Altius CEO, Noel Phillips shares his thoughts on where he sees the direction of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) usage moving in businesses large and small.

Noel Phillips:  The first thing I am seeing is a more iterative approach.  It used to be that companies were lucky to get through one or two cycles of a budget and forecast a year driven by the lack of available data and the technology they were using.  These days people perform multiple iterations of a budget or a plan within the same fiscal cycle.  It really is almost impossible to perform that iterative approach to budgeting and planning unless you have something like a central repository and a workflow process to actually manage those iterations to make sure that everyone is clear what version, and what scenario of the data they are looking at.

The second big change I am seeing is in the granularity of the data that’s being collected.  With the technology available today, people are demanding more and more granular data, more precise data and collecting it is much lower level both in terms of the organization itself and the business process.  Once you start collecting data at that more granular level, you need to have automatic consolidation in place and a multi-dimensional data store to allow you to analyze large amounts of data at summary levels.

The final major change in direction I am seeing is in the number of users interacting with EPM systems.  It used to be that budgeting and planning would be controlled by a small group of expert users who would manually collect data from around the organization and then be responsible for shaping and loading that into a large number of spreadsheets.  These days I am seeing people require the subject matter experts within the organization provide the data at source by people who are accountable and that really understand the data they are providing.  This can mean that a budgeting and planning process can go from 2-5 users to being used across the entire organization by every department in every function.

In order to facilitate that, you have to have a system that can manage the workflow and all of those users, provision security appropriately, and that has an ease of use such that people can use and interact with the system without requiring specialized training.

These three major shifts in the way Enterprise Performance Management is being used demand the types of components an EPM solution provides.