How Enterprises Can Get Better Access to Real-Time Data

Here's a list of data points around a new approach to enterprise performance management.

C-level executives are struggling with a very real problem: how to gain access to the real-time data that drives their business. In the new on-demand economy, if an enterprise doesn't have control of its real-time data, it's difficult to compile meaningful results that help a business grow and compete.

Most conventional enterprise performance management (EPM) platforms were designed for a slower business climate and fail to produce actionable insights from current and relevant data inside a relevant window of opportunity. In addition, most older implementations are complex and difficult to manage, requiring power users to serve as data gatekeepers. Automation is what it's all about in 2014.

However, EPM is evolving, and as a result, it's changing the way enterprises operate around the world.

Serial entrepreneur and current Tidemark CEO Christian Gheorghe recently worked with eWEEK to come up with a list of data points around a new approach to enterprise performance management. Tidemark makes a mobile-first enterprise performance management package that provides cross-functional analytics and forecasting across an organization.

Cloud agility now benefits new-gen EPM. IDC Research predicts cloud technology spending will grow by 25 percent in 2014, reaching over $100 billion. EPM solutions that offer improved cloud capabilities will be the ones leading growth for businesses in the new year.

Mobility is empowering the global workforce. Mobile is now the de facto platform on which business people and consumers are devouring data, and unlike in previous years, they are now acting on the data as well. EPM tools are now able to provide reports on the fly—on any device.

Big data is creating actionability. Big data is a key consideration for any EPM system—and today data crunching capabilities alone aren't enough to move the needle. Decision-makers are now looking for easier-to-manage apps that provide more granular, actionable insights in real time. EPM solutions that provide the ability to sift through disparate data streams are becoming indispensible in the finance department.

Collaboration is no longer simply nice to have. Platforms that don't include collaborative features are becoming extinct. Innovative technologies such as Yammer and Box that enable employees to collaborate and share information have become critical business functions, not just the latest shiny object.

IDC also expects that by 2016, 60 percent of the Fortune 500 will have social-enabled innovation management solutions in place. This also has implications for EPM; solutions that enable collaboration across the organization fit into today's enterprises, while those that don't are putting companies behind the eightball.

CFOs are now more influential. CFOs now have a leading role to play in transforming organizations, and are working to identify best practices for implementing EPM solutions that can help them make the most of their growing influence.

In-context analytics is driving decision-making. The importance of context and real-time data is now mission-critical for EPM. In the coming year, the role context plays in making smart use of data will start getting the recognition it deserves.

Machine-generated data is now part of the package. With more data attached to every system, machine-generated and unstructured data represents a wealth of information that EPM solutions are taking into consideration. RFIDs, sensor data and more are all part of this package.

Enterprise innovation is starting to drive consumer IT innovation. The enterprise is becoming a new source of innovation, and while in past the consumerization of IT drove enterprise trends, now the enterprise is starting to take the lead. The intersection of cloud, mobile and social at enterprise scale is helping to create highly available and user-friendly experiences in the workplace.

Competition is creating technology adoption. CFOs are finding that their systems are outdated, and budgeting platforms that still require up to four months to complete a budget are no longer sufficient.

On average, companies that employ rolling forecasts save between five and 25 days each year in their budgeting process, according to research by the American Productivity & Quality Center. CFOs are beginning to understand that the current environment is "eat or be eaten," and if they don't adopt new technologies to reduce the time they spend planning, they will become irrelevant.

Agility is winning. In the new evolving market, there is no silver bullet to success in any industry. But what does work is to continually be looking to the future, and considering the next move.

Forward-thinking CFOs should look for EPM solutions that think like they do—well ahead of the now—and if the variables change, they want something that can pivot quickly and adjust to the new conditions.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...