In these unprecedented and turbulent times, long-awaited strategic projects to replace ailing Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions may have been placed on hold for the foreseeable future. Are you confident that your current systems and processes are resilient enough to perform critical business tasks in the short-term? Does your EPM solution exhibit any of the following symptoms?
- Poor performance
- Difficult and time-consuming maintenance
- Excessive manual intervention both for in-bound data and for reporting outputs
- Loss of data
There are many reasons why systems may exhibit symptoms: the business has evolved at a different pace to the system, inefficient practices embedded within your close or planning cycles, neglecting regular patch updates from software and infrastructure vendors, or perhaps it is related to the original implementation – you would be surprised how frequently this happens.
Why check the health of your EPM System?
Your EPM systems are critical for the business – particularly those which are used to report externally – and understanding whether they can cope with the demands of your current organisation is crucial. Performing an EPM Health Check can help alleviate some of the uncertainties your system may be presenting by highlighting potential risks and providing recommendations on where improvements can be made and how value can be unlocked.
An EPM Health Check is key to ensuring that you get the most out of your legacy systems and they continue to deliver what you need.
Seven areas of focus
There are seven key areas a complete health check needs to focus on:
- Is there latency in carrying out tasks on your EPM solution?
- Does your consolidation run slowly?
- Are there frequent unplanned downtimes that affect your close?
- Are there inefficient practices embedded within your close or planning cycles?
- Does your system enable the level of governance and control you require for your reporting processes?
- Data Model
- Do you need to capture similar data multiple times?
- Do you find yourself reconciling data within a reporting process?
- Do you collect lots of supplementary information off-system?
- Do you have to manually pull together information to be able to meet your reporting requirements?
- Business Rules and Calculations
- Are your rules difficult to maintain and develop?
- Are you concerned that the rules are inefficient and slowing down your close?
- Are you concerned about the accuracy of the calculations?
- Controls and Governance
- Do you have data quality issues due to inadequate validation and certification checks?
- Is intercompany reporting an issue?
- Do you have a governance policy across your EPM suite and does this policy extend to cover upstream and downstream systems?
- Data Integration
- Do you have a streamlined and efficient process for capture of source data?
- Do you struggle with managing mappings for source systems?
- Does your integration process rely on manual intervention?
- Information Security
- Is your EPM platform secure?
- Does the service utilise the correct version of SSL?
- Has the service been correctly hardened using the latest software vendor and Microsoft security patches to meet internal Information Security policies?
- Does the architecture provide the correct level of security for a company-confidential service?
A health check can run for all seven areas or be tailored to focus on specific areas of concern. Whatever the choice, it should identify the risks, issues and opportunities to unlock value from your existing EPM systems and introduce stability until it is the right time to move forward with a new or re-engineered system.
How can your EPM systems be checked in the current environment?
Just a few years ago it would be extremely difficult to run a health check, or a much-reduced check would have to be offered. Today, by using the right tools for online communication, collaboration and documentation, health checks can be successfully run in a distributed fashion. Utilising technologies such as VPN, video conferencing, on-line document repositories, screen-sharing and screen-control has enabled distributed teams to carry out activities as if they were on-site.