Monday, June 22, 2009

Smart Strategies for Uncertain Times

The Monday keynote by John Kopcke (happy the keynote is in the BI/EPM space, so the lanyard by RittmanMead and bags logo of Interrel!)

Do business executives really do not know what they want for BI/EPM is it simply the dashboard envy that drives the projects? John is highlighting the importance of economic downturn for new opportunities. Smukers has grown in profits recently. So what are the high impact strategies:

- Cash conservation is a no-brainer here...
- Manage risk and performance
- Management Excellence (ability of business to be agile in changing times)


E.g. Southwest took 4 days to respond to the 911, to change routes and supporting changes... how does this compare at other business... an example of management excellence. I would add the oil price hedging as an another example that has given Southwest an advantage over others.

John is now talking about he Hackett Value Grid based on 2000 companies surveyed, as the foundation of World class companies and how they outclass others. They have lower DSO and other Finance KPI's are better but they have lower % headcount in Finance and hence lower costs, compared to peer groups. The SOX impacted the peer groups a shot their costs up.

So far the keynote is quite technology agnostic... more generic EPM / BI terminology... the next topic is 7 imperatives to deal with Crisis:

1) get insight and share it (e.g. provide finance professional with operational insight)
2) monitor continuosly
3) plan flexibilty
4) rething strategy
5) invest and divest
6) build trust
7) ... and do this all correct (not just YADT... it should not be Yet Another Dashboard Tool!)

Now John is explaining the importance of BI Applications in this challenging situation. Use the pre-packaged applications and quickly implement to get the insights in your business. Now once you have "insight" into the business problems, how do you "Plan Flexibly?" Time to rethink what does Planning process mean.

Yesterday, there was a lot of focus on the public sector Planning and performance management. Often budgeting is an yearly rituals and then forget about it... can it be used to convert to a rolling business event based activity...

We will see more of integrated business planning. I think BI apps for HFM will be a key bridge between BI and EPM... and will help to close the bridge between IT and Business.

Rethink Strategy: A good example when cost of oil went to $150/barrel.... financial modeling is back in fashion, a good example from IBM - had a financial model on mainframes. Seems like we forgot about financial modeling, important when "obvious" history would not tell us about future... now you need deep mathematical / data mining models to use financial models for "knowing" the future. ABB is a good example of using this to survive a financial crisis ($4B debt restructuring). Gave a good example of who should go to Univ of Vermount - use of data mining to go after the right target prospective students.

Invest and Divest Wisely: Companies need to identify porfolio of best product-market-channel combinations.

Customer success story - Burger King is using 3 month and 5 year planning cycles. Crystal Ball or the Monte Carlo simulation for predictive Modeling is being reintroduced. By the way, at Colaborate Steve Stein of Perot system had explained in brief how Crystal Ball works using human readable rules, so I need to look at it in details. John says, we often plan and budget but do not go and verify how the real worked outperformed viz-a-viz the plan/budgets.

Build Trust: How to "gain to sustain?" Identify the right stake holders...here you identify who are the right consumers of EPM and BI information. New York City (NYC.gov) used dashboards to make govt transparent to the citizens.


shyamvaran John: "TWEETing is great but you cannot run business on Tweets unless you have processes in place", (I think #ODTUG has process in place)
half a minute ago from web...


Before the Hyperion acquisition, BI was looked as add on technology by Oracle. BI / BI apps were post-ERP implmentations. Hyperion has made Oracle realize that BI/EPM cannot be an after-thought, rather needs to be part of the application strategy.

I will be touching some of the concepts today in my MDM for BI - talks at 3:45PM, Session 91

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