business processes, particularly if you're relying on outdated systems like spreadsheets.

Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can help to facilitate business processes by enabling you to manage and automate many business tasks from a single, consolidated software application. In turn, not only will your business achieve greater efficiency, but you can enhance business performance and the accuracy of planning and reporting.

How Do EPM and ERP Systems Work?

EPM and ERP systems both have the ability to greatly simplify business processes. EPM software allows you to monitor business performance across your entire enterprise, enabling you to consolidate data from all departments, access analytics to improve business decision making, create rolling forecasts which improve the accuracy of forecasting, and more. ERP systems allow you to process all transactions and track all resources for a company, offering an efficient and organized method that can keep you on top of business finances.

How Can EPM and ERP Systems Improve Business Performance?

While both software applications are beneficial on their own, when integrated together, a business can fully optimize financial and business management to achieve the best results. The ERP software works to keep track of all resources from the time of purchase, through the production phase, and after the resources are sold.

Since EPM software is largely used for financial reporting and planning, allowing you to create forecasts and manage budget allocation, it helps to integrate ERP data, as well as data from HCM and CRM systems into the EPM applications. In doing so, you’ll have all data pertaining to company finances and resources in a single platform, which will eliminate oversights and errors when it comes to generating financial and operational forecasts.

EPM and ERP

Integrating the software programs can provide additional benefits as well, such as:

  • Providing a single source of truth: The key to achieving accuracy in forecasting is by ensuring all data utilized is accurate, complete, and up to date. If you’re manually pulling data from different sources, you risk copying data incorrectly, thus decreasing the reliability of the forecasts. Your ERP and EPM systems can work together to ensure all relevant business data is in a single location, so all forecasts will be based on current and complete datasets.
  • Improving efficiency: Both EPM and ERP software applications can greatly improve efficiency. They’ll enable your team to decrease their reliance on spreadsheets, which entail tedious and drawn out processes. Instead, you can streamline the business processes by managing all aspects of the budget cycle and resource planning from a single platform.
  • Eliminating manual errors: The key to achieving optimal business efficiency is by automating any menial task associated with business processes. Both EPM and ERP enable you to automate a wide range of tasks. Not only does this drastically improve efficiency, but it eliminates manual errors, allowing you to achieve greater accuracy and improve business performance.

Both EPM and ERP software applications are hugely beneficial to businesses, but a business can gain the most benefit by integrating the systems together. EPM solutions are strategic. They can integrate data from multiple ERPs, which can be useful in helping the organization strategize, model, plan, consolidate results, report to internal and external stakeholders, analyze the results – then model and re-plan as needed. The ERP system is more operational; it makes the day-to-day management of resources easier. At the same time, the EPM software can pull from that data to handle period management and financial reporting and create more accurate financial forecasts.

Want to learn more about the benefits of utilizing EPM and ERP software together? Read the whitepaper, Whitepaper: Best Practices: ERP and Enterprise Performance Management.

Download the Whitepaper

Related Posts

All Posts
Leveraging FP&A for Growth: Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial on the Being Planful Podcast

Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial discusses FP&A maturity, process vs tech, preparing FP&A today for what’s coming tomorrow, upskilling, and more....

Read More
All Posts
How to Create All the Scenarios You Need. Fast, Accurate and Actionable.

Scenario analysis has taken on a whole new meaning these days. COVID-19 pushed companies into chaos, and the continuing uncertainty makes planning especially difficult. In the process, the playbook we’ve all used over the past decade or two has been rendered virtually useless. The impact of the pandemic, along with the transition to working from ....

Read More
FP&A Platforms
Want to learn something new?

Wise Up Wednesdays is a weekly 30-minute how-to live tutorial session presented by top finance practitioners and thought leaders in the EPM space. Each week, we’ll Planful a different speaker and topic to present best practices, tips, and a live demo on a specific topic....

