By Sean Johnson
It’s all about to change…
The world is always in a constant state of flux. It is human nature to always strive to be better and to improve the technologies and processes that drive our way of life. This behavior extends to our personal and working life. Obviously, the past 20 years have seen an incredible growth in our relationship with technology. Although one could argue that we have become more dependent on technology, I wouldn’t necessarily say that this dependency is the most dramatic aspect of the change, as we have relied on computers for many years prior to the 1990’s. To me, the biggest growth has been seen in our expectations of technology and our demands for accessibility (ie. We can never have enough data). In many cases (e.g. use of email, mobile phones, etc.) the corporate world has been at the forefront of these changes with the consumer world following in its footsteps. However, lately there has been a role-reversal, with consumers are driving the adoption of new technologies (e.g. iPads, Facebook, Twitter) that has left the corporations striving to keep up.
What about financial change?
Outside of the technical changes, corporations – and I would argue specifically the Office of Finance – has seen some incredibly impactful changes to the their day-to-day operations. In the past few years, the finance department has seen the introduction of new international filing regulations and controls, a greater focus on risk-aversion and risk-based planning and the move to more dynamic and adaptive budgeting models. And this is all on top of the technological changes that we have witnessed in the enterprise. The merging of these technological and operational changes have introduced some very demanding and unique requirements.
Although unique in the context of traditional software, these requirements are not unique to specific organizations. In fact, these requirements seem to span every size of business and every industry. Organizations need to be able to adapt to the changing financial climates across the globe. They need to be able to monitor the drivers that affect their bottom line and adjust accordingly before they begin to shift negatively. Organizations are demanding more insight into the metrics that drive their business, shifting from a DISCOVERY and REACTIVE world to a PREDICT and PREVENT paradigm.
What does this mean for you?
Informed decision-making requires access to all of their pertinent information in real-time and most importantly – at the right time. These decisions often need to be vetted with a wider group requiring collaboration and sharing with other stakeholders throughout the organization, and if necessary, these decisions may need to be adjusted accordingly. All of this needs to be accessible via multiple systems, including iPads and mobile devices. The LOBs and business units within the organization need to have the flexibility to introduce solutions geared specifically to meet their individual needs without the overhead of introducing a comprehensive IT project. These function-specific solutions need to complement their existing systems and need to be lightweight enough to be maintained by the business owners themselves.
These are the requirements that we have seen develop from the convergence of the operational and technological advancements in the Enterprise today. SAP’s
Analytics portfolio is at the forefront of solving these requirements with its suite of products. In fact, from a solutions perspective, SAP is the only vendor that can satisfy all of these needs.
How can SAP help?
For example, with our SAP EPM Unwired Mobile client, we have provided a single interface that spans our BI, EPM on-premise and EPM OnDemand solutions. The SAP EPM Unwired client provides users with the ability to monitor their key corporate metrics, analyze the underlying data and adjust their plans accordingly, all from within a single iPad application.
Fig.1 – Screenshots of SAP EPM Unwired
It is important to determine how you wish to approach change, both from an individual and corporate perspective.
Here at SAP, we have chosen to embrace it openly and seize the opportunities that are offered by the changing landscape. For years now, we have focused on the 3 pillars of Mobile, Cloud and Big Data as our product mantra. This strategy has positioned us as the key vendor, and I would argue ONLY vendor to meet the needs of the “new” Enterprise. For the Office of Finance, it is time to take advantage of these enhancements in our Enterprise Performance Management solution set to help your organization adapt to these changing times. One thing is certain, as the great Bob Dylan has professed: