Global organizations are challenged now more than ever with the need to remain flexible and agile in today’s rapidly changing business environment. A strong foundation of transparent, accessible data is key – especially when facing frequent merger and acquisition (M&A) activity requiring detailed, complicated and time-consuming transactions.

Organizations need a unified corporate performance management (CPM) platform to stay nimble during these complex transactions and to ensure accuracy across financial close, consolidation, reporting and analysis. Faced with these challenges, Ingeteam decided to replace their outdated Oracle HFM and Essbase system to gain transparency in their data and unify their complex, outdated processes. Learn more about how Ingeteam selected the right CPM software for the job below.

 

Igniting Finance Transformation in a Global Technology Company

Corporate performance management in techology

Ingeteam is an international technology company specializing in the conversion of electrical energy. Ingeteam operates globally and has permanent sites in 24 countries, with more than 4,000 employees.  Its technological development in power and control electronics, rotating electrical machines, systems and operation and maintenance services, enables it to offer solutions for the wind, photovoltaic, hydroelectric and fossil generation sectors, the metal processing industry, the shipbuilding industry, railway traction and the electricity grid, including substations covering transport and distribution, that are always looking for more efficient energy generation and consumption.

Driving Efficiency Through Unification

Ingeteam was using Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and Essbase for financial consolidation and reporting, but the systems were not keeping up with Ingeteam’s rapidly-changing business requirements, such as recurrent business mergers, acquisitions and splits. Ingeteam decided to embark on finance transformation and implement a new solution to streamline the company’s complex financial processes and improve visibility and traceability of data for their reporting requirements for legal and management purposes.

Ingeteam needed to optimize the company’s existing data model, which was complex and contained many analytical dimensions, including some that were obsolete or had been reused for the new reporting purposes required. Additionally, the financial team also needed more autonomy to manage processes and master data. According to Aitor Barrondo, Global Accounting, Audit & Controlling Director at Ingeteam, “Ingeteam is a very dynamic company, hence the need for a more powerful and flexible platform that is easier to manage. After several sessions of contrasting needs with the potential of OneStream, Ingeteam were sure that they could achieve what they needed with OneStream and Nova CPM, and they could also incorporate complementary solutions through the OneStream MarketPlace at no additional cost.”

Implementing OneStream to Conquer Complexity

The selection process for a new solution was proposed as a joint project of the Management Systems and Administration & Finance Departments at Ingeteam. Together, the teams analyzed various CPM platforms with the help of its partner, Nova CPM, for its high degree of knowledge of Hyperion/HFM and expertise in the industry. When OneStream was first presented to Ingeteam, the company was challenged by the lack of references in the market as this project would be OneStream’s first implementation of financial consolidation in Spain. Ultimately, OneStream proved to be the best platform to handle Ingeteam’s complex requirements and with Nova as a OneStream certified partner, their passion and focus was compelling to Ingeteam and their future growth plans.

Said Barrondo, “Ingeteam is a very dynamic company, hence the need for a more powerful and flexible platform that is easier to manage. After several sessions of contrasting needs with the potential of OneStream, Ingeteam were sure that they could achieve what they needed with OneStream and Nova, and they could also incorporate complementary solutions through the OneStream MarketPlace at no additional cost.”

OneStream Finance Transformation

Unification with a Modern CPM Platform

OneStream has enabled Ingeteam to redesign and simplify their complex financial processes, unifying data management and automating manual, unnecessary processes within a streamlined, user-friendly system. Whereas users previously needed IT skills to analyze large volumes of data and extract historical data, with OneStream users can independently analyze information and view the source of the data easily at their convenience.

Financial consolidation processes have also been simplified, with a significant reduction in consolidation adjustments. Monthly calculations of the different target scenarios, forecasts and the extrapolation of monthly reporting that were previously performed in Excel are now integrated and standardized, avoiding the need for external calculations.

Data visibility has also improved through the dashboards developed in OneStream. Ingeteam reduced the manual maintenance of structures by integrating the maser data management with its systems for agile and automatic maintenance of the client structure. Users now are able to customize access to information based on the different user profiles. With OneStream, Ingeteam’s analytics are more advanced and provides access to the insights, efficiencies and improvements that the platform has brought to users’ daily lives.

Looking Ahead

The OneStream MarketPlace has allowed Ingeteam to extend their investment with targeted solutions that can be downloaded, configured and deployed within minutes.

“Thanks to the OneStream MarketPlace Parcel Service application, Ingeteam is able to launch all the reports for the month in just a few seconds, generating 90 documents in a few minutes, with all the KPIs of the Scorecard, for each entity, business, sector and segment. This is something that previously required the maintaining of a host of Excel templates, version management, and customizing the members that made up each structure, in a manual and inefficient process”, said Barrondo.

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To learn more about Ingeteam’s journey from Oracle Hyperion to OneStream, check out the case study and discover how OneStream streamlined the global company’s complex financial processes. If your organization is ready for a finance transformation, contact OneStream today.

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In today’s global economy, logistical and supply chain disruptions are part of the new normal. Economic slowdowns are challenging organisations to anticipate supply strains, constantly changing consumer demand, labor shortages, and logistical support. To overcome these challenges, organisations need to be armed with agile insights, streamlined processes, and real-time data to remain resilient.

With a unified corporate performance management (CPM) platform, organisations have access to critical financial and operational data to quickly address challenges through data-backed insights and scenario planning. In this blog post, learn how Toll Group, a global transportation and logistic company, turned to OneStream to streamline its outdated and disjointed financial processes and the efficiencies they gained through this digital transformation.

Problem Solving for Global Logistics and Distribution

Toll Group is a global logistics, distribution and freight forwarding business. As part of Japan Post, Toll Group has dual headquarters in Melbourne and Singapore with approximately 20,000 team members to help solve any logistics, transport, or global supply chain challenges. Toll Group supports more than 20,000 customers worldwide and operates across 500 sites in 25 countries, with an Asia Pacific focus and a forward network spanning 150 countries.

