Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Country-by-Country Reporting Challenges Tax Departments

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 6, 2017 11:13:58 PM

In 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a report titled “Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting” (commonly referred to as “BEPS”), which describes the challenges national governments face in enforcing taxation in an increasingly global environment with a growing share of digital commerce. Country-by-country (CbC) Reporting has developed in response to the concerns raised in the report. To date, 65 countries (including all members of the European Union but not the United States) are signatories of the multilateral competent authority agreement establishing CbC reporting.

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Topics: ERP, GRC, audit, finance transformation, LongView, Tax, Business Analytics, Oracle, CFO, Vertex, FPM, BEPS, tax department, tax planning

IBM Watson and Cognitive Compliance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 2, 2017 10:30:51 PM

Ventana Research awarded our Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Business Innovation Award for 2016 to IBM for IBM Regulatory Compliance Analytics, powered by Watson (IRCA). This application of cognitive analytics is designed to streamline the identification of potential regulatory requirements and suggest methods for compliance. In so doing the cloud-based system can cut the time and cost of compliance while creating an effective means of ongoing management and control of compliance processes.

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Topics: GRC, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Dodd-Frank, Risk Analytics, compliance, finance, Financial Services, Watson

The Office of Finance in 2016

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 14, 2016 11:24:47 AM

The imperative to transform the finance department to function in a more strategic, forward-looking and action-oriented fashion has been a consistent theme of practitioners, consultants and business journalists for two decades. In all that time, however, most finance and accounting departments have not changed much. In our benchmark research on the Office of Finance, nine out of 10 participants said that it’s important or very important for finance departments to take a strategic role in running their company. The research also shows a significant gap between this objective and how well most departments perform. A large majority (83%) said they perform the core finance functions of accounting, fiscal control, transaction management, financial reporting and internal auditing, but only 41 percent said they play an active role in their company’s management. Even fewer (25%) have implemented a high degree of automation in their core finance functions and actively promote process and analytical excellence.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Governance, GRC, Human Capital, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, Budgeting, close, Continuous Accounting, Continuous Planning, end-to-end, Tax, Tax-Datawarehouse, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Uncategorized, CFO, CPQ, Risk, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Transforming Tax Departments into Strategic Entities

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 1, 2016 8:20:35 AM

The steady march of technology’s ability to handle ever more complicated tasks has been a constant since the beginning of the information age in the 1950s. Initially, computers in business were used to automate simple clerical functions, but as systems have become more capable, information technology has been able to substitute for increasingly higher levels of human skill and experience. A turning point of sorts was reached in the 1990s when ERP, business intelligence and business process automation software reduced the need for middle managers. Increasingly, organizations used software to coordinate activities as well as communicate results and requirements up and down the organizational chart. Both were once the exclusive role of the middle manager. Consequently, almost every for-profit organization eliminated management layers so that today corporate structures are flatter than they once were. Technology automation also eliminated the need for administrative staff to perform routine reporting and analysis. Meanwhile, over the course of the 1990s, the cost of running the finance department measured as a percentage of sales was cut almost in half as a result of eliminating staff and because automation enabled companies to scale without adding headcount. During the last recession, companies in North America and Europe once again made deep reductions to their administrative staffs, relying on information technology to pick up the slack.

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Topics: Sustainability, ERP, Governance, GRC, Human Capital, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, LongView, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Oracle, CFO, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Vertex, FPM, Innovation Awards, Thomson-Reuters multinational

How to Get Business Users to Switch from Spreadsheets

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 26, 2015 3:27:06 AM

In our benchmark research at least half of participants that use spreadsheets to support a business process routinely say that these tools make it difficult for them to do their job. Yet spreadsheets continue to dominate in a range of business functions and processes. For example, our recent next-generation business planning research finds that this is the most common software used for performing 11 of the most common types of planning. At the heart of the problem is a disconnect between what spreadsheets were originally designed to do and how they are actually used today in corporations. Desktop spreadsheets were intended to be a personal productivity tool used, for example, for prototyping models, creating ad hoc reports and performing one-off analyses using simple models and storing small amounts of data. They were not built for collaborative, repetitive enterprise-wide tasks, and this is the root cause of most of the issues that organizations encounter when they use them in such business processes.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, ERP, Forecast, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, closing, dashboard, enterprise spreadsheet, Excel, Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, Data, Risk, application, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Giving Tax Departments More Corporate Clout

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2015 7:57:13 PM

One of the issues in handling the tax function in business, especially where it involves direct (income) taxes, is the technical expertise required. At the more senior levels, practitioners must be knowledgeable about accounting and tax law. In multinational corporations, understanding differences between accounting and legal structures in various localities and their effects on tax liabilities requires more knowledge. Yet when I began to study the structures of corporate tax departments, I was struck by the scarcity of senior-level titles in them. This may reflect the low profile of the department in most companies and the tactical nature of the work it has performed. Advances in information technology have the potential to automate most of the manual tasks tax professionals perform. This increase in efficiency will enable tax departments to fill a more strategic, important role in the companies they serve.

