By Alison Weiss
According to John O’Rourke, vice president of enterprise performance management (EPM) product marketing at Oracle, the rocky global economy has created a really tough environment for planning and forecasting, so companies increasingly are looking for help by implementing comprehensive EPM systems. Traditionally, EPM suites deliver tools for global financial consolidation, planning, reporting, and analysis. However, there is a growing need for new functionality such as predictive modeling.
“Once enterprises get their basic reporting, planning, and forecasting processes automated and running well, the next areas a lot of companies are focusing on include profitability analysis and statistics-based predictive modeling,” O’Rourke says. “It’s where you can really start to make some valuable decisions about the business.”
Oracle Crystal Ball is an application for predictive modeling, forecasting, simulation, and optimization that is integrated with Oracle Hyperion EPM. It helps enterprises improve their planning and forecasting by providing a way to create powerful forward-looking business forecasts. Oracle Crystal Ball also provides variable sensitivity and risk analysis information to improve understanding of plans and forecasts.
Users can take historic information from a planning application or financial modeling application and then take a forward forecast and run it through Monte Carlo simulations. Instead of just doing a couple of manual models of base-case, high-case, and low-case simulations, Oracle Crystal Ball makes it possible to run thousands of simulations in a few minutes.
With the Oracle Crystal Ball EPM solution, enterprises can add predictive modeling features to their Oracle EPM and business intelligence applications. “We’ve already integrated Oracle Crystal Ball with Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance and Oracle Essbase and are planning to deliver greater integration with Oracle Hyperion Planning in the future,” says O’Rourke.
This integration will provide enterprises with the ability to further leverage their EPM system investments. Looking forward, O’Rourke predicts continued demand for EPM solutions and predictive modeling tools, especially if the economy stays volatile. He says, “They appeal to companies trying to plan and forecast and figure out where the growth’s happening, when it’s happening, and how to allocate resources to match the growth expectations of their businesses.”
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