When was the last time you ran to the record store to buy an album? When your friends ask you to take a photo and share it, do you snap a Polaroid, shake it ‘till it’s clear, and mail it to them? Is your first instinct to hit the library when you need some quick info?
I suspect most of us download songs on iTunes and take and share photos via smartphones. Need a quick answer? Google it.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with any of the aforementioned antiquated methods. It’s just that there’s a better, more efficient way to do things, and there are consequences for failing to adapt to more modern, more efficient processes. If I write a blog with pen and paper, someone with a laptop will produce and publish a piece before me.
The same is true of the legacy software many businesses still use for corporate performance management. Why so many people want to use the latest technology in their personal lives yet still use decades-old solutions to manage their business is a great mystery to me.
Exclusive reliance on spreadsheets and yearly financial plans and budgets is not good enough. Plain and simple. Beyond being outdated, they jeopardize the long-term business success. Today’s organizations have to quickly adjust to changes in their environment to minimize negative impacts and fully capitalize on new opportunities. Industry-leading businesses have learned that cloud-based corporate performance management software is the most prudent way to do this. Here are five reasons why:
- Quick access to data.
Cloud CPM gives business leaders constant access to updated data analytics. Industry landscapes are changing every day, and windows to capitalize on new opportunities are opening and closing. They need to make decisions faster than these changes occur. The best Cloud CPM solutions provide quick access to key data via a central location so that leaders can make the most efficient, well-informed decisions that drive business growth.
- Constant planning and forecasting.
A steady financial forecasting and planning process helps businesses adequately prepare to handle a variety of future scenarios. Think about how long it takes to create a full financial plan for your business using spreadsheets. Constant emailing, version control issues, etc. Does anyone have the time to do this multiple times a year?
With cloud CPM, department leaders can view, analyze, and update financial plans and forecasts as needed. No emails, no outdated data, no version control issues. Everyone knows where to go to see a financial budget and plan that reflects the current realities of the business.
- Cross-departmental collaboration.
You need input from all department leaders to create a holistic view of business performance. Budgeting is not just a finance job anymore. Cloud-based budgeting software gives more people access to view and update budgets, plans, forecasts, and reports, creating more clarity and more accountability throughout the organization.
- Intuitive self-service.
If you have to depend on IT to update your plan or run a cash flow projection report, your process isn’t fast enough and you’re allowing your competition to beat you to the punch. The best cloud CPM tools are collaborative, intuitive, and user-friendly. And the most efficient businesses use solutions that employees can configure and use on their own, without relying on IT.
- Clearer and faster drill-down to Key analytics.
It’s not enough to simply create plans and run financial reports. Those numbers won’t help you unless leaders throughout your organization can understand what they say about the business. Top cloud CPM solutions allow you to drill-down into the data and create visually intuitive graphs and charts much quicker than you could in an Excel spreadsheet, so that all business leaders can understand what’s working, what’s not, and how to adjust strategies to help grow the business. And because it’s in a central, cloud-based location, more people can collaborate, plan and forecast based on metrics that are most important to the business.
Remember that not all cloud BI & CPM solutions are created equal, and there are many other important factors to consider, such as mobile access, solution integration, etc. There are also many important questions to ask and factors to evaluate before choosing the solution that meets your business needs. We’ll save that discussion for another day.
Nicholas Mukhar, Content & Social Media Consultant
Nicholas Mukhar is a Marketing Writer with Adaptive Insights, and a social media and content consultant marketing consultant. Find him on Twitter, @NicholasSuhail, and find more of his content on business intelligence & corporate performance management trends at blog.adaptiveinsights.com