About 20 years ago my mentor and former boss, Richard Creeth, was introduced to a new company called OutlookSoft that had developed a corporate performance management (CPM) product called Everest on top of Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis Services. Richard was well-known back then as an industry analyst and co-author of the OLAP Report and up-and-coming vendors were eager to court his good opinion. Richard was also the principal of a boutique consulting firm that specialized in financial reporting, consolidations and planning which QueBIT acquired in 2008.
Once upon a time Oracle’s Hyperion EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) solution, built on the Essbase platform, was the market leader for everything “FP&A” (Financial Planning & Analysis) from the annual budget to the rolling forecast, profitability analysis and everything in-between.
These words are being written in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Businesses, faced with unprecedented uncertainty, are asking questions such as:
If you have ever worked late on an Excel analysis that required extensive data manipulation or mappings and wondered “could there be a better way?”, then this blog post is for you.
“Working from home” is all over the news right now. A quick web search yields a broad selection of articles with titles like “What you need to know to start working from home (Forbes)” and “How to work from home without losing your sanity (CNN)”. As a consultant who has mostly “worked from home” for the last 12 years, I can confirm that most of the tips are quite good, albeit repetitive.
It’s March 2020, and many companies are facing the reality that the carefully crafted financial plans and budgets they started the new year with are suddenly, and dramatically, out of date. While it’s common to re-forecast after a quarter, it’s less common to have to revisit ALL your budget assumptions wholesale, as many organizations are now scrambling to do.
Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, software is used by businesses of all sizes to support its financial and operational business processes. Most vendors offer a menu of modules that can be combined so that data flows seamlessly from one to another, mirroring information flow through the business.
Since spreadsheets were invented in the 1980s, they have been the tool of choice for anyone doing planning and analysis. Financial analysts use them for the annual budget, the long-term strategy plan, allocations, profitability modeling etc. Sales and operations planners use them for capacity planning, sales planning, scheduling and much, much more.
If you are a long time IBM Planning Analytics (TM1) administrator, you may have developed a fondness through the years for a utility called TM1TOP. TM1TOP would tell you what your TM1 Server was up to, which was especially useful if users called to complain that it was “slow” or “hanging”.