How Enterprise Performance Management Supports Operational Excellence

Today’s businesses are subject to increasingly competitive cost pressures, global operating complexities and, in many cases, ever-more stringent compliance requirements. The C-suite has its work cut out for it. At this level, decisions must be carefully weighed and risks mitigated.

This is why there is a growing number of stories about how enterprise performance management (EPM) tools are changing the way senior finance executives lead their organizations. The more often leaders can base their decisions on data—including historical, current and predictive views of business operations—the better.

But how do you identify the potential gains EPM can bring to your organization and then make them a reality? Here are the first steps:

  1. Begin with a benchmark. Determining where you stand may be the single most important act for capturing value from an EPM solution. Your benchmark should include enough detail to evaluate how you stack up in the market and which business outcomes are below expectations.
  2. Build a collaborative and cross-functional team of key stakeholders from across the business who can ask the right questions and who have “skin in the game.” The CFO will need operational inputs, case studies and proofs of value to evaluate EPM spend and create buy-in for an EPM implementation.
  3. Create a timeline that includes reassessments and extends beyond deployment. Note that real value from EPM comes with an ongoing program approach that is built on the premise of continuous improvement and careful integration with your strategic plan and operational goals.
  4. Emphasize process, quality and best practices. Align business units that may have been historically siloed (including operations, IT, sales and finance) to get a common view of business results. Inclusion, communication and clear goals will aid in smoothing an EPM roll-out as well as achieving return on investment.
  5. During solution exploration, vendor selection, planning and other stages of the EPM journey, the CFO should serve both as the steward of financial processes and as the company’s champion of the program. Organizations that successfully implement EPM will have a CFO and a finance team that possess literacy as well as numeracy. They will be able to translate financial results into what they mean to the business, advocate for changes to reshape processes, activities or goals and highlight challenge areas with planned corrective actions. Though this may sound easy in theory, it can be tricky to put into practice while balancing day-to-day responsibilities and building a high-functioning team that spans the organization.

Contact me directly to discuss how ISG can help transform your business.

About the author

Ms. Schultz brings over 20 years of demonstrated experience to ISG clients. She advises global clients on strategy, contracting transactions, operating models, sourcing, customer service, marketing, leadership, change management, governance, and technology services while providing expertise in evaluating, negotiating and implementing IT and BPO agreements across various industries.