When you talk to leaders of companies that have put off adopting EPM they too often cite issues that only exist if the EPM project team doesn’t know what they’re doing.
When it comes to the cost/benefit analysis of whether to upgrade to new software, the most important “costs” are often those not reported on financial statements. If they were, they might be itemized under the particular category called “pain.” It’s fear of pain that drives many decision makers to put off a software makeover until the pain of whatever they’re using now becomes untenable. Maybe the current software no longer supports compliant practices. Or maybe the manual workarounds needed just to perform a routine end-of-period close have become unbearably laborious and mistake-ridden. Or maybe the day-to-day distraction of maintaining aging hardware is just too much.
So what are decision makers so afraid of that stops them from getting relief sooner? They’re worried about EPM issues that do not actually exist — at least not for Strafford customers. Here are five of these myths that stand out:
Myth #1: EPM Is Only for Finance
EPM is a faster, more efficient, and easier way to do the routine work of financial accounting, such as the financial close, reconciliations, currency conversions and so on. But to say that EPM is just souped-up financial accounting is like saying that a smartphone is just a phone. EPM provides a single version of financial truth, connects financial to operational data, and does both in ways (like interactive dashboards and scorecards) that make data easily understandable by stakeholders across the enterprise — so they can model what-if scenarios in real-time and leverage 360˚ situational awareness.
Myth #2: EPM Adoption is Slow and Disruptive
Thanks to innovations like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and out-of-the-box interactive dashboards your new EPM can be up and running in weeks, not months. The transition is even faster when orchestrated by teams, like ours, with deep expertise in both finance and IT, and with the experience of thousands of Hyperion and Oracle EPM projects behind them. In fact, even today, right now, most of your new system is already running in the cloud and, until the switchover, your current on-prem system can stay up and running virtually undisturbed.
Myth #3: You Lose Control of Your Data
This myth and the security myth (see #5) are probably the two biggest when it comes to cloud computing. The fact is, with the Strafford EPM cloud, you would actually get more control over your data than you probably have now with your legacy system. For example, you would have the ability to time slice your data restores so you could see the state of your company as it existed between any two specified points in time. To mitigate the risk of data loss, you’re also backed up to multiple geographically dispersed locations — and from which you can restore as much of your data on-prem as you want whenever you want.
Myth #4: You Can’t Leverage Your Current Investments
You actually get more leverage from your current investments because you’re investing in assets that actually have more leverage — like your data and intellectual property — rather than assets that have less — like your on-prem hardware. Oracle EPM Cloud lets you get more value from your data with interactive visualizations so you see patterns in the data for more insight, which in turn makes the data more actionable. In addition to your data, you’ve also invested in intellectual property — namely the Excel spreadsheets you use for budgeting, ad-hoc what-if analysis, and reporting. Oracle EPM Cloud provides an Excel interface so users can immediately apply their Excel skills within the EPM system. That’s in addition to letting them move data directly back and forth between Oracle EPM Cloud and Excel. And the ability to share Excel data with Oracle EPM Cloud means multiple users can work on the same data collaboratively rather than trying to share out-of-sync spreadsheets via email.
Myth #5: Using Cloud EPM Increases Security Risk
Public cloud providers spend vast amounts of money on cyber security and are able to do so economically by spreading that investment across thousands of customers. So it is very unlikely that any of their customers would or could match the security features these providers have in place. In addition to sophisticated security systems, they also have armies of trained security specialists who deal with security issues every day — another layer of protection that EPM users are unlikely to match on their own.
Of course, the extent to which these myths are actually myths, rather than true statements, depends a lot on whom you select as your EPM consultant and implementation partner. Select the right partner and your EPM journey should not only be pain free but also rewarding.