Read More
Improving M&A Success and Increasing Value with EPM – Part 1

Improving M&A Success and Increasing Value with EPM – Part 1

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are a common tool used by companies to position themselves to take advantage of market conditions, realign assets, or manage financial obligations.

In 2015, Bloomberg estimates there were over $3.8 TRILLION in M&A transactions.  For the US market, especially for companies with strong balance sheets in areas including the broad Energy sector as well as Manufacturing & Services, there is an expectation that M&A (or Acquisition & Divestitures for those focused on asset only trsansactions) will be at an all-time high as struggling companies look to avoid bankruptcy, strong market players consolidate their market share and new Private Equity money comes into the market to build new, lean competitors by funding, acquiring and restructuring existing, overleveraged firms.

Avoiding Failure

The failure rate of M&A transactions is estimated by the Harvard Business Review to be between 70% and 90%. Among the primary reasons cited for this are Culture, Due Diligence failures, and unreaslistic “Synergies”.  A study by Bain and Co. identified the top 2 causes as being errors in Due Diligence, and unrealistic “Synergy” expectations.  Looking at the WG Acquisition Planning and Merger Integration Process below, we can see these fundamental mistakes can happen as early as “Target Identification & Planning” and become fundamental to the deal’s valuation by the time “Operational Due Diligence & Integration Requirements” are complete.

MA_integration_process

Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) as a discipline supported by tools, dramatically improves M&A transaction success rates by quickly delivering the fact based business scenarios that give management the real information needed to understand the impact of their assumptions, understand the range of possible performance based on key market drivers and carry that plan forward into the consolidated entity with “day 1” visibility into operational execution and improvement possibilities.  With this greater grasp of the facts, management can also more effectively address the softer sides of M&A like cultural and management alignment, your culture is what your results reveal.

What is Enterprise Performance Management?

Enterprise Performance Management or “EPM” is a way of doing business that creates an information-centric business management culture. Focused on setting goals. Monitoring operations and optimizing performance, EPM solutions deliver significant benefits including:

  • One Version of the Truth: A single set of numbers from a single source that are the basis for all discussions and decisions across the enterprise
  • Dynamic Business Behavior: With the ability to integrate information from operational and financial systems and sources, EPM solutions provide daily insights used to course adjust a business when changes can still make a difference.
  • Operational and Financial Views: Operations and Finance often look at the same data through different filters.  EPM solutions establish a single set of data but still allows finance and operations professionals to operate on it in their context, rather than learning each other’s “language”.
  • Broad Information Visibility: EPM solutions are affordable and usually “web accessed”, which provides access form a range of mobile devices like tablets and phones.  This allows managers at all levels to share a view of performance consistent with their responsibilities.

Historically limited to Finance or FP&A functions, today’s EPM encompasses a broad set of corporate functions to deliver a truly Enterprise view of performance while providing a broad set of analytics to rapidly perform “root cause” analysis and business optimization. 

EPM Changes the Game in M&A

How does EPM change M&A?  First, Enterprise Performance Management is not a tool, it is a fundamental cultural value of a company, a commitment to precise, fact-based analysis.  In Mergers and Acquisitions, Valuation is based on a set of assumptions, and most M&A processes execute 2-3 different “scenarios” designed to test boundary conditions and key assumptions.  For example,

  • A Power Generation Acquisition: Driven off the price of a megawatt of electricity in various markets as well as the cost of fuel and assumptions around pollution remediation expenses caused by possible environmental regulations.
  • A Transportation Acquisition: Driven from the cost of gasoline and assumptions about “synergies” from consolidating maintenance and distribution facilities or the average capacity utilization of each truck by consolidating routes and trips.

No matter the industry, the ability to create and iterate these models and then capture them for use in post-merger management is key to not only understanding the influences on success, but also to identifying the key management points to monitor after the transaction closes

Winners in the M&A space undertake the process with speed and confidence, backed by the pricing precision and ability to quickly run scenarios that that only EPM, and supporting technology platforms, deliver.  In today’s fast moving world, the ability to quickly and accurately value, negotiate and close can be the difference between success and failure.