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Topics: Big Data, ERP, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, LongView, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, Oracle, CFO, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Vertex, FPM, Innovation Awards, Thomson-Reuters multinational

Research Agenda: The Office of Finance in 2015

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 3, 2015 9:09:58 PM

Last year Ventana Research released our Office of Finance benchmark research. One of the objectives of the project was to assess organizations’ progress in achieving “finance transformation.” This term denotes shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing toward more strategic, higher-value functions. In the research nine out of 10 participants said that it’s important or very important for the department to take a more strategic role. This objective is both longstanding and elusive. It has been part of the conversation in financial management circles since the 1990s and has been a primary focus of my research practice since its inception 12 years ago. Yet our recent research shows that most finance organizations struggle with the basics and few companies are even close to achieving this desired transformation.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, close, end-to-end, Tax, Tax-Datawarehouse, Analytics, Business Performance, CIO, Financial Performance, In-memory, CFO, CPQ, Risk, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Tax Data Warehouses Become Essential as Governments Raise the Ante

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 3, 2014 9:19:04 PM

I’ve written before about the increasing importance of having a solid technology base for a company’s tax function, and it’s important enough for me to revisit the topic. Tax departments are entrusted with a highly sensitive and essential task in their companies. Taxes usually are the second largest corporate expense, after salaries and wages. Failure to understand this liability is expensive – either because taxes are overpaid or because of fines and interest levied for underpayment. Moreover, taxes remain a political issue, and corporations – especially larger ones – must be mindful of the reputational implications of their tax liabilities.

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Topics: ERP, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, LongView, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, Oracle, CFO, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Vertex, FPM, Innovation Awards, Thomson-Reuters multinational

Longview Tax Software Helps Tax Departments Be More Strategic

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 22, 2014 10:40:56 PM

Longview Solutions has a longstanding presence in the financial performance management (FPM) software market and was rated a Hot vendor in our most recent FPM Value Index. Several years ago it began offering a tax provision and planning application. I think it’s worthwhile to focus on the tax category because it’s less well known than others in finance and is an engine of growth for Longview. We expect larger corporations increasingly to adopt software to manage direct (income) taxes to improve the quality and efficiency of what today in most companies is an inefficient, spreadsheet-driven process.

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Topics: ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, LongView, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, FPM, Innovation Awards

Requirements for Becoming a Strategic Chief Risk Officer

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 17, 2014 9:54:44 AM

The proliferation of chief “something” officer (CxO) titles over the past decades recognizes that there’s value in having a single individual focused on a specific critical problem. A CxO position can be strategic or it can be the ultimate middle management role, with far more responsibilities than authority. Many of those handed such a title find that it’s the latter. This may be because the organization that created the title is unwilling to invest the necessary powers and portfolio of responsibilities to make it strategic – a case of institutional inertia. Or it may be that the individual given the CxO title doesn’t have the skills or temperament to be a “chief” in a strategic sense.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Chief Risk Officer, CRO, ERM, OpenPages, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Financial Performance, IBM, compliance, Data, Risk, Financial Services, FPM

Boardwalktech Addresses Spreadsheet Woes in Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 15, 2014 10:17:39 AM

Our benchmark research on enterprise spreadsheets explores the pitfalls that await companies that use desktop spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel in repetitive, collaborative enterprise-wide processes. Because people are so familiar with Excel and therefore are able to quickly transform their finance or business expertise into a workable spreadsheet for modeling, analysis and reporting, desktop spreadsheets became the default choice. Individuals and organizations resist giving up their spreadsheets, so software vendors have come up with adaptations that embrace and extend their use. I’ve long advocated finding user-friendly spreadsheet alternatives.

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Topics: Sales Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Opportunity for the Office of Finance in 2014

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 13, 2014 8:23:51 AM

Senior finance executives and finance organizations that want to improve their performance must recognize that technology is a key tool for doing high-quality work. To test this premise, imagine how smoothly your company would operate if all of its finance and administrative software and hardware were 25 years old. In almost all cases the company wouldn’t be able to compete at all or would be at a substantial disadvantage. Having the latest technology isn’t always necessary, but even though software doesn’t wear out in a physical sense, it has a useful life span, at the end of which it needs replacement. As an example, late in 2013 a major U.K. bank experienced two system-wide failures in rapid succession caused by its decades-old mainframe systems; these breakdowns followed a similarly costly failure in 2012. For years the cost and risk of replacing these legacy systems kept management from taking the plunge. What they didn’t consider were the cost and risk associated with keeping the existing systems going. Our new research agenda for the Office of Finance attempts to find a balance between the leading edge and the mainstream that will help businesses find practical solutions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, close, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), In-memory, CFO, Risk, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

IBM Integrates Risk Management for Financial Services

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 18, 2013 9:47:52 AM

Integrated risk management (IRM) was a major theme at IBM’s recent Smarter Risk Management analyst summit in London. In the market context, IBM sees this topic as a means to differentiate its product and messaging from those of its competitors. IRM includes cloud-based offerings in operational risk analytics, IT risk analytics and financial crimes management designed for financial institutions and draws on component elements of software that IBM acquired over the past five years, notably from Algorithmics for risk-aware business decisions, Open Pages for compliance management, SPSS for sophisticated analytics, Cognos for reports, dashboards and scorecards, and Tivoli for managing all of this in a Web environment. Putting its software in the cloud enables IBM to streamline integration and maintenance, offer more flexible deployment and consumption options and potentially lower the total cost of ownership.

