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What is Performance Management? While you have probably read the terms Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) before, the term Performance Management is less often mentioned but just as important. Put simply, ERP systems improve the back office and CRM systems improve the front office – which together help you to achieve Operational Excellence. Performance Management systems, on the other hand, are used by the finance team to help you to achieve Management Excellence.

At inlumi, we believe that a well-implemented Performance Management system is essential for your organisation’s success. Studies by leading research organisations all acknowledge that having strong financial and performance management capabilities are important factors in driving shareholder value. Have a look online and you will see that organisations with world-class Performance Management implementations deliver almost two and a half times more equity market return than their industry peers – around 3% higher return on assets and 5% higher return on equity.

inlumi specialises in helping you to select and implement a technology platform for Performance Management that comprises of the methodologies, information processes and technologies you need to achieve Management Excellence. Your organisation will most likely have implemented processes, to some degree, in order to operate your business – possibly using spreadsheets at its core. Our experience is that having a Performance Management platform will help your organisation to significantly improve these processes, making them more efficient and effective.
Performance Management consists of four main disciplines: Financial Close, Planning & Forecasting, Profitability Management and Strategy Management.

The first discipline is Financial Close. Everyone has to close their books and report to regulatory bodies whether they are in industry, in government, education or are a charity. The discipline is to ensure the process is run transparently, in a shorter time and with greater control. The objective is to confidently report performance results, both financial and non-financial, to internal and external stakeholders. Essentially, tell people how you did and what you did that year, quarter or month.

Some of the primary benefits which arise from creating an effective close process include:

  • Efficiency – teams are able to realise more time leading the business and looking forward rather than closing the books;
  • Greater levels of automation lead to greater transparency, accuracy and control – systemised processing reduces the need for manual adjustment and intervention;
  • A single source of data ensures alignment between internal and external reporting and provides significant analytic value;
  • Reduced audit time and IT time required for supporting close processes.

The main objective for the Planning & Forecasting discipline is to create financial and operational plans, and budgets and forecasts with which management can drive the company’s short and mid-term goals. Being able to accurately predict and manage outcomes for the organisation on an ongoing basis and predict and manage the financial impact for the outcomes is a huge challenge for most organisations.

In short, plans are what you intend to do (short-term or long-term), budgets are what it will cost to fulfil your plan and forecasts are what to expect in the future if you continue to carry out the plan.

In addition, organisational processes also typically include producing:

  • Workforce plans – your human capital requirements for the short and long term
  • Cap-Ex plans – the requirements for tangible property for the short and long term.

The bottom line is that organisations which implement world-class planning systems develop forecasts that are accurate to within approximately 5% of earnings. How does that compare to your organisation?

Profitability Management aims to provide organisations with better leadership decision-making metrics around the behaviour of costs and revenues. Profitability management attempts to reveal how costs are consumed by various categories. For example, how costs are consumed in the manufacturing of products, the provision of services, or the caring of customers. Matching the revenue associated with these categories produces the ability to understand their respective profitability. With this new information, managers are better informed to understand the impact of proposed business changes – e.g., which products or services might I be better to stop providing? Which customer relationships should I be encouraging? Are there better methods that I can employ to improve my efficiencies and costs?

How are you approaching this discipline today?

Strategy Management is used to evaluate the various strategies that an organisation could undertake in the short-term or the long-term and then to document the chosen strategies and goals and monitor the progress of them. There are two main processes to consider: strategic planning and managing strategy.

  • Strategic planning provides the ability to run strategic what-if analysis with greater agility across all functional areas which is very useful to help determine the probability of hitting key targets such as those from the most current planning, budgeting, and forecasting cycle. And it can greatly help with selecting new investments with the greatest long-term return on invested capital by evaluating numerous potential outcomes.
  • Managing strategy, the second process in Strategy Management, is a management technique that enables the organisation to communicate its strategic goals to all stakeholders and to monitor the progress in achieving these goals. Goals may be stated in terms of strategic objectives or through the use of KPIs (or both). In either case, the strategy management system enables managers to compare actual performance to proposed targets to evaluate the achievement results, and to visually compare to performance results over time.

Performance Management systems support these four disciplines and processes to help your business run more efficiently. However, world-class Performance Management, or what we at inlumi call Intelligent Performance Management (IPM), connects these disciplines and enables them to co-exist on a single platform and a unified data set. IPM enables organisations to quickly run and evaluate thousands of business scenarios, and provides a built-in workflow and automated processes to reduce errors and improve efficiencies. Creating repeatable, reusable processes is imperative to Intelligent Performance Management.

In summary, the main benefits of Performance Management are that it can help your organisation to:

  • Shorten the close process and automate reporting
  • Improve planning and forecast processes
  • Extend profitability and analytic capabilities
  • Define and communicate strategy

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