In part 2 of this series, I’ll review how EPM solutions help in the M&A planning and integration process.  To learn more about the services offered by WG Consulting, please visit our web site.

Related Posts

All Posts
Leveraging FP&A for Growth: Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial on the Being Planful Podcast

Carl Seidman of Seidman Financial discusses FP&A maturity, process vs tech, preparing FP&A today for what’s coming tomorrow, upskilling, and more....

Read More
All Posts
How to Create All the Scenarios You Need. Fast, Accurate and Actionable.

Scenario analysis has taken on a whole new meaning these days. COVID-19 pushed companies into chaos, and the continuing uncertainty makes planning especially difficult. In the process, the playbook we’ve all used over the past decade or two has been rendered virtually useless. The impact of the pandemic, along with the transition to working from ....

Read More
FP&A Platforms
Want to learn something new?

Wise Up Wednesdays is a weekly 30-minute how-to live tutorial session presented by top finance practitioners and thought leaders in the EPM space. Each week, we’ll Planful a different speaker and topic to present best practices, tips, and a live demo on a specific topic....

Read More
On-Premises Versus Cloud-Based EPM Software: Which Is Right for You?

On-Premises Versus Cloud-Based EPM Software: Which Is Right for You?

You've decided that spreadsheets are no longer sufficient for budgeting and forecasting, and you've gone off in search of a better method.

Cloud-based software

Having decided to invest in enterprise performance management software (EPM), you’re now left with the pressing choice of whether to implement on-premises or cloud-based software. Before investing in a software platform, you need to determine the platform that’s best for your business today – and in the future.  You need to take into account the expected growth in your business and changes in complexity.  And you need to consider the availability of IT resources to support your system.

The Limitations of On-Premises Software

On-premises EPM software is certainly an improvement from spreadsheets. It offers a centralized database, process management and tools which can increase the accuracy of your plans and forecasts. Nonetheless, it does present a number of limitations.

1. The implementation process: On-premises software is costlier than cloud-based software, which is further complicated by the time-consuming and tedious implementation process. Implementation of on-premises EPM software ranges from 6 to 12 months, which delays your time to benefit.

2. Reduced autonomy: With on-premises EPM, you’ll be relying on your IT department to implement and maintain the software, which results in decreased autonomy and increased costs of management.

3. Maintenance: Maintaining on-premises software is inevitably time-consuming. You need to apply patches and manage release updates of the software manually, which can be costly and consume more IT resources.

4. Decreased accessibility: With on-premises software, all employees have to be connected to the corporate network or have VPN access to connect to the software, which inevitably constrains the locational flexibility of the technology.

Though on-premises software will provide you with more control and accuracy than spreadsheets, many companies are finding that it doesn’t provide the the flexibility and agility that growing businesses need.

Cloud-Based Software Can Help Your Business Grow

Cloud based software

Cloud-based EPM software can solve all of the same problems as on-premisese software, while providing you with more agility and value than an on-premises software. Cloud-based EPM software eliminates connectivity problems by being accessible from any location and across all devices. It’s also much faster to implement, allowing your business to leverage EPM technology within 3 to 6 months, so your business can transition more quickly. Cloud-based EPM software provides your business with greater autonomy by eliminating your reliance on internal IT, instead being managed completely in the cloud.

Both implementation and maintenance costs are reduced with the cloud, so your company can allocate your funds to more critical areas of business. Security is also enhanced, as you will eliminate on-premises data loss and enhance your disaster recovery plan. Another key benefit of cloud-based EPM is that it gives you continual access to the latest software updates. New updates are added typically quarterly, and these updates are automatic, eliminating the need to purchase or install updated software applications.

When switching from spreadsheets to EPM software, your business needs to determine whether on-premises or cloud solutions are a better fit. On-premises software is rapidly becoming outdated, since the cloud provides all the same functions with a lower cost of ownership and easier maintenance. For growing businesses, the cloud offers an ideal platform for storing and managing company data, while improving the efficiency of your business.