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Topics: Supply Chain Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Chief Risk Officer, CRO, ERM, OpenPages, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, compliance, Data, Risk, Financial Services, FPM

Finance Can Get a Big Advantage from Big Data

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 16, 2013 8:21:59 AM

All the hubbub around big data and analytics has many senior finance executives wondering what the big deal is and what they should do about it. It can be especially confusing because much of what’s covered and discussed on this topic is geared toward technologists and others working outside of Finance, in areas such as sales, marketing and risk management. But finance executives need to position their organization to harness this technology to support the strategic goals of their company. To do so, they must have clarity as to what big data can do, what they want it to do, and what skills and tools they need to meet their objectives.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, Controller, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Operational Intelligence, CFO, compliance, finance, Risk, Financial Performance Management, financial risk management

Vertex Enterprise Helps Tax Departments Increase Effectiveness

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 19, 2013 8:31:14 AM

Technology for the Office of Finance can have transformative power. Although progress has been slow at times, today’s finance organizations are fundamentally different from those of 50 years ago. For one thing, they require far fewer resources (chiefly people) to perform basic accounting, treasury and corporate finance tasks. In addition, public corporations report results sooner – sometimes weeks sooner – than they could in the mid-20th century. And finance departments are able to harness substantially more data and a wider array of analytics to promote insight and support more agile decision-making.

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Topics: ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, Vertex, FPM, Innovation Awards

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2013 1:34:18 AM

In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Customer, ESRI, Globoforce, GRC, HCM, Kronos, Kyriba, Location Analytics, Marketing, NetBase, Office of Finance, Overall Operational Leadership, Peoplefluent, Planview, SQLstream, VMWare, VPI, IT Analytics & Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Information Technology, KXEN, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Contact Center, Datawatch, Financial Management, Information Optimization, Johnson Controls Panoptix, Roambi, Service & Supply Chain, Upstream Works, Vertex, Xactly

Transforming Lease Accounting with Better Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 22, 2013 1:48:13 PM

Because of its impact on the Office of Finance, I’ve written in the past aboutthe proposed timeline and IT implications of the convergence of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). While the bottom-line differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS are likely to be minimal for most businesses, some aspects of the convergence promise to be significant and problematic. One important change is how companies account for leases. The process of arriving at these rules has been contentious because it represents a major change that will entail substantial process and accounting challenges for U.S. GAAP companies. These changes are likely to go into effect as part of U.S. GAAP well ahead of any adoption of IFRS in the U.S. IT systems also will be affected, but software could smooth the transition if vendors provide a workable product.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, control, error, IFRS, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, Financial Performance Management, GAAP

Datawatch Acquires Panopticon for Big Data Discovery and Visualization across Business Processes

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 20, 2013 9:29:38 AM

Business analytics can help organizations use data to find insights that lead to new opportunities and address issues unrecognized before. One player in this market is Datawatch, known for its tools for information optimization and harvesting value from big data including content and documents. I assessed the company earlier this year, and recently our firm recognized its customers’ achievements with 2013 Ventana Research Leadership Awards for Information Optimization with Phelps County Regional Medical Center and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) with The Fauquier Bank.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Panopticon, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, CEP, Datawatch, Discovery, Information Optimization, SAP HANA

Software Aims To Prevent Foreign Corrupt Practices

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 8, 2013 10:51:16 PM

In some parts of the world, bribing government officials is still considered a normal cost of doing business. Elsewhere there has been a growing trend over the past 40 years to make it illegal for a corporation to pay bribes. In the United States, Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 1977 in the wake of a succession of revelations of companies paying off government officials to secure arms deals or favorable tax treatment. More recently other governments have implemented anticorruption statutes. The U.K., for instance, enacted the strict Bribery Act in 2010 to replace increasingly ineffective statutes dating back to 1879. The purpose of these actions is to enable ethical and law-abiding companies to compete on a level playing field with those that are neither. A cynic might wonder about the real, functional difference between, say, Wal-Mart’s recent payments to officials in Mexico to accelerate approval of building permits and the practice in New York City of having to engage expediters to ensure timely sign-offs on construction approval documents. No matter – the latter is legal (it’s a domestic issue, after all) while the former is not.

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Topics: SAP, ERP, Governance, GRC, bribery, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, CFO, compliance, FPM, Oversight Systems

Infor Demonstrates Steady Stream of Advances to Customers

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 26, 2013 11:00:13 AM

At this year’s Inforum user group conference, Infor representatives showed the progress the organization has made since last year in transforming itself from a ragbag of mostly small, often obsolete software companies to a competitive vendor of a modern enterprise management software suite. Infor was created by private equity investors employing a “rollup” strategy, aimed at combining smaller companies within an industry to form a single larger company that could achieve economies of scale and greater market presence. Others have tried this in the software industry in the past and encountered difficulty in making it work for two primary reasons. One is the technical challenge of achieving economies of scale in enterprise applications by turning a set of similar but separately developed software pieces into a single offering. Computer Associates achieved economies of scale through acquisition in the 1990s in the IT infrastructure software segment. But it did this largely by forcing customers of the various acquired companies to migrate to its single offering in the specific category. This is not a practical approach for business and finance enterprise applications because customers are willing to go off maintenance and eventually look for another vendor. The second difficulty is that newer or larger competitors can focus on innovation and overtake the rollup company while its attention and resources are focused on stitching the pieces together.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, closing, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, Infor, Risk, FPM, SEC

