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How EPM Is Like Golf

How EPM Is Like Golf

Recently I received a detailed critique of the underlying technology components of BPC in the form of a comment to one of my blog posts. At first, I chuckled at the response, and wanted to respond with a blog post entitled, “Things No CFO Said…Ever”, but then I thought just how sadly prevalent some of the beliefs are in the EPM ecosystem.

7 Deadly Sins of a BPC Implementation

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I have had the pleasure of being involved with at least 100 BPC (OLAP) deployments over the past two decades in some role or another. I wanted to share what I believe are the 7 Deadly Sins of a BPC Implementation.  Over the past 9 months I have been speaking with new clients to my organization who have had prior experience with another firm claiming to understand BPC.   Seventy-five percent (75%) of these discussions involved most, if not all of the aspects described below.

Spreadsheets to BPC/EPM 10: A Quantum Leap

Leap to BPC!It’s the corporation’s latest planning/forecast/budget cycle, and you’re responsible for putting together the consolidated reports for the executive review meetings.  The analysts in Europe, Asia, North America and South America have sent you their Excel spreadsheets, which have been reviewed and revised according to their local management review meetings.  Their regional financial managers will be participating in the executive review meetings, and presenting their region’s forecast. 

The PowerPoint reporting package for the executive review meeting will consist of income statements, capital spending reports and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  Comments will be included, and there will be slides/reports at the region and total corporate level.  You have spent hours copying the Excel “reports” and pasting them into the PowerPoint slides.  Also, in order to produce the numbers for the region and total corporate reports, you had to combine the multiple Excel spreadsheets from the site analysts.  This included calculating the KPIs at the region and corporate levels.  You finally have everything ready for tomorrow’s first executive review meeting, although it’s 9:15 PM and you’re still at the office.

Considerations in Upgrading to SAP BPC v10

Considering a BPC Upgrade?

This week has been somewhat of a client reunion week in that three of our clients from the “OutlookSoft” days are looking at upgrading to BPC v10.  Enough to where I had three meetings that felt like one topic three times over. That makes me believe there are other SAP BPC clients out there who could benefit from this information. This article is for any existing SAP BPC client who is not currently on v10.

SAP BPC: What is the Right Amount of Time for a Design?

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The business blueprint is arguably the most important – and most complex – document that is delivered during an implementation.  But how much time should be allotted to this phase?

Evaluating EPM? Where to Start Without Hiring a Consultant!

path resized 600It’s no accident that Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) ranks at the top of nearly every survey that evaluates CFOs’ priorities. The role of the CFO has been expanding for years with acknowledgement that the business needs a strategic partner in every decision that is being made across the enterprise. More often than not, corporate decisions are evaluated on the basis of impact to profitability. It’s widely accepted that the more sophisticated (based on detailed data, organizationally comprehensive, and market relevant timeliness) the analysis that can be provided to influence the quality of how decisions are made, the better. Sophisticated analysis when making decisions requires sophisticated solutions (technology, skills, and processes). But how does a CFO start to improve this capability in their organization?

If a problem with the outputs of the process is suspected, savvy CFOs will reach out to trusted advisers, peers, and vendors to see what offerings may be appropriate to help yield an improved process. But this is, in my opinion, where the problems start.

How Can Project Management Help You?

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Project management is often viewed as an unnecessary expense and its value is unfortunately overlooked. To help make the right decision for your project, it is important to look at what project management is, what benefits it provides, and how it fits in the overall project. A six month project that goes over the original timeline by one month represents a 16% overage. Adding 10% to the overall project cost up front for Project Management may help reduce that overage or cut it altogether. Also, a 16% overage can have other negative effects on the company because it may delay other projects (the resources are tied up) and as a result, additional revenue may be lost. Therefore, it is important to find the right mix for a successful project between added cost and benefits.

Where Do You Go to Find Answers to Your BPC Questions?

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I was on a sales call recently with a current BPC customer who is about to embark on an upgrade to BPC 10.0 for the NetWeaver platform. The customer had recently implemented BPC v7.5 and was expressing their frustration with having to move to v10.0 and learn the new way to write reports after just spending a lot of time and money on implementing v7.5. Had they known that v10.0 was coming so soon they might have done things differently. This got me thinking about how many times I’ve encountered customers in similar situations. The situation being that you don’t know what you don’t know. Whether it is not knowing about the BPC roadmap or the vast community of BPC users exchanging ideas and supporting each other on the SAP forums, there is ton of information and resources available to a BPC customer.  A great starting point is Column5’s own website (I have to plug my own company) where you can find info on BPC via our blogs, demos, webcasts, case studies and more at In addition to Column5’s website, BPC information is available from SAP. The challenge is finding it as it as the information is spread across several different sites and portals. A friend and former colleague of mine at SAP, Jens Koerner, wrote a very useful blog that outlines all of the information available from SAP with links directly to the content so rather than recreate what he’s already done I will simply share a link to his original blog here

Project Tracking Percent Complete vs Time Remaining

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Recall your last few project status meetings. The project manager reviews the open tasks and asks for progress. The technical team reviews and responds with answers such as 50% complete, 90% complete, 34.7% complete, etc, etc, etc……. but what does it all mean?

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?

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