To learn more about the advantages of cloud-based EPM software check out our free white paper “EPM in the Cloud”.

Download the White Paper

Related Posts

All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 41 I Planful...

Read More
All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 41 I Planful...

Read More
All Posts
Constellation ShortList™: Planful Named for Ninth Consecutive Year

Planful has been named—for the ninth consecutive year—to the prestigious Constellation ShortList™ for Cloud-Based Planning Platforms in Q1 2021. This report identifies the top planning platform vendors based on technology investment, use cases, strategic vision, customer value, executive leadership and price.  Download the Constellation Shortlist™ to see why Planful made the list. We’re incredibly excited ....

Read More
Planful World 2016 Keynote: Steve Young’s Lessons From the Gridiron

Planful World 2016 Keynote: Steve Young’s Lessons From the Gridiron

Day 2 of Planful World 2016 kicked off with an inspiring keynote speech by former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Steve Young

Steve Young is best known for his achievements as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. To name a few:

  • Third-Highest Passer Rating, Career — 96.8
  • Most TD Passes in one Super Bowl — 6
  • Most Rushing Touchdowns by a QB, Career — 43

And yet, to hear him tell it, Young, Wednesday’s keynote speaker at Planful World 2016 was on the verge of failure for much of his early football career.  From a failed stint in the USFL to two seasons with the cellar-dwelling Tampa Bay Buccaneers – followed by four years of playing backup to Joe Montana, Young says he battled growing frustration in what should have been the formative years of his career. Gaining perspective helped him reverse the trend and become a Super Bowl MVP.

What changed? The data, except that Young wasn’t pulling analytics from an EPM system but from the late Dr. Steven Covey, author of the highly-acclaimed and best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The two met on a plane in 1991 and struck up a conversation that Young summarized passionately from the stage.

“Steve, I’ve got to be honest with you: I travel the world looking for organizational platforms that allow people to find out how good they can get. I don’t see platforms like that very often, and when I see them I want to amplify them. I want to tell the world about these organizations that offer what I think every human being is looking for,” Young says, his voice rising to drive home the point to come. “I don’t know that I’ve seen a better one, in all my life, than the one you have. Do you want to see how good you could get?”

From that point on, Young says, everything changed. He spent the next two years under Montana absorbing as much as he could and putting up record performances. By 1994, Young was the 49ers’ starter and a dominant force on the field, throwing six touchdown passes in a 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. He’s spent many of the years since identifying the drivers of championship performance, two of which he introduced to the 800-plus attendees at his keynote.

HA_World_2016_Audience_for_Steve_Young_5-11-16.jpg

They are:

Integration. Not racial integration or data integration but life integration. Young credits the late Bill Walsh for this idea, saying that his former coach would open each training camp by declaring that the members of the team would “integrate” by getting to know each other on a deep and personal level. That, Young says, led to the trust required for excellence in tough situations. Businesses should be operating similarly. “Whether it’s finance and HR or the guys in sales — you know, the ones who are like wide receivers who catch the ball for a touchdown and spike it. Yeah, even them. On every level, we’ve got to break down the barriers that keep us apart,” Young says.

Accountability. Trust develops when teammates know they can depend on you to do your job. Making excuses when things go wrong won’t get you that. Instead, Young says, you need to be accountable. And not just to management but to everyone around you. To emphasize the point, Young described a method he’d developed for rallying the team after throwing an interception, or “finterception,” as he derisively refers to the act of throwing the ball to the wrong team at the wrong time — something he did 107 times during his 15-year NFL career. Instead of making an excuse in those instances, he’d instead take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. “It’s my fault,” Young would say. “But I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’ll go to the sidelines, we’ll get a drink of water, we’ll go back on the field, and we’re going to win the game. What do you say?” Each time the players would rally around him, and the wins they compiled as a team in spite of the setbacks and the “finterceptions” testifies to the power of remaining accountable.