How New Information Technology Will Transform Auditing

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 4, 2013 11:04:54 AM

A recent news release by Robert Half, a staffing company that specializes in accounting and finance personnel, covered what it sees as the most important attributes required for auditors in the 21st century. “7 Attributes of Highly Effective Internal Auditors” covers the people dimension of the profession and focuses on the non-technical requirements of the role, including relationship-building, teamwork, and diversity. No doubt these skills are a must for just about anybody working in a modern (Western) corporation. For me, though, the most important quality on the list is at the bottom: continuous learning. That’s because the role of internal and external auditors will be transformed radically by big data, in-memory processing and other advances in information technology that will make enterprise automated fraud discovery and mitigation a reality before the end of this decade.

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Topics: Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), compliance, Infor, Risk, HANA, Oversight Systems

SAP’s New Fraud Management Analytical Application

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 2, 2013 11:20:48 AM

SAP recently announced its new Fraud Management analytic applications. Currently in “controlled” (limited) release, it’s a promising start for the product and a good example of the type of business process revolution that’s possible when companies can execute complex analytics on big data sets using in-memory and other advanced processing techniques. Over the next several years a wide swath of basic corporate processes will be transformed by the shift to in-memory processing and big data technology, two key foundational elements of my office of finance research agenda. HANA has been a consistent element of SAP’s product strategy and underlies many recent new releases, such as Business Suite on HANA.

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Topics: SAP, Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), compliance, Risk, HANA

Software to Fend Off Earnings Restatements

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 15, 2013 9:50:43 AM

I’m wondering whether the rapid rise in earnings restatements by “accelerated filers” (companies that file their financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that have a public float greater than $75 million) over the past three years is a significant trend or an interesting blip. According to a research firm, Audit Analytics, that number has grown from 153 restatements in 2009 to 245 in 2012, a 60 percent increase. What makes it a blip is that the total is still less than half the number that occurred in 2006 as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act began to take effect. As well, the number of companies restating is still less than one percent of the total. Yet it’s a blip worth paying attention to, since the consequences of a restatement pose a serious professional challenge to finance executives. The right software can help address some of the underlying causes that lead to the need to restate earnings.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, audit, close, Consolidation, Controller, Tax, XBRL, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, compliance, FPM, SEC

SAS Makes Analytics Pay Dividends for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 15, 2013 9:19:24 AM

I recently attended the annual SAS analyst summit to hear the latest company, product and customer growth news from the multi-billion-dollar analytics software provider. This global giant continues to grow its business and solutions to help with fraud prevention, marketing and risk. It lets users apply its analytic and statistical technology in practical applications for business. SAS can meet midsized businesses’ demand with packaging and pricing to ensure it is not seen as only affordable to Global 2000 companies. SAS’ growth in analytics should be no surprise, as our research finds analytics to be the first-ranked priority among technologies for innovating business.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAS, Fraud, GRC, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Risk

Addressing Key Operational Risk Requirements

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 13, 2013 10:00:24 AM

I’ve frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category of governance, risk and compliance (GRC). The term is used to a cover a combination of what were once viewed as stand-alone software categories, including IT governance, audit documentation and industry-specific compliance management, to name three examples. While it’s still common for specific types of software to be purchased piecemeal by different departments, these disparate areas have started a long convergence process. Since just about all controls and risk management efforts require a secure IT environment to be effective, there is a growing interdependence between effective IT governance and everything else connected with enterprise GRC.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Management, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, compliance, finance, Risk, financial risk management, IT Risk Management, Sarbanes Oxley, SOX

Vertex Enterprise Advances Tax Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 1, 2013 6:35:02 AM

Taxes – both indirect (sales or value added taxes, for example) and direct (income taxes) – are one the largest expense items on the corporate income statement. In recent years it has become common for large and even midsize companies to automate their indirect tax management process, but direct tax management has remained a bastion of manual processes built on a heap of desktop spreadsheets. In previous blog posts I discussed this issue and the role of the tax data warehouse as a necessary foundation for automating the direct tax process. Addressing an important need, Vertex is currently providing a limited release of its Enterprise offering, a single-platform approach to managing all types of taxes (direct and indirect) across the entire tax life cycle (from analysis through provisioning to audit defense) using a single data source.

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Topics: ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, finance transformation, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, CFO, Vertex, FPM

The Spreadsheet and the Whale

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 29, 2013 9:06:29 AM

Banking giant JP Morgan raised eyebrows in 2012 when it revealed that it had lost a substantial amount of money because of poorly conceived trades it had made for its own account. The losses raised questions about the adequacy of its internal controls, and broader questions about the need for regulations to reduce systemic risk to the banking system. At the heart of the matter were the transactions made by “the London Whale,” the name given to a JP Morgan’s trading operation in the City by its counterparties because of the outsized bets it was making. Until that point, JP Morgan’s Central Investment Office had been profitable and apparently well controlled. In the wake of a discovery of the large losses racked up by “the Whale,” JP Morgan launched an internal investigation into how it happened, and released the findings of the task force established to review the losses and their causes [PDF document].

