The concept of enterprise performance management (EPM) has been around for over 15 years.  But in recent years, adoption of EPM software has been accelerating as the availability of cloud-based EPM solutions has made EPM more accessible to small and medium enterprises, as well as large ones.

Read on to learn about the benefits of EPM software and the top 3 reasons EPM is moving to the cloud.

What Is EPM?

Enterprise performance management (EPM) is a process and software system designed to help organizations (i.e., companies, government entities, educational institutions, and non-profits) achieve financial goals by linking strategies to plans and execution.  Sounds easy, right?  As anyone who has worked in a business enterprise knows, this can be challenging as an organization grows and evolves beyond its roots.  To support this, EPM includes the following management processes:

  • Budgeting, planning, forecasting, and modeling
  • Consolidating results and closing the books on a periodic basis
  • Reporting results to internal and external stakeholders and analyzing performance

Are CPM and BPM the same as EPM?  Yes and no.  Other terms used in the industry include CPM (corporate performance management) and BPM (business performance management), which mean basically the same thing as EPM. The term EPM, however, can be more broadly applied outside of the Finance department and in non-corporate environments, such as governments, higher education institutions, and non-profits.

What Are the Benefits of EPM?

Managing a closed-loop process like EPM can be challenging when organizations are relying on spreadsheets and manual processes.  However, with purpose-built EPM applications and the power of the cloud, EPM can help transform Finance processes.  This can be summarized in what we call the “three A’s” – automate, accelerate, and align:

  • Automate key tasks and reduce manual work to eliminate errors and increase Finance team productivity
  • Accelerate planning, consolidation, and reporting to deliver results faster and shift more time to value-added analysis
  • Align financial and operational plans and make Finance a better business partner by empowering operations with information and supporting improved decision-making

Why is EPM Moving to the Cloud?

EPM software platforms have evolved from mainframe accounting systems to Windows-based client/server systems, then to internet-enabled, web-browser-based applications.  Today, there’s increasing demand for software as a service (SaaS) (a.k.a. cloud-based software), and the market is rapidly shifting to adopt cloud-based EPM solutions.

cloud-computing.jpgWhy the cloud? It’s a better way to deliver software.  It’s making EPM accessible to more organizations because there’s no infrastructure to set up, and because it costs less.  Thousands of companies are voting with their pocketbooks, trading in Excel or old legacy software to gain the advantages of the cloud.  Adoption is accelerating as Finance has grown more confident in the security of the cloud and more aware of the benefits.  

These are the top 3 reasons EPM is moving to the cloud:

1. Faster time to value (TTV) – With cloud-based EPM solutions, the effort and costs of setting up infrastructure are eliminated. Organizations can be up and running with EPM applications in 3-6 months vs. 6-12 months for on-premises applications.

2. Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) – Cloud-based EPM suites are typically one-fourth the overall cost of on-premises software. This is clear when organizations compare initial implementation and ongoing subscription costs of cloud-based EPM suites vs. the implementation, up-front licensing, and ongoing maintenance of on-premises software.

3. Increased autonomy – The cloud empowers Finance to drive and control both the initial implementation and the ongoing maintenance of the EPM solution.

Technology analyst firms like Forrester are now recognizing the cloud as the primary deployment model for EPM solutions. Gartner notes that large enterprises, not just mid-market companies, are shifting to the cloud and that, by 2020, 60% of medium and large organizations will have deployed cloud-based solutions.  Finally, Ventana Research cites that faster time-to-value and lower total cost of ownership are the key reasons that Finance professionals are increasingly accepting the cloud over on-premises alternatives.

Learn More

To learn more about the benefits of EPM software and why EPM is rapidly moving to the cloud, download the white paper “Introduction to EPM in the Cloud.”

Download the White Paper

27 responses to “Top 3 Reasons EPM Is Moving to the Cloud”

  1. Megan says:

    Interesting article!

  2. Nikola O says:

    Our priorities are very much in sync with authors top 3 reasons EPM is moving to the cloud. I expect most of the older legacy tools to follow this example.

  3. Jean Dane says:

    Totally agree with the top reasons EPM is moving to the cloud. All were key in us choosing a planning and reporting system in the cloud.

  4. Cindy says:

    There are so many benefits to moving EPM to the cloud – I couldn’t imagine not moving it to the cloud!

  5. Han Shih says:

    Out go-live with Host Analytics proved cloud-based system transform EPM to a truly finance owned system with limited reliance on IT for planning, reporting and analysis.

  6. andrea says:

    Increased autonomy is the most important benefit to my finance team in executing against our goals without waiting on other orgs like IT.

  7. Andrea says:

    Our small business found the cloud was a more stable environment than things we hosted onsite.

  8. Megan says:

    I agree with you, Cindy! The benefits STRONGLY outweigh any negatives!

  9. kate Sedam says:

    the “three A’s” – automate, accelerate, and align are terms we are consistently striving for in our organization. If only we could get everyone to understand how valuable they are.

  10. Jacob Lambert says:

    We have also found that moving to the cloud allows us to evaulate the performance of our EPM system more critically. Given that we usually sign a 3-year agreement at most, every 2-3 years we can assess the effectiveness of the system and potentially change subscriptions, services, and even vendors.

  11. Nicole says:

    I thought learning about the 3 As was very helpful

  12. Ali says:

    I agree with the top 3 reason and would add that moving to the cloud will provide you with frequent upgrade and improvements to the platform on a much faster pace than the legacy on premise systems.

  13. Jeremy Zhao says:

    Great article, gives good points on why a company would want to switch to cloud!

  14. Nikita says:

    Agree with article. Speed, customization, autonomy, and scale are possible through cloud tools

  15. Jamie says:

    Agreed with authors top 3 reasons EPM is moving to the cloud. Everyone should soon follow this trend towards the cloud.

  16. Courtney says:

    A cloud based EPM both saves time, is much more cost effective, and the increased autonomy is beneficial in helping to meet goals/deadlines without having to wait on internal support departments such as IT.

  17. Rahul says:

    Think it’s easier to scale as well.

  18. Cindy Beggs says:

    We have chosen that most of our software is cloud based due to the availability wherever you may be. This is particularly important when you are talking about EPM.

  19. Jarrod says:

    Time to value is extremely important, especially when you feel like you are in Excel hell. Can’t wait to get out!

  20. Tina says:

    I can see the advantages to using a cloud based system. Being able to access for anywhere you may be working would be a convenience to both the company and the employees needing to access.

  21. Lauren Mazzone says:

    Moving to the cloud makes it possible to utilize anywhere and everywhere so you don’t have to be chained to the office on nights and weekends!

  22. Pam says:

    I agree, they were the same reasons why we chose a planning system in the cloud

  23. Lanny Baldwin says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  24. Matt Laucks says:

    Along with the above mentioned 3 key reasons I would also consider the ‘Expansion’ – Data, geography and also on the Infra.

  25. Monica Erin says:

    Increased autonomy is very helpful to financial org

  26. Zach says:

    I agree with all of these, great read

  27. Hunter Scrivner says:

    Agree with lower TCO. Also would add that cloud based tools evolve / improve faster due to over the air updates.

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