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EPM with enterprise analytics makes finance a better business partner

Barry Mostert
Senior Director

Enterprise performance management (EPM) and analytics have been partners delivering insights to help businesses through all sorts of expected and unexpected circumstances. Together they deliver a more complete picture of the business. They work hand-in-hand, better together, and neither is interchangeable with the other. Consider a self-driving car as a business where EPM would provide the necessary information to help steer the car using focused information provided on the control panel. Analytics would then expand information depth with side and rear sensors as well as detailed maps to evaluate potential routes and environmental factors, like traffic or weather, that could affect progress on those routes.

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Modern finance departments use EPM to become better partners with other business groups in order to guide the enterprise. EPM is seen as the compass guiding a company to set and achieve short- and long-term strategies, consolidate actual performance, and look at variances to understand deviation from plans to correct the course. When performance gaps appear, and when variances or anomalies are detected, finance will need to understand what happened and why it happened to take the correct remedial action. Leveraging all relevant data helps finance get a better understanding of the cause and effect.

This is where the synergy of EPM and analytics delivers real business value. Finance can seamlessly reach into operational systems with analytics to access true detailed operational data. This helps finance gain a greater understanding of what is happening at an operational level to facilitate meaningful conversations with its business partners. Often detailed data such as customer sentiment, inventory levels, and other operational data can highlight trends that have to be considered when making strategic decisions. Analytics allows more complete views of the business and activities by including any and all relevant data regardless of its shape or location.

So how do these two technologies, EPM and analytics, come together?  
Let’s look at an example with a sales organization. EPM would quickly detect that actual sales are falling below plan. This variance is detected by specified, preset thresholds and surfaced through proactive alerts to stakeholders. However, EPM contains high-level summarized data so understanding the root cause of the issue is not always possible. This is where enterprise analytics completes the bigger, deeper picture. By blending other data sources, analytics can explain why actual sales are below plan. The issue could be related to suppliers, lower than expected stock, or weather that impacted the logistics of shifting product from distribution center to retail outlets. The additional data from suppliers or logistics departments is not part of the EPM system but is critical in explaining the cause of a sales deficit. The more ways you can segment your data, the more dimensionality you are able to create, which means you can generate more options or scenarios to test. More options enable more choices and improve the chances of finding the best route forward. 

The next step is to use analytics to figure out what action to take to mitigate the sales deficit. This could be done using analytics to check inventory status and discover what other products are available for a tactical sales campaign to offset the initial sales deficit. Here EPM and analytics work hand-in-hand to create a closed loop business process from issue discovery to actionable insight. 

Oracle Analytics Cloud with direct Oracle EPM Cloud live connector 

EPM and analytics work together to create a more resilient organization with the agility to respond in a disruptive, turbulent business climate. The combination of Oracle Cloud EPM and Oracle Analytics Cloud ensures a live, secure, and auditable connection to enable a complete business process. From variance detection to issue resolution, data remains centralized, up to date, and secure. Connect to Oracle Cloud EPM as another data source and join any other relevant data to better understand what to do about the variances. No need to extract to Excel which results in unsecure, error prone results and simple gut-feel decisions. Instead, become truly data-driven as you follow the numbers to the best business outcome.  

For more information on the Oracle Analytics EPM Cloud connector:

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