So, your organisation has finally decided to invest in an enterprise performance management system. Your initial excitement has now subsided and instead, you feel overwhelmed by the thought of narrowing down your vendor selection.

When selecting an enterprise performance management system, there are some things you need to look out for. We have created this quick guide which provides you with some leading principles to consider when making your selection.

1. Consider the functional requirements of your performance management system

When it comes to selecting an enterprise performance management system, functional requirements will be top of your criteria. They specify what the system can do. When it comes to a robust enterprise performance management system, there are specific product features or functions that you want to ensure your chosen solution provides.

Some important questions to ask when narrowing down your search include:

  • How easy is it for staff to use the tool?
  • Does the tool allow you to drill down to different levels?
  • Does the tool allow single click reporting of underlying transactions?
  • Can the system be used to build predictive models using available data?
  • Can the system be used to build complex planning models for unique scenarios?
  • Does the system allow for both, top-down and bottom-up planning?
  • Is the tool suitable for enterprise-level businesses with a global presence?
  • What is the pricing and licensing structure? Do they offer price on consumption, or is it based on user ‘seats’, are there any limits on how many users an organisation can have?
  • Does the tool allow for Excel-based data entry?
  • Can month-end financial, board and operational reporting all be completed through the one tool?
  • Can the planning, budgeting and forecasting process all be completed via the one tool?
  • Are formulas able to be entered directly into the tool?
  • Does the tool handle rolling forecasts?
  • Can you use sensitivity analysis to evaluate potential variables?
  • Does the tool offer driver-based planning?
  • Does the tool offer advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities?

It’s critical that you find out exactly what functional options your chosen tool offers. Include future-use cases and your business’s growth plans. You want a solution that is easy to use and satisfies the immediate needs of the finance team to build and maintain their own models, plans, budgets, actuals and forecasts.

2. Pre-empt IT and Security requirements

One of the biggest hurdles finance teams face when selecting an enterprise performance management tool is getting buy-in from IT departments. Therefore, pre-empt the IT, and security requirements for your business. Your IT department will be more inclined to support your decision if you have considered their needs.

Some questions to ask during your assessment, include:

  • Is the system able to integrate with the existing technology stack? (e.g. data warehouse, Power BI, Salesforce, ERP, etc.)
  • What level of integration do you require?
  • Who do you need to involve from your business and to what degree?
  • Is the solution scalable and will it be able to maintain processing power as the business grows?
  • Does the tool offer role-based security?
  • Does the vendor offer a cloud-based solution?
  • If the solution is cloud-based, where is the data stored and what is the disaster recovery plan?
  • Does the tool comply with international security standards?
  • Does the tool support Single Sign On (SSO)?
  • How does the vendor notify customers and manage planned outages and upgrades?
  • Is there the ability to conduct audit trails on the system and users?
  • How can teams access the enterprise performance management tool? (e.g. Desktop, mobile, app)?
  • Can the tool generate security reports showing user access and timestamps?
  • How does the vendor manage data migration?
  • Who is responsible for the cleansing and verification of data?

Rather than try and tackle these questions alone, involve your head of IT. Understand where their hesitations lie and be sure to address this with the vendors on your selection list. Most vendors have significant experience dealing with push-back so will be able to provide additional information where required.

3. Investigate how the Implementation of the enterprise performance management system is managed

The implementation phase is critical as it is when the project plan is put into action. Understand the project management style of the provider, as well as how they mitigate risk, and test for success. Assess how they manage and communicate with you to understand if they’re a good fit for your business.

Some questions to ask during your assessment, include:

  • Does the vendor offer implementation?
  • Do they have recommended implementation partners who can assist?
  • What project management methodology do you recommend for implementation?
  • What level of testing do you complete before the system goes live?
  • How does the vendor minimise risks during the implementation phase?
  • How do you manage change requests during implementation?
  • Does the vendor provide comprehensive user documentation as part of the implementation?
  • Will the vendor be offering staff training? (e.g. if so when?)
  • Can you speak with reference customers who went through a similar journey?

4. Maintaining and supporting the system

Lastly, gauge the level of support that your require post ‘go-live’. View your digital solutions, like an enterprise performance management system, as a living organism. They require maintenance, care, and upkeep. Peak performance requires that you keep the solution up-to-date, clean the data, and that users are confident using the tool without reverting back to excel.

Understanding where roles and responsibilities lie post-implementation can ensure better project outcomes.

Some questions to ask during your assessment, include:

  • Where is your support team located and how do we access them?
  • What level of support is provided post ‘go-live’?
  • When a software upgrade occurs, how are we notified?
  • Who is responsible for managing upgrades?
  • What are the options for ongoing maintenance and service level agreements?

Summary

Selecting an enterprise performance management system is a lofty task. You need to ask hundreds of questions, involve several teams, and satisfy a list of requirements.

However, if you need help choosing an Enterprise performance management system or would like to learn more, contact Minerva partners by visiting: www.minerva.com.au

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