Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is a broad term that covers any business process that seeks to improve performance through a continuous loop of data collection, reporting, analysis and, most importantly, informed and targeted action.
That's all very well as a theoretical statement - in practice, it is necessary to be a bit more focussed about what we mean by EPM in the context of the Finance function.
Finance EPM is generally considered to cover all of the following topics:
There are plenty of detailed issues and challenges within each of these topics / processes, and even more involved in properly integrating them and the systems that support them.
Beginning in the 1990s, there was a gradual recognition and realisation that the core financial ledger systems (now commonly referred to as Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, systems) are geared more to the operational transaction processing side of the Finance function, and are not well-suited to supporting EPM processes. This is especially true of all but the smallest organisations, where there are typically multiple ERP solutions of various sizes in different countries, divisions, or subsidiary companies that get bought and sold along the way.
Various software solutions have been built to meet specific topical needs - gradually, the best of these have been acquired by larger software companies that have integrated them into full and comprehensive EPM suites. Now, most of these specialist EPM software companies, such as Hyperion, have themselves been acquired by one of the 'big few' IT conglomerates, such as Oracle.
EPM remains a specialist division within these companies - but now the software suites benefit from further enhancement and ever-better integration with those vendors' ERP and other systems offerings.
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Managing Director of epmgurus, brings 30 years of diverse experience to bear in helping organisations and teams through change – of size, structure, systems, management or ownership.
Nigel has run, advised, supported or worked with Finance functions from one-person operations up to globally dispersed Finance departments of several thousand people. He knows what good (and bad!) looks like.