EPM Reflections #12 – A Time for Change

by Chris Grundy, Director Marketing, SAP 

I thought for a while about a fitting conclusion to our current #EPMReflections 2015 series, contemplating among other things of writing something along the lines of a festive theme, perhaps for example of extending the themes that we have run in prior years on how Santa might organize performance management such as that posted last year by Gary Cokins on the topic of ELF (Elf Performance Management), maybe considering how “Santa Claus Inc.” might link their EPM solutions to their ERP (Elf Resource Planning) systems, to deliver integrated financial planning for example, of course using an in-memory platform to handle the vast amounts of data required when dealing with a global demand for gifts.

cloud illustration

But instead of this, I’ve opted for a different approach, particularly given that this is our final #EPMReflection on the current CFOKnowledge blog platform, as CFOKnowledge is heading to a new home in January 2016, as we pack up and move to the D!gitalist Magazine.

Our move to CFOKnowledge on the D!gitalist is inspired by a desire to bring you, our readers more and better content on a range of finance topics. You’ll still hear news and views from our regular bloggers on EPM (enterprise performance management) and GRC (governance risk and compliance) topics, but in addition to this we’ll be joined by a host of new bloggers who’ll be writing on diverse and topical subjects related to business and finance matters.

So my reflection here is not so much regarding something that’s happened in the last 12 months, as has been the focus of our other #EPMReflections, but rather it’s a general and in some ways a personal reflection on what we have accomplished on CFOKnowledge in the past few years. It’s been a pleasure to work with many bloggers to this channel, and to have had the ability to bring you news and views on a range of EPM, GRC and Finance topics, and I truly hope that you have enjoyed reading them. I very much hope that you will join us at our new home on the D!gitalist, in 2016. In the meantime I’d like to say a big “thank you” for following CFOKnowledge, and I wish you all the best for a wonderful time during the holidays.

See you at CFOKnowledge on D!gitalist in 2016…and we’ll create some new things to reflect on there!


EPM Reflections #11 – SAP Cloud for Analytics

In November last year, SAP had launched SAP Cloud for Planning which was a huge success. After a year, we’ve made great progress and we’re proud to present SAP Cloud for Analytics.

Bernd Leukert

Bernd Leukert, Member of the SAP Executive Board, Products & Innovation at SAP, introduces SAP Cloud for Analytics during SAP TechEd Las Vegas Keynote

SAP Redefines Analytics in the Cloud” – that was the headline for the press release announcing SAP Cloud for Analytics which was formally unveiled during the keynotes at SAP TechEd Las Vegas . SAP Cloud for Analytics brings together the ability to analyze, predict and plan in one product.

SAP Cloud for Analytics was born out of SAP Cloud for Planning. SAP Cloud for Analytics is the new name for SAP Cloud for Planning reflecting the additional capabilities of data discovery and visualization, and predictive analytics. The reason why we designed SAP Cloud for Analytics is to enable a cohesive and collaborative approach to decision making. Finance professionals, business analysts, board members – anybody who is involved with decision making, needs a combination of these capabilities to do their jobs.

SAP Cloud for Analytics World Tour Event at Levi’s Stadium

Following the SAP Cloud for Planning World Tour Events, we hosted an event for SAP Cloud for Analytics in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, home for the SF 49ers. Some of the highlights include:

  • Tony Cosentino,VP and Research Director at Ventana Research speaking about “Analytics in the Cloud” and best practices for companies to leverage modern platforms.
  • Ivo Bauermann sharing the vision and direction of SAP Cloud for Analytics
  • Christina Obry delighting the audience with an amazing demo

More information on SAP Cloud for Analytics can be found at http://www.sapcloudanalytics.com.

EPM Reflections #10 – SAP Conference for Financial Planning, Consolidation and Controls

FPCC, or the SAP Conference for Financial Planning, Consolidation and Controls, is an annual event organized with a team from TA Cook. The event was held in Las Vegas on November 10-11.

SAP Conference for Financial Planning, Consolidation and Controls_Twitter

The event features many guest speakers, including Doug Henschen of Constellation Research, Scott Mitchell of OCEG and Brian Kalish of AFP Online. The speakers led conversations about what’s driving Finance and the role of the CFO.

Other speakers include influencers like Ray Wang and Gary Cokins. Ray is an industry thought leader and researcher from Constellation Research and led a keynote on “the secret to the future of planning.” Many insights were shared. Gary is an industry expert on performance management and he led a keynote on performance and risk.

While having industry experts were crucial to the event, FPCC also featured a great number of customer stories. Two of the customers were featured in an interview style questionnaire that can be found.

The first one was with John To from ServiceNow. The integration of SAP products and the financial meaning that can be extracted from such data has become crucial as ServiceNow continues to grow and scale, so SAP software supports all aspects of our organization.

The other person we spoke with was Doug Henschen from Constellation Research. Constellation Research is a Silicon Valley-based research firm that’s passionate about how business models can be transformed with disruptive technology. Their goal is to help our clients realize the art of the possible. Read how SAP helps them run simpler.

All in all, the event was a great success! We hope to continue the momentum moving forward into the new year.

EPM Reflections 2015 #8 – The Successful CFO

A popular blog in the month of August for 2015 was around the topic of what it’d take to be a CFO. A few years CFOs would normally opt for a CPA but is an accounting degree enough? As the technological landscape has evolved with in-memory technology, visualization, plus the ability to integrate forecasting and planning with the ERP system, CFOs must use of a whole new set of tools.


Panelists at a recent SAP Game-Changers radiocast, John Steele, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and head of the U.S. SAP finance transformation practice at Deloitte; David Dixon, partner principal at TruQua Enterprises; and Henner Schliebs, head of finance audience marketing at SAP, discussed the need to adapt to a rapidly evolving role and what characteristics define a successful CFO.

A few takeaways from the radiocast is:

  • Understanding and fulfilling the many purposes of the CFO role
  • Mastering a technology-driven finance function
  • Keeping up with the future of CFO

Read the original blog post here and to learn more about the characteristics and market forces that are shaping the role of CFO, listen to the full radiocast.

EPM Reflections Series #7 – Integrated Business Planning

In a series of 6 blogs, Gary Cokins, founder of analytics-based performance management and frequent blogger on CFOKnowledge explores the importance, issues involved with, and reasons why IBP, integrated business planning, iis a critical topic and capability that finance needs to know and understand.


What is Integrated Business Planning?

IBP seamlessly integrates user interfaces and workflows. It links strategic, operational, and financial objectives and plans to improve employee alignment with the strategy and financial performance.

To begin with the issues, for many of us there may likely be a nagging question: “Is IBP such a big deal that if our organization is late to the party of deploying IBP, then will we never catch up to our competitors that have deployed it?”

Read more to find the answer.


Cokins continues to dive into the topic of IBP as he answers the following questions:

How does IBP support strategy execution?

How does IBP support profitability analysis?

How does IBP support process improvement?

How does IBP support driver-based driver-based budgeting?

How does IBP support change management?



EPM Reflections 2015 #6 – CFO Research

What is the next step in transforming finance operations?

During this year, a global survey was conducted to study the efficiency of finance operation functions where the results pointed to a need to advancing future finance operations through better information tools and simpler processes in order to unleash their full potential.

A well run finance operation is comprised of accounts payable and receivable, working capital, supplier management, expense management, and compliance all need to be harmonized and seamless to ensure optimal business execution.


The study shows that a majority of finance executives valued upgrading information systems in companies the most, followed by a close second in making process improvements.

Read the original blog post for more information on how making changes can transform and improve your finance operations. The research paper can also be found here.

EPM Reflections 2015 #5 – What happened at SAPPHIRE?

SAPPHIRE NOW is one of the biggest events in the year and it was a tremendous success this year! Many conversations and key note sessions were around digital transformation.


An example of transformation came from one of SAP’s customers, ServiceNow, who has transformed the way people work, with a focus on service orientation, user experience, and real time calculation after transitioning to SAP applications. They now incorporate improved automated consolidations as well as strategic, operational, capital expenditure, and human resources planning. Learn more about how SAP has helped them run simpler here.

The most visited area of the show floor was the SAP Boardroom, otherwise known as the Boardroom of the Future. This showcase offered event attendees a contextualized boardroom experiences that connects people, places and devices into a real-time enterprise. The boardroom incorporated 3 large touch screen monitors and enabled executives to monitor, stimulate, and drive meetings. Watch the SAP Boardroom Redefined here.

These are just two of the many great experiences attendees got to experience. For a full list of replays and information on SAPPHIRE, visit here.