Ease of Use the #1 Driver of BPM Software Success, Survey Finds
June 17, 2020
According to the 2020 Pulse of Performance Management survey from advisory firm BPM Partners, ease of use is the most important feature that finance teams are looking for from their business performance management (BPM) software solutions.
The annual survey—which polled 336 finance professionals and executives this year—provides an unbiased look at the trends and technologies that are shaping the BPM software market. Synonymous with corporate performance management (CPM) and enterprise performance management (EPM), BPM solutions are defined in the survey as tools that “enable an organization to plan, monitor and execute on its strategy.” Modern BPM solutions encompass the full suite of FP&A processes, including budgeting, forecasting, reporting and financial consolidation.
When asked to rank the most important software features for budgeting, forecasting and planning on a five-point scale, survey respondents put “ease of use” at the top of the list with an average ranking of 4.57 out of five. Additionally, when asked to identify the pain points with their current budgeting systems, the top three responses were “labor-intensive,” “takes too long” and “not easy to administrate.”
Ease of use was identified as the most sought-after feature for financial consolidation as well, with an average ranking of 4.41 out of five. The next two responses in that category were “finance ownership” (4.26) and “integration with ERP/GL” (4.14)—both of which are also reflective of a BPM solution’s usability.
As more organizations make the shift towards integrated, finance-led business planning, stakeholders need real-time access to key financial insights from every function of the business. BPM software solutions provide that holistic view because they can automatically consolidate company-wide financial data—ultimately empowering key stakeholders with the information they need to plan for the future and make agile, well-informed business decisions.
However, agile finance-led business planning is very hard to achieve with solutions that are difficult to operate.If financial data is tied up in disparate, disconnected source systems that cross-functional leaders can’t access or easily understand, they won’t be able to participate in key planning processes—such as budgeting, forecasting and reporting—alongside their finance teams. This creates data silos, planning inefficiencies and data integrity problems across the entire business, making it tough for finance leaders to plan confidently for today and tomorrow.
That’s why BPM software vendors work hard to prioritize their end-user experiences.Vena Solutions, for example, is recognized as one of BPM Partners’ Core Vendors for 2020 with ease of use, product flexibility and quick implementations listed as the solution’s primary strengths. Vena earned an overall satisfaction rating of 4.62 out of five in this year’s survey, placing it among BPM’s top five vendors overall.
Vena’s key usability differentiator is its Excel interface, which allows both finance and non-finance users to leverage the flexible functionality of an already familiar tool. This feature—coupled with Vena’s centralized database, collaborative workflows and seamless source system integrations—makes business planning easier and enables automated consolidations, real-time forecasting and predictive scenario modeling.
As integrated, finance-led business planning continues its evolution into standard practice, the need for flexible, easy-to-use BPM solutions is only going to increase. With user-friendly tools and the right processes in place, finance teams can support agile, strategic decision making and lead their companies forward with confidence—while ensuring the right stakeholders are always involved and engaged in the process.