By Lindy Muller, SAP BPC business unit manager at Decision Inc.

With increasing corporate interest in digital transformation initiatives, enterprise performance management focused around financial planning and consolidation is experiencing a resurgence. While it is a challenging environment to be in, it remains fundamental to the success of any business.

In an age where budgets are under scrutiny, decision-makers need a good understanding of financial information to identify processes that need improvement and areas that are not cost effective. Enterprise solutions that enable this have evolved to be quite granular and provide the ability to analyse and understand financials to put the business in a more competitive position.

Beyond spreadsheets

Fortunately, executives are much more open to these solutions than in the past. Previously, they might have been satisfied with spreadsheet applications that could ‘run the numbers’. Now they need services that can run different scenarios and do an immediate impact assessment to make quick decisions and be more agile.

Irrespective of the enterprise approach taken, companies need to get better insight into what they are doing with the data they have. There is already such a wealth of information in the organisational back-end systems, that executives just need to find a way of effectively integrating data sources across existing silos. The priority is bringing it into a single environment.

Already, systems are much better at talking to one another than was previously the case. More people inside the organisation have access to information and can draw specific insights related to their levels of expertise. This means they can discuss their insights with the cost centre owner to change forecasts where relevant and as markets evolve.

These enterprise performance management solutions ultimately enable CFOs to make high-level strategic decisions where necessary. It also allows the business to change company strategy more organically, improve the return on investment of solutions, and make decisions faster for competitive advantage.

Insights to be had

Of course, the enterprise solutions to embrace are the ones that offer better strategic insight into the organisation. While a lot of attention is placed on running business more effectively, there are also solutions that target specific industries.

For example, mining and manufacturing have a lot of potential in South Africa with solutions like SAP being focused on utilising the intellectual property it has developed, to empower them to run more efficiently.

In South Africa, as with any other market, companies are looking to get more value from their data, financial systems, and enterprise performance. It is not a case of having to wait for long-term projects to complete before a return can be measured. Instead, they expect enterprise solutions to deliver value virtually from the first day.

While it is difficult to predict where the local market is heading over the coming months, the reality is that value will be the cornerstone. If a solutions provider cannot offer this with its enterprise solutions, then the potential for growth is non-existent.