April 22, 2019

I gave up my cell phone & laptop for the weekend: This is what I learned

It was time for a technology detox. When I left work on Good Friday, I left my laptop at the office. I got home at 3PM and put my mobile phone on a charger that I wouldn't see until Monday at 9AM. And my life free of external, involuntary, technological distraction began... along with the stress of being out of touch for the next 3 days. Here's what I learned.

Biggest Lessons


  1. It's really stressful at first, but you get over it.
  2. All those people you told "if it's an emergency, contact my significant other" will not have any emergencies suitable for contacting your significant other.
  3. It will leave you wanting more.
I learned far more about myself and we'll get to that in a second.

Why in the name of God?

Thanks to the cruel "Screen Time" tracking feature of my Apple iPhone, I found that on the average day, I lift up my phone more than 30 times before 11AM every day and then it gets worse from there. In general, I am using my phone 6+ hours per day and many days are a lot worse. I pay more attention to my phone than the people around me: if it's always within arm's reach and I use it for everything. As a CEO, my outward reason for my phone addiction is that I have to be connected: emails and text messages must be dealt with immediately and without my calendar, I might miss a Very Important Meeting. In reality, I am completely addicted to my cell phone and the whole "I have to stay connected" thing is largely rationalization.

But about a week ago, I looked around at the people in my life and realized that we're all addicted: for some of us, it's about communication. Others live in their games. Some people are on Instagram looking at puppies and kittens. Whatever your thing, you're getting it through either your phone or your laptop.

So why take a break? Mostly to find out 1) if I could make it for 42 hours; and 2) what I could learn from the experience. I settled on Easter weekend (April 19-22).

Things I thought I couldn't live without

Texting. According the aforementioned Evil Screen Time, I knew that I spent 1.5 hours a day on text messaging. To be clear, I'm not a tween: my company uses text messaging more than any other communication vehicle, it's how I stay in contact with friends (who has time for phone calls?), and it's about the only way my kids will talk to me.

Email. While texting is great for short communications and quick back-and-forths, I get around 200 non-spam emails on the average day and about 50 on the average weekend. When you have something longer to say or it's not urgent, email is the way to go.

Navigation. I have long since forgotten how to drive without the little blue dot directing me. There are about four places I felt I could find on my own (work, home, airport, grocery store), but I was sure that I would be lost without Google Maps or Waze.

Games. I am level 40 on Pokemon Go (humble brag) and I have played it every day since July 2016. It's literally the only game on my phone, but I have to keep my daily streak going lest... I don't know, actually, but the stress of missing out on my 7-day rewards was seriously getting to me.

Turns out, I didn't miss Pokemon Go, I'm actually a decent driver without a phone (it's like falling off a bike: you never forget how), and if you're off email, you never know what you're missing. I did miss texting, but not in the way I thought I would. So what did I actually miss?

Things I actually missed

Bitmoji. I genuinely missed sending cute pictures around to my friends of me as the Easter Bunny and receiving their pictures dressed up inside Easter eggs. I kept wanting to sneak peeks at my wife's phone to see if she was getting anything cute, though I did manage to resist.

Information. I had forgotten the days when questions didn't have answers. What's the address of Academy Sports? I didn't know, so I just had to drive in the general area where I thought it was. What time does Salata open? No idea, so I drove there and got to wander outside for a bit until they opened for the day (fun fact: stores still post actual opening/closing hours on their front doors!). What time is the movie Little playing at the AMC Grapevine Mills 30? Who won the Texas Rangers game (when in doubt, assume it's the team they're playing against)? Who is the actor that plays that one character in that movie, oh, come on, you know who I'm talking about, that guy, let me just look it up for you, oh, damn, I can't until Monday, FML?

Calendar. I worried all weekend about my schedule for the upcoming week: when was my first appointment on Monday, what did I have scheduled for after work, was there anything I should be preparing for, when was I leaving town next, where was I supposed to be for Memorial Day weekend? It went on-and-on, and it turns out that none of it matters.

Photos. I didn't realize how many photos I take of the world around me, until I couldn't take any photos at all. I had to use a long-forgotten mental trick called "memory." It made me pay a lot more attention to the world around me, and I genuinely remember more of how I experienced the weekend than if I had been trying to catalog everything through pictures. I'm sure photos would have made this blog more appealing, but I'm doing all this from memory, so all we have are words.

Connection. I wanted to know what my friends and family were doing and to let them know I was thinking of them. Without technology, this is almost impossible nowadays. I had to resort to seeing them in-person: I met a couple of them at a restaurant and we got together with another friend for cycling, a movie, and Game of Thrones. But it turns out that those friends - the ones I spent time with in-person - I felt more deeply connected to than before the weekend started. Texting is about surface-level connecting, but facetime (note that this is different than FaceTime) is about bonding.

What changed over the weekend?

For one, I spent a lot more time outside. I played frisbee, went on a fourteen-mile bike ride, worked out at the gym, walked around some, went to the mall, saw a movie, and in general, I actually experienced more of the world than I normally do. I also didn't trip over a curb once, because unlike normal, I was looking up the whole time.

I read more instead of looking at my phone each night to fall asleep. I made it 100 pages into a book that I've been meaning to read for a year now. And in the morning I didn't reach for my phone on my bedside table either. I tend to forget how immersed you can get in a book when you don't have notifications popping up constantly telling you what you should be doing instead of reading in peace.

I spent a lot of time with my wife this weekend to the point that she was probably sick of me by Sunday night, but we spent real time with each other without any technological distractions. I finally gave her an Edward Break last night by heading off to take a long bath while reading more of my book (Stealing Snow, if you're curious). She fell asleep and I stayed up reading until midnight.

Any lasting effects?

I thought I would be longing for my phone and my laptop (particularly text and emails) at exactly 9AM this morning. I waited until 9AM and opened up my laptop to see what appointment I had at 9AM. It turns out no one needs me - or loves me? - until 10:30AM, so I opened up a browser window to write my first blog entry in many, many months. My cell phone is still face down, and as of 10AM, I still have no idea who texted or emailed me all weekend. I'm blissfully writing away, and I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to going back to my constantly-connected world.

Will giving up your technology addiction for a weekend give you some sort of mystical clarity, a purity of soul that let's you know how the Dalai Lama must feel when he's between text messages? No, but it will help you find out just how addicted you are, and how strong your willpower is. It'll help you understand what you're missing when you're disconnected, and if you're like me, you'll find that in some ways, you actually like it.

Now will I ever do this again? I'll let you know after I log into my email, read all my texts, and see just how bad the world got over the weekend. Until then, I'm blissfully unaware.

January 5, 2018

Why Cloud? The reason changed in 2017…twice

In 2017, the predominant reason companies considered moving to the Cloud changed multiple times. While the “how” tends to shift frequently, seeing the “why” fundamentally shift twice in one year was fascinating (though not quite as fascinating as yesterday when LinkedIn suggested I might know both Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher).

The Cloud will save us money

2017 started off with companies moving to the Cloud to save money. This makes sense in a theoretical sense: you pay-as-you-go for your software instead of all up-front, you don’t have to buy your own servers, there’s no need to do installations, and there’s no IT staff needed to handle the frequent maintenance that an on-premises solution requires.

But while that’s 100% correct in the abstract (any new company would buy Cloud first before ever considering an on-prem product), there’s a sunk cost issue with existing solutions: companies already paid for all their software (minus the annual “support maintenance”), they already bought their servers, someone already installed the software, and there’s an existing staff dedicated to maintaining servers that has plenty of other things they can be doing once they stop dealing with the drudgery of daily maintenance activities. While there’s money to be saved with new solutions, and there’s definitely money to be saved in the long-run on converting existing implementations to the Cloud, the short-term savings are trumped by the sunk cost fallacy.

As companies started moving en masse to the Cloud, a compelling new motivation began appearing in Spring of 2017.

Let’s make our server someone else’s problem

Companies began realizing that servers and data centers are a huge headache: a distraction from their core competencies. Trying to make sure servers stay up and running whenever we need to access them shouldn’t be any more of a focus than starting our car: the engine should always work and if it doesn’t, someone far more qualified than we are should fix it.

All of a sudden, people were going to the Cloud so they never had to deal with their servers again: uptime was assumed, patches were someone else’s problem, and backups just happened. And as this happened, the Cloud became more like Google: when was the last time you pondered where Google’s servers are located or when the last time was that Google did a backup? And the reason you don’t invest brain power into Google maintenance thought experiments is that it’s Google’s problem. While the Cloud may be causing someone else sleepless nights keeping those servers up and running, that someone is not making their problem your problem.

So, we spent the next several months of “The Year of the Cloud” (trademark pending) going to the Cloud so we never had to deal with our servers again.

Power to the People!

In late 2017, organizations going to the Cloud began to notice something weird: business people were starting to own their own systems and access their data directly. A noble aim long desired by users everywhere, this has heretofore been impossible because on-premises systems take a lot of effort to administrate. It took consultants or IT personnel to build the systems, modify them, and in the end, those same people controlled access to the systems.

The Cloud changed all that: with a new focus on end users and self-service, the power to change things (add an account, build a new report, modify a form, create new analysis) moved to the people who are the first to know when a change needs to be met. At first, I thought this self-service paradigm would increase the workload on the business, but it turns out that they were having to do all the requesting of the changes anyway and quickly making those changes themselves was far faster. Why should I have to make a request to see my own data rather than just go wander through it on my own (preferably on a mobile device)?

And so we ended 2017 with a new drive – a new “why” – of the Cloud. Give the power to the people. The other reasons aren’t lost: they just took a backseat to the new user-first world of the Cloud. Now when someone asks me “why should our company move to the Cloud?”, I tell them “because it gives your business people the power to make better business decisions faster.”

At least, that’s my answer at the start of 2018.

What’s the next shift?

Each year, I conduct a global survey of Business Analytics. Last year, I asked over 250 companies how they were doing in the world of reporting, analysis, planning, and consolidation.  If you want to see where the next shift is coming from before it happens, I’m unveiling the results of this year’s survey on a webcast January 31, 2018, at 2PM Eastern, where you’ll learn how your BI & EPM (Business Intelligence & Enterprise Performance Management) stacks up against the rest of the world. To register, go to:


If you have any questions, ask them in the comments or tweet them to me @ERoske.

November 29, 2017

The Biggest Change to Reporting & Analysis in 2018 Won’t Be the Cloud

Screenshot from https://www.oracle.com/solutions/business-analytics/day-by-day.html

Companies spent most of 2017 either preparing their journey to the Cloud, getting started on moving their applications to the Cloud, or hoping the whole Cloud thing would go away if we just ignored it long enough (like my late fees at Blockbuster). But in the end, the Cloud isn’t revolutionary: the Cloud just means someone else is managing your server for you. While it’s nice that your servers are now someone else’s problem, there is an actual revolution happening in reporting & analysis and it’s a technology that’s been around for decades.

The Future of Reporting & Analysis Can Also Take Selfies

Up to this point, mobile has been an afterthought in the world of reporting & analysis: we design for a laptop first and if something ends up mobile-enabled, that’s a nice-to-have. The commonly held belief is that mobile devices (phones, tablets) are too small of a footprint to show formatted reports or intricate dashboards. That belief is correct in the same way that Microsoft Outlook is way too complex of an application to make reading emails on a mobile device practical… except that most emails in the world are now read on a mobile device. They’re just not using Outlook. We had to rethink of a smaller, faster, easier, more intuitive (sorry, Microsoft) way of consuming information to take email mobile.

Reporting & analysis will also hit that tipping point in 2018 where we ask ourselves simply “what questions do I need answered to make better business decisions faster?” and then our phones will give us exactly that without all the detail a typical report or dashboard provides. Will mobile analytics kill off desktop applications? No more than the desktop killed off paper reports. They all have their place: paper reports are good for quickly looking at a large amount of formatted information, desktops will be good for details (Excel will live on for the foreseeable future), and mobile will take its rightful place as the dominant form of information consumption.

Forget the Past and Pay Attention to the Present

The greatest thing about mobile is that everyone has their phone less than six feet from them at all times [you just glanced over at yours to see if I’m right]. But would you ever look at your phone if your screen took a month to update? Traditional reports are very backwards-looking. Your typical Income Statement, for instance, tells you how you spent the last year, it sometimes tells you about the upcoming forecast, but it rarely tells you, “am I making money at this moment?” Just like the dashboard of a car would be awfully useless if it gave you last month’s average gas tank reading – hey, I was 75% full in December! – mobile reports won’t be for looking at historically dated information. Instead, we’ll look to mobile to give us just the information we need to take physical actions now.

But Why is 2018 the Year of Mobile Analytics?

Quite simply, we didn’t have the technology to support our decisions until now. While we could take reports or dashboards and interact with them on mobile devices, we don’t want to actually perform analytics on our phones. We want the computers doing the analysis for us. While we’ve had data mining for years, it was relegated to high-priced data scientists or not-so-highly-paid analysts.