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, error, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, Data, controls

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 10, 2013 9:02:32 AM

Businesses always see a lag between when technology makes some advance possible and when a majority of companies actually adopt it. There’s even a longer lag between the emergence of an advance in a business process or technique and the time it takes to become mainstream. When we write our research agendas at the top of each year, we have to strike a balance between focusing on the new and different, which is still many years away from general acceptance, and the mainstream, which has been anticipated for so long that it almost seems passé. Our research agenda for office of finance to support business for 2013, which I just finalized, is once again an attempt to balance the leading edge and the mainstream with an eye to practical solutions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, close, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Risk, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Saving Microseconds with Informatica’s Ultra Messaging

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2012 11:23:03 AM

Increasingly, global financial markets compete on speed, so much so that high-speed trading capabilities have become a performance differentiator for the largest financial services firms and some investment funds. Transmitting messages with quotes, prices and trade data is a core capability for currency dealers. Informatica recently introduced Ultra Messaging, which is designed to offer global currency traders an efficient, high-throughput, lower-latency (that is, faster) and more secure method of linking their worldwide operations.

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Topics: Sales, GRC, credit, currency, LAN, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Informatica, finance, WAN

Equifax Workforce Solutions for Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 14, 2012 11:59:58 AM

Businesses need to simplify HR and compliance processes to save time and reduce risk. Talx, which helps employers address concerns in hiring, pay and compliance, has now assumed the name of its parent company and become Equifax Workforce Solutions [PDF]. HR and finance professionals should recognize the parent company’s brand from its work in the consumer credit industry. The company hopes these professionals will see that Equifax Workforce Solutions offers a better approach to governance, risk and compliance. According to our research, 79 percent of organizations want a better method to identify and manage risks faster.

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Topics: Equifax, eThority, GRC, I9, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Workforce Performance, CFO, Compensation, compliance, finance, Hiring, HR, TALX, Workforce Solutions

Hewlett Packard Charges Fraud at Autonomy– Lessons Learned?

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 24, 2012 7:39:53 AM

Many people enjoy mystery stories or crime thrillers; in the same vein of savoring the whodunnit and howdunnit, I like a good accounting scandal. My fascination with cooking the books started when I was young with the “great salad oil swindle”, which wound up causing losses in excess of $1 billion in today’s money and even threatened a Wall Street collapse. This disaster was averted by the assassination of President Kennedy, which kept markets closed on Monday, November 25, 1963, and gave the parties involved an extra day to resolve the matter. Nowadays I look forward to receiving FIRST, a compendium prepared by IBM’s Risk Analytics group of the previous month’s financial shenanigans. So, the recent Hewlett-Packard-Autonomy imbroglio fascinates me.

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Topics: Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, IFRS, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hewlett Packard, Meg Whitman, SEC

What a Bugatti Can Teach Us About Information Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 29, 2012 11:37:21 AM

One of the community groups to which I donate my time is an organization that puts on a Concours d’Élegance – a vintage car show. Such Concours date back to seventeenth-century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered to see who had the best carriages and most beaudacious horses. Our Concours serves as the centerpiece to a broader mission of raising money for several charities. There a many such events in the United States and elsewhere, but this one, which has been held every year since 1956, has the distinction of being the longest continuously running Concours in the United States.

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Topics: Big Data, GRC, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Financial Performance, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, CFO, finance, Talent Management, FPM

Good Data Stewardship Is Critical for Business Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 24, 2012 12:28:56 PM

Our research consistently finds that defects in data are the root cause of a wide range of problems encountered by modern corporations. The magnitude of the problem correlates with the size of the company: Big companies have bigger headaches than midsize ones. Data issues diminish productivity in every part of a business as people struggle to correct errors or find workarounds. Issues with data are a man-made phenomenon, yet companies seem to treat bad data as some sort of force of nature like a tornado or earthquake – something that’s beyond their control to fix. At best they look for one-off workarounds and Band-Aids without tackling the root causes or recognizing the need to keep data issues in check. Data stewardship can and should be a part of a disciplined approach to management in the same way organizations implement quality control, cash management and legal compliance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CFO, finance, FPM

Put a Smile in Your Last Mile of Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 15, 2012 12:08:02 PM

People used to use the phrase “the last mile” solely to refer to a condemned prisoner’s path to execution. Then the telecommunications industry picked it up to describe that part of a circuit between a major trunk line and a subscriber. Later still a defunct software company, Movaris (now part of Trintech), used the phrase in an analogy to refer to the set of activities that take place between when a company closes its books and the point where it finishes its external reporting activities, such as disclosing periodic earnings and financial conditions to investors or filing financial statements with regulators or lenders. It was an attempt to focus attention on the need to automate and better coordinate the multiple, disparate but interconnected threads that have to be orchestrated to complete the external reporting tasks accurately and on time. Personally, I’ve never cared for the phrase being used in this context; there are really multiple “last miles,” with multiple and sometimes overlapping destinations. I prefer “the close–to-report cycle” because it’s more precise in its description, and because rather than pointing to finality, “cycle” defines it for what it is – a repetitive periodic activity. And because it is periodic and repetitive, it benefits from process optimization and automation, which can substantially reduce the effort required to complete a cycle and alleviate the stress certain departments often feel as deadlines loom.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, audit, close, Consolidation, Controller, XBRL, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, compliance, FPM, SEC