Measuring for these two traits isn’t difficult, Young says. He does it all the time in his job as an NFL analyst. “Even if you don’t like football, watch the post-game press conferences. Watch the interviews,” Young says. Invariably, the players who are making excuses are the ones delivering forgettable performances and playing for forgettable teams. The ones who take responsibility for losses and poor performance, he says, are the champions in the making.

HA_World_2016_Steve_Young_huddling_5-11-16.jpg

“Whatever your Everest is, in life and in business, integration is real and so is accountability,” Young says, and he’s right. The data — a Super Bowl ring and a Hall of Fame NFL career, among other things — proves it.

Related Posts

All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 39 I Planful...

Read More
All Posts
Positively Planful: Meet Derek Mann

Meet one of Planful’s IT Systems support team members in this Positively Planful blog post....

Read More
All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 38 I Planful...

Read More
Planful Powers the Evolution of Finance with Spring16 Release

Planful Powers the Evolution of Finance with Spring16 Release

Well, Spring is finally here and so is Planful World.  And with that comes our second feature release of 2016 – our Spring16 release! 

This is the biggest release Planful has issued in a number of years.  It includes a new user experience that will make life easier for existing as well as new users.  This release also includes new features, improved analytics, enhanced performance and other goodies.   In case you couldn’t attend Planful World to hear about the Spring16 release in person, here are the highlights.

Re-Imagined User Experience

New_UI_Hierarchy_Mgmt.pngIn our last few releases, we’ve introduced incremental improvements in the user experience.  But in the Spring16 release we made a big leap forward. A reimagined, dynamic user interface now includes custom branding options, streamlined navigation features, and a more integrated platform experience. These enhancements are designed to work in concert to accelerate adoption by users of all skill levels and to shorten the time to value for customers.  In addition, the Spring16 release is browser-agnostic, allowing users a choice of virtually any browser and the flexibility to easily deploy to Windows or Mac OS environments.

Broader Productivity and Collaboration

We’ve made a number of investments in the Spring16 release to enable improved collaboration for users involved in the planning and reporting process.  For example, we’re providing embedded social collaboration capabilities (via Socialcast), which support in-context discussion threads around specific tasks within the system.  We are also providing the optional ability to integrate with popular third-party collaboration tools such as Slack, which is also a Planful customer.  This enables stronger internal partnerships across functions, better alignment of finance and operations, and faster more efficient planning and reporting cycles.

In this release, we are also introducing integrations with Google for Work, to make it even easier for teams to collaborate around planning and reporting tasks using Google Sheets and Google Drive. These are popular tools for companies that have embraced a 100% cloud approach for all of their business applications. 

Improved Reporting and Analysis

In the Spring16 release we are introducting new Dynamic Reporting functionality for workforce analytics that extends users’ ability analyze and understand workforce related data, and to create ad hoc reports against this data.  

Qlik_Hi_Res_Dashboard_2.pngBased on the previously-announced partnership with Qlik, Planful is now beta testing a new analytics module which enables speed-of-thought data discovery, visualization and dashboards against Planful’ data and other sources through web browsers and mobile devices.  We’ll be demonstrating these capabilities at Planful World, and more information about this will be available as we get closer to making these new capabilities generally available in the next few months.

Increased Performance

The ability to handle larger deployments and ever-growing datasets with speed and scale is critical to staying competitive in today’s market. Planful has introduced performance enhancements in many of our recent releases, but the Spring16 release takes it to a new level. Extended in-memory processing now provides customers with unprecedented improvements in performance, with many benchmarks delivering increases of up to 50% to 90% across various planning and reporting scenarios. Additionally, the ability to load, process and interrogate larger more complex data sets are also now available through the implementation of incremental updates and loading. This has cut data load times by up to 80% in many scenarios and has simplified the data management process.