We now have artificial intelligence that can look through our data 24/7 and with no guidance from us, determine what drivers correlate with which results. Machine learning can then determine which information it delivers do we truly find useful. And so we don’t have to dig through all the results to find out what the system is trying to tell us, the mobile analytics apps in 2018 will convert complex information into natural language. It will simply tell us in plain English (or your language of choice), “I looked through all your information and here are the things you need to be aware of right now.”

While that may seem like distant promises to many people, it’s here now. At Oracle’s OpenWorld 2017 conference, there was an amazing demonstration of everything I mentioned in the last paragraph. The audience was even more amazed when told that all that functionality would be in Oracle Analytics Cloud before OpenWorld 2018. I’m sure the employees of Microsoft, Tableau, QlikView, and others are either busy working on their own technological magic or they’re busier working on their resumés.

Am I Ready for the Future?

Start finding out at EPM.BI/Survey. Each year, I conduct a global survey of Business Analytics. Last year, I asked over 250 companies how they were doing in the world of reporting, analysis, planning, and consolidation.  To participate in this year’s survey, go to EPM.BI/Survey and spend 15 minutes answering questions about your State of Business Analytics that you maybe haven’t thought of in years. In exchange for filling in the survey, you’ll be invited to a webcast on January 31, 2018, at 1PM Eastern, where you’ll learn how your BI & EPM (Business Intelligence & Enterprise Performance Management) stacks up against the rest of the world.

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments or tweet them to me @ERoske.

May 1, 2017

Top 5 Quotes from Oracle’s 2017 Modern Finance Experience

Three days of Oracle’s Modern Finance Experience set my personal new record for “Most Consecutive Days Wearing a Suit.” Surrounded by finance professionals (mostly CFOs, VPs of FP&A, and people who make money from Finance execs), I came prepared to learn nothing… yet found myself quoting the content for days to come.

The event featured top notch speakers on cutting edge concepts: the opening keynote with Mark Hurd, a panel on the changing world of finance with Matt Bradley & Rondy Ng, Hari Sankar on Hybrid in the world of Oracle EPM, and even one of my competitors (more on that in a second).

For those of you who couldn’t be there (or didn’t want to pay a lot of money to dress up for three days), I thought I’d share my top five quotes as best as I could transcribe them.

“IT currently spends 80% of its budget on maintenance. Boards are demanding increased security, compliance, and regulatory investment. All these new investments come from the innovation budget, not maintenance.”
-          Mark Hurd, Oracle, Co-Chief Executive Officer

Mark Hurd was pulling double duty: he gave the opening keynote at Oracle HCM World (held at a nearby hotel) and then bolted over to Oracle Modern Finance Experience to deliver our keynote. He primarily talked Oracle strategy for the next few years which – to badly paraphrase The Graduate – can be summed up in one word: Cloud.

He gave a compelling argument for why the Cloud is right for Oracle and businesses (though server vendors and hosting providers should be terrified). Now let me be clear: much of this conference was focused around the Cloud, so many of these quotes will be too, but what I liked about Mark’s presentation was it gave clear, concise, and practically irrefutable arguments of the benefits of the Cloud.

The reason I liked the quote above is it answers the concerns from all those IT departments: what happens to my job if I don’t spend 80% of our resources on maintaining existing systems? You’ll get to spend your time on actually improving systems. Increased innovation, greater security, better compliance … the things you’ve been wanting to get to but never have time or budget to address.

“The focus is not on adding lots of new features to on-premises applications. Our priority is less on adding to the functional richness and more on simplifying the process of doing an upgrade.”

-          Hari Sankar, Oracle, GVP of Product Management

I went to a session on the hybrid world of Oracle EPM. I knew Hari would be introducing a customer who had both on-premises Hyperion applications and Cloud applications. What I didn’t know is that he would be addressing the future of Oracle EPM on-premises. As most of you know, the current version for the on-premises Oracle EPM products is 11.1.2.4.x. What many of you do not know is that Oracle has taken future major versions (11.1.2.5 and 12c) of those products off the roadmap.

Hari spoke surprisingly directly to the audience about why Oracle is not abandoning EPM on-prem, but why they will not be pushing the Cloud versions and all their cool new functionality back down to the historical user base. To sum up his eight+ minute monologue, the user base is not requesting new functionality. They want simplicity and an easy path to transition to the Cloud eventually, and that’s why Oracle will be focusing on PSUs (Patch Set Updates) for the EPM products and not on “functional richness.”

Or to put it another way: Hyperion Planning and other Hyperion product users who want impressive new features? Go to the Cloud because they’re probably never coming to on-premises. To quote Hari once more, “create a 1-3 year roadmap for moving to a Cloud environment” or find your applications increasingly obsolete.

