Finance Pros Moving to Cloud-Based EPM Platforms

According to a Host Analytics survey, cloud-based EPMs are becoming popular with the finance crowd, but users are most concerned about performance and security.

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Finance professionals are optimistic about their companies' performance and view themselves as strategic partners to the business. However, they also are aware of the barriers to success, and understand how an enterprise performance management solution and other technologies can help them.

These were the findings of a survey of more than 250 senior-level finance and accounting professionals commissioned by Host Analytics and conducted by Radius Global Market Research.

The survey indicated cloud-based EPM interest and adoption continues to grow, with 41 percent of respondents currently employing a cloud-based EPM solution.

Nearly three in 10 (29 percent) said they are evaluating EPM solutions, while around a quarter (23 percent) said they plan to move to the cloud in the next few years.

Five percent said they are planning to move to the cloud in the next two to three years, while just 2 percent said they have no intentions to move to the cloud.

According to the survey, the two biggest concerns in moving to a cloud-based EPM were performance and security.

That said, businesses are getting used to the idea of using a cloud-based EPM, with 88 percent citing they were more comfortable with it today than they were two to three years ago.

Along with moving to the cloud, finance professionals are also turning to non-financial big data from sales, marketing and the supply chain to help with the planning process.

When asked in what time frame their company plans to use big data or non-financial data in the planning or reporting process, 28 percent said they currently use it and 71 percent plan to use it over the next one to three years.

However, despite the move to cloud-based EPM systems, the survey indicated the use of Microsoft’s Excel platform will not end anytime soon—a little less than half (46 percent) of survey respondents said it would continue to play a role in their EPM processes over the next three to five years.

Excel also is being used as an integral part of their strategic financial processes, with 57 percent of survey respondents using it to meet EPM requirements in planning and budgeting, financial reporting and disclosure; as well as analytics, either on a standalone basis or in conjunction with other tools.

Forty percent of the executives surveyed for the study were C-level, with 35 percent directors and 26 percent vice presidents and/or controllers.

Survey participants came from a wide range of industries including services, manufacturing, retail, software developers and vendors, health care, non-profit and education, with 19 percent of the respondents working at companies with $1 billion or more of revenue.