Streamlining a Complex EPM Landscape

Toll Group was challenged operating with an outdated and fragmented ERP landscape and using Oracle Hyperion and EPM Cloud applications for financial close, consolidation, reporting, budgeting and forecasting. This system was complex, disjointed and costly to maintain and support. As Oracle’s support for their existing version of Hyperion was ending, Toll Group decided to re-evaluate their options in search of a more strategic, streamlined and better-integrated CPM platform.

Toll’s goal was to have the statutory consolidation and reporting processes for all legal entities handled by a single group team in a single system. Unifying this process would allow  Group governance and oversight on compliance activities and results analysis, while enabling divisional team resources to focus on internal budgeting and forecasting performance reporting and local ledger reporting development.

Selecting OneStream as the Future of Finance

Toll Group OneStream Customer using Corporate performance management

Toll Group embarked on a market scan to investigate alternative solutions, with a key business requirement of having one common consolidation and reporting platform across the organisation to address complexity. They also wanted to move to the cloud with the goal of significantly streamlining the number of integrations and data mapping points that were contributing to their time-consuming and error-prone month-end reporting process.

After seeing a demo of the OneStream platform in action, Toll Group’s Finance team realised that a unified environment for consolidation, statutory reporting, management reporting and analysis could allow them to effectively address key business requirements. The Finance team saw firsthand how OneStream offered a wealth of additional functionality, with the capability to improve Toll’s operational processes and efficiencies now and the flexibility to address future challenges as the company grows.

With OneStream’s unified platform approach, cloud-based model and proven record of customer success, Toll Group decided to invest in OneStream as the future of finance. With the help of OneStream partner James & Monroe, Toll Group implemented OneStream for financial consolidation, statutory and management reporting, and budgeting and forecasting.

Following the initial implementation, Toll Group decided to further leverage the initial build by implementing a tax-effective accounting solution and enhancements to their budgeting and forecasting systems, including the addition of bottom-up models, guided workflows, FX model scenarios and a global logistics customer profitability model.

According to Peter Smith, Group Finance Manager at Toll Group, “OneStream allows us to seamlessly roll up our business units’ financial data to the group level. The unified platform and the budgeting and forecasting enhancements OneStream facilitated mean that each subsidiary can model their budget at the level of detail required for their subsidiary and make the results immediately available to Group Finance.”

Leading at Speed

Replacing their fragmented legacy systems with OneStream’s single, unified platform is already paying dividends for Toll Group through improved data quality, insight and process control. Through OneStream, Toll Group is able manage the reporting of all legal entity results on one system. Toll is also leveraging OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality® to standardise reporting and business unit budgeting and forecasting processes.

Toll Group has seen transformational effects and significant improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of reporting since implementing OneStream. OneStream’s automated processes have improved data quality, eliminating the need to manually handle massive amounts of data in Excel®. Additionally, Toll Group significantly reduced IT support costs and 3rd-party application support costs by migrating to OneStream’s cloud-based platform.

OneStream Customer Success using CPM platform

“Untangling our Oracle systems was challenging but OneStream provided the platform we needed to do it effectively. Moving to OneStream’s single, unified platform was a big change for the organisation to take on but all the business units are on-board with the benefits and are very happy with what has been delivered,” said Smith. “The fact that we can now trust the data in the system and all the organisation’s data is in one place and immediately visible when changes are made is a significant advantage. The delays we experienced with the legacy systems between the collection of data and the issuance of reports and analyses have been largely eliminated.”

Looking Ahead

Toll Group is evaluating additional initiatives to extend their investment in OneStream through both their core application and OneStream MarketPlace solutions. They are currently undertaking a pilot of OneStream’s Account Reconciliations & Transaction Matching MarketPlace solutions and investigating future implementations of capabilities including Cash Planning, Treasury schedules and registries, and tax compliance reporting.

Learn More

To learn more about Toll Group’s journey from Oracle Hyperion to OneStream, check out the case study and discover how OneStream unified the global organisation with powerful business insights. If your organisation is ready for a finance transformation, contact OneStream today.

Download the Case Study

As most Finance teams have experienced, static financial forecasts no longer work.  In a world where disruption and uncertainty have become the norm, Finance must instead work toward a forecasting process that enables scenario planning continuously.  How?  Traditional Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) teams must find opportunities to elevate toward an eXtended Planning and Analysis (xP&A) framework.  And FP&A can do so by finding unique ways to enable sales, supply chains, and HR groups with financial signals and operational insights to drive continuous collaboration and performance.

Financial Signaling Enables Intelligent Finance

To drive effective scenario planning, Finance teams must move ahead of the monthly reporting cycle of generating a forecast and only return at the end of the month to look where results didn’t track to the plan.  Why?  To remain competitive in a cut-throat, volatile market, businesses must continually track and assess results – and take action!  Finance teams can, for instance, make strategic decisions based on changes in supply and demand, labor shortages, high spot procurement rates, demand trends, economic factors, and any other factors that impact the business.

And with financial signaling (Figure 1), Finance teams can finally harness the vast amounts of daily and weekly transactional and operational data from across the organization. By deciphering the hidden signals with large volumes of data, FP&A teams can help guide operational leaders to take action midstream to impact the financials – all before month-end.

Account Reconciliation Applications
Figure 1: Financial signaling at work for daily, weekly, and monthly reporting

Key Considerations for Effective Financial Signaling

So financial signaling is important, sure, but how can an organization guarantee that the insights being gathered are accessible, reliable, and consumable?  After all, financial signaling doesn’t work when the process to generate and stitch the data together is too time-consuming and error-prone.  Financial signaling works best when the data is…

  1. Accessible: Finance must have access to data from a variety of sources.  If the system doesn’t enable multiple points of integration, then valuable data goes to waste.  A unified platform ensures that all critical data – internal or external, financial or operational –makes it into the system.  The data can then be used to monitor cash flow, profitability, manufacturing and purchasing trends, and so on.  A good example involves external data about seasonality trends or consumer data that change supply chain ordering habits.  Such data can help avoid costly inventory holding practices or too much unsold product due to changes in consumer purchasing habits.  With a unified platform, that data can be actionable sooner – before it impacts the P&L and balance sheet.
  2. Reliable: Once the data is brought into the system, having reliable data ensures data analysts aren’t wasting precious time cleaning and making sense of data from various sources.  Built-in financial intelligence enables better, faster insights.  How?  By allowing analysts to better spend their time analyzing data as opposed to cleaning and making sense of it.
  3. Consumable: What good is a treasure trove of data if it can’t be understood and turned into actionable insights?  A unified platform must provide consumable data for analysis by operational and financial analysts, executives, and line-of-business managers.  And it does so by providing data through interactive dashboards and configurable reports.

