The biggest issue business users face is business deadlocks due to lack of IT support. You as a business user would have come across this situation –
• Businesses continuously change
• IT doesn’t understand the nuance of the change
• Business users can’t implement the changes
• Therefore, systems are months behind the business requirements
The below chart rightly portrays the above case
Dynamic modeling by business users
As seen above it is very important that business users are empowered to react to change and implement the change on their own. This is most critical for CPM solutions. When it comes to budgeting or variance analysis reporting or preparing for a strategy meeting, the needs of the users are very dynamic and many a times adhoc, and it is essential that the changes are modeled and implemented by the business users.
Let us take a deeper look at a budgeting example. Business users who co-ordinate the annual budgets would be very much interested in creating budgets in multiple scenarios to consider different business scenarios. This involves the following:
• Creating new products or customers and modeling the same into the scenario
• Modeling formulas and calculations to enable faster information gathering and analysis. One example would be to model volume mix variance or material yield variances, to analyze what is contributing to shortfall of actuals compared to budgets
• Model planning assumptions centrally to reduce tedious data entry pains for end users
• Managing the entire planning process by preparing schedules to get inputs from various line managers, distributing the same, consolidating the same, enabling review and approval of the budgets
• Managing security access for some of the organization or data level security e.g. specific accounts such as salary account, or specific departments
• Modelling a totally new planning application from an existing application with same set of data models, calculations and schedules – not having to rebuild applications from scratch.
Easy modeling environment
There is no doubt that spreadsheets have been the best option for dynamic modeling capabilities but we discussed in our earlier blog How are EPM solutions better than spreadsheets?, about issues on working with spreadsheets. So the users need easy modeling environments that can allow them to manage the above needs and overcoming the issues that comes across from spreadsheets. Eventually the goal is to allow business users to implement and model all the changes.
The vision of SAP CPM solution offerings is to enable the business user to own, model and maintain these solutions. This along with the advantage of integrations (refer Why EPM solution with integration to ERP and built in GRC are critical?),would enable the business user to implement business changes without dependencies on IT. SAP is focused in providing this enablement through current capabilities and future enhancements.