The Role of Usability in Deriving Value from CPM Software

Corporate performance management (CPM) solutions are becoming pervasive at organizations of all sizes. But to really gain true value from your CPM investment, the software must be easy to use. A simple, intuitive interface is what gets people to see value in an application. When business software is user-friendly, adoption increases dramatically as employees can quickly take advantage of key functionality.

The experts agree: Usability is key

According to the recently released Gartner Critical Capabilities for Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions* report, “the ability for each solution to support complex financial budgeting, planning and modeling is highly important, but usability and product satisfaction have a major impact on determining the business value each solution provides.”

Download the Gartner Critical Capabilities for Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions report.

The increasing importance of usability as a key selection criterion of strategic CPM (SCPM) platforms reflects the desire of organizations to place data access and analytics capabilities directly into the hands of finance teams and business users—creating a world of “self-service data.” It’s a world in which the balance of power (when it comes to owning data) shifts from IT to the business.

As a result, using CPM software shouldn’t require in-depth IT or finance expertise. For organizations to gain an accurate, holistic view of their performance, all users central to the planning, forecasting, and analysis process must embrace the CPM solution.

Adaptive Insights CPM software goes viral at nonprofit

For example, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) recently deployed Adaptive Insights across all of its 64 chapters in the United States and Canada. More than 400 LLS constituents and staff were given access to our CPM software. Today, nearly half of its employee base is engaged in the financial planning process.

The suite allows the LLS team to accurately track business drivers, adopt monthly reporting tools, and facilitate real-time collaboration. The software is already helping LLS reach its fundraising goals, an important piece of its overall mission.

“The increased visibility and access to financial data across our organization will provide our staff, donors, and other constituents an increased level of confidence in LLS’s ability to efficiently deliver our mission across research, patient access, and advocacy,” said Nathan Taylor, vice president, FP&A at LLS.

Cloud-based solutions, while more holistic and less error-prone than on-premises platforms or Excel spreadsheets, aren’t by default easy to use. Many have capabilities that support complex financial processes but largely ignore the critical role that usability plays in technology adoption.

It’s all about customer happiness

Here at Adaptive Insights, we have made usability and customer satisfaction a central pillar of our platform and, in fact, continue to set ourselves apart from other SCPM vendors by bringing more intuitive features and interfaces to ensure widespread, rapid adoption.

Our Adaptive Suite 2016.2, released last spring, broke new ground in many areas, including self-service data integration for finance; new patent-pending data visualization in the planning process for any-time trend analysis; and the ability to conduct in-depth visual analytics during planning with a single click.

Our Adaptive Suite, evaluated by Gartner for its previously mentioned Critical Capabilities report, scored in the top three in three of five use cases including the Business Unit Use Case (individual business units within large organizations), Midsize Organization Use Case ($250 million-$1 billion) and Small Organization Use Case (less than $250 million). And today, we continue our legacy of being the easiest-to-use platform with the announcement of the Adaptive Suite 2016.3.

Industry’s easiest-to-use CPM software

The release includes completely redesigned modeling interfaces; new visualizations for enriched financial and operational analysis; and enhanced enterprise-ready features—all designed to enable finance teams and business users to more easily manage the growing volume and complexity of data, while at the same time uncovering the insights needed to transform the business.

As the office of finance is increasingly seen as the driver of strategy, it will also become key in selecting the SCPM solutions that create a collaborative culture where the entire organization participates in, and owns, an organization’s performance—and central to that choice will be a platform’s usability.

Download the Gartner Critical Capabilities for Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions report.

*“Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions,” by Christopher Iervolino and John E. Van Decker, September 27, 2016.

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