This article has been updated as of October 2020.
There are many organizations that use multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting systems. In some cases, it’s due to mergers and acquisitions—and other times it’s due to structuring a business across multiple legal entities. One of the biggest challenges for these organizations can be obtaining timely, consolidated views of their financial and operational data.
Instead of pursuing a new ERP solution, or merging ERP systems that are currently in place to solve this problem, organizations may want to consider corporate performance management (CPM)—a category of software solutions that offers a layer of reporting and analytics across all systems.
Challenges with Multiple Systems
Compiling data across multiple ERP systems can be a time-consuming process that uses resources better occupied performing higher-value activities. Since the process can take so long, results rarely are current enough for agile business control.
This can result in the following issues:
- Lack of confidence that resources are fully optimized
- Delayed trend spotting
- Management team feels more reactive than proactive
In many companies, the process is completed with the use of a complex series of spreadsheets presenting additional challenges such as:
- Safe-sharing issues throughout the enterprise
- Report customization for managers at varying levels across departments
- Optimal relaying of departmental changes that have down-stream effects on other parts of the organization
- Material delay in compiling and validating information
However, multiple ERP solutions don’t have to be viewed as a hindrance to effectiveness, optimization, and business agility when a CPM solution is deployed.
The CPM Solution
A CPM solution enables data to be consolidated continuously; it provides management with full organizational visibility and a platform for communicative data analysis.
An example of a CPM solution is Workday Adaptive Planning. This solution is able to integrate data from different financial and operational systems, which gives management the ability to view and analyze results across all levels of the organization—both on a micro and macro level.
Workday Adaptive Planning also provides management with dashboards and other tools for planning, budgeting, forecasting, and what-if scenarios—pairing insightful comparisons with actual results.
While multiple ERP systems are often necessary to support operations on a transactional basis, business optimization requires deeper insights. A CPM solution can do that by helping organizations maintain the advantages of their existing systems while also supplying near real-time information.
A chain of restaurants was struggling to effectively manage consolidated operations due to regulatory requirements, which required each store to operate as a separate entity with its own instance of the accounting system.
Results were consolidated monthly with significant effort and delay. This resulted in information that wasn’t timely enough to support the quick decision-making needs of the restaurant’s management team.
The chain chose to implement Workday Adaptive Planning and integrated data from all accounting and operational systems. Management now receives fully consolidated results and insightful key performance indicators daily, which allows operational results to be seen and compared to plan immediately—focusing management’s attention where it’s most effective.
A company had multiple divisions—construction and equipment rental—that operated in related but different markets. Each had its own ERP solution that strongly supported the specific operational requirements of that division. Producing consolidated results and metrics was time-consuming, which hampered the company’s ability to improve operations across divisions.
A CPM solution provided the comprehensive organizational view that was needed. Managers from all levels of the organization are now able to see relevant results and metrics, so they can make timely decisions. Trends are spotted earlier, and the management team is more coordinated.
In both examples, the CPM solution served as a cost-effective means to improve reporting and address other challenges. It took far less time than an ERP solution and had the added benefit of avoiding the operational disruption of changing any core systems. This enabled management to embrace the core strengths of their ERP systems while receiving timely, focused information that supported effective decision-making.
We’re Here to Help
For more information on how a CPM solution can help your organization consolidate data across various ERP systems, please contact your Moss Adams professional.