Financial Institutions Need Dynamic Risk Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 19, 2012 11:53:22 AM

Planning portfolio risk follows the same basic tenets as other sorts of business planning. It must be done in the context of a time dimension. In business, short-term plans are developed with a lot of givens or constraints. For example, capacities are fixed, because it’s impossible to wave a magic wand and bring a new factory on line, stuff more machine tools into already jammed facilities or source more raw materials in a capacity-limited supply chain. Short-term plans also incorporate assumptions about external forces (such as the economy, competitive moves or regulation) that are fixed or change very little in this period. By contrast, long-range or strategic planning is relatively unconstrained. The countries, markets or products that an organization can offer, for example, are not limited by current conditions. Indeed, that’s an essential point of long-range planning: assessing the impact of significant changes to today’s givens or assessing how to manage the impact of expected future trends.

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Topics: Sales Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Business Planning, Risk

Make Spreadsheet Competence a Priority

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 13, 2012 11:52:31 AM

I’ve written frequently on issues that confront desktop spreadsheet users, such as business modeling and capital investment, as well as the risk and control issues spreadsheets pose and their contribution to paralysis by analysis. I focus mainly on the technology aspects of organizational challenges, and I usually recommend replacing stand-alone desktop spreadsheets with more appropriate tools. Yet there are many instances where spreadsheets work well, and in other cases people continue to use them when they shouldn’t. For these reasons, executives and managers must pay attention to spreadsheet training. Many people who use spreadsheets have overblown estimations of their own competence, often those who use them all the time and have years of experience. With these and other tools, unless people are tested and trained on a recurring basis, one can never be sure how well they perform. The consequences of poorly trained spreadsheet users can be significant, both in terms of their impact on direct productivity and in relating to the capabilities of the spreadsheet files they construct and the potential for errors in poorly crafted ones.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), CFO, finance, Training

Companies Need Unified Approach to GRC for IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jul 12, 2012 11:55:18 AM

One of the most important trends in business over the past 20 years has been the broadening use of information technology to manage and support activities. In the early decades of business computing, companies developed islands of automation for largely numeric functions such as billing, inventory management and accounting. Each ran on a proprietary system and engaged the time of a relative handful of employees. Today, just about everyone works with an IT system for at least some of their operational or administrative tasks. They rely on these systems to support many of their daily routines, from recording transactions to using analytics to provide alerts, insights and decision support.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Management, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), compliance, finance, Risk, financial risk management, IT Risk Management

Operational Risk Management Is a New Imperative

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 29, 2012 12:44:45 PM

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but our recent Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) benchmark research shows that companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness – especially operational risk. A majority of companies lag in their overall GRC maturity, as I covered in a recent blog post. Operational risk management should be of greater interest to executives today because they can have greater control of it than before. The expansion of IT systems to automate and support most business processes has made it easier than ever to measure, monitor and report on what’s going on in a company. It’s now practical to expand the scope of operational risk management and improve companies’ effectiveness in handling risk events when they occur.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Management, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, compliance, finance, Risk, financial risk management

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 27, 2012 1:33:11 PM

Anyone who focuses on the practical uses of information technology, as I do, must consider the data aspects of adopting any new technology to achieve some business purpose. Reliable data must be readily available in the necessary form and format, or that shiny new IT bauble you want to deploy will fall short of expectations. Our research benchmarks cover a range of core business and IT processes, and they regularly demonstrate that data deficiencies are a root cause of issues organizations have in performing core functions; typically the larger the company, the more severe the data issues become.

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Topics: Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, IBM Business Analytics, Business Technology Innovation, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CFO, finance

Companies Are Lagging in GRC Maturity

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 7, 2012 10:51:45 AM

Ventana Research recently completed benchmark research on governance, risk and compliance (GRC), three business activities that are naturally linked. Although managing them requires separate and sometimes very different processes, on the whole these activities affect each other: Effective corporate governance ensures compliances with laws, regulations and company policies, and without governance, there’s no way to control risk. Separately or considered together, managing governance, risk and compliance is increasingly important.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Management, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Workforce Performance, compliance, Risk, financial risk management

Oversight Systems Focuses on Saving Money and Preventing Fraud

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 31, 2012 11:26:40 AM

I recently spoke with Oversight Systems, an operational intelligence analytics company that uses predictive analytics and optimization to help companies save money, reduce the risk of loss and fraud, and reinforce corporate governance and compliance efforts. Ventana Research views operational intelligence as an emerging technology with the potential for a high return on investment. By continuously monitoring activities in a company’s IT systems, Oversight’s Web-based software continuously, consistently and objectively monitors all business processes to identifies opportunities to save money, cut fraud, minimize risk and provide real-time controls to support governance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Fraud, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, audit, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Operational Intelligence, controls, Oversight Systems

IBM Displays Software for GRC at Vision 2012

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 22, 2012 12:36:10 PM

I recently attended Vision 2012, IBM’s conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and performance optimization software. I reviewed the finance portion of the program in a previous blog. I’ve been commenting on governance, risk and compliance (GRC) for several years, often with the caveat that GRC is a catch-all term invented by industry analysts initially to cover a broad set of individual software applications. Each of these was designed to address specific requirements across a spectrum of users in operations, IT and Finance within a company, often to meet the needs for a specific industry such as financial services or pharmaceuticals. Vision 2012 covered a lot of ground under the GRC heading, confirming the breadth of both this software category and IBM’s offerings in it. I want to focus on two areas: automation of IT governance activities and effective management of GRC-related data.

