What is EPM? and which EPM Software Solution is the best?

Published on: March 8, 2022
Written by: Tridant

EPM, or Enterprise Performance Management, helps deliver optimised business performance, and refers to the processes involved to support evidence-based decision making through improved planning and reporting. EPM software solutions enable businesses to predict, monitor, measure, and adjust performance across every single operation. 

Effectively, it’s a way of working that enables the business to utilise more holistic data in a more accurate way, enabling better decisions. 

So it’s not just one thing; it’s an umbrella term for the processes and solutions a business uses to achieve the full suite of its management practices, improve operations, and enhance results.

How Enterprise Performance Management Software Works

The nuts and bolts of a business’ enterprise performance management will vary from business to business, and industry to industry, depending on their goals and business objectives. But while the actual processes themselves may differ, there are three core business processes that drive EPM for every company.

Planning

A critical component of EPM is being able to plan for your business’ immediate, medium, and long-term goals. It enables your business to anchor its performance measurement to financial plans, highlighting how key decisions reflect the financial drivers of the business. This in turn allows for improved and more accurate budgeting, financial forecasting, and financial modeling.

Consolidation

One of the key performance areas that EPM supports is a business’ regular financial consolidation and close management. Whether it’s for an individual business or a group of entities and subsidiaries, enterprise performance management tools provide a more streamlined approach to the consolidation cycle.

EPM software typically produces a comprehensive set of financial statements, while enabling you to improve the processes typically undertaken at the financial close of a specific period, such as transaction identification, recording, debt reconciliation, and closing the books.

Reporting & analytics

Enterprise performance management tools are essential in helping businesses optimize and expand their reporting and analytics capabilities. This includes reporting of all types, from real-time management reporting and performance analysis to financial reporting, regulatory reporting and disclosure management, and any ad hoc reports or lives analysis required on a day-to-day basis.

By consolidating data and performance metrics into one central repository, businesses can carefully and comprehensively analyze all the relevant financial and operational metrics, across multiple levels of the business, and then measure this against their strategic goals. 

Getting ahead with enterprise performance management software

Enterprise performance management software is a tool that facilitates the management of an agile business. It follows the EPM attributes above, while helping the business access more comprehensive data to substantiate its planning and decision making—and ultimately drive performance.

What to look for in EPM software

Good EPM software can help streamline and automate your business planning processes by enabling functional planning teams to graduate from using simple spreadsheets, to working collaboratively on a single platform, business-wide.

There are three core things to look for when choosing the best EPM software for your business.

Technical Functionality

This should be an obvious one, but often businesses can make their choices based on brand recognition alone. The best EPM software for one business is not necessarily the best EPM software for another business.

As a complete solution, it should contain features that empower you to create more accurate, more flexible budgets, that improve your current business and resource planning and forecasting. 

It should integrate seamlessly with your existing programs, enabling your company to clearly and accurately align its business plans with execution, and enable ongoing monitoring and adjustment as they progress.

These functionalities facilitate improved performance across the entire organisation—through a single platform.

Accuracy

Good enterprise performance management software should empower your business to improve its forecasting accuracy, leading to more clearly-defined financial goals. To achieve this, it should provide the tools that allow your business to accurately monitor financial and operational results in real time at both granular and summary levels of detail.

Using live dashboards, planners are able to quickly and efficiently understand underlying drivers of outcomes, and convert data into information. Intelligent models can help to identify key trendsand predict outcomes with a high degree of accuracy.

Usability

Using enterprise performance management software should enable your businesses to streamline its processes and enhance your reporting capabilities. If the EPM software is too difficult for end users to operate and adopt, the value of the solution won’t be realised. It should be easy to embed EPM software within the business processes to increase the efficiency and the agility of your teams.

The need for training should be kept to a minimum, and the controls should be intuitive for your teams. Self-service features and persona-based interfaces are helpful for creating optimal user experiences. 

What are the best EPM software solutions?

Ultimately, the best EPM software solutions will be the one that empowers your business to achieve its goals.

Here are the four enterprise performance management tools that are the leaders in their field, that we recommend our clients to investigate.

Anaplan

Anaplan is a cloud-based planning tool built on a hyperblock architecture, focused on enabling connected planning. It delivers a single, centralized data modelling environment, designed to connect teams, systems and insights across organizations. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools that enable you business to create customized reporting dashboards that you can review in real-time, wherever you are.

This in turn works to connect your business on a greater level, enabling your individual teams to link operational data with financial outcomes, and deliver faster, more effective budgeting and forecasting. 

Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning enables the office of finance and functional planning leaders to boost their business agility and improve collaboration. Powered by a scalable in-memory engine leveraging Elastic Hypercube Technology, it provides comprehensive reporting, task monitoring, and user accountability, business-wide, improving process management.

Its easy-to-use web-based interface is made for optimal usability and features a familiar Excel-style interface to allow a seamless transition between traditional and modern EPM software. Users can collaborate on budgets and plans in real-time, and it features automated month-end consolidation and an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that allows business users to better understand key metrics and streamline their reporting. 

BlackLine

BlackLine has been in the game since 2001. Their EPM software delivers a comprehensive solution to help businesses improve their financial close management, automate accounts receivable processes, and streamline intercompany accounting.

The platform features a modern user interface design that makes it easy for users to pick up and run with and business-driven workflows that allow you to cut out unnecessary steps in your processes.

Built for flexibility, users can easily create new processes and make modifications to organizational changes as required, driving efficiency and improving control over business data.

IBM Planning Analytics

IBM Planning Analytics is designed to improve financial and operational planning across your entire business. The platform allows you to automate and streamline your business planning and improve collaboration business-wide.

 IBM PA caters to high-complexity business and modeling requirements and has the ability to create unique workflows. Built-in data visualization allows you to present data across business units in a way that’s easy to understand, improving forecasting and planning abilities.

Choosing the right EPM solution can change how you do business

When looking to leverage enterprise planning management software for your business, the right choice is the software that best suits your business goals.

Tridant is here to help you understand which EPM software is right for your organization. Contact us today to discuss your business’ planning requirements, and we can schedule a solution demo to identify the EPM tools that best suit your needs.

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