Four Ways to Bridge the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Gap between IT and Finance

December 18, 2013

You there, reading this! Are you about to start an Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) project? I bet you want it to be a success, don’t you? Have you thought about how your Finance team and Information Technology (IT) team will interact?

The following few tips can help keep the Finance and IT teams on the same page, instead of fighting over the project. While there are no magic silver bullets and there are entire books dedicated to bringing organizations together, these tips can certainly help keep everyone working together.

1. Involve IT at the beginning. 

The major issue that always seems to come up, as demonstrated in Jonathan Etkin’s previous blog post, is that IT is kept out of the project until they are needed. Ideally, someone from IT should be included from the beginning of the project until the end. This is because IT will usually be the department handling your automated nightly processes, your back-ups, and basically the entire technical side of the system. But who do you select from IT to be involved from the beginning? Continue reading.

2. Make sure there are people that can speak both “Finance-talk” and “tech-talk” on both the IT and Finance side.

Ideally, you’ll have “Project Champions” on the Finance side and the IT side. These people should have a few Oracle Certification qualifications, so that they can transfer business requirements into EPM design, and EPM design into IT requirements and design. These people will likely be the ones who will lead EPM design meetings, program the automation of the EPM system, and direct IT in using the EPM system. If you can’t find project champions within your organization, you can always ask for help here.

3. Look for solutions to problems, rather than who to blame.

Issues will always arise in projects. Naturally, the first step that always occurs is looking for someone to blame. This can lead to a rift between departments. If an issue occurs, then look at what can be changed to fix the issue, or even better, prevent it from happening again.

For example, think about backups; if data is lost, it can be catastrophic for both the IT team and the Finance team. Ideally, both teams will realize the importance of backups and ensure that they have a process to create backups of their data. This is much better than thinking about backups after the first failure to retrieve data, and having an argument about which team should have created the backups.

Generally, the IT team will oversee backups, and they would know the way to automate backup creation if they were included in the project from the beginning and Finance let them know which cubes need to be backed up.

4. When the project succeeds, share the glory.

Like Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Everyone likes to be part of a successful project. Make sure everyone who worked on the project gets credit. This will be useful the next time you need to get a project started. Think of it like buying some wine for an IT staffer after they fix your computer. I’m pretty sure they’ll want to fix your computer again.

As you can see, the basic idea is to get the two areas to work as a team, and to have a few people who can bridge the IT-Finance gap. These tips are just scratching the surface of this topic, so if you have any questions or comments about this, please let us know in the comments section below.

Author: Nathan Low, Performance Architects


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