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SAP Analytics
Thought Leadership

Discover the Value Formula to evaluate and implement EPM and xP&A solutions for success!

Posted by David Den Boer on Fri, May 14, 2021 @ 08:05 AM

It is said that there is no accounting for taste. Meaning, there is no mathematical formula that can define and score what individuals prefer. This is because each person has their own “taste” or set of subjective preferences they find appealing, and attempting to distill this highly variable process of selecting what one finds attractive, tasteful, even beautiful to a digital formula for universal criteria is considered impossible.

For some reason, this same subjectivity has reigned in the world of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions for too long, as I will argue. With the advent of xP&A (Extended Planning & Analysis), which can be thought of as high-intensity EPM, deciding which solution to buy is more critical than ever.

Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Performance, sap, xp&a

Introduction to SAP Disclosure Management

Posted by David Den Boer on Thu, Feb 25, 2021 @ 11:02 AM

Overview

SAP Disclosure Management is an application within the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite.  It is used to improve organisations’ reporting where multiple users need to contribute to reports, and accuracy and consistency is critical. Key examples are the Annual Report and Accounts, returns to financial markets and regulators, and internal reports such as board report “books”.

Disclosure Management, as a process, is also known as the “last mile of finance”, where the culmination of all previous steps – financial close, variance analysis, and re-forecasting – are all key ingredients in what is reported to external stakeholders at the culmination of all subordinate tasks. In today’s world of increased expectations of closing faster, integrating financial and operational processes via advanced versions of EPM  – like xP&A – the appetite for more integration, automation, and on demand timing is at the highest point ever.

The business case for Disclosure Management is that it manages and streamlines the process of bringing together multiple data sources and text required in external reporting all of which are owned and authored by multiple teams and which require approval by multiple approvers.  Some clients choose to outsource performance of this function to a third-party service provider, while others purchase tools for in house use from vendors like Workiva and SAP. We won’t weigh the value of internal or external functionality in this space, but if a decision is taken to perform this function internally, this article provides an overview of the business case for and operational structure of SAP’s Disclosure Management product.

Business Case

The below diagram created by SAP demonstrates the issues faced in reporting that Disclosure Management is designed to streamline.

A typical process leading to a major reporting output such as an annual report or regulatory filing will often have a wide range of data sources.  For example, General Ledger systems, Enterprise Performance Management applications such as SAP BPC, SAC, Group Reporting and BFC as well as manually created inputs such as written text.  These data sources often feed into numerous Excel and Word documents that form part of the reporting output.  The report sections require approvals and collaboration within the organisation that can be difficult to monitor and coordinate.  The sections of the report that have been created separately need to be put together into the final output.  In the past, the output may have only been a printable format such as a Word document or PDF file, but a number of legal and regulatory filings require electronic submission, notably via XBRL.


Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Business Intelligence (BI), Analytics, Financial Information Management, Data

[TECH ALERT] Critical vulnerability for SAP Systems on SAP JAVA Stack

Posted by Vishal Goradia on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 @ 09:08 AM

Description:
Critical vulnerability identified for SAP Systems based on SAP JAVA Stack.
The RECON (Remotely Exploitable Code On NetWeaver) vulnerability has a CVSS score of 10 out of 10 (the most severe)

Symptom:
LM Configuration Wizard of SAP NetWeaver AS JAVA, does not perform an authentication check which allows an attacker without prior authentication, to execute configuration tasks to perform critical actions against the SAP Java system, including the ability to create an administrative user, and therefore compromising Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of the system.

Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Performance, Technical

COVID-19: How To Update your EPM Solution & Avoid Exposure by Long Planning Turnaround Times

Posted by David Den Boer on Wed, Jul 15, 2020 @ 12:07 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic hit just like the children’s game of musical chairs. As the music of our economy stopped, if you were not near a safe place to sit, you were caught out in the open…finding yourself at risk. Similarly, your EPM solution was likely being enhanced, and upgraded on a certain path before the virus came into being. Any EPM strategy not ready for intensified operations learned the hidden weaknesses of their solution.

To make you feel better, almost no EPM solution was ready for this.

