CPM Software 101: An Introduction to Seamless Operations

30th Jun, 2021
Download MODLR's Corporate Performance Management Guide

Let’s start at the beginning… What is Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software and what can it bring to your organisation?

What is Corporate Performance Management Software?

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software provides organisations with a single, unified platform to manage and monitor their financial and operational performance against their forecasts, targets and KPI’s. CPM software functions as an end-to-end solution, from setting forecasts to tracking variances and everywhere in between, ensuring all business users are engaged in an organisation’s overarching corporate strategy. Unifying financial and operational metrics, processes and systems with CPM software enables organisations to better evaluate business opportunities and action well-informed business decisions.

What can Corporate Performance Management Software bring to your organisation?

A well-implemented CPM software can save time and reduce workload by automating laborious, time-consuming tasks, such as consolidation, or frustrating, repetitive tasks, such as manual entry of data. With CPM software, you can boost productivity and streamline your operations beyond the barriers of legacy planning systems.

Moving beyond legacy planning systems

Did you know that more and more firms are moving away from Excel?

In a report conducted by RobertHalf, there was a 15% decrease of reported US companies relying on Excel, dropping from 69% in 2017 to 54% in 2019. This data is a clear indicator that companies are moving beyond the limitations of spreadsheets. While previously, spreadsheets were the elected tool for budgeting, forecasting and reporting, their constraints stop them from keeping up with the modern demands of data, speed of business operations and the evolving complexity of financial processes.

But if spreadsheets can’t keep up, how does CPM do it?

Utilising CPM software empowers you to manage your operations with efficiency. CPM software enables you to:

  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Streamline financial management
  • Integrate data direct from the source
  • Access real-time data
  • Create accurate comprehensive forecasts
  • Simplify complex financial processes
  • Conduct granular data analyses
  • Build visually striking, user-friendly dashboards
  • And far more...

CPM software is a platform that simplifies, automates and manages all of your financial and operational processes. Each of these above benefits not only has a positive effect on your day-to-day operations in your company but also can greatly impact your ability to carry out higher-level strategic planning. Providing FP&A teams with a tool to streamline menial tasks that would have taken weeks to complete in the past means they have more time to focus on long-term strategy, ensuring your organisation can always stay one step ahead in your industry.

Data has an essential role within CPM software. As your company grows, you will bring on more clients and, inevitably, have to deal with more variables such as geography, contact times, service specifications etc. These variables amount to more and more data points that will need to be integrated with your planning software, increasing the complexity of your data sets as your company scales.

If you were to use spreadsheets, these data points would all need to be manually entered. While this might be fine in the beginning, the sheer volume of data you would need to include as you grow opens up greater and greater room for errors and mistakes. In modern business, with how data constantly changes, it becomes near impossible to ensure your FP&A team are always working with a single source of truth. Using CPM software to eliminate manual data collection and verification, spares valuable time for higher-value activities such as strategic planning, scenario modelling and data analytics.

If you use effective CPM software, you can directly integrate data from the source and schedule the uploads of actuals, simplifying and helping automate your FP&A processes. Making sure your CPM software is a cloud-based planning system, will help you minimise human error, provide a high degree of visibility into the process for your FP&A teams, and reduce processing time to produce budgets, create forecasts, and close books. Moving beyond spreadsheets means that the frustrations and lags in processes will be long gone, your company will be fully prepared to make well-informed, accurate business decisions - and faster.

Bringing “The Cloud” into Corporate Performance Management

What exactly is “The Cloud” and what does it mean for financial software?

Cloud technology is an external source that is accessed through your web browser. This means that you don’t have to download anything or invest in additional hardware. Launching CPM software via the Cloud, holds a range of benefits for companies, with two key ones being convenience and cost-saving.

Cloud solutions generally use subscription-based pricing models. This removes cost barriers of high upfront fees to build and use your solution. In theory, if you wanted to build your own CPM software, you would need to invest in: server hardware to host your solution, firewall applications to help secure your data from hackers, a robust network infrastructure to facilitate high-internet speeds and server maintenance fees to ensure the server’s ability to function. This is not to mention the additional employees you may have to hire, to help you manage and implement all of these touchpoints. Choosing a cloud CPM suite, instead, alleviates all of these high upfront costs. You will likely then end up paying for a more affordable ongoing subscription to the software, such as MODLR’s pricing model, which you can find out more about on our MODLR Cloud page.

