Value of a EPM Checkup a Year After Your System Goes Live

Posted by Deborah Jelley

Sep 3, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Time for an EPM solution tune up?

A Year Later…

So it’s a year after your new EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) system went live. You are preparing for the budget season and are wondering if your new system might need a little tune up. As with a new car where an oil change is recommended at 3,000-5,000 miles, it may be time to perform a checkup and make sure your EPM system is running as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

Maybe your analysts need a minor refresher on how to run the system, especially if you decide you need more reporting put into place. Ask yourself why you bought and implemented it in the first place... to get those detailed analytics out of your database right? Have you gotten them yet? If not, don’t panic: it is typically more a matter of making time to perform these improvements on your system.

Making time with guidance at hand is a value proposition indeed. 

If you’re running a consolidation and close system, shouldn’t you look at those additional features you may have delayed putting in during the implementation and parallel? You and your staff probably made note of minor things you’d like changed or adjusted or reports you’d like to have built. Hopefully, with the new system, you’ve already cut down the length of time it takes to close the books. As with an oil change for a car, an EPM checkup is always good to perform, especially if you are running complicated formulas or allocations or have many steps included in your process. 

Not another EPM project?

No, it’s not another major EPM project to have a system/application checkup done. Ideally, you meet with your original implementation team – or a subset of them – and go over what should be accomplished during the checkup. The consulting team will know what to look for in general to ensure the system itself is humming along properly but will want to hear about the little things that may be out of alignment and could use a makeover. It's important to put together a list of items as you go through the first year of operations that need the team’s special attention. 

EPM Checkup Checklist

1. More financial reporting that has yet to be built:

  • Did you get a chance to build the best cash flow analysis during implementation? 
    • Now may be the time to ask the team to revisit some of the quickie reports you built during the project
    • You will want to ensure you can get your hands on the data that you need for these reports.
      • Does the data already live in a database somewhere?
      • Do you need to input it?
      • Can you pull it over automatically?
    • Your consulting team can discuss these points when you meet with them

  • What about the fabulous drill-down report your hot-shot analyst built this year and now you want it more formalized and published to the team for their use as a template?

  • How about some training for your management on how to update data real-time in a report/graph (MS PowerPoint) while presenting information directly to the Board of Directors?
    • Note: this type of reporting is rarely built during phase 1 or 2 of implementations
    • You’ll need to pull together your list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and, during the system checkup, get some tips on how to incorporate them into the process
    • If you don’t particularly desire to learn how to write calc-scripts, have the consultants write them for you and then test, test, test. Just remember, if you do use the consultants for additional development in the system, there will be a project plan and check-points to follow! 
2. Physical system health-check:
  • Are the steps you follow to load your data into the system efficient and/or effective?
  • Are your calculations firing efficiently?
  • Is your consolidation working as fast as possible given the volume of data you have out there?
  • Do you have a maintenance routine that regularly cleans out and stores detailed history somewhere else?
  • Does your IT team have what they need to perform regular maintenance and keep up with upgrades 

Graduate from Training Wheels

The EPM checkup could also serve a larger purpose for your organization: additional training for your analysts and accountants without the logistics of the formal classroom. A formal classroom is a good idea when you have a larger group of people to train all at once, but what if some of this checkup visit can be used to take off the training wheels and really speed down the street for the first time in a great while? With the wind at your back and a good cash flow analysis in hand, it could be much smoother sailing ahead for your department and your company. You can’t beat one-on-one training and consultation to deal with some of these issues.

Conclusion

So what have we learned about the value proposition of calling back members of your original implementation team to perform a system and/or application checkup a year after the EPM implementation?

  1. It will get little issues fixed all at once
  2. You can have the physical system tuned up as it relates to the application
  3. Your department team members will get the opportunity to receive more advanced or directed training on the more complicated aspects of running and maintaining your system. 

All this may not seem like much for you to consider a year after go-live, but regular oil changes keep your car running smoothly. So why not apply the same reasoning to the system you’ve spent a good bit of money to buy and implement and put it through a checkup? 

Need help?  Too often, the answer to this question is, “We don’t know.” Technology decisions are often made with little understanding of how, if at all, an investment in your finance ecosystem will drive the business forward. Many times, business leaders perceive technology as a cost – an expense they must manage, rather than a vehicle to help the company achieve its financial goals. Strafford understands EPM and has partnered with forward thinking technology leaders such as Oracle to deliver cloud EPM solutions to finance organizations looking to improve and optimize team productivity, performance and efficiencies.

How Can we Help You? 

Topics: Consolidation and Close, Budgeting and Forecasting, Financial Reporting, Cloud ERP, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)