All these enablers allow for faster, more reliable signals to fuel effective scenario planning.  But all too often, time is wasted while stitching together data from various disparate sources and tools (see Figure 2) through points of manual integration.  And all of that adds risk, cost, and complexity to already-taxed Finance teams.

Account Reconciliation Applications
Figure 2: Connected but ununified systems that do not naturally work together without many points of manual integration

Conclusion

By enabling key business partners in Sales, Supply Chain, HR, and others with financial signaling, Finance teams can create a shared vision for xP&A (see Figure 3) and effective scenario planning.

Account Reconciliation Applications
Figure 3: Finance is at the core of xP&A

Finance teams can help their business partners respond to daily and weekly signals amid a continuously changing environment.  And finally, Finance has the unique opportunity to earn a seat at the strategy table to help drive performance across the P&L, impact cash and move the business forward.

At OneStream, we call this Intelligent Finance.

Learn More

Want to learn more about how financial signaling enables Intelligent Finance in the financial forecasting process?  Check out our solution brief on financial signaling.

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Ensuring the availability, confidentiality, and integrity of valuable and crucial information and operational process is at the heart of a successful organization. The world we live in has changed from an industrial economy to a digital society.  So with the advancement of cyberattacks and ransomware efforts, which present major risks to individuals, businesses, and governments alike; the importance of information security and robust cyber security posture have never been more relevant.

OneStream’s Proactive Approach

OneStream continues to invest in security and compliance as part of our ongoing efforts to be the trusted provider of CPM software and is proud to announce that on 24th August we achieved ISO 27001 Certification for our Information Security Management System (ISMS). This marks the latest addition to OneStream’s compliance portfolio, preceded by SOC reports, FedRAMP ATO, and the Cloud Security Alliance CAIQ to name a few.

Certification of OneStream’s ISMS prioritizes client data protection through implemented controls including security-by-design product development, data encryption, vulnerability management, business continuity, disaster recovery plans, and much more. Customers, prospects, partners, and employees can expect systematic and ongoing management of information security risks that can affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of corporate and personal information across IT, Physical Security, and Operational Technology systems.

What are an ISMS and ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 Certification

An (ISMS) is a documented program for designing, implementing, managing, and maintaining a dependable security program within an organization to protect confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information; be that customer or internal data. ISO 27001 is one of the most widely recognized and internationally accepted information security standards and one of the few that uses a top-down, risk-based approach to evaluation. It not only provides the know-how but getting certified against the standard demonstrates to our customers, prospects, partners, and employees that OneStream safeguards their data.

To achieve the certification, OneStream’s security compliance was validated by an independent audit firm, Alcumus ISOQAR. The staged audit involves a rigorous process of demonstrating an ongoing and systematic approach to managing and protecting the company and customer data. This includes a comprehensive review of all levels of security management, including physical protection, security of products and services, the involvement of the management team, and access to personal user data.

I have been involved in implementing and managing ISO standards for much of my career and believe ISO 27001 is one of the key ones to obtain in today’s climate of the ever-present risk of an information security breach. Achieving our ISO 27001 certification is a proud moment.  We often say at OneStream that it takes a village and that couldn’t be truer in this case. Everyone is responsible for Information Security and this achievement reflects everyone at OneStream’s hard work and ongoing commitment to ensuring the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of our and our customers’ data’.

What does our ISO 27001 certification mean for our customers?

Your data is safe and secure.

ISO 27001 provides a model for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining, and improving an information security management system using a top-down, risk-based approach that is technology-neutral.

You can verify our practices.

Along with our SOC Reports, our ISO 27001 Certificates and Audit Reports are available to existing customers via the OneStream MarketPlace.  Prospective customers who are interested in this information can request it via your account representative, or by filling out the form on the Contact Us page on our website.

You can trust that we’ll maintain these practices.

As part of our adherence to ISO 27001, we will undergo annual audits by an independent accredited third party to maintain these certifications.

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ISO 27001 is not only about protecting data; it’s also about improving our business. Achieving the ISO 27001 certification is the result of a huge amount of effort and involvement from every member of OneStream, and we are constantly challenging ourselves and striving to improve our service and provide the highest security standards to our customers, partners, and employees.

Demand Planning is a critical piece of the overall Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process.  In fact, ensuring S&OP practitioners and Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) practitioners can use a common language is important to driving both operational and financial performance.  How?  One effective way is to leverage the financial and operational planning insights within corporate performance management (CPM) software that align the data and KPIs from both worlds – which allows for driving continuous collaboration across the enterprise planning processes.  Aligning these operational and financial KPIs ultimately elevates FP&A to next-generation Finance with eXtended Planning and Analysis (xP&A).

Aligning Operational and Financial Plans Drives Financial Performance

Everything in an organization has financial implications.  If the S&OP forecast (see Figure 1) inaccurately accounts for how much material is needed to meet demand, for instance, then inventory holding costs and obsolescence issues may increase.  Additionally, if too little material is available to meet demand, then costly rush shipping can impact the bottom line and cash flow.

Today, uncertainty across the global economy is drastically impacting consumer demand, affecting commodity prices, and disrupting supply chains.  Amid such volatility, FP&A teams must help enable and accelerate decision-making processes such as Demand Planning.  Where to begin?

Demand and Capacity Planning in OneStream
Figure 1: Demand and Capacity Planning in OneStream

5 Demand Planning KPIs for Better Financial Results

For FP&A professionals, understanding and utilizing the KPIs from the Demand Planning process creates a common language to unify key processes and drive both operational and financial performance.

