Choosing the best EPM software for your businesses may seem like a daunting endeavor, given the innumerable software options available on the market.
With all of the options that need to be evaluated, it can be confusing to know where to begin - do you consider best of breed applications, integrated EPM suites, on-premises, hosted, cloud-based solutions? To find the best software, you need to start with your business requirements and identify software packages that address your needs. Then as you evaluate the finalists ask yourself three main questions. What are the distinct benefits of the software, what is the cost of ownership, and how long will it take your company to begin benefiting from the software?
The Cost of Ownership
The cloud can decrease cost, improve efficiency, and provide additional functionality.
Cost of ownership is a selling point to all businesses. You need to keep operational costs low, and thus, it's important to find software that provides the greatest value at the lowest cost. When determining the cost of ownership, don't just consider the initial price tag. You need to take into account the installation costs for all hardware and software, the management costs, the costs of software updates, scaling costs, and all associated monthly fees. Cloud-based EPM software provides the lowest cost of ownership because it eliminates the need for hardware and software installation, eliminates software updates, and provides rapid, cost-effective scaling capabilities.
The Benefits of the EPM Software
Perhaps the biggest trait to seek in an EPM software solution is the benefits and features it provides your company. When determining the software package with the greatest benefits, consider the following factors.
- Ease of use: Find a solution that will be familiar to your users, so it has an easy learning curve and can be adopted quickly. EPM software that offers a spreadsheet interface will be easier to adapt to, assuming your financial team currently relies on spreadsheets.
- Core EPM functionality: The software needs to support all of the core requirements of EPM: modeling, planning, consolidation, reporting and analytics. If any of these capabalities are missing or incomplete, you could outgrow the solution quickly.
- Workflow engine: A workflow engine can help to streamline the budget cycle by guiding users through the cycle to expedite and simplify the management process.
- Importing and exporting data: To start utilizing the software, you'll need to import all of your organization's financial and operational data. Finding a software package that simplifies the importing and exporting process will make the transition easier.
The Time to Benefit
By eliminating hardware, you reduce cost and expedite implementation.
The time to benefit refers to the amount of time it takes for your company to begin benefiting from the software after having purchased it. This takes into account the time that's needed to install the software, the time it takes to integrate the software with your internal systems, and the time it takes to train employees in its usage. With cloud-based EPM software, you eliminate installation time, thus speeding up the time to benefit. Finding a software package that integrates spreadsheet functions into the EPM suite is also helpful, and it will reduce the time it takes to train employees in its usage. Additionally, you need to find a software solution that can integrate financial and operational data into the same database, so it can be adopted across all departments easily.
Choosing an EPM software solution may seem intimidating, but it's actually quite simple if you know what questions to ask. An EPM solution needs to provide advanced functions that will improve management efficiency, while offering a low cost of ownership and fast adoption time. With a cloud-based EPM suite, you can reduce operational costs and get the software up and running more quickly.
Read the whitepaper, Selecting Enterprise Performance Management Software, to learn more.