What Is Enterprise Performance Management?

Enterprise performance management (EPM) software enables companies to monitor, measure, and adjust performance across all business units.

From the moment cloud computing was embraced by enterprises, it was clear the days were numbered for on-premise enterprise performance management (EPM) software and that the future of EPM would be found in the cloud.

That’s a hard truth for legacy EPM providers struggling mightily to unmoor themselves, and their customers, from their on-premise pasts. In the last few years, they’ve felt the earth shift beneath their feet as enterprises look to the cloud for ease of deployment, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and many other advantages. 

What Is EPM Software?

Gartner defines EPM as “the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise with the goal of improving business performance.” EPM is sometimes referred to as corporate performance management (CPM), a term coined by Gartner years ago. The terms EPM and CPM refer to the same set of business processes. The main difference is that CPM focuses specifically on providing a corporate-wide application of performance management for finance teams, while EPM addresses the performance of the entire enterprise, extending beyond the finance departments to sales, human resources (HR), marketing, and more. It also requires periodic revisiting—rolling forecasts—to update budgeting assumptions throughout the year.  

However you define the benefits of EPM, to really gain true value the software must include modern planning features and functionality. Replacing an outdated EPM solution is thought by many companies to be too expensive and complex. But the truth is that many modern planning systems have made the upgrade process cost-effective and easily manageable.

The Workday Adaptive Planning Platform 

Not all cloud EPM systems are the same, of course. But more and more forward-thinking organizations are choosing Workday Adaptive Planning for the key EPM capabilities that set us apart from the pack, including:

It’s fast to deploy with quick return on investment. Average deployment time is 4.5 months, even for some of the world’s largest companies. 

It manages growing data volumes. With ever-increasing data growth, many financial planning and analysis teams struggle to transform the information available to them into valuable insights that aid in strategic business decisions. Workday Adaptive Planning supports changing business conditions while remaining powerful enough to take on complex modeling and data requirements. It also automates integration from your customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), and other systems, so you no longer need to depend on IT to manage your data integrations. 

It’s easy to use. Visual analytics open the door for a more collaborative environment, providing accessible insights via self-service enterprise reporting and dashboards of financial and operational data. Easy-to-interpret data is more readily shared and can be accessed by anyone with permission to view the dashboard. When data gets presented in highly visual and familiar formats, business users can often quickly see challenges and opportunities that otherwise might’ve been missed. If a viewer has a question, they simply click on the data to pivot or drill to lower-level data, assumptions, and transactions—and get the answers they need in real time.

It increases business agility. Crucial to business agility is scenario planning, which helps decision-makers identify ranges of potential outcomes and impacts. This is particularly important during times of economic uncertainty. With Workday Adaptive Planning, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams can quickly spin up what-if scenarios, build iterative models, and accurately report results. These capabilities enable organizations to quickly navigate change, forecast and budget using current data, and ultimately drive smarter decision-making. Scenario planning is a critical component of continuous planning. With continuous planning, companywide stakeholders monitor goals, metrics, and milestones for existing priorities on a continuous, rolling basis. But they also seek to develop new strategic priorities simultaneously. This combination ensures a culture of self-evaluation, innovation, and adaptability.

It automates critical planning processes. Laborious forecast and budget processes using manual spreadsheets are error prone and a drain on productivity. Workday Adaptive Planning automates these vital financial planning processes, accelerating reporting cycles and ensuring budgeting and forecasting accuracy. And embedded workflows and process management ensure users know what they need to do and when, simplifying user collaboration. Self-service reporting is critical for teams to access data in real time without roadblocks, and automated updates and security patches help to streamline user experience and increase adoption. All of these factors help free up time for finance teams to spend on high-value analysis and planning decision-making. 

However you define the benefits of EPM, to really gain true value the software must include modern planning features and functionality.

It offers faster innovation. Users can quickly model and analyze the business with our powerful Elastic Hypercube Technology, our in-memory engine, while embedded machine learning automatically surfaces anomalies, so you can make adjustments to your plan when things change.

It provides unmatched security across all of your systems. World-class encryption and compliance, as well as a proven multi-tenant environment, ensure that your data is always secure. Workday deploys industry-leading safeguards and continuously monitors systems, so you can rest easy knowing your most sensitive data is protected 24/7.

Accelerate Your Business

EPM systems are now moving to the cloud, bringing new benefits to all functional areas—from HR and operations to marketing, sales, and IT. With a 360-degree view of organizational performance, companywide business units can navigate change with speed and agility.

Bottom line: Successful businesses can no longer afford to rely on legacy or inferior EPM technology. Only a true cloud planning solution such as Workday Adaptive Planning delivers what you need to effortlessly adapt, forecast, and pivot. So finance can drive strategy—not just compile numbers.

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