Here are 5 Demand Planning KPIs that can inform better financial results.

1. Inventory Turnover

How quickly is inventory being turned over?  As inventory sits, inventory holding costs increase and obsolescence becomes more likely.  Obsolescence issues can then result in scrapped material and money lost as more material must be procured to replace the obsolete material – likely at a higher cost for rush shipping and spot procurement.  And with disruptions to global supply chains and shipping channels, issues that can arise in this domain can cause a heavy financial burden and managerial headaches.

This important metric in the demand planning cycle helps assess the health of the supply chain organization, the variables affecting demand, and the ability to satisfy the demand in time.  Considering the financial planning cycle is crucial because it impacts the budgeting, planning, and forecasting cycles.  Accordingly, bridging the gap between the operational and financial plans can ensure lockstep in the various planning efforts happening across large and complex organizations.

2. Total Sales

Finance professionals are acutely aware of the important role total sales plays in the FP&A planning and budgeting cycles, but the S&OP process also looks closely at this metric.  Sales numbers are essential to understanding the bigger picture.  Specifically, the numbers show how the supply chain and operations are ultimately performing when it comes to fulfilling orders and keeping customers happy – which ultimately generates sales for the organization.

In other words, the goal is to align financial planning inputs with the results of the operational planning processes happening as part of the S&OP process.  That alignment ensures that Finance and Operations are moving in lockstep to measure and achieve organizational goals.

3. On-Time Delivery

Organizations must analyze their supply chains and ensure their teams are delivering products on time to reduce inventory holding costs and ensure customer expectations are being met.  If this isn’t happening, a supply chain issue likely exists and needs to be addressed.

This issue affects more than just the supply chain, however.  Like inventory turnover, on-time delivery metrics are important to understand in the demand planning process and can also help inform the financial planning process.  Finance cares about the impact on financial metrics when customers aren’t happy and therefore aren’t placing orders or, even worse, when the company becomes liable for unmet deliverables and expectations.

4. Gross Margin

Is gross margin hitting projected targets?  If not, why?  Understanding gross margin, which is net sales minus cost of goods sold, and tracking performance against projections matters to both a supply chain organization and Finance.

Forecasting customers and demand volume is a supply chain activity that can map gross margin projections.  And for the Finance group, utilizing the outcome of that activity informs on how to forecast gross margin at the enterprise level.

5. Working Capital Projections

As everyone knows, cash is king, so asking whether the company has as much cash in the bank as the team forecasted is important.  Understanding how much money and what assets are needed to run day-to-day operations matters just as much to operational planning as it does to Finance.  For instance, incorporating the S&OP insights into a 13-week cash flow strategy ensures liquidity – something that is as important as ever with economic conditions becoming more uncertain.

Working capital- Demand Planning

Working cross-functionally with the Operations team and the Finance team ensures all efficiencies in the process and operations are being explored.  Cross-functionality also ensures the financial implications of those efficiencies are being folded into the financial and operational plans.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, aligning these key KPIs in the plan and tracking them across operational and financial reporting ensures that the organization can sense issues before they impact the financial results and saves time by ensuring effort isn’t duplicated across the planning processes within an organization.  These time savings translate into more time available for generating useful insights and analytics.

Ensuring alignment with the ongoing financial planning efforts is critical to driving financial and operational performance.  Utilizing the shared language and KPIs between Operations and Finance helps bridge the gap between the efforts and gets the plans closer to a single, unified plan for the organization to work toward and track progress against.

Learn More

Want to learn more about why unifying FP&A and demand planning are critical to driving performance?  Check out a recording of our Live Demo: Aligning S&OP and FP&A for Intelligent Demand Planning to hear more about demand planning in OneStream.

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The disruption, uncertainty, and volatility we’ve seen in the past 2 years have had a big impact on enterprises across all industries around the world.  And as supply chain bottlenecks, inflation, and geopolitical challenges continue to cause uncertainty, the need for business agility and resilience has remained in the spotlight – driving steady demand for agile corporate performance management (CPM) and analytics software solutions. 

Drilling into these market trends was the focus of the 2022 Pulse of Performance Management webinar, hosted by Craig Schiff, CEO of BPM Partners.  Read on to learn what the BPM Partners annual survey revealed about key market trends, who the key players are in the CPM/BPM market, and how OneStream stacks up in the marketplace.

The Pulse of Performance Management

Craig Schiff is CEO of BPM Partners, a vendor-neutral advisory services firm helping clients address performance management challenges with a comprehensive, rapid, and cost-effective BPM methodology.  The Pulse of Performance Management annual webinar series hosted by Mr. Schiff is designed to provide an unbiased and up-to-date overview of the world of business performance management (a.k.a. corporate performance management). The information provided is intended to enable companies to have intelligent and informed discussions as they plan their performance projects

So what did this year’s survey of over 300 Finance and IT executives, across industries, reveal in terms of key market trends? 

With the theme of “Transform – Extend – Evolve”, this year’s BPM Pulse survey found that 65% of respondents view their CPM/BPM projects as part of a broader Finance Transformation initiative designed to streamline, automate and optimize processes and transition from static, Finance-driven planning and reporting to dynamic and comprehensive planning, consolidation, reporting, and analysis.  Organizations are extending their planning and analysis processes across the enterprise – and evolving their planning processes with more advanced techniques, including rolling forecasts, scenario modeling, and predictive analytics.  

When asked what’s important for the next 12 months, respondents highlighted continuous forecasting, strategic planning, scenario modeling, and cash flow forecasting as the top 4 priorities. (see figure 1)

OneStream most important

Figure 1 – What’s Most Important for the next 12 months?

Survey respondents also highlighted the increasing focus on extending CPM/BPM into Operational Planning and Analysis.  Key areas of focus include Revenue Performance Management, Profitability Analysis, Workforce Planning, and Financial Signaling according to the survey. (see figure 2)

Operational Planning Figure 2 – Operational Planning and Analysis Focus Areas

When asked about their usage of rolling forecasts, 52% of respondents indicated their forecasts extend beyond the end of the fiscal year, while 43% said their forecasts extend only until the end of the fiscal year.  