Enhanced Functionality

No release would be complete without addressing some new feature requests for customers.  The Spring16 release includes a number of customer-requested feature enhancements including simplified Planning templates, 13 period support for Consolidations, and the ability to support multiple sets of books for USGAAP and IFRS reporting.  The Modeling module has also been enhanced with scheduler-based automation for data integration, Excel 2016 support, as well as detailed audit logs.  These new features will enable customers to address more complex planning, reporting and modeling requirements with ease.  

Seamless Data Integration

And last, but not least, we’ve made some improvements to our data integration capabilities.  In order to enable tighter integration of EPM and ERP applications, the Spring16 release introduces real-time Dell Boomi Connectors as well as “Built for NetSuite” certification of our NetSuite ERP integration.

Spring16 has Sprung!

As you can see the Spring16 release of Planful EPM Platform is truly a blockbuster.  While this release may sound overwhelming to existing users, early customer feedback on the new user experience has been very positive.  Here’s one example from DeeAnne McClenahan at Greystar:

“The improved user interface for Planful Cloud EPM Platform will make it easier for new users to learn and navigate the system,” said DeeAnne McClenahan, Senior Director, Property Budgeting at Greystar.  “We are also excited about the ability to incorporate our company logo and branding into the system to make it more familiar to our users.”

Here’s a comment from Rick Odom at Welch Allyn about the new Dynamic Reporting for workforce analytics capability:

“A company’s workforce it almost always its largest expense and biggest asset.  Workforce Planning is critical to managing this significant expense and the new dynamic reporting for workforce analytics capability from Planful makes this even more valuable by providing better insights into our workforce data,” said Rick Odom, Sr. Manager – Financial Planning & Analysis at Welch Allyn, Inc.  “Because it is now much more user friendly, we can roll it out to more users and broaden its use as a solid tool to manage our workforce.  We appreciate the renewed emphasis in this area and look forward to additional future improvements.”

I hope to see many of our customers at Planful World, where you’ll have many opportunities to learn more about the Spring ’16 release.  But if you can’t attend, there will be other opportunities to get more details about the release. 

If you’re an existing customer and want to find out more, you can view the full release notes in our online help and discuss these new enhancements via our Customer Community.  You can also attend our May 25th Wednesday with the Experts session to get more information.

Related Posts

All Posts
Leading with Customer Success: Why Nucleus Research Named Planful a Value Matrix Leader

Planful’s continuing product innovations and resulting customer success keep us in the Leader quadrant for the eighth year in a row. Learn why our customers have such fast time to value....

Read More
All Posts
Fall20 Gives You More of What You Need Most

%%excerpt%% Advanced Workforce Planning features, enhanced Dynamic Planning, and more. See what else you can expect in Planful’s Fall20 release....

Read More
All Posts
Dynamic Collaboration: Changing How FP&A Works

We update our products each month to ensure that our customers are always benefiting from the latest features. In each release we enhance existing capabilities, add new features, and make upgrades behind the scenes to improve speed and performance. But before these upgrades hit your application, we talk with customers and use that feedback in ....

Read More
How Businesses Can Shorten the Financial Close and Maintain Accuracy

How Businesses Can Shorten the Financial Close and Maintain Accuracy

Many businesses feel the burden of elongated period-end closing and reporting cycles.

fast close

They are tedious and time-consuming, while distracting employees from other pressing tasks. Typically, as technology advances, businesses find more efficient methods of conquering the same tasks. Yet, puzzlingly, a benchmark research report entitled “Trends in Developing the Fast, Clean Close” discovered that businesses are spending more time on closing now than they were five years ago.

Why Are Fast Closing Times Important?

Fast closing times can benefit businesses by improving resource and labor allocation and optimizing the efficiency of the organization. As a result, employees will be able to allocate their time more effectively, focusing more of their energy on tasks of higher value to the operation. Fast close times can also improve the agility and response times of an organization. Since managers can review the results of the close more quickly, they’ll be able to respond more punctually to business opportunities, providing greater potential for business growth.