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Topics: Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, OpenPages, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Financial Performance, IBM, compliance, controls, IT controls

SAP Rolls Out Business Planning and Consolidation on HANA at SAPinsider

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 19, 2012 10:42:35 AM

For me, the most significant announcement to come out of the recent SAPinsider conference was the company’s formal release of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) running on HANA, SAP’s in-memory computing appliance. For me, HANA is a potential “game changer” for planning, statutory consolidation and other analytics-supported financial processes because of the substantial reduction it enables in processing time from loading to reporting. In-memory systems provide a substantial edge in speed of processing large data sets or complex calculations, whereas the latency between thought and answer in complex scenario analyses on disk-based systems often prevents a collaborative dialogue around possible situations and their potential outcomes. Today, companies have to simplify the analysis, severely limit the amount of detail or find some combination of the two. More than likely, they wind up not having a potentially valuable collaborative dialogue in activities such as weekly or monthly review and revision of operating plans and their financial consequences, closing the books or assessing the impact of pricing changes on profitability. In the case of planning, I expect that in-memory systems will enable make it easier for companies to make changes to detailed plans (such as the budget or production plans), which is difficult today for many of them.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, IFRS, XBRL, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, finance, Financial Performance Management, GAAP, HANA

Action-Oriented Analytics Can Help Manage Risk

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 12, 2012 9:37:32 AM

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but as I’ve noted, companies deal with risk with varying degrees of effectiveness. A complex, ongoing process, operational risk management identifies risks to support successful operations of an organization, estimates the monetary and other measurable impacts if a risk event occurs, establishes methods for mitigating the severity of impacts should they occur, continuously measures the probability of a risk occurring within a relevant period of time, periodically reports on the risk environment to appropriate decision-makers and alerts executives and managers when risk thresholds are crossed. These important activities should make operational risk management of greater interest to executives in today’s volatile business environment.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Sales Performance, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, balanced scorecard, enterprise risk management, KRI, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, In-memory, Risk

Tidemark Reaches the Starting Gate

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 3, 2012 11:50:33 AM

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently chatted with executives of Tidemark, a company in the early stages of providing business analytics for decision-makers. It has a roster of experienced executive talent and solid financial backing. There’s a strategic link with Workday that reflects a common background at the operational and investor levels. As it gets rolling, Tidemark is targeting large and very companies as customers for its cloud-based system for analyzing data. It can automate alerts and enhance operating visibility, collaboratively assess the potential impacts of decisions and support the process of implementing those decisions.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Warehousing, Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, GRC, Budgeting, Risk Analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Governance, Data Integration, Financial Performance, In-Memory Computing, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Risk, Workday, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning, Strata+Hadoop

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2011 10:13:59 AM

At its annual Influencer’s Summit in Boston, SAP offered multiple perspectives on where the company’s strategy and products are heading. Overall, I was struck by the essential similarities to its message on its strategic direction a decade ago. The overarching objective in its roadmap now, as then, is to have information technology increasingly adapt to the needs of individual users and how they choose to execute established/repetitive or ad-hoc processes,  rather than forcing them to adapt to the limitations of the technologies they are using. Back then the idea was to create a comprehensive process framework – a closely coupled approach. Today, it’s essentially the opposite, as SAP products run on an architecture that enables flexibility – a loosely coupled approach – both in how the computing infrastructure is organized and how people execute their tasks. It seems to me that this reflects the impact of having choices between cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems and the need to enable access through a variety of devices (from desktops to mobile handhelds and tablets). Mobility is important both for people whose roles take them beyond the firewall (in sales, service and logistics, for example) and executives and managers who often find themselves managing by walking around. Tablets, smartphones and similar devices are attractive also because people consider them personal items and associate them with fun, whereas desktops and notebooks are corporate and work-related.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, In-memory, Mobility, Workforce Performance, finance, Risk, Financial Performance Management

Risk Analytics Has Benefits for Optimizing Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 16, 2011 8:22:43 AM

Risk has always been an integral part of business, but dealing effectively with risk is a progression. Indeed, history shows businesses adapting and coping better with risk through innovation. The importance of using information technology to manage risk is growing because today’s systems can automatically measure and analyze a much broader set of risk factors than individuals can, and do so more reliably. But a key challenge companies face in implementing enterprise risk management is developing a process for defining and measuring risk.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, balanced scorecard, enterprise risk management, KRI, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Risk

The Value and Limits of the Term “GRC”

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 11, 2011 10:39:56 AM

My colleague Mark Smith and I have frequently commented on the artificiality of the emerging software category governance, risk and compliance (GRC). To be sure, once stand-alone categories of software (IT governance, audit documentation and industry-specific compliance management, to name three examples) have started what I expect to be a long convergence process. Moreover, since just about all controls and risk management efforts require a secure IT environment to be effective, there is a growing interdependence between effective IT governance and everything else connected with enterprise GRC.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, enterprise risk management, ERM, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, compliance, Risk, controls, IT governance