When asked about their Finance Transformation projects, the top areas of focus include streamlined processes (74%), increased insights (61%), a more unified system (50%), and increased planning frequency and reduced cycle time (47%) each.

The survey revealed the following trends in planning, budgeting, and forecasting:

The survey revealed the following trends in financial consolidation:

And the survey revealed the following regarding selection of BPM/CPM software solutions:

The BPM/CPM Vendor Landscape

 In reviewing the BPM/CPM vendor landscape, Mr. Schiff reviewed profiles of 15 “core vendors” as well as several new vendors that have entered the market over the past 12 months.  Based on customer surveys, the vendors were rated on a 1 – 5 scale and categorized from Fair to Outstanding based on their overall “Pulse Rating.” (see figure 3)

So how did OneStream’s CPM software platform fare in the Pulse Rating?  I’m happy to report that OneStream received an Excellent rating of 4.70 out of 5.  OneStream’s unified Intelligent Finance platform, with built-in financial intelligence, was cited for its core strengths including Complexity Simplification, Performance/Scalability, Easy Expandability, Integrated Planning, and AI-Driven.  Mr. Schiff also highlighted OneStream’s Analytic Blend engine and its capabilities to blend large volumes of transactional data with governed financial data to support financial and operational signaling.  He also highlighted the recent introduction of our Sensible ML solution for intelligent demand planning.

 In the 2022 BPM Pulse Awards, OneStream was recognized for Excellent ratings in Overall Satisfaction (4.70) and Financial Consolidation Functionality (4.71).

Learn More

To learn more about how OneStream’s ratings in the Pulse of Performance Management compare to our key competitors, download a customized version of the BPM Partners Vendor Landscape Matrix, and feel free to contact OneStream if your organization is ready to take your BPM/CPM game to the next level.

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Financial modeling is a powerful technique that helps corporate finance professionals create a mathematical model of their business and the impact of specific decisions on their future financial results.  There are several types of corporate finance models that are used in practice and many derivatives of these can be applied across an organization.  Microsoft Excel® is the tool of choice for simple financial modeling, however, for more complex requirements, purpose-built corporate planning and forecasting software solutions are a better choice.  Read on to learn more.

Corporate Financial Modeling

Financial modeling is a common tool used by individuals and corporations to create an abstract model of a real-world financial situation.  This typically involves the gathering and analysis of historic data, which is then used to create a forward-looking projection for future time periods. Individuals may create a financial model of their monthly or annual income and expenses to help manage their finances.  For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll focus on corporate financial modeling.

Corporate Finance Modeling

Corporate financial modeling is performed by financial analysts in a corporate finance group within an enterprise, or by the line of business analysts supporting a specific functional department such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, or other functions. Use cases for corporate financial modeling include strategic planning, long-range financial planning, financial budgeting, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or divestiture analysis, capital planning, project planning, or evaluating the impact of critical business decisions.  This can include new product development and launch, geographic expansion, pricing of products and services, hiring and staffing, capital investment, and other business decisions.

Of course, in the financial services industry, financial modeling is performed by investment analysts as part of their evaluation of portfolio companies or potential investment targets.

Types of Corporate Financial Models

There are a wide variety of financial models used in corporate finance, so here we’ll cover the most commonly used types of financial models.  These include the following:

5 Steps to Effective Financial Modeling

Financial modeling in a corporate setting is a critical process whereby the results of the process will be used to support decisions that can have a major impact on future financial results.  Therefore, great care should be taken to ensure the inputs and outputs of the financial modeling process are as accurate as possible. Here are five best practices that organizations should consider when performing corporate financial modeling:

  1. Ensure the accuracy of historic data – remember the adage “garbage in – garbage out?” Having accurate and up-to-date historic financial data provides a critical foundation for corporate financial modeling.
  2. Identify key drivers – based on an analysis of historic financial and operational data, key business drivers can be identified and used as levers in modeling future revenue and expenses. Examples include orders, shipments, average price, new customers, customer retention rates, headcount, events, and others.
  3. Create multiple scenarios – once a baseline financial model is built, alternative scenarios should be created and analyzed based on the flexing of key drivers. The traditional approach is to create a base case, high case, and low case scenarios – but many organizations generate a wide range of scenarios that are used to guide critical decisions.
  4. Leverage charts and graphs – while some Finance executives prefer to review and analyze grids of numbers, many find it easier to spot trends and key financial signals through data visualization. So creating charts and graphs to present and analyze financial models is a great way to help users quickly gain insights that can be used to support critical decisions.
  5. Perform stress testing – when the financial model is done, the work is not over. The next step is to start stress-testing extreme scenarios to see if the model behaves as expected and yields realistic results.

Selecting the Right Tool for the Job

If you Google the term “financial modeling” you’ll get a number of results that highlight how Microsoft Excel® can be used to support financial modeling.  And while Excel is the “go-to” tool for financial professionals, it’s more suited to personal productivity tasks and less so to supporting enterprise planning requirements. Why?  Because Excel is error-prone, has no concept of workflow, lacks controls and governance, and has very limited audit trails.  It also wasn’t designed to manage large volumes of data and is two-dimensional in nature.

In corporate financial modeling, large volumes of historic data may need to be integrated, validated, and structured across multiple dimensions to fully support the requirement at hand.  Many Finance professionals have tried to handle this in Excel, but over time they find these models and multi-tabbed workbooks become difficult to maintain, and don’t perform well.  The alternative many organizations are turning to are purpose-built corporate planning and financial forecasting software applications, such as those that are found in modern corporate performance management (CPM) software platforms.

Financial Modeling in Action

One example of an organization that outgrew the capabilities of Excel for modeling and planning and migrated to a purpose-built corporate planning application is Fibrogen. FibroGen recently transformed from a drug development company to a global multi-channel commercial business. Their transition success depended on rapidly building out sales, channel development, and marketing as well as aligning the business and operational goals of their scientists, business leaders, and the Finance team.