 “Hackers are in your network: they’re just waiting to pull the trigger.”

-          Rondy Ng, Oracle, SVP of Applications Development

There was an entertaining Oracle panel led by Jeff Jacoby (Master Principal Sales Consultant and a really nice guy no matter what his family says) that included Rondy Ng (he’s over ERP development), Matt Bradley (he’s over EPM development), and Michael Gobbo (also a lofty Master Principal Sales Consultant). While I expected to be entertained (and Gobbo’s integrated ERP/HCM/EPM demo was one for the ages), I didn’t expect them to tackle the key question on everyone’s mind: what about security in the Cloud?

Mark Hurd did address this in his keynote and he gave a fun fact: if someone finds a security flaw in Oracle’s software on a Tuesday, Oracle will patch in by Wednesday, and it will take an average of 18 months until that security patch gets installed in the majority of their client base. Rondy addressed it even more directly: if you think hackers haven’t infiltrated your network, you’re sticking your head in the sand.

Without going into all of Rondy’s points, his basic argument was that Oracle is better at running a data center than any of their customers out there. He pointed out that Oracle now has 90 data centers around the world and that security overrides everything else they do. He also said, “security is in our DNA” which is almost the exact opposite of “Danger is my middle name,” but while Rondy’s line won’t be getting him any dates, it should make the customer base feel a lot safer about letting Oracle host their Cloud applications.

 “Cloud is when not if.”

-          David Axson, Accenture, Managing Director

I have to admit, I have developed a man crush on one of my competitors. I wrote down more quotes from him than from every other speaker at the event put together. His take on the future of Finance and Planning so closely paralleled my thoughts that I almost felt like he had read the State of Business Analytics white paper we wrote. For instance, in that white paper, we wrote about Analysis Inversion: that the responsibility for analyzing the report should be in the hands of the provider of the report, not the receiver of the report. David Axson put it this way: “The reporting and analysis is only as good as the business decisions made from it. In finance, your job starts when you deliver the report and analysis. Most people think that's when it ends.”

The reason I picked the quote above is because it really sums up the whole theme of the conference: the Cloud is not doing battle with on-premises. The Cloud did that battle, won with a single sucker punch while on-prem was thinking it had it made, and Cloud currently dancing on the still unconscious body of on-prem who right now is having a bad nightmare involving losing its Blackberry while walking from Blockbuster to RadioShack.

David is right: the Cloud is coming to every company and the only question is when you’ll start that journey.

“Change and Certainty are the new normal. Combat with agility.”

-          Rod Johnson, Oracle, SVP North America ERP, EPM, SCM Enterprise Business

So, what can we do about all these changes coming to Finance? And for that matter, all the changes coming to every facet of every industry in every country on Earth? Rod Johnson (which he assures me is his not his “stage” name) said it best: don’t fight the change but rather embrace it and make sure you can change faster than everyone else.

"Change comes to those who wait, but it’s the ones bringing the change who are in control."

-          Edward Roske, interRel, CEO


To read more about some of those disruptive changes coming to the world of Finance, download the white paper I mentioned above.

