Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Technology Can Enhance Performance in Finance Departments

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 29, 2014 9:39:31 AM

Finance transformation” refers to a longstanding objective: shifting the focus of CFOs and finance departments from transaction processing to more strategic, higher-value functions. Our upcoming Office of Finance benchmark research confirms that most of organizations want their finance department to take a more strategic role in management of the company: nine in 10 participants said that it’s important or very important. (We are using “finance” in its broadest sense, including, for example, accounting, corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, treasury and tax functions.) Finance departments have the ability and at least an implicit mandate to improve business performance and enable a corporation to execute strategy more effectively. Yet the research shows that becoming strategic is a work in progress. Most departments handle the basics well, but half fall short in areas that can contribute significantly to the performance of their company. More than three-fourths of participants said they perform accounting, external financial reporting, financial analysis, budgeting and management accounting well or very well. But only half said that about their ability to do product and customer profitability management, strategic and long-range planning and business development.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, ERP, FP&A, Office of Finance, Reporting, Management, close, closing, computing, Controller, Tax, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, CFO, finance, Tagetik, FPM

Data-Driven Business Processes Essential for Optimization

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 16, 2014 10:29:35 AM

When applying information technology to drive better business performance, companies and the systems integrators that assist them often underestimate the importance of organizing data management around processes. For example, companies that do not execute their quote-to-cash cycle as an end-to-end process often experience a related set of issues in their sales, marketing, operations, accounting and finance functions that stem from entering the same data into multiple systems. The inability to automate passing of data from one functional group to the next forces people to spend time re-entering data and leads to fragmented and disconnected data stores. The absence of a single authoritative data source also creates conflicts about whose numbers are “right.” Even when the actual figures recorded are identical, discrepancies can crop up because of issues in synchronization and data definition. Lacking an authoritative source, organizations may need to check for and resolve errors and inconsistencies between systems to ensure, for example, that what customers purchased was what they received and were billed for. The negative impact of this lack of automation is multiplied when transactions are complex or involve contracts for recurring services.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Office of Finance, Operations, Management, close, closing, computing, end-to-end, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Management, Information Applications, Information Management, CRM, Data, finance, FPM

What’s Next?: The Interplay of Software and Hardware with Business and Consumers

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 11, 2014 9:49:04 AM

“What’s next?” is the perennially insistent question in information technology. One common observation about the industry holds that cycles of innovation alternate between hardware and software. New types and forms of hardware enable innovations in software that utilize the power of that hardware. These innovations create new markets, alter consumer behavior and change how work is performed. This, in turn, sets the stage for new types and forms of hardware that complement these emerging product and service markets as well as the new ways of performing work, creating products and fashioning services that they engender. For example, the emerging collection of wearable computing devices seems likely to generate a new wave of software/hardware innovation, as my colleague Mark Smith has noted. This said, I think that the idea of alternating cycles no longer applies. It would be convenient if we could assign discrete time periods to hardware dominance and software dominance, but like echoes as they fade, the reverberations are no longer as neatly synchronized as they once were. Moreover, adoption and adaptation of technology by consumers reflected in the design of work, products and services always lags – and lags in different ways, further blurring the timing of cycles.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Office of Finance, Reporting, Wearable Computing, Management, close, closing, computing, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, finance, FPM

Big Data Will Make Elephants Dance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 23, 2013 12:41:08 AM

IBM’s Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference started me thinking about the longer-term potential impact of big data and related technologies on business management. I covered some of the near-term uses of big data and analytics in an earlier perspective. There are numerous uses of big data that can provide incremental improvements to existing processes and practices. Some of these will have a significant impact on changing business models, enabling new classes of products and services and improving performance. As well, the technology will have more profound, longer lasting effects. The ability to analyze large quantities of business-related data rapidly has the potential to set in motion fundamental changes in how executives and managers run their business. Properly deployed, it will enable a more forward-looking and agile management style even in very large enterprises. It will allow more flexible forms of business organization. None of these changes will be universal, and the old school will be with us for some time. Technology, however, will give executives and their boards of directors a powerful tool for strategic differentiation to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Management, Budgeting, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, IBM, Information Management, decision, FPM, Watson

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

VPI Extends into Multi-channel Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Sep 26, 2012 9:37:28 AM

Voice Print International recently announced it has selected Hewlett-Packard’s Autonomy to deliver speech and multi-channel analytics. This news means VPI joins a small group of vendors that can provide a view of customer interactions across multiple communication channels, which is of growing importance to companies. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support an average of four to five channels of interaction with customers. Without a multi-channel view they are in danger of upsetting customers but not knowing what customers have tried before. The core challenge is that many interactions are either in the form of call recordings or text (email messages, forms, letters, chat and web scripts, and social media). Companies that cannot process all of these forms of data are left with an incomplete view.

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Topics: Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, VPI, Management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

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

SAS Expands Business Relevance in Using Analytics

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 18, 2012 12:22:08 PM

After the SAS analyst event last year, I wrote that it is hard to keep track of everything SAS has to offer because it had so many products and developments in the pipeline. Back from this year’s event, I can report that 2011 was successful, its revenue and worldwide presence are up, and SAS continues to expand its channels to market. On top of everything I saw last year even more products and developments are in the pipeline, but the theme and focus remain the same: enabling business analytics.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Contact Center Analytics, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Vendor(s)

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

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