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Mastering EPM Implementation: How BrightWolves can guide your success - Part 2

Written by Florent Janssens

Our previous blog post explored the multifaceted benefits of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions and their seamless integration with robust databases. In the second part of our series, we'll discuss the challenges you may encounter when implementing EPM solutions in complex IT environments and provide strategies for ensuring a successful implementation. 

Employees using an enterprise performance management tool

Navigating Challenges in Complex IT Architectures 

Large-scale transformations in complex IT environments can present unique challenges when implementing EPM solutions. These challenges include integration with legacy systems, customization complexity, cultural shifts, and data quality concerns.  


Based on our experience at BrightWolves, we brought together our learning to ensure a successful EPM implementation when faced with complex IT environments. In this article we will discuss the importance of having involved business stakeholders, a well-structured plan, and clean data. 

Involvement of business is the key to success  

EPM projects - like any other implementation project - should be driven by business, not just IT. Clear business requirements should guide the project from start to finish, preventing the addition of numerous requirements at the project's end. At BrightWolves we have seen too many companies relying on IT only, business only bringing few requirements to the project without even thinking about revamping their processes, then relying on the IT project team during the entire lifecycle of the project. One of our common internal statements is to never automate a broken process. Without active involvement of the business stakeholders in the development process, we often see the situation on go-live day of business having concerns about the fact that a significant part of the piece of software doesn’t reach their standards. Business would then impose last minute modifications to reach MVP and result in catastrophic roll-out with potential high defect rates after release. Agile methodologies have been created to avoid many of those situations, and companies like Anaplan include a modernized agile way of implementing their process in their training journey. But this is easier said than done. Bringing agile to a company in the industry requires maturity and complete sponsorship from the leaders to transform the company culture.

Assess, time & plan  

A well-structured integration plan is pivotal for the successful deployment of EPM systems. This plan involves a thorough assessment of current systems, identification of data silos, and a clear roadmap for data integration. This is mainly done during the discovery phase mentioned in our first blog post. The ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process ensures a smooth flow of accurate and consistent data across systems. For instance, a multinational corporation we worked for successfully streamlined its financial reporting by integrating satellite systems from many business units worldwide into a unified EPM framework, significantly reducing closing times in every entity and improving data accuracy. These actions have led to better decision-making and smooth analysis of their global P&L. 

Make sure that your users are aware and trained before the Go-Live 

The human aspect of EPM implementation cannot be overstated. Change management is crucial in preparing the workforce for new processes and systems. Effective strategies include engaging stakeholders early, transparent communication, and comprehensive training programs tailored to different user groups. We often skip this part with the urgency of the implementation and targeted go-live date. Consulting companies frequently offer a team dedicated to creating facilitated workshops and interactive sessions, leading to high user adoption rates and minimal resistance to the new EPM system Clients can see those teams as overhead, but they create effective communication plans that will increase the awareness of the new tool, will be able to centralize any questions or concerns about the future technology, and appropriately react to them. 

The crucial role of clean data  

I already emphasized it in my previous article. Still, I cannot talk about common strategies without mentioning that data quality initiatives upfront when implementing any EPM systems are crucial to ensure the smooth running of any processes. High-quality data is the foundation of reliable performance management. On top of having a parallel data track, as mentioned previously, regular audits and cleaning routines are a must-have that external parties like BrightWolves can provide.

Surround yourself with the best experts  

Bridging the gap between business processes and IT capabilities is essential for a successful EPM implementation. Collaborating with IT experts and the solution vendor can provide valuable insights into system customization and alignment with the organization's technical infrastructure. That's where consulting companies can also bring a substantial advantage; being very close to the vendors, they have privileged contact with technical experts from the solution and often obtain free auditing services to ensure that the project runs seamlessly. If you decide to implement your EPM without external partners, contact the customer success manager from any solution you have chosen. They will ensure you have the tools and advice to go live successfully. It's a win-win situation – your company will have a well-integrated performance management tool, and they can share this success story on their website and reports. 

Prepare and rehearse your go-live day for your teams to be ready 

On the day the EPM system is rolled-out, it's crucial to be precise and stick to the plan. This means carefully following the planned steps in your delivery plan while also being ready to quickly deal with any surprises that come up. It's important for team members and everyone involved to talk clearly and effectively with each other, so any problems can be sorted out right away. Don’t hesitate to rehearsal this day few times to ensure that you have the steps in mind, and everyone knows when and how he should act the D-day. Also, rehearsal can pinpoint all the things (most of them technical) that have been forgotten during the establishment of the go-live book. 

Being a good planner also entails the fact that you need to build a contingency plan if there are too many major issues the day of the go-live. Fallback scenarios are vital to ensure business as usual for any unexpected events, the go-live can often be postponed ensuring business continuity! 

Once your system is up and running, it's not just about keeping it going; it's about actively making sure it stays useful and efficient. Regular check-ups are needed to adjust the system to fit new business goals, changes in laws, and shifts in what the market needs. This helps the system not just support the company's main goals but also add to its ability to adapt and grow, and EPM have been built on this principle. Encouraging everyone in the organization to always be on the lookout for ways to get better ensures that the EPM system can keep up with the company's growth and changes, making it a key part of achieving success.  

In conclusion, EPM solutions offer a wealth of benefits for large-scale transformations within enterprises. By harnessing their power and following best practices, organizations can navigate their transformation journeys with efficiency, accuracy, and strategic foresight, ensuring that their EPM implementation is not just an IT project but a business-driven success story. If you want to make your story successful, don’t hesitate to reach Florent Janssens or Sven Van Hoorebeeck


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