Building value with your Corporate Performance Management Software

Any smart investor will want to know if their investment can deliver what it promises and yield a high return back on their investment. This is no different when investing in CPM software. A top-performing CPM software will be able to fulfil all the financial and business management functionalities you’re seeking and add enormous value to your company.

Regain Time

With a CPM platform, you can automate your manual processes and re-invest the spare time back into more valuable actions. In fact, under our estimations, the time it takes to collect and analyse data can be reduced by 65-75% on average with CPM software. Utilising MODLR will mean that you can seamlessly manage and automate important tasks such as budget updates, data collection, or meeting your compliance reporting requirements. Countless hours, days and even weeks can be saved for your team thanks to MODLR’s wide array of data integrations.

Keep Errors at a Minimum

Manual processes, such as data collection are prone to errors, even with the most capable teams. One single stray number in a spreadsheet can bring down an entire budget, and when data is entered manually, it can be easy to make a mistake. But, by using automation errors can be minimised and efficiency maximised. You no longer need to rely on manual entry, and you can ensure consistent and accurate data reporting for your company.

Drive Well-informed Decision-making

With the rapid pace and ever-changing nature of volatile markets, there is an inherent level of risk to every decision made by the leaders of your company. However, you can easily navigate these risks with CPM software by running multiple scenario tests, and quickly identify the best course of action to take, based on in-depth analyses.

By using CPM software, you can drive quicker, smarter and more profitable decisions for your business.

Any time saved is, not only, a chance to save money but also a chance to discover more business opportunities. By gaining a comprehensive view of your company’s situation and more time in your schedule, you can optimise your resources towards the best possible decisions for your business.

Ready to move on from traditional spreadsheet planning with a Corporate Performance Management Platform?

Okay, are you ready to benefit from integrating a CPM software solution into your company’s financial and budgeting operations?

If you are, then let’s talk about how to search for one that meets your needs.

First and foremost, you need to ensure that your company is ready to take the next step. Before you choose a CPM platform for your company, check over the following first:

1. Evaluate your Data and Planning Processes

As you prepare your company for CPM software, you need to have a firm understanding of your current processes and where you need them to be improved. You can take the following steps to evaluate your current processes:

  • Identify silos and inefficiencies
  • Assess the financial impacts of inaccurate data
  • Record the time spent on your manual processes
  • Evaluate your current forecasting processes
  • Assess and analyse the impacts of the time-saved with a CPM software platform.

2. Pick the CPM solution that suits your company

It is absolutely essential to pick a CPM software solution that is right for your company’s needs. These are some key considerations in how to approach assessing a potential CPM solution:

  • Map out the essential features your company needs
  • Engage with demos or presentations from potential CPM providers
  • Compare the costs and pricing models of each solution provider
  • Look at external reviews of each considered provider
  • Reach out to all your considered solution providers - can you see the provider as a long-term partner?

3. Set out a plan for implementation

Before any new implementation of software, you need a solid implementation plan, to ensure a seamless transition. Things to consider in this plan are to:

  • Set clear definitions of your goals
  • Identify the processes you want automated
  • Establish the specific integrations that your CPM software will need to connect to your existing systems (CRM, ERP, Payroll, etc.)
  • Assess collaboration opportunities with other departments in your company
  • Establish which team members will have administrator (or modeller) licenses in your chosen CPM solution

When you have finalised these steps, you will be ready to integrate CPM software into your business and financial operations. Subsequently, once your CPM software has been implemented you can revel in automating the countless laborious processes that once took weeks of valuable time and complete them in days - or even hours -, undoubtedly giving you a high return on your investment.

Purchasing CPM software is not a small undertaking by any means, whether you are starting from scratch, or moving from a spreadsheet-based system. Even if you are not accounting for cost, there are many considerations to take when scoping out potential CPM software providers. Evaluating their software offerings, as well as your potential partnership means that you will understand and be in control of the value you get from your CPM software at all stages of time - immediate and future.

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