By John O'Rourke   November 29, 2017

Performance management processes and systems are supposed to help organizations achieve their financial goals by linking strategies to plans and execution across the enterprise. However, most performance management systems are only deployed within the Finance organization and don't fully support the planning, reporting and analysis needs of other departments and business units.

In a recently-published white paper, BPM Partners describes the concept of performance management plus (PM+), which they see as the new wave in the natural evolution of performance management systems. While it is almost always centered in Finance, the central PM+ software platform can extend to serve other departments and units well.

The white paper looks at real-world use cases for extending performance management systems through configuration, and key considerations and benefits of selecting a platform with this extensibility in mind.

Performance Management Defined

Corporate performance management (CPM, also known as EPM or BPM) is all about helping organizations meet their financial goals by linking strategies to plans and execution. Key processes that are enabled by CPM software include budgeting, planning, forecasting, management reporting, financial consolidationand reporting to external stakeholders. A key tenet of CPM is the ability to monitor key performance indicators, analyze results and model alternative business scenarios.

While the key processes that are enabled by CPM software are typically driven by the Finance department, the monitoring, analysis and modeling needs to occur within as well as outside of Finance. Think about processes such as workforce planning, CapEx planning, sales performance management, customer and product profitability management. Often, this requires extending or modifying the functionality, models, or analytics of the CPM software to fit a department or business unit.

Issues with Legacy CPM applications

The limitations inherent in legacy CPM applications may be one of the reasons CPM software often gets deployed in Finance and doesn't get into the hands of managers in other departments. If the software is too expensive, difficult to deploy, and not easily extensible – expanding beyond Finance is challenging. The alternative is to supplement the CPM software with disconnected departmental spreadsheets, or for business units and departments to implement their own CPM software, then figure out how to align and share data with the corporate system.

The Next Wave - Performance Management Plus

In the BPM Partners white paper, "Extend Performance Management with Company-Wide Solutions" the firm makes the case for what they call "performance management plus" or PM+ solutions. Here they describe more modern solutions that are designed to extend beyond core capabilities. These added capabilities address the expanded performance management requirements of today's CFO and Finance teams, while also helping significantly in meeting the need for analysis and insight across lines of business (LOBs) and other departments, from HR to Operations.

BPM Partners views this as the next wave in the natural evolution of performance management software. While it is almost always centered in Finance, the central PM+ software platform should extend to support other departments and units as well. In selecting performance management software, it has always been a challenge to accommodate the varied processes of different business units, so users should evaluate the adaptability – or extensibility – of an integrated CPM application, and its ability to be configured easily with maximum reuse of existing functionality and models.

This process becomes much easier with the additions that, when combined with a core CPM platform, create this concept of PM+:

  • Web accessibility and mobile capabilities.
  • Guided workflows, with alerts.
  • Integrated business intelligence and departmental analytics with reporting capabilities.
  • The ability to work in Excel to extend, modify, and give input to models used in the core BPM application.
  • Operational analytics.
  • Extensibility of the software application, where domain-specific solutions can be created via configuration of the core application.
  • A preexisting library of "extended solutions" for deployment within and outside of Finance.

When it comes to extending or creating new departmental solutions from the core platform, the work should be handled by power users in Finance or at the business unit or department level. It shouldn't require the support of a programmer.

How OneStream XF Supports PM+

OneStream Software aligns very well to the concept of PM+ as defined by BPM Partners. We call it CPM 2.0 or SmartCPMTM. SmartCPM combines a unified CPM application with a marketplace of applications that allow customers to easily extend their investment and drive CPM more broadly within and outside of Finance.

OneStream XF is a revolutionary SmartCPM platform that unifies and simplifies financial consolidation, planning, reporting, analytics, and financial data quality for sophisticated organizations. Delivered via the cloud or on-premise, OneStream XF is the first and only solution that delivers corporate standards and controls, with the flexibility for business units to report and plan at additional levels of detail without impacting corporate standards – all through a single application.

The OneStream XF MarketPlace features downloadable solutions that allow customers to easily extend the value and familiarity of their CPM platform to meet the changing needs of finance and operations. All MarketPlace solutions work in harmony and leverage the core OneStream XF platform for data quality, calculation, reporting, etc. Examples of OneStream XF MarketPlace solutions that are already available and in use by customers, include People Planning, CapEx Planning, Cash Planning, Account Reconciliations, Sales Planning, and many others.

Buyers in the CPM market finds such apps/solutions helpful in providing additional capabilities to enable performance management across a business. Respondents to the 2017 BPM Partners Pulse Survey preferred this platform approach over traditional pre-packaged solutions (22% vs. 11%). However, the largest group (50%) would like a product that combines both approaches. To learn more, download the BPM partners white paper and feel free to visit the OneStream Software website to learn more about our SmartCPM platform and the OneStream XF MarketPlace solutions.

- John O'Rourke

John O'Rourke is Vice President of Product Marketing at OneStream Software. With a background in accounting and finance, John has over 30 years of experience in the software industry, including 20 years of experience in product marketing at Hyperion Solutions, Oracle and Host Analytics. He has worked with many customers and partners on financial reporting and planning initiatives and has spoken and written on many topics in corporate performance management. John has also held positions in strategic marketing and product marketing at Dun & Bradstreet Software, Kenan Systems and Decisyon.