Ongoing Maintenance: A Costly Oversight for Many When Looking for a CPM Solution

When my son was 7 he very badly wanted a Transformers action figure, Optimus Prime, for his birthday. We, of course, bought it for him and watched with anticipation as he opened it and went to transform Optimus into a truck (that’s what Transformers do for those who aren’t familiar - they are robots that change into trucks and visa versa). After a few minutes of bending and turning things he grew frustrated and handed it to me to see if I could do it. After reading the instructions and 20 minutes of intense concentration (and a few explitives under my breath), I had successfully transformed it into a truck. Then of course he wanted to transform him back to a robot. Again the process ensued. It turned out to be much more difficult than advertised and consumed much more of my time and effort than I ever would have guessed.  And the truth is once it transformed the first time, it never looked the same.

So what does this have to do with CPM solutions? Unfortunately for many users - quite a lot. All too often products look nice and slick and intuitive during the demo and sales cycle, but once you buy and implement them you find they are difficult and expensive to maintain and getting them to do what you saw in the demo is much more difficult than expected. Or you find that what was easy to implement in the beginning, turns out to be quite the headache when you need to change something in the system. I’m not speaking of minor things, but if you need to change an account, or add a dimension, it’s such a pain to do that you end up foregoing or having to call in external consultants to do it (like my son did with me, although I charged him a discounted rate).

 

Avoid the problem with a few questions

Here are a few questions you can ask during a demo or POC that will give you some insight as to how difficult it would be to maintain the system once installed:

1. How do you add a new dimension? What do you have to do to make the system recognize it?
2. How do you I make changes to the system?  How do these changes take effect?
3. If I add an account, can I tell it to behave like another?
4. If I recode this account, how is the change reflected in the system?
5. If I need to restructure the organization, do I have to rerun all my consolidations?
6. How do I do an allocation? Is there a lot of coding involved?
7. How often do releases come out? What