Enterprise Performance Management vs. Enterprise Resource Planning

It takes a lot of software to manage the operations of an enterprise, and two of the most useful and utilized are Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Let’s take a look at the difference between EPM and ERP.

While on the surface it may sound like these software systems overlap in terms of features and functionality, these are entirely separate types of systems. Which is most useful? Which is easier to implement? Which will deliver the most value for the expenditures of time, money, and effort?

Defining and Describing Enterprise Resource Planning

What is ERP? ERP is focused on transactional processing and coordinating the company’s resources, providing operational data to the organization.

Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, is a system that is designed to process transactions and keep track of the resources within an organization. For instance, Enterprise Resource Planning software tracks materials from the procurement phase through production to the paid-in-full deliverable product. ERP helps the organization determine the best ways to use given resources within the company on a day to day basis. ERP includes a general ledger which summarizes all of the details from other modules like purchasing, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. And it can perform some actual vs. budget reporting, so it does overlap EPM software in some areas of financial planning and decision making.

Defining and Describing Enterprise Performance Management

What is EPM? EPM supports the management processes that the enterprise can use to improve profits, and performance.

Enterprise Performance Management, or EPM, is an application suite designed to support management processes – planning, modeling, consolidation and reporting of data from single or multiple instances of ERP system software as well as analytics. It is generally driven by the finance department or CFO of the enterprise. An EPM system uses tools to monitor, analyze and manage the performance of the organization, particularly in terms of evaluating and allocating resources. It is used to help management optimize performance and get the most from its investments. Enterprise Performance Management software is designed to help the enterprise set goals, develop and execute plans and make changes needed through periodic reviews of results.

EPM assists the CFO and finance department in creating initial targets or budgets, and to coordinate planning across the organization. It allows for rapid, periodic collection of financial and operational results for fast and effective decision-making – weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. The right Enterprise Performance Management solutions are flexible and support modeling and advanced analytics, which can help the CFO and other executives perform “what if” analysis that improves decision-making. A good EPM solution will also make the financial auditing process much simpler and faster. So while there is some overlap with ERP, EPM is more strategic in nature and can work across multiple ERP systems.

The Differences Between EPM and ERP

ERP solutions can be very complex in nature. Despite the fact that an EPM system can work with multiple ERP integrations, (as well as HCM and CRM)  a cloud-based EPM system can be implemented in three months or less.  Most organizations start off by implementing an Accounting or ERP system to handle day to day transactions, and will often use Excel spreadsheets to manage EPM processes such as budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting.  However,  as the organization grows and expands, they quickly outgrow spreadsheets and will implement EPM applications as a replacement.

If an organization is considering an upgrade of its ERP and spreadsheet-based Enterprise Performance Management system, then implementing an EPM suite ahead of the ERP upgrade can be beneficial.  This approach provides a stable reporting and planning system before – during – and after the ERP upgrade.  Optimally, the enterprise will invest in both EPM software and ERP software to ensure they have solid transactional as well as management processes and systems.  See related blog article on this topic.

To learn more about ERP vs. EPM, or about utilizing EPM software and ERP software together, download the free white paper, “Best Practices: ERP and Enterprise Performance Management” today.

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