Monday, July 26, 2010

Microsoft Based Planning and Budgeting solutions revisited

By Irit Eizips

In January 2009 Microsoft made the announcement that bed farewell to its PerformancePoint Planning initiatives and rolled its Business Intelligence (BI) solution into SharePoint. The common question asked is – Did Microsoft completely abandon the Corporate Performance Management concept?

For those of you who are still unsure what this concept represents and how it differs from Business Intelligence, I offer the following definition: Corporate Performance Management (CPM) is a methodology which helps organizations to forecast, monitor, analyze and react to various business drivers and performance indicators, using improved organizational processes, metrics and software tools. Components of Corporate Performance Management include – scorecards, reports, forecasts, budgets or key performance indicators.

As a CPM consultant currently working for a reputable BI consulting firms, CapstoneBI (oops… “a bit” of a self promotion) , I set out to the Microsoft BI conference in New Orleans (June 2010) to weigh whether one could implement the CPM components successfully using the Microsoft platform.

I specifically looked for Performance Management software systems that leverage the Microsoft platform. Those would typically be sophisticated database applications that are capable of automating and supporting many finance activities – including budgeting, forecasting, business modeling, decision support, strategic planning, and consolidation and reporting – in a single, integrated platform (in this instance, Microsoft’s).

There were three CPM solution booths at the conference, including: deFacto, Prophix and Clarify Systems. Another CPM solution provider I was introduced to by the Microsoft team was Tagetik, the Italian Microsoft partner, who only announced their tool’s integration with Microsoft integration in March 2009. Out of the four, the only Microsoft strategic alliance partner in the CPM space was Clarity Systems (apparently a big deal). To put things in perspective, out of 60 thousand partners, less than twenty are recognized as strategic partners.

Clarity strategic MS partner

All four vendors, use the Microsoft BI stack to fully integrate in providing the capabilities of forecasting and budgeting, consolidation, financial modeling as well as external financial reporting.

On the surface, it appears that Tagetik (the “new kid” on the block”) does a really nice job at integrating with SharePoint, whereas Clarity Systems offers the most comprehensive pre-built templates for the various financial budgeting models. Prophix introduced a nice tool to integrate their solution with SharePoint, whereas deFacto can quickly migrate existing PPS Planning implementations.

The good news is that there are some choices if your company is currently shopping for a budget and planning tool. However, clearly, a tool assessment process would ensure selecting a tool that would meet your business requirements, resource constraints as well as your company’s overall IT strategy. Hey… did I mention that CapstoneBI specializes in helping our clients in that regard?! …


Sources: Microsoft BI Conference, New Orleans (6/2010); CFO Research Services (2/2005)


No comments:

Post a Comment