Technology is creating opportunities for organizations to expand into areas they never imagined possible. Real-time engagement with data, social collaboration around information, and a mobile workforce are the realities today. Within the area of finance, industry leaders agree that technology has been incredibly impactful. A decade ago, simply having visually appealing dashboards provided many companies with a competitive advantage. Now that dashboarding is prevalent in most reporting environments, today’s challenge is how to harness the power of cloud and mobile technologies to transform finance organizations.
Over the past several years, we have experienced significant technology innovations in finance, especially for the Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) departments. Originally, many of the FP&A tools were departmentally focused. As the technology evolved, the people and processes also evolved. The FP&A organization started breaking down silos between finance, sales, marketing, and operations. The technology became a platform rather than a point solution. Technology investments became central to growth. The concept of a “single version of truth” became a reality as enterprise performance management (EPM) applications (planning, budgeting, and consolidation) were integrated with business intelligence (BI) tools (web reports, dashboards, etc.) and data services tools. No longer do workers wait for data on a monthly batch mode basis that gets loaded to EPM tools via a .txt or .csv file. The data is now integrated with both EPM and BI tools in real time.
Recently, we have seen customers ask for financial information available on mobile devices as well as access to financial apps to increase productivity. The adoption of tablets and the ability of users to take immediate action is driving innovation. The tablets allow users to work faster, create accountability, and more importantly, generate better results. The most critical KPIs now get visibility, creating better monitoring, all in real time.
The opportunities that mobile analytics present could revolutionize businesses by allowing every person in your organization to get the answers they need to be most effective, anywhere in the world. The first step is to mobilize your current information and make it easier for your executives and line-of-business managers to understand business performance and respond immediately, from wherever they are. The form factor of a mobile device allows anyone to be productive immediately. We are seeing people who would have never considered an EPM solution before, and who do not think of themselves as analytical people, using our mobile analytics solutions effectively and efficiently.
The Age of Faster Analytics
The advent of in-memory technology has also increased the ability for finance professionals to consume large volumes of data quickly. Over the past year, we have seen innovations with SAP HANA and SAP EPM. Finance can now consume and analyze data more quickly, and make faster, fact-based decisions that better align with the strategic plans driving the business’s top- or bottom-line growth. SAP helps customers to not only focus their business on the top 20% of customers, products, and vendors, but to quickly focus on the bottom 10%. Eliminating the bottom 1% will increase overall profitability by over 30%. The potential exists to leverage the predictive engine of the SAP HANA database to generate budgets, forecasts, and plans based on key drivers and historical data in just minutes or hours rather than in weeks or months.
Download the latest SAP EPM Unwired mobile app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sap-epm-unwired/id566455850?mt=8
A good planning and analysis application enables a company to quickly and efficiently define and manage a plan and budget, rapidly adjust strategies, and forecast and reduce planning cycle time. All of this confers a positive advantage on the company. SAP Business Planning and Consolidation is one such application. The need for executives to have real information along with the capability to take immediate action is now a key differentiator for company success. SAP’s significant investments in EPM solutions have led to product releases like the SAP EPM Unwired mobile app, the integrated mobile solution that provides a single entry into SAP EPM solutions like SAP Business Planning and Consolidation version for SAP NetWeaver and SAP Strategy Management.
Take the example of companies in the oil and gas industry, where the field operators play a critical role in the planning cycle. In the past, data had to be collected in the field, and operators then had to come back to their offices to update the company plans. But now, empowered with a mobile-based planning application, they can make the necessary adjustments and updates in the field, analyze their impact, and make informed real-time decisions. We have a similar scenario with store managers in retail stores and with field sales managers across industries. All of this input from sales and operations is ultimately affecting how the company plans and manages its financials.
Highlights of the SAP EPM Unwired Mobile App
Let’s take a look at some core features and functions in the new SAP EPM Unwired mobile app that have redefined the planning process for our customers:
- Real-time information and access: By leveraging the SAP EPM Unwired mobile app for planning, business users have real-time access on their mobile devices to key planning information and metrics. The mobile application is connected to their on-premise SAP Business Planning and Consolidation servers and directly accesses information from there. Also, it provides full write back capabilities to the business users to make adjustments and update their plans and forecasts in real time.
- Acceleration: The mobile app accelerates the planning and forecasting process based on real-time operational data combined with analytics. Companies can perform “flash forecasting” at any time based on the read and write back capabilities the app provides. Customers can also leverage the integration SAP Business Planning and Consolidation has with SAP Mobile Platform and access related information from sales, operations, and other departments from within the SAP EPM Unwired mobile app.
- Collaboration and simulation: The app drives rapid consensus of users by quickly simulating “what-if” scenarios with multiple versions of plans and large volumes of data. It leverages native mobile features like annotations, comments, email, and social collaboration to communicate plans and outcomes to a larger audience beyond core finance.
- Extension: The SAP EPM Unwired mobile app also provides the capability to add additional HTML5-based applications for enhanced access and analysis. This is not limited to SAP-built apps but can be built by customers or partners.
A Transformation of Finance
An integrated mobile platform like the SAP EPM Unwired mobile app can transform finance and take it places it has never gone before. Every industry has a network that needs to be connected on the go, and every business will leverage that network to make fact-based decisions faster and with better accuracy. The prevalence of big data is creating opportunities for mobile analytics and integrated planning. With a good planning and analysis application, a company can quickly and efficiently redefine how it plans and manages the business in real time, in finance, and throughout the rest of the organization.