The greatest advances occur in challenging times, when people are forced to find solutions to new and difficult problems. This is especially true in the current business climate. We have seen more innovation in finance technology with our clients in the last few weeks than we have seen in years. Forecast models have become mission critical applications and the need to combine and translate operational information into financial metrics is critical. Corporate Performance Management (CPM) applications will become one of the most important investments in the next few years to allow companies the flexibility and finance automation capability to respond to this new world. The natural reaction to be cautious and delay seems logical, but our recent experience proves that now is the time to make huge progress in leveraging technology to support finance processes and analytical capability.
The market standard for CPM is OneStream Software
All of our clients use the OneStream XF Platform to unify financial consolidation, budget / forecast, and financial analysis capabilities. They use the power of the single platform to perform detailed scenario modeling, leveraging financial and operational data from a single interface to get fast and reliable insights into their changing business. Over the last five years, nearly 100% of the CPM consulting industry investment has been in OneStream. Oracle Hyperion practices have gotten much smaller within the Big 4 / Boutique Consulting firms while the OneStream practices are growing by an average of 20-40%. The implications of this are real – there has been a huge talent shift towards OneStream that will continue at an even higher rate over the next several years. When we founded Black Diamond, it would have been much easier to provide both Hyperion and OneStream services but the reason why we are exclusively OneStream is important. Every one of our consultants who has experience with OneStream will never go back to Hyperion – this has been the reality in the marketplace for several years. OneStream’s focus on 100% Customer Success allows for a great long-term partnership for innovation at each client.
OneStream Software doesn’t care where you work – Start Now
We have seen incredible productivity in projects that are in the middle of development and our clients have easily adapted to remote sessions and application development. We have modified our client’s work processes to take advantage of the unique opportunity. We have also started new projects in the last few weeks and it has become clear how important our work is right now. Clients are really motivated to bring new capabilities to their companies as soon as possible. Black Diamond has been implementing CPM solutions with a remote implementation methodology for several years and we have a unique advantage to lead clients and the industry in remote working best practices. Many of our global clients have multiple locations with limited ability to get their team together in person and we progressed to using online collaboration tools and a proprietary project management approach to be hugely successful.
Kill Spreadsheets – Financial Reporting and Analysis are now too important
After almost 25 years in the industry we continue to be amazed at how many companies continue to overuse spreadsheets and legacy applications for financial consolidation, reporting and analysis. Many companies right now have thousands of finance professionals building complex workbooks to help guide them through the crisis. While the industry is comfortable with this tool, complete dependency on something that is so easily manipulated is madness. It’s time to look for every opportunity to turn a manual, disparate, unmanageable spreadsheet nightmare into a process that uses centralized technology to support critical data and analytic needs. Finance leaders and their teams deserve technology that can take advantage of their talents and drive the accuracy and automation every company expects.
Key Areas for Immediate Focus:
1. KPI Optimization – Use this crisis to find the “Metrics that Matter.” Look for additional opportunity to combine more operational and financial data into patterned analysis that can support trend analysis and decision making.
2. Refine Forecast Models – Leverage technology to develop multiple scenarios and trend analysis to develop key action (and reaction) plans.
3. Proactively drive technology investment – Encourage your team to engage in technology demonstrations and use this time to truly understand how digital finance technology can support your immediate and future needs.
Black Diamond stands ready to support the digital finance transformation required to help finance leaders respond to the current and future challenges. We truly thank all of our clients for their partnership during the last few weeks and encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique situation to double down on technology to support their future.