Whatever the state was of your EPM solution, that is the tool you had to wield as you navigated your organization through  the impacts of the virus. As we said in part one of this blog series, the jarring impact to the market doesn’t specifically need to be the virus, it could be anything. Just some unpredictable market influence that won’t wait for long running processes.

Topics: Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Performance, Performance Tuning

COVID-19: A time for Leadership - Leveraging Enterprise Performance Management in Times of Crisis

Posted by David Den Boer on Fri, Jun 19, 2020 @ 05:06 AM

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis. ' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity." 

John F. Kennedy, US President 

It's the sort of blockbuster movie plot you'd expect to see while sitting in the dark confines of a movie theater, booming audio and a gasping crowd. A thrilling plot has your eyes riveted to the screen, where the dramatic tension is only broken when you run out of popcorn or the movie ends. In that scenario, you can return to your "real life" in a little over an hour, with no discernible life altering impact. It is now clear this COVID-19 provocateur is no movie; this virus will not go away so quietly without leaving an indelible impact on the world.  It most certainly will impact how you and the leadership team rely on your EPM software and Enterprise Performance Management in general. 

For this article, we'll define EPM software as Gartner does as dealing with “the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise with the goal of improving business performance.  Other activities we'll include under the Enterprise Performance Management umbrella are FP&A modeling, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and consolidation.  Keep reading to find out how our plot unfolds. You'll learn how to avoid high latency, Excel centric planning.  You'll also learn 3 stages of recovery and the leadership principles needed to accelerate  your Enterprise Performance Management and remodeling during COVID-19. 

Topics: Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Performance, User Experience

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Posted by David Den Boer on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 08:04 AM

We have all overcome mistakes in life, using the rearview mirror to observe how easy it would have been to sidestep the pitfall, commenting, “If only I knew then what I know now.” This thought crosses my mind almost daily.

What do you do when you feel this way about the EPM process, BPC or your consultants? Do you ever wonder how they became experts, or how qualified they truly are? How do they define best practice? Recently, I worked with a customer who started their BPC journey with an early version of BPC for NetWeaver. They sought out highly talented consultants, assuming their talent and experience based on their reputation within the industry.

Topics: Best Practices, Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Implementation, Services Focused, Executive

[TECH ALERT] Current Performance Issues with SAP BPC 10 and 10.1 MS

Posted by Charles Dagaev on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 @ 09:02 AM

Our tech team has noticed a pattern of SAP BPC performance issues with certain SAP BPC 10 and SAP BPC 10.1 systems on Microsoft. Dimension indexes are becoming fragmented, which seems to relate to dimension processing. The addition of even a single member to a dimension, with the same processing, fragments the first index (clustered) in the list. In turn, Analysis Services is unable to read from the dimension table efficiently, which in turn kills retrieval of data (reports / schedules) performance.

Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Performance, Technical

EPM Maturity Model - How do I use it?

Posted by Peter Bull on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 14:03 PM

In the last article we looked at the definition and content of the EPM Maturity Model.

In this article we’ll look at how to gauge EPM Maturity and how to identify areas to improve. At the core of the Maturity Model is the definition of:

  • Right Model
  • Right Audience
  • Right Time

Across these definitions we lay a scale that moves from low levels of maturity to high levels of maturity:

Topics: Best Practices, Process Improvement, Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)

EPM Maturity Model - What is it?

Posted by Peter Bull on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

Organizations need to plan, measure and manage across Strategy, Operations and Finance. Isn’t that what Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is all about? It seems like a simple formula. But what about if we change the question to ask what makes successful EPM and successful organizations? If we start with the definition that “Successful EPM drives organizations that dramatically outperform their competitors in terms of both financial and non-financial results” – this gives a very different perspective on the importance and value of EPM. It also means that you need to have a mechanism and framework to objectively review your EPM capabilities and relative maturity.

Topics: Best Practices, Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)

SAP BPC 10.1 NetWeaver at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority - 10 Keys to EPM Project Success

Posted by Richard Hynes on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

From November 2015 to November 2016, with 9 months on site, Column5 worked at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), which acts as the central bank for the KSA, to implement a Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting system using SAP BPC 10.1 NW on BW 7.4. This is the story of that implementation and the key factors behind the success of the project.

Topics: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Training, Case Study, Executive, Upgrade

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