Algorithmics Acquisition Deepens IBM Software for Financial Services

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 3, 2011 9:55:16 AM

IBM’s announced pending acquisition of Algorithmics is an important addition to the company’s portfolio of business applications aimed at financial services companies, and it is thematically consistent with its other acquisitions in risk management and analytics such as IBM’s OpenPages risk management documentation that I have already assessed. It’s also a good fit for IBM’s professional services organization, which has a significant position in the financial services industry.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Dodd-Frank, Business Performance, Financial Performance, compliance, capital adequacy, financial regulation, Financial Services

OpenPages 6.0 Enhances GRC by Integrating Data and Text

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 20, 2011 7:44:43 AM

Although I continue to believe that governance, risk and compliance (GRC) is not a firm software category, software vendors continue to add depth and breadth to their offerings that support corporate governance, help manage risks systemically in business and IT and provide greater visibility into compliance efforts. For example, with its release of OpenPages 6.0 IBM had made an important enhancement by marrying the document management capabilities of its OpenPages acquisition with Cognos’s Analysis Studio. Although automating documentation of regulatory compliance and risk management functions has value (in the sense of lowering the cost and increasing the probability of full compliance), incorporating analytics and the ability to perform contingency planning in concert with document-driven processes potentially multiplies the business value of such automation.

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Topics: Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Chief Risk Officer, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, compliance, Risk, Internal Audit

SAP Solidifies Software Category with SAP BusinessObjects GRC 10.0

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 5, 2011 10:29:40 AM

When the term “governance, risk and compliance” (GRC) was introduced almost 10 years ago, software for this purpose was not a real category but a loose grouping of disparate applications that had something to do with meeting the requirements of the recently passed Sarbanes-Oxley Act. (You can find my perspective on the GRC category from a couple of years ago here. Now, with the release 10.0 of SAP BusinessObjects GRC, SAP is taking another step toward making the software category a real, comprehensive one that addresses the business and IT requirements of risk and compliance management efforts. This is the first platform that enables companies to efficiently provision risk and compliance management at an elemental level (for example, to manage individual access controls and process controls) and – over time – to gain effectiveness benefits from having the ability to comprehensively manage compliance and risk.

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Topics: SAP, GRC, Office of Finance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, CFO, Corporate Governance, Governance Risk and Compliance

SunGard IntelliMatch: Financial Governance and Reconciliations

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 5, 2011 10:12:05 AM

Back-office operations in commercial and investment banks are among those critical functions that are underappreciated until they stop working well. This includes transaction reconciliations and the related exceptions management. Reconciliations are necessary to achieve a reasonable assurance of complete and accurate record of trading activity. The process is especially challenging now, partly because of today’s high and growing volumes in the wide range of asset classes in which all larger financial institutions trade. Reconciliation is a necessary accounting function that has to be completed before external financial statements can be published.

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Topics: GRC, Office of Finance, Financial Governance, Reconciliation, Sungard, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, CFO, Corporate Governance, Governance Risk and Compliance

Enterprise Risk Management Addresses the Agency Dilemma

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 28, 2011 3:54:01 PM

I have written before about enterprise risk management, which is an essential piece of both performance management and corporate governance. Every aspect of business entails risk. Everyone who makes a business decision is – whether consciously or not – making trade-offs between risk and reward. Assessing risk is tricky in business because it means different things to different people depending on where they work and their specific role in an organization. From a broad view, risk management becomes an “enterprise” issue for three reasons. One is to ensure that risk management is harmonized across the company and consistent with the corporation’s risk tolerance. A second purpose is to manage cross-functional risks – things that happen in one part of the company can have negative impacts on other areas. The third is to address the risk elements of what’s called the agency dilemma.

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Topics: Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, compliance

IBM Opens a Page for GRC

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 28, 2010 10:12:50 AM

IBM has announced its intention to acquire OpenPages, a privately held, Massachusetts-based software company focused on governance, risk and compliance (GRC). I noted that after the deal finishes, the business will reside within IBM’s analytics group rather than in document management; this arrangement signals IBM’s intention to integrate its collaboration and communications around performance management (and achieve a fusion of text and data) and sharpen the ability of OpenPages to get an audience with finance and IT organizations, which are mainstays of IBM’s business analytics efforts after its acquisitions of Cognos, SPSS and others.

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Topics: GRC, Open Pages, Operational Management, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Financial Management

IBM Opens a Page for GRC

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 26, 2010 4:31:06 PM

IBM has announced its intention to acquire OpenPages, a privately held, Massachusetts-based software company focused on governance, risk and compliance (GRC). I noted that after the deal finishes, the business will reside within IBM’s analytics group rather than in document management; this arrangement signals IBM’s intention to integrate its collaboration and communications around performance management (and achieve a fusion of text and data) and sharpen the ability of OpenPages to get an audience with finance and IT organizations, which are mainstays of IBM’s business analytics efforts after its acquisitions of Cognos, SPSS and others.

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Topics: GRC, Open Pages, Operational Management, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Financial Management

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