Scenario Modeling

Realizing these goals required a more sophisticated corporate performance management (CPM) solution than their Excel®-based planning models and a 20-year-old legacy budgeting system that was fully matured and accepted within the organization. Fibrogen found that OneStream’s unified and extensible CPM software platform answered the company’s vision to gracefully accommodate their requirements to enable activity-based planning across two unique entities.

FibroGen’s China entity required a top-down model for planning and financial modeling while the United States model depended on non-finance users who are VPs and Executive Directors of their departments to provide the input that is needed for program-level and consolidated plans.

Said Alex Lee, Senior Director, Corporate FP&A, “With impending growth and transition, we sought a solution that can support a program-driven planning process and complex calculations and modeling with the ability to expand to include consolidation, reporting, accounting close automation, SEC reporting, and tax provisioning. We had a very specific vision in mind. It has been 10 months since go-live, and I’m still profoundly touched by the magic that is OneStream.”

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To learn more, download the Fibrogen case study and contact OneStream if your organization is ready to take the leap from Excel to an intelligent finance platform designed to conquer business complexity and help you lead at speed!

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Ever since CPM applications came to the market, discussions around the performance of the financial consolidation processes have flourished.  Different vendors have often claimed their systems can run faster, complete multiple consolidations in parallel or reduce the time from hours to minutes.  All of that is great since time can obviously impact the overall reporting process, but the actual functions included in the financial consolidation must be considered before making any kind of comparison.

Still, we’re often asked the same question: Will my consolidation be quicker in OneStream than it was in Hyperion Financial Management (HFM)?

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable, simple question.  And the short answer is obviously YES.  Otherwise, why would hundreds of companies have migrated from HFM and other legacy CPM applications to OneStream’s unified CPM software platform?

Your follow-up question, of course: ‘Okay, how much faster?’

We get this question a LOT too – but it’s not an easy one to answer.  Why not?  Well, despite first appearances, we’re not really comparing apples with apples.  OneStream is architected as a unified CPM platform and does things differently from legacy CPM point-solutions such as HFM.

Let’s look at some of the differences.

(We promise to avoid getting overly technical!)

 

Performance Gains

Despite the above promise, we do need to talk a little about systems architecture and servers in Financial Consolidation software since both play a role in performance.  Even ‘in the cloud’, all our numbers are still ultimately processed on real computers – with real processors, memory, disk drives and network links.  Thus, the architecture and servers matter.  We must make the best use of what we’ve built and paid for (directly or indirectly).

OneStream is the solution for Financial Consolidation

Given that, let’s unpack the performance differences between HFM and OneStream.  HFM uses multiple processors/cores to run parallel calculations by entity.  OneStream does the same but for Member Formulas (rules) within the same entity.

Why the difference matters will become clear in the following example.  Pretend a server has 8 processors/cores.  HFM will use all 8 because it’s still simultaneously processing 8 entities.  That parallelism is fine at the bottom of the consolidation, assuming the parent has at least 8 children (not always the case), but not so great at the top of the entity hierarchy where the top-level holding company is being processed by only 12.5% of the available computing power.  Worse, that top-level entity probably holds the most granular data and will therefore take longer to process anyway.

Alternatively, OneStream uses all the available processing power for all the entities, bottom to top, and that makes a difference.  How much of one?  Well, it depends on your exact entity structure, the shape of your data, the details of your rules and a host of other variables – which means we’d be doing you a disservice to simply quote a meaningless percentage.  But the difference in performance is considerably more than nothing.

Architecture

The OneStream platform has also been architected to better use the available processing power.  Specifically, OneStream not only has sophisticated processes to move jobs to the server with the most available capacity but also has plenty of features that allow for separating different jobs (e.g., data load, consolidation, user interface, etc.) to different server groups.  That functionality ensures users don’t suffer a degraded experience during a consolidation or scheduled data load process (See Figure 1).

OneStream Load Balancing Across
Figure 1 – OneStream Load Balancing across Servers

Data Granularity

The level of data granularity ultimately impacts performance.  Some customers, for instance, had massive entity structures in their legacy application that included both legal entities and a lower level of detail splitting the numbers by organisation – at the segment level or, in some cases, even down to cost-centre level. And the cost centre level data doesn’t exactly seem like a logical application of ‘consolidation’ accounting – that only happens at legal entity level.

So why slow things down by running a process that’s unnecessary at that level?  OneStream applications can instead be designed in various ways to avoid all that unnecessary effort.

One option is to recognise that the lowest level of data granularity doesn’t even need to be in a ‘cube’. Via OneStream’s Relational Blend technology, the detailed data can be loaded into relational tables in a single OneStream application and presented through multi-dimensional hierarchies.  Only the entity-level summary of that data needs to be presented in a cube, making the data set for consolidation appropriately smaller.  Of course, you can still drill down to see the detailed data within the same application – but most users won’t even realise a ‘difference’ exists in the structure.

 

Consolidation Approach

The traditional approach to financial consolidation (e.g., in HFM) involves writing all the accounting logic (for eliminations, ownership adjustments, equity pickup, etc.) in Business Rules.  Those rules are simply coded logic that gets run against the data for every Entity, sometimes multiple times in the same consolidation run.

Many of our customers use a similar approach in OneStream – in which numerous detailed differences exist around how those rules are structured, how they perform or how easily their performance is tested.  In fact, many of the rules aren’t even needed or are much simpler due to the many consolidation-specific built-in features of the OneStream platform.

However, an alternative approach to consolidation exists that’s simply not available in HFM: the Investment Register approach (see Figure 2).  Some of our European customers with highly complex consolidation requirements particularly favour this approach, but it can be applied anywhere.

The Investment Register comprises a list of investments and key related details (e.g., acquisition date, acquisition cost, reserves and exchange rate at date of acquisition) maintained in a relational table.  In a process separate from the ‘main’ data-driven consolidation, we then utilise the Reporting Compliance Marketplace solution to generate detailed consolidation adjustments as Journals.  Most rule complexity is therefore eliminated, so the consolidation itself is little more than a ‘translate and aggregate’ process.

