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How EPM Solutions Will Make You More Marketable

Posted by Steve Berry

Mar 22, 2018 8:26:53 AM

Finance and Technology Careers

Cloud-based EPM solutions have changed the rules regarding how fintech professionals are judged against their peers. Now it’s all about business impact.

Like so many technologies, cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM) is having a bifurcating effect on the careers of those finance managers and executives who decide to either embrace it or not. Those who embrace cloud-based EPM solutions are seeing new opportunities to advance in their careers because that experience can have a real impact on the business – while those executives who do not embrace it will find their influence within the organization, and therefore their career prospects, diminished.

Why will EPM make you more marketable?

Here’s the reason: Closing the books at the end of a reporting period in an accurate and timely fashion and according to a generally accepted basis of accounting, can now be considered — as they say in poker — table stakes. So too has (to use another overworked cliché) just "keeping the lights on"  — in other words, making sure that all key data is present and accounted for, that finance applications and technology are sufficiently up to date, and that users are happy.

In a modern cloud-based environment, those details are, or should be, taken care of. Why else would companies pay subscription fees to SaaS (software as service) providers? SaaS customers expect virtually 100 percent uptime, up-to-date technology and applications, fast response time for users, super-protected data and backups, and advanced cyber security. They can also expect — and this is where some SaaS providers lead the rest — EPM support as well. Examples of that would include applying best compliance practices, helping internal staff change a business rule or calculation, and/or helping them write a complicated report that integrates several data sources. This category of support, called managed application hosting (MAH), goes above and beyond pure SaaS or cloud-based applications.

And that’s good news for fintech-oriented finance professionals looking to take on (and be compensated for) a bigger leadership role in their organizations.

Take the Boss’s Perspective

To understand why, put yourself in your boss’s shoes: rather than hire someone who at best only gives me the same value that’s available to every SaaS subscriber, why not instead hire someone who can leverage SaaS to deliver additional value in areas like business planning, forecasting, and strategy — in other words, in areas that provide true differentiation? Because whether I do or not, surely my competitors will. That is, after all, EPM’s value proposition:

  • Help management assess sales income, costs, external financing needs and profitability;
  • Determine what is actually achievable;
  • Help set strategic objectives;
  • Establish and monitor financial and operational KPIs to steer a course toward success.

If my EPM team isn’t doing that, then what is it doing — bookkeeping?

So, again, the impact of all this is career bifurcation. Finance professionals who have acquired the necessary business and strategy skills to augment their financial and technical training, and who may have been eager to play more of an executive role, will now have that opportunity. They won’t be held back by the day-to-day routine of putting out fires and maintaining the IT infrastructure. Meanwhile, other finance professionals will find fewer fires to put out and an IT infrastructure that mostly takes care of itself, at least where EPM is concerned and probably in other domains as well. And as economic pressure drives wider cloud EPM (and MAH) adoption, the difference in outcomes (and incomes) between the former and latter types of careers will also grow even more widespread, and more stark.

The lesson here is that an EPM cloud can make you more marketable. The sooner you adopt it, and specifically its MAH pedigree, the sooner you’ll be able to leverage its power to bring greater insight, stability, and ultimately success, to both the organization and yourself. That also assumes, of course, that you choose a cloud EPM partner that understands how to fully leverage EPM for strategic advantage, appreciates your ambition, and can speak your language. Otherwise, you’re just undermining your own differentiation.

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Topics: Cloud EPM, Finance and Technology Staffing