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John O'Rourke | Nov 09, 2016

CPM Admins, Make Some Noise

‘Master of band-aids’. If you consider that a glorious title then you could consider a career in system administration.

Corporate Performance Management Administrators take pride in their work. And we should because we do magic for the organization. As financial reporting requirements change and management keeps shifting structures and wants restated numbers yesterday, the admins are the magicians that make it all work. And we’re proud of keeping the organization safe from all the complexity we deal with. RESPECT!
But when this complexity – or the stress from it – keeps us awake at night, we have to consider shifting roles to one that doesn’t come natural to us. We will have to tell the organization that things are slowly getting out of hand. Creating awareness that our financial management setup is becoming dangerously complex and vulnerable. You can fix it this time and the next but there will come a day when you no longer can keep everyone happy.
CPM Admins are not good at that. Why? Well I guess it’s because we feel responsible for our systems. For years we’ve been used to solve issues, find creative solutions, putting in the extra time. Saying that there will come a time when you no longer can fix things, well that feels like failure, betrayal even.
But consider the alternatives. Put in more hours? More staff? More tools? Is that really going to be a sustainable response to the challenges your organization faces? Your colleagues want better and more detailed information and analysis tools with nice presentation layers, faster consolidations and standardized management reporting. How about regulatory requirements, auditability and transparency, sustainability or even integrated reporting? FP&A brings in this Predictive analysis and Forecasting. The list is long and growing steadily. Are you sure your current performance management toolbox is ready to meet these challenges?
Sure, your vendor has corporate performance management solutions for each and every challenge. But when you try to imagine bringing it all together, does it look nice, neat and organized? Or does it get a bit ugly with different technologies and disparate systems, all being dependent on misty tools with names containing ‘Governance’, ‘Integrator’ and ‘Relation Manager’? All sitting on their own hardware with different release cycles. With different data models and user access models. If that’s what gets you going every morning then wear the Master-of-Band-Aids title with pride. But don’t expect much appreciation or gratitude from your customers.
Admins that really understand their responsibility will stand up and demand attention from senior management for the complexity trap they’re slowly getting in to. And you’re right, they will probably bounce it back at you asking what you suggest. Not because they don’t want to see the problem but because they trust you! You kept them safe for so many years so they know that they’d better listen. Make sure you’re well prepared: your analysis of the current situation and how you suggest to steer the organization away from the trouble you see ahead.
Believe me, your hard work has gotten you more credibility than you might expect. Use it! Make some noise!

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