The Prophix European Roadshow kicked off last week with stops in London, Warsaw, Moscow, and Copenhagen, bringing together Prophix customers and partners in the region. In addition to speaking, I have found these events to be tremendously valuable for learning more about unique Prophix use cases and regional business requirements.
Prophix customers are truly passionate about using the product to solve diverse corporate performance management (CPM) challenges. Fascinating stories from customers and partners alike paralleled what I heard from North American customers at our recently concluded Annual User Conference in Washington D.C. last month. Irrespective of region, industry, or company size, I frequently heard the following themes from customers during the roadshow:
Moving towards integrated financial planning
Although companies often begin their CPM journey with budgeting and reporting, it’s clear that many business leaders want to do more. I have observed a growing trend of moving into detailed planning, often linked to operations, which transcends the general ledger (GL). Areas seeing increased focus include capital expenditure planning, personnel planning, revenue planning, project planning, and balance sheet and cash planning.
It’s natural for these areas to see more attention because they can significantly affect a company’s bottom line. Though often involving more specific modeling rules, the workflows closely mirror regular budgeting. Huge spreadsheets updated by multiple participants are typically used for detailed planning, making the process fragmented and rigid.
Many customers I spoke to during the roadshow used Detailed Planning Manager in Prophix to successfully complete these plans and unify operational data into their financial models. Changes made to the detailed plans immediately update higher level financial line items such as cash, sales, payroll expenses, marketing expenses, etc., permitting an integrated level of financial planning.
Collaboration is critical
Budgeting and planning are processes that require collaboration between many different people across the company. Collaboration is crucial to achieving CPM goals because every department must know what is expected of them. Exceptions must spotted quickly and communicated to stakeholders who must implement corrective actions.
Customers who have successfully implemented CPM activities all commented on how collaboration via e-mails and spreadsheets is inadequate to meet today’s challenges. Communications must be tied into the context of the data being analyzed and centralized so that all participants have visibility to the discussion. This is what Prophix offers to companies, through collaborative workflow management, with auditable events and approvals, linked to a unified database.
CPM is a journey not an event
Successful organizations viewed CPM as a journey and not a single event. It takes time to change processes and behaviors. However, the journey must be supported by senior management and not viewed as a point event initiated and managed solely by the finance department, as is often the case. As with planning new products, every organization should develop a roadmap for their CPM activities. The roadmap should incorporate new ideas and lessons learned from peers at events such as the Prophix European Roadshow.
This reminds me of the CPM Maturity model published by industry analyst Gartner outlining the phases of the CPM journey. https://www.gartner.com/doc/2219917/assess-cpm-maturity-rate-performance
As the roadshow wraps up, I am excited to be returning home after meeting so many Prophix champions and leaders. The stories and use cases shared will all be valuable as Prophix continues to evolve and reach new markets.