How Can Businesses Achieve Faster Close Times?

Fast closing times are undoubtedly critical to the efficient operation of a company. Yet, streamlining the closing cycle can seem like a daunting task. The key is finding the right software program that will manage all aspects of the closing cycle, while streamlining business processes to ensure optimal efficiency. When seeking a software application, you need to spend ample time ensuring the software possesses all of the features needed to support swift close times, while still guaranteeing a high level of accuracy.

Some important qualities to consider include:

  • The software package can integrate data from a number of sources such as ERP, HCM, CRM and other systems, either on-premises or in the cloud
  • The software utilizes workflow management to streamline the entire process.
  • The software is cloud-based, so it can be accessed anytime, anywhere on a variety of browsers and devices including Windows or Mac PCs or tablets.
  • The software is offered through a reputable vendor with a history of satisfied customers.
  • The software is easy to use, utilizing an intuitive layout that can be quickly mastered by the finance department.
  • The software offers efficient implementation and a low cost of ownership.

There are a lot of CPM and EPM software applications designed to improve financial close workflow. However, you need to ensure the software is cloud-based and purchased from a highly reputable vendor with an impeccable track record of customer success. And now, cloud-based software is becoming the preferred approach for many companies, given the time to value and cost of ownership advantages it offers.

Why Is the Cloud So Important?

Many companies operate numerous branches, conduct business travel, work remotely, and conduct field work, meaning the modern business is rarely stationary. You need a software application that’s as flexible and mobile as your business model. A cloud-based platform allows employees to access the software anytime, anywhere on all of their devices, so their ability to work is never limited geographically. The cloud also allows for a more efficient implementation, while reducing cost of ownership and eliminating the need for installing updates, making it the most cost-effective and efficient solution.

Businesses are spending more time on closing than they were five years ago, which is a major red flag that their business processes need an overhaul. With rapid close times, businesses can conserve financial resources while utilizing labor more efficiently. A cloud-based EPM software solution can facilitate all aspects of financial close workflow, consolidating finance and operational results into a single platform. It will allow businesses to drastically decrease the length of closing and reporting, thus optimizing the efficiency of their company.

To learn more, download the free white paper “The Fast Close Imperative.”

Download the Free White Paper

Related Posts

Consolidation
Achieving the Elusive Zero-Day Close

Achieving a zero-day close isn’t as elusive as it may seem. See how to reduce your time to close from weeks to a matter of days with a well-configured EPM....

Read More
Budgeting
6 Ways Consolidation Functionality Can Transform Planning

A recent white paper written by BPM Partners highlights the value of financial consolidation functionality in the budgeting and planning process....

Read More
Consolidation
Moving Financial Consolidation and Reporting to the Cloud – Webinar Recap

Is your financial close process fast and efficient? Or are you struggling through an extended process with spreadsheets, email, or legacy applications? Planful held a webinar focused on how you can automate and accelerate the financial close, consolidation, and reporting process via the cloud....

Read More
Planful and Qlik:  Why Leaders Work Together

Planful and Qlik:  Why Leaders Work Together

Planful recently announced a strategic partnership with Qlik Technologies, a leader in visual analytics.  This is exciting news that will bring benefits to customers, partners and employees of both companies.

This week I interviewed Planful’ CEO Dave Kellogg to get his take on the announcement.  Here’s what he had to say.

John:  Dave, can you talk about what was the driver behind this partnership?

Dave:  Well, as you know John, the enterprise software world is large.  According to Gartner, ERP is a $27B market.  Business Intelligence is a $16B market.  CRM is a $26B market.  And databases, that’s another $32B market thrown in.  In a world this large, it’s critical for successful vendors to be focused.  The mega vendors own the worst-of-breed, broad suites full of mediocre products, in a poorly integrated space.  That’s what they do.  For specialists the key is excellence.  And the key to excellence is focus.

