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Business Intelligence: A Core Business Competency

Column5 Business IntelligenceEconomic challenges are all around today’s market. We hear about struggling companies that are suffering from poor performance. We know that companies don’t exactly come with manuals for the CEO to reference when things aren’t going well. In the past, conventional wisdom was to focus on the core money making operations of the enterprise. A car manufacturer that also dabbles in satellite technology, a TV manufacturer that also makes laptops, and newspaper that also owns real estate are examples of companies that, when times get difficult, have decided to dump ventures not aligned with the company’s core competencies. That’s what makes Gartner’s assessment (Business Intelligence: A Core Business Competency) extremely important.

Regardless of what a given company makes, BI (which includes EPM), should be a core competency. That is to say, whatever the key money making operation, an equivalent priority should be the business intelligence capability of the organization. Why?

Why Replace a Working Spreadsheet Based Forecasting Model with SAP BPC?

Spreadsheets vs. BPCSAP BPC forecasting model implementations frequently replace existing spreadsheet forecasting models.  A key question to be asked when implementing SAP BPC is to consider how it will improve a forecasting process that works and therefore justify the disruption the change may involve and the expense, both internal and external.

The writer of this article is a qualified Management Accountant, who has built and worked with Excel spreadsheet forecasting models in a past accountancy life, and is now an SAP BPC functional consultant at Column5 Consulting.  The experiences gained from both lines of work have been drawn upon to analyse the benefits of replacing spreadsheet models with SAP BPC.

Meeting SLAs Before You Start Development


Without fail, every project I have ever worked on includes a requirement for input schedule or report performance. 

Budget and Forecast – Are They The Same?

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When we report on actual data we are clear what we are looking at: the data will have been taken from our transaction systems and will have been produced in agreement with generally accepted accounting standards.  It will represent the actual performance of the organisation. But when we look at budget or forecast data are we as clear what the data represents?

BPC Heaven vs. Excel Hell

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Way back in 2009 while I was working in the EPM practice at SAP I routinely cited a Gartner survey stating that 70% of organizations still relied on spreadsheets for their budgeting, planning and forecasting processes when speaking with customers or at events. Fast forward four years to 2013 and amazingly a new Aberdeen study found that a whopping 89% of organizations use spreadsheets for these processes! What gives? We've all heard over and over about the pitfalls of using spreadsheets for these processes, often referred to as “Excel Hell”.  The bottom line is that business users love spreadsheets for their ease of use and flexibility.  So how do we let business users continue to use their tool of choice AND have the qualities of a planning system such as security, workflow, common formulas and logic, a single source of data, multi-dimensional analysis, etc.?

EPM Value Is Exclusively The Client's Definition

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This is an old story we see all the time. A policeman happens upon a drunk frantically searching for something at the base of a streetlight. “Hello there, looking for something?” The drunk looks up, “Yesh Offisher, I lost my keysh in the park.” “In the park? Then why are you looking on this street corner?” says the confused cop. “The light is better here!” says the drunk.

EPM Hierarchical Planning, Forecasting and Reporting

Column5 EPM Academy

Column5's EPM Academy sets the industry standard in quality curriculum, with course content developed by top field experts on SAP products and delivered in a variety of formats.Software knowledge and skills are only as valuable as what's retained and applied in the real world. Column5's "360 Training Experience" ensures that your staff will not only develop good habits and acquire confidence while mastering the software—they'll build organizational enthusiasm for EPM that lasts long after implementation.

Within BPC Automatically Display Related Members

Column5 Technical Services

Column5 is the leading edge of Enterprise Performance Management and strives to provide technical tools which enable personal growth to benefit you and your organization. This blog will provide users high level functional help using dimension properties to automatically display related members

Ready For a Planning Cycle? 5 Actions BPC Owners Need To Do

EPM Column5 Annual Report

For many companies, its getting to be that time of year again. No, I am not talking about getting ready for Christmas decorating contests in the office...although that is not far off. I am talking about getting ready for the big annual plan.

How To Avoid User Error For Complex Solutions EPM

Column5 Fixing User Error

I was reading the newspaper recently and came across a story about a Spanish submarine that was constructed 70 tons too heavy. Officials didn't discover the problem until the submarine was nearly complete. Now they fear if they launch the sub it would be too heavy to resurface! How did this happen? The problem can be traced to a miscalculation — someone apparently put a decimal point in the wrong place. Ouch! Something as simple as a keying error resulted in a $2.7 billion dollar paper weight. Fortunately, engineers think they can enhance the sub to make it seaworthy but this story illustrates how costly user errors can be. Segue to the world of finance where roughly 70% of companies rely solely on Excel for planning, budgeting and forecasting and the stories of user error and resulting time loss may not be as astounding as an overweight submarine but are just as prevalent.

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