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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.


Predict, Execute and Control: the mantra for better Financial Planning and Analysis


Managing financial planning and analysis is an end-to-end process that starts with strategy definition and documentation. It then goes through the detailed planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes that define the activities and resource allocations necessary to achieve the strategic objectives. This is followed by profitability and cost analysis, and other modelling and simulation scenarios. Underpinning this whole process is the need for constant reporting and monitoring.

So, unlike external reporting, which is mandatory based on various regulatory requirements and needs to happen only at certain points in the financial year, internal reporting is on-going. Similarly, we can think of the …

Sustainability and Technology are the Drivers of Financial Performance Management

Sustainability and Technology are the Drivers of Financial Performance Management

Debate will rage as to the longevity of the current low-growth, high-unemployment economic volatility and whether it’s really a “new normal,” or even if it’s really all that new. In fact, there’s nothing new at all about financial turmoil, and it’s been happening for centuries (see, “This Time is Different” from the Princeton University Press). What is likely is that there will be less time between these ups and downs—volatility will be the more normal.

Sustainability and technology are two trends that are here forever, and both will continue to shape …

What is Enterprise Performance Management

What is Enterprise Performance Management

When we’re immersed in an area of expertise, it’s all too common to assume everyone knows what the acronyms mean—ERP, CRM, or EPM for example. BI (Business Intelligence) is another one. So I was intrigued by a colleague’s recent blog, What Is Business Intelligence, that provides a variety of definitions for this commonplace term.

Often, it’s good to take a step back and ask ourselves how we define the acronyms that categorize our field of specialty. Quite a few people visited our EPM booths at SAPPHIRE NOW and asked this very …

Integrated Business Planning — What It Is and How to Start

Integrated Business Planning -- What It Is and How to Start

In my last blog, Integrated Business Planning— the Inevitable Journey for Finance, I discussed the many challenges that are driving companies to pursue Integrated Business Planning (IBP). Today, I want to discuss the solutions that IBP offers, and how you can get started with IBP within your organization.

IBP Offers Solutions to Business Planning Challenges

Business planning challenges are driving companies to start pursuing IBP. Some of the ways that companies can use IBP to address these challenges are:

Plan on a “right time” basis …

‘Thrive’ While Others ‘Survive’ with EPM and BI

'Thrive' while others 'Survive' with EPM and BI

To find out how some companies have thrived during the last five years of difficult trading conditions while other have simply languished, Ernst & Young commissioned a research project that during the last five years has surveyed about 1,500 senior executives. Their report – Growing Beyond: How high performers are accelerating ahead – is now available and has some valuable insights for Finance.

The study compared the relative high and low performance in various sectors based on EBITDA and revenue growth over the last two years …

Rethinking Analytics for the Enterprise


In the last post, I shared some research showing there is still a gap to close with analytics in most organizations still being the domain of experts rather than a what the Tapscott Group – founded by Don Tapscott who is one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology – call a ‘social enterprise’ – a vibrant ecosystem where all team members actively participate in collecting and acting upon information. Personally I find their choice of the word ‘social’ confusing as it tends to …