Qlik Technologies is a leader in visual analytics – namely insight discovery, data visualization, and dashboards.  In fact, they invented and mainstreamed data discovery as a key subcategory of business intelligence (BI) and have built a company with a market valuation of $3B by focusing on excellence in this area.

Planful is focused on enterprise performance management (EPM) – which includes planning and budgeting, financial consolidations, reporting and modeling.  We’ve built ourselves into a market leader by helping finance organizations transform their processes, modernize their systems via the cloud, deliver better EPM solutions, and save themselves a lot of money in the process.

So when we at Planful went looking to beef up our discovery, visualization, and dashboard capabilities, we had the classical three strategic choices:

  • Make.  We could build our own.  But that seemed silly given that we’d be competing with established leaders and by definition offering our customers a second-class solution.
  • Buy.  We could find some small, unknown runner-up in the market and do in a “tuck in” acquisition.  Then we could try to force our customers to use a different, substandard product that our marketing department might declare “world class” simply because we bought it.  One of our competitors recently did this and we think another’s on the cusp.
  • Partner.  We could work with a market leader in the field, integrate and embed their technology with our own, and offer our customers truly world-class technology, integrated with their Planful system.

 We decided on door #3 – the best strategic choice and certainly the one that I’d want us to pick if I were a Planful customer.  Why would I want anything other than best-of-breed visual analytics with my best-of-breed cloud EPM platform?

John:  Great points Dave.  So when we decided to partner in this area, why did we specifically select Qlik?

Dave:  There were four key reasons why we decided to partner with Qlik:

Reason 1 – Qlik offers the best, self-service data discovery capabilities in the market with high ease of use, so our customers can leverage it quickly.

Reason 2 – They have powerful, interactive data visualizations that enable meaningful decisions.  This is a great complement to the financial and operational reporting capabilities we already provide.

Reason 3 – Qlik provide excellent dashboards and story-telling capabilities, on any browser or mobile device.  So this provides our customers with maximum flexibility and choice.

And Reason 4 – Qlik’s leverage of in-memory technology.  Customers are going to love the speed-of-thought response time they will get from this solution.

John:  Sounds like a great complementary solution.  What are the main benefits for existing Qlik and Planful customers?

Dave:  We‘re excited to be announcing this partnership that goes beyond simply choosing Qlik as a supplier.  You see, markets leaders share focus as a value.  Qlik doesn’t want to be an EPM vendor any more than Planful wants to be a BI vendor.  But by working together we can offer our customers the best of both worlds in an integrated solution.

Whether you’re a Qlik customer wondering which EPM solution to use – oh, I should mention that Qlik themselves uses Planful for EPM – or a Planful customer looking for more powerful data discovery, visualization and dashboards, you should get excited about this announcement.  In fact, even if you’re not a customer of either company you should be excited about this announcement.  Because, for the first time, you will have a leading cloud EPM vendor offering, as part of its product line, a cloud-based visual analytics solution as part of its offering.

John:  I agree, this partnership should create great opportunities for everyone.  How can customers, and partners, learn more?

Dave:  As you know John, we’ll be working together on some market education in the coming weeks about the power and possibilities enabled by this partnership.  We’ll start that by participating at the Qlik Qonnections conference in Orlando this week, then build on it at Planful World a week later in San Francisco.  Then we’ll be running some webinars and events in the coming weeks and months.

John:  Thanks Dave.

So there you have the straight scoop from Dave Kellogg on the Planful partnership with Qlik.  And if you were wondering why leaders like us work together, the answer is – so we can stay focused, and deliver maximum value for our customers.  I look forward to sharing more information about the fruits of this partnership in the near future. 

Register for Planful World

Related Posts

All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 39 I Planful...

Read More
All Posts
Positively Planful: Meet Derek Mann

Meet one of Planful’s IT Systems support team members in this Positively Planful blog post....

Read More
All Posts
Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World: COVID-19 Resources for FP&A Professionals - Part 38 I Planful...

Read More