By Rahul Sharma, Enterprise Performance Management Practice Leader, Accelalpha
The goal of an enterprise performance management (EPM) solution is to help leaders across functions make better decisions using the right data, insights, and metrics. Based on our prior implementation experience with Oracle Fusion Cloud EPM we found the following four pillars of a successful EPM implementation:
Before going into the design phase of a new implementation, it makes sense to take a pause and evaluate what worked well in the past and where the most significant opportunities for improvement can be found. We don’t want to systemize bad processes and end up with bad results. We need to think ahead to ensure the integrated solution works on paper before it’s implemented. In such cases, learning from prior implementations and leveraging industry best practices helps. For some of our implementations, we started thinking about reporting first. Keeping the end goal in mind—by focusing on what kinds of reports and insights you want to generate—helps to shape the final implementation. Establishing goals, simplifying your approach, and setting the right expectations goes a long way to design a successful EPM solution.
For an EPM application, there are some foundational elements which need to be set correctly right at the start; otherwise, you risk rework. For instance, a dimension cannot be deleted once it’s created; a module can’t be rolled back once it is initialized; the start year of an application cannot be changed later, etc. You need to set a strong foundation for the application before executing development. The implementation team must think beyond EPM and consider the organization’s entire IT landscape—current applications, source data, and target systems—to build a seamless, integrated solution. Proper checks and balances should be put in place to ensure data reliability and integrity.
Users don’t always adapt to new technology with a flip of a switch. An approach where users are eased into using a new solution helps them accept the system with less reluctance, because it gives them enough time to condition their minds to the new norm. It takes way more than good software and a seamless solution for smooth user adoption. Users need to know the big picture, how their single data entry impacts the financial forecast and overall strategic plan. They need to be involved earlier in the process for mid-way check points, rather than waiting until the tail end of the project to start user acceptance testing. The earlier in the process that you seek user feedback, the more time there is to bridge the gap between the users’ expectations and the solution you deploy.
When the time comes to go live, the users have already accepted the solution whole-heartedly.
The real test of an implementation starts after the project goes live. Although the general expectation is that a solution will work flawlessly, participants should be aware that there may be some disruptions along the way. They should be prepared to handle them with the least possible disruption. Put a transition plan in place, and complete user training and adoption in a phased approach, rather than overloading users with a lot of information right at the end of the project. This approach gives administrators enough time to get acquainted with the details of the new system.
Accelalpha works collaboratively with its clients to develop solutions tailored to their unique needs.
We address four key areas: