Companies are adopting innovative enterprise solutions to help them stay ahead of their competitors. Nevertheless, many still rely on spreadsheets to perform vital financial functions, even the big companies. It is not a promising way for companies to remain relevant in this new digital economy. An EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) application could be the ultimate alternative to using spreadsheets.
One inherent drawback of spreadsheets is that they rely on manual input processes, and hence are error-prone. If an error is made, there are few effective ways to detect and track that error. Once the data is rolled up, top executives can hardly drill down the numbers to the detailed levels and be confident that they are built upon precise, crystal clear data. Using spreadsheets also creates a system of fragmented data and does not facilitate quick action.
A typical spreadsheet-based system can take up to 30 days or more to complete a consolidation. It leaves you with very little time to do any useful analysis. In today’s business, speed is essential; and executives need real-time information to make decisions in a fast-paced environment. In addition, spreadsheet-based data normally enables backward-looking analytics only, not the kind of forward-looking information that companies need.
Business analytics has moved far beyond the capability of describing the past. For CFOs, being able to answer the question “What did happen?” is no longer enough. In the 2016 Finance Priorities Survey, consulting firm Protiviti asked 650 CFOs to rank their top priorities for this year; and among the top 5 issues for 2016 are forecasting and budgeting. If your company still relies on spreadsheets, however, you are not going to see what lie ahead.
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If you are a financial executive with forward-looking vision, the solution lies in an EPM application. EPM allows you to achieve the single version of the truth, i.e. a source of all real-time, consolidated, and actionable information at your fingertips. What you can do with such information is unprecedented. Imagine you would be able to drill down the sales figures, in real-time, to individual salesperson, and quickly identify underperforming individuals or regions. Or you could manage your inventory, on the fly, down to the SKU level. You would be able to give fact-based answers to the board of directors’ strategic questions with just one click.
EPM’s predictive analytics allows you to answer the question “What is likely to happen next?” It provides your company with actionable and data based insights. You can identify trends in sales activities or forecast demand for inputs from the supply chain.
If your company wants better and more accurate data, real-time and future-looking analytics, you really need to consider replacing spreadsheets with an EPM application.
Find out more: what is dynamic Enterprise Performance Management?