May 23, 2016

7 Signs Your EPM is Lagging Behind Your Competition

Regardless of industry, regardless of size, regardless of duration, all companies have similar issues in their financial analysis, planning, and consolidation areas. From building budgets to financial reporting, how can CFOs, VPs of Finance, Directors of FP&A and Controllers tell if their FP&A teams are falling behind their competitors? Here are seven signs that your Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) environments are stuck in the last decade:
  1. Strategy is planned verbally or in spreadsheets. While the majority of strategic CFO’s agree that Finance should be looking forward and not backward, most strat planning is done in Excel or worse, out loud in various meetings. There is no modeling unless someone comes up with a bunch of linked spreadsheet formulas. Strategies are agreed to in conference rooms and conveyed at a high-level via email (or they aren’t communicated at all). Strategies are evaluated by whomever has the best anecdote: “well, the last time that happened, we did this…” The only thing worse than not having a solution for strategic planning is not doing strategic planning at all. Speaking of spreadsheets…
  2. Excel is the key enabling technology in your FP&A department. One sure way to tell if your EPM function is falling behind is to ask “what is the single most important tool your department uses when running reports? Performing analysis? Coming up with a strategic plan? Preparing the budget? Modeling business changes?” If the answer to four-out-of-five of those is “Microsoft Excel”, ask yourself if that was by design or if people just used Excel because they didn’t have a better system. Excel is a wonderful tool (I open it every morning and don’t close it until I leave), but it was meant to be a way to look at grids of data. It was not meant to store business logic and it was never meant to be a database. Force your FP&A group to do everything with Excel and expect to be waiting for every answer… and then praying everyone got their formulas right when you make business decisions based on those answers.
  3. There is only one version of the budget. No one really thinks that there’s only one way that the year will end up, but most companies insist on a single version of a budget (and not even a range, but a specific number). Not only are EPM Laggards (companies with EPM trailing behind their peer groups) not planning multiple scenarios, they’re insisting that the whole company come up with a single number and then stick to it no matter what external factors are at play. Ron Dimon refers to scenario plans as “ready at hand plans” waiting to be used once we see how our strategic initiatives are enacted. EPM Laggards not only don’t have additional plans ready, they insist on holding everyone in the organization accountable to one single number, outside world be damned.
  4. Budgets favor precision over timeliness. Your competition realizes that a forecast that’s 95% accurate delivered today is more helpful than a budget that was 98% accurate 6 months ago. Yet EPM Laggards spend months coming up with a budget that’s precise to the dollar and then updating it periodically at a high level. It’s amazing how often FP&A groups end up explaining away budget vs. actual discrepancies by saying “the budget was accurate at the start of the year, but then things happened.” Budgets should be reforecasted continuously whenever anything material changes. Think about it: if you had one mapping app that gave you an estimate of your arrival time to the 1/100th of a second at the time you departed and another mapping app that constantly refined your arrival time as you drove, which one would you choose?
  5. No one takes actions on the reports. Edward’s Rule of Reporting: every report should either lead to a better question or a physical action. If your department is producing a report that doesn’t lead someone to ask a bigger, better, bolder question and doesn’t lead someone to take a physical action, change the report. Or stop producing the report entirely. EPM Laggards spend an inordinate amount of time collecting data and generating reports that don’t lead to any change in behavior. EPM Leaders periodically stop and ask themselves “if I arrived today, is this what I would build?” Half the time, the answer is “no,” and the other half the time, the answer is “if I arrived today, I actually wouldn’t build this report at all.”
  6. Most time is spent looking backwards. Imagine you’re driving a car. Put your hands on the wheel and look around. Notice that most of your visual space is the front windshield which shows you what’s coming up ahead of you. Some of what you see is taken up by the dashboard so you can get a real-time idea of where you are right now. And if you glance up, there’s a small rear-view mirror that tells you what’s behind you. A combination of all three of these (windshield, dashboard, and rearview mirror) gives you some idea of when you should steer right or left, brake, or accelerate. In a perfect EPM world, your time would be divided the same way: most would be spent looking ahead (budgeting and forecasting), some time would be spent glancing down to determine where you are at the moment, and very little would be spent looking backwards since, let’s face it, the past is really difficult to change. In your car, you’d only look at the mirror if you were changing lanes or you were worried about being hit from behind, and business is similar yet most EPM Laggards drive their cars by looking backwards.
  7. Labor is devoted to collecting & reporting and not planning & analyzing. If you spend all of your time gathering data, reconciling data, and reporting on data, you’re answering the question “what happened?” Your competition is spending their time analyzing (“why did this happen?”) and then planning to take action (“what should I do next?”). There is a finite amount of time in the world and sadly, that holds true in our FP&A departments too. If your EPM system is focused on collecting, consolidating, & reporting and your competition has their EPM focused on analyzing, modeling, & planning, who do you think will win in the long run?


What You Can Do

If you look at those seven top signs you’re lagging in your EPM functions and wonder how to improve, the first step is to stop building anything new. While this seems counterintuitive, if you take a tactical approach to solving any one area, you’re going to put in place a single point solution that will need to be thrown away or redone as you get closer to your overall vision for EPM. So what’s step 1? Have an EPM vision. Ask yourself where you want your company to be in three years. What do you want out of consolidation, reporting, analysis, modeling, and planning and how will all of those functions be integrated?

You are not alone. I have seen hundreds of FP&A departments in my time struggle with having a vision for just one area let alone a long-range vision. Even when leadership has a vision, it quite often focuses on system improvements (we’re not sure what to do, so let’s throw technology at it!) rather than try to improve processes too. Thankfully, there is hope and as my good friends at G.I. Joe always say, knowing is half the battle.

More Information

If you have any questions, ask them in the comments or tweet them to me @ERoske.