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Current Business Issues

As sure as day follows night, this economy will turn around, but for now, CFO's are driving changes in their businesses to deal with the downturn. But this requirement to rightsize the business, has to be balanced with the need to manage its exposure to risk. Call us today to find out how White Squires can help you get the balance right.


Digital Dashboards Are So Passé

Brendan Sheehan - 26th March 2009.

Business Intelligence is all about getting the right information to the right people, at the right time. Business Performance Management is about making sure they make the right decisions when they get it

If you want to beat the competition you have got to make better decisions than they do.

Successful execution of strategy is the result of thousands of small decisions, and it is critical that the information people rely on to make those decisions, prompts the right action. Historically, the information available to decision makers was frequently slow, incorrect and not relevant to the decision at hand and people too often had to base decisions completely on gut feel. With advancements in technology however the time for such excuses has passed.

A common theme of the CFO studies carried out last year by the major consulting firms, was that highly effective organisations have:

  1. simplified processes that are standardised across the business; and
  2. integrated systems that deliver fast, accurate and relevant information to decision makers.

If you do not have efficient processes and effective information delivery systems. Get them. Fast. These are table stakes in today's competitive marketplace. And its a marketplace that is getting more competitive. In China, if you are one in a million, there are a thousand others, just like you. The workforce of the BRIC economies is estimated at 1.5 billion people. They have a median age of 30 and a hunger for big houses, fast cars and foreign holidays. You can bet they are motivated to make the decisions that help them get there.

The good news is that making improvements to your business processes and information systems is self funding. A CRM (Contact Relationship Management) system that sends account information directly to the PDA of your sales staff, reducing the time it takes to collect payments from customers will pay for itself many times over because the money will be in your bank account, not theirs. Reducing the administration burden of processing expense claims and annual leave applications will more than justify the cost of adding an ESS (Employee Self Service) module onto your Payroll system. Upgrading your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to shorten your reporting cycle will pay for itself in perpetually reduced staff time.

With all this free time on their hands Finance staff can begin to have a deeper involvement in the organisational planning process. OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) tools capable of crunching massive amounts of data from multiple warehouses, gives the ability to analyse the business down to activity level. Budgeting then becomes more than simply churning out a P&L and Balance Sheet. Top down budgets tied to strategy can be broken down to objectives, goals, and then finally monthly weekly, daily or even hourly activity targets, by product, by geographic location, by employee, by customer.....

These days nobody questions the value of a good ERP system and soon, integrated ERP, Payroll, ESS, and CRM systems using OLAP technology to deliver budget, forecast and actual information to decision makers at all levels of the business, through multiple interfaces, in real time, will be just as common.

With this kind of platform, you can deliver the kind of quality information that makes decisions easier and makes your business far more competitive. When people are prompted to action by indicators that tell them how activity at their silo is affecting the strategy of the organisation, you are beginning to get a sense of what Business Performance Management is all about.

Digital dashboards are just the beginning.


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