As a result, the register approach makes consolidation a whole lot faster – but better still, think about the complete close process.  How often does the data you’re consolidating change during the month-end close?  Quite a lot, actually.  Every time another entity has submitted.  Every time an entity submits late adjustments or supplementary detail.  Every time an inter-company balance gets sorted out after month-end because the process isn’t in place to fix it beforehand.

Now think about how often the group ownership data changes during the close.  Rarely.  Thus, if already created using the Investment Register, the consolidation journals don’t need to be recalculated every time we re-run the consolidation.  In fact, we can usually even get this bit of the close done before Working Day 0, altogether removing them from the busy close period.

 

Summary

Financial Consolidation is ultimately a business problem to be solved.  For many of our largest, most complex customers, consolidation is one of the most immediately obvious ‘big picture’ performance topics.

How that problem gets solved varies depending on the system being used.  But making comparisons between those systems is not always straightforward, so we can’t (and won’t) answer the ‘Okay, how much faster?’ question with a universal percentage.

Consolidation also isn’t an isolated problem amid the many other challenges facing the Finance function. And that’s why OneStream makes a difference.  It’s a unified CPM platform that allows for innovative and highly performant solutions to many different business problems, within and beyond the Finance function – and the entire OneStream community is dedicated, as it is with all our customers, to ensuring the success of your implementation.

 

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To learn more, download our whitepaper on Conquering the Complexities in the Financial Close.

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As global organisations respond to macro-economic and geopolitical pressures, collaboration across back-office departments has never been more critical. For professional services firms, in particular, driving innovative ways to enhance client relationships and internal business partnerships is key. Firms must be prepared to respond to the speed of change being experienced in professional service and client markets. Connecting to and getting quality data from an ever-increasing number of data sources is essential to creating value for internal and external stakeholders.

Meeting the Challenges in Legal and Professional Services

OneStream Software recently hosted a leadership dinner for legal and professional services firms in London. We welcomed Andrew Giverin (Partner, NewLaw Services, PwC), Ade McCormack (Intelligent Leadership Hub), and OneStream’s own General Counsel Holly Koczot. We heard that the changing pressures on the office of the General Counsel (OGC) have driven the requirement to become a more strategic business function, with a focus on new commercial and operating models to drive priorities.

Professional and legal service providers need to deliver on the evolving business requirements of the OGC to support value creation to executive stakeholders, whilst driving collaboration and efficiency. The focus on client relationships has never been more important, building a deep understanding of those strategic priorities to enable value creation. This, coupled with offering service scalability to deliver change at speed, is becoming a key demand from clients to retain business.

To fully deliver the value it is critical to putting an effective management layer in place with a unified, intelligent finance platform to bring together key finance processes in a platform designed to evolve and scale with your firm.

Why OneStream?

OneStream provides a market-leading Intelligent Finance Platform (see figure 1) that reduces the complexity of financial operations.  OneStream unleashes the power of finance by unifying corporate performance management (CPM) processes such as planning & forecasting, financial close & consolidation, reporting, and analytics through a single, extensible solution. The solution empowers users with the insights to support detailed planning and analysis for faster and more informed decision-making.

Cloud Financial Close
Figure 1: OneStream’s Intelligent Finance Platform

 

OneStream delivers significant value to organisations through a number of capabilities including:

Hundreds of legal and professional services firms around the world have adopted OneStream’s unified platform to help streamline Finance processes, provide greater business insights, and support more effective decision-making that improves client relationships.

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Improved collaboration and service scalability is vital to creating value and enhancing client relationships. This of course requires trust and a complete picture of results from across multiple data sources. For example, professional services firm BDO implemented OneStream’s unified platform to handle growing data volumes, and empower key decision-makers with accurate information, rich dashboarding, and reporting. Read more in their success story.

Global legal firm Hogan Lovells is also well on their way to finance transformation. We co-hosted a webcast with them in which they shared how automation is powering their firm’s efficiency. You can watch the free recording here.

We hope these free resources help you as you lead your own organisation’s journey to unlock information and achieve digital transformation. You are also invited to join an upcoming event or contact us for a personal call.

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Finance leaders continue to face ongoing challenges and economic disruption in 2022. From inflation and supply chain challenges to the war on talent stemming from The Great Resignation, finance teams are tasked with navigating a constantly changing landscape. Using the right tools for their organization’s unique needs can be the make-or-break factor to drive long-term success and differentiate from the competition.

But there is no one-size-fits-all solution. With so many options in the marketplace, how can you cut through the clutter to find the option that works best for your organization? Enter: The BARC Planning Survey 22, which leverages the feedback and experiences of your trusted peers in Corporate Finance to help you determine which solution best suits your organization’s unique needs.

More About BARC: The Business Application Research Center

The Business Application Research Center (BARC) is an industry analyst and consulting firm for business software.  BARC analysts have supported companies through strategy, organization, architecture, and software evaluations for more than 20 years.  For more information, visit www.barc-research.com

To support Corporate Finance teams, BARC covers the following critical areas:

BARC Planning Survey 22

The Planning Survey 22 is based on findings from the world’s largest and most comprehensive survey of planning software users, examining user feedback on planning processes and product selection. Conducted from November 2021 to February 2022, The Planning Survey compiles responses from 1,325 individuals analyzing 19 products or groups of products in detail.

Specifically, the survey examines user feedback on planning product selection and usage across 33 key performance indicators (KPIs) including

For more information on the survey, visit The BARC Survey website.

Laser-Focused on Customer Success

OneStream’s corporate mission is to deliver customer success, ensuring every customer is a reference – one success at a time. As we remain dedicated to this mission, we’re honored to earn a 100% recommendation score from all surveyed users for the second consecutive year.

Furthermore, OneStream earned 15 top rankings (see Figure 1) across four different peer groups. The company was measured across several different KPIs, including:

Planning Survey
Figure 1: The Planning Survey 22: OneStream Highlights Dashboard

Additionally, OneStream earned 33 leading positions across its four peer groups, including product satisfaction, customer satisfaction, flexibility, workflow, recommendation, simulation, cloud planning, and financial consolidation.

“OneStream’s outstanding performance in this year’s Planning Survey reinforces the vendor’s dedication to delivering 100% customer success. As a market-leading CPM platform, OneStream helps organizations improve employee productivity, increase the transparency of planning and improve the integration of planning with reporting and analysis.  The platform’s comprehensive capabilities for financial consolidation and close, planning, budgeting and forecasting, reporting, analysis, and financial data quality management – all in a single application – makes OneStream a modern, future-proof solution for organizations seeking digital transformation,” said Dr. Christian Fuchs, Senior Vice-President and Head of Data & Analytics Research at BARC.

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OneStream is honored to receive standout results this year in The BARC Planning Survey. The report recognizes OneStream’s capabilities across financial close, consolidation, planning, and analysis as a best-in-class platform. The recognition is all the more meaningful as the rankings come directly from our committed customers and users across the globe.

To learn more about OneStream’s results, click here to download the full BARC Planning Survey 22.

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The upcoming celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th conjures up many images and traditions. Attending parades, wearing green clothing, eating corned beef and cabbage, and drinking green beer are all parts of the modern celebration of this feast.  But what’s the real meaning of St. Patrick’s Day and what can it teach us about corporate performance management (CPM)?  Read on to find out.

History of St. Patrick’s Day

So why exactly do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th?  If you research this topic, you’ll be reminded that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.

Modern St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

Roll forward a few hundred years and it was emigrants, particularly to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of all things Irish.  This took hold mostly in cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants, such as Boston, New York City, and later Chicago who staged the most extensive celebrations, including elaborate parades. In Chicago, they even dye the river green on St. Patrick’s Day!

Nowadays, Irish and non-Irish alike commonly participate in the “wearing of the green”—sporting an item of green clothing or a shamrock, the Irish national plant, on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Restaurants serve corned beef and cabbage specials and even beer is often dyed green to celebrate the holiday.

Over time St. Patrick’s Day symbols such as leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow began to make their way into the imagery associated with the holiday.  The folklore around leprechauns is that if you catch one, he will tell you where his pot of gold is hidden. Beware, however, as the leprechaun is smarter than the average wood nymph, and you may be tricked into looking for gold at the ever-elusive end of the rainbow.

This cautionary tale reminds us that relying on luck, magic, and greed can be a recipe for disaster. Instead of working hard and making strategic moves to build financial stability, people can be tricked into wasting their precious time and resources searching—metaphorically—for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Lessons for Modern Enterprises

The same goes for corporations and other enterprises.  Relying on the luck of the Irish to achieve your goals and objectives is unlikely to yield positive results.  There’s no substitute for having a repeatable, closed-loop CPM process that links your strategies to plans and execution.  Organizations need to set goals, develop plans, monitor and analyze results and adjust plans and resources as needed to have a good chance of achieving financial objectives.

OneStream St. Patricks

And if your organization is relying on spreadsheets and email, or multiple legacy CPM applications to manage your mission-critical financial planning and reporting processes – don’t count on St. Patrick to chase them away like he did the snakes in Ireland.  Once your organization outgrows these approaches, your team will need to identify and evaluate alternative solutions, then do the work to implement the software, train your users and begin reaping the benefits.

That’s where modern, unified, and cloud-based CPM software solutions such as OneStream really demonstrate their value.  OneStream’s unified Intelligent Finance Platform was designed to replace multiple legacy CPM applications, spreadsheets, and cloud point solutions with a single application that supports financial close and consolidation, planning, reporting, and analysis. And the OneStream platform can be extended via a MarketPlace of value-added solutions that can be downloaded, configured, and deployed to quickly address additional requirements without adding technical complexity.  These include processes such as account reconciliations, tax provisioning, people and capital planning, lease accounting, and more.

Finding the Real Pot of Gold

The rewards are proven.  Organizations that have adopted OneStream’s unified platform have realized significant value, in four main areas:

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St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate whether you are Irish or not.  But while you are celebrating, don’t get fooled by visions of leprechauns and pots of gold.  If your organization is ready to make the leap from legacy CPM applications, spreadsheets, or point solutions to a modern, unified CPM software platform, contact OneStream and we’ll be happy to demonstrate the value our solution can deliver.  To learn more, download our white paper titled “Exploring Value Realization with OneStream.”

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Dispelling the Myths About CPM Implementations

This article was originally published on CFO.com.

Myths and misinformation about corporate performance management (CPM) systems and their use in finance departments abound. Many revolve around these tools’ complexity, making it hard for a CFO to see their value at the end of the implementation road. The myths, however, are easily debunked. We address five of them below.

Myth 1: Implementing CPM Will Take Too Much Time to Realize Value

To expedite a CPM project (faster, less effort, minimal cost), CFOs should:

Myth 2: CPM Focuses on Financial Data, Not Operational Data

There is a grain of truth to this statement; however, it vastly understates the importance of operational data.

Myth 3: “We Don’t Need a CPM System Since We Are Migrating to a Single ERP”

Myth 4: The Integration of Acquisitions Will Be a Challenge

While they can support some rudimentary functions, G/Ls often fall short in support of the following:

Myth 5: CPM Solutions Require Significant Technical Support

Modern CPMs are cloud-based solutions and, therefore, less unwieldy than those of previous generations.

The ROI of CPM

There are costs associated with deploying CPM solutions. First, there is the software subscription. Given the cloud-based nature of the modern CPM system, however, the SaaS model has meaningfully driven down the costs (and burdens) of implementation. Second, there is the software configuration. Companies can configure internally or leverage outside expertise. There will be support configuration and labor costs (although less so with an experienced partner). Then, of course, there are the costs of system support (the administrative resources to maintain the system).

CFOs must understand the benefits of CPM to quickly recoup the investment and lead to value creation in both hard and soft dollars. Among the former, the technology drives down costs by allowing business-unit comparisons to identify and leverage best practices. But there is a soft dollar return that CFOs should not overlook. CPM technologies enable CFOs to realign their finance department work to higher value-add functions (decrease in data collection, reconciliation, and consolidation; increase in business analyses and support). And, the insights realized as a result of a CPM system investment help finance chiefs make more informed business decisions and more easily course-correct when circumstances change.