News from Recent EPM Customer Events

Welcome to the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) blog.  Here we'll highlight market trends, product and service news, upcoming customer events and will report back on the results of key customer events that are occurring around the world.

Last week was a busy one for me, speaking at three different customer events in different cities.  On Tuesday December 7th I presented the keynote session at the Oracle EPM Showcase - Beginning to Winning event at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia.  This was a half-day event, starting with lunch, an opening keynote session, five product breakout sessions and then a closing session and networking reception.  The event was co-sponsored by partners MarketSphere, Appssurance and Bluestone International and was well-attended, with over 50 customers.  In the opening keynote, I presented an overview of the Oracle EPM System, highlighted new modules and features delivered in 2010, and our roadmap for the next 18 months.  Then Enzo Santilli from MarketSphere presented their point of view on how EPM solutions can help leverage customer investments in ERP systems, with a number of great customer examples included. 

The five product breakout sessions where all held in one room, kind of like speed-dating, where customers huddled around each presentation/demo station for 25 minutes, then quickly moved to the next one.  Although the room was a little noisy with multiple presentations and demonstrations going on simultaneously, it was effective in giving small groups of customers a chance to ask questions and dig into the details of our solutions.  The breakout sessions included Governance Risk and Compliance, Analytics and Data Governance, Enterprise Planning, Financial Close and Reporting, and Strategic Financial Modeling.  I had to leave before the closing session and networking reception - but I heard that the day finished up strong.  This event format has been used effectively in other locations and will continue to be leveraged in 2011 - so watch for an Oracle EPM Showcase event in your city. 

My next stop was New York City on Wednesday December 8th for an Enterprise Planning workshop with a small group of customers from the cable industry, or what's now known as MSO or Multiple System Operators.  This event included discussions of industry challenges, best practices in EPM and Enterprise Planning, and lots of interaction between customers, Oracle staff, and consultants from the Hackett Group.   Key takeaways from the workshop included:

  • Given the economic uncertainty and competition, long-term planning is 1 - 3 years
  • MSOs have been shifting from de-centralized to centralized planning and management
  • The group is performing strategic planning fairly well, albeit most of them using spreadsheets for complex financial modeling, although one has deployed Hyperion Strategic Finance.
  • The group is performing financial planning and budgeting fairly well, with all using Hyperion Planning and performing rolling forecasts to augment the annual budget process. 
  • Most are doing detailed workforce and capital planning; some vary the detail by function/department.
  • None of the MSOs doing detailed allocations and profitability analysis by customer segment, service area etc.  Some ad hoc analysis has been done on profitability of various bundles but not on a repeatable basis.  This was probably the biggest area identified for improvement.
  • There was some interest in predictive modeling - i.e. Crystal Ball, but no one is currently doing this type of scenario modeling.

The day finished up with a dinner in NYC at Fresco's by Scotto on 52nd street. 

My last stop for the week was as the guest speaker for a Financial Executives International (FEI) Chapter meeting in Dallas on Friday December 10th.  Oracle sponsored this particular breakfast meeting and my session was titled "Thriving in the Recovery:  Aligning the CFO and CIO on the Role of Technology".  The event was over-subscribed with more than 100 Finance executives from organizations in the Dallas area attending.  They required me to speak for 1 hour and 45 minutes so the attendees could qualify for 2 CPE credits.  Usually I'm getting kicked off the stage after about an hour of speaking - so this session was challenging.  But I was able to leverage the time by reviewing the results of a recent survey Oracle sponsored with CFO and CIO magazines on using technology to improve planning and forecasting.  Then I discussed some of the best practices we are seeing customers adopt in enterprise planning and provided a number of customer examples.  The five best practices included:

·         Align Strategic and Financial Planning

·         Adopt Flexible Planning/Budgeting Processes

·         Evaluate Impact on Workforce and Capital Resources

·         Align Financial and Operational Plans

·         Manage Risk and Uncertainty

The session was well-received, I only caught 2 - 3 sleepers during this early morning session, and I received some good questions and positive feedback at the conclusion.  A more summarized version of this session was presented by Oracle's CFO, Jeff Epstein, on a CFO.com webcast on December 8th.  Here's a link to that presentation and the research results:

Overall it was a great week, with lots of customer and partner contact and a good chunk of miles added to my air and hotel accounts.  I'll be working from the Stamford, CT office for the remainder of the calendar year.  Best wishes for the holidays and a successful 2011!

 

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This blog will highlight key EPM market trends, recent events and other news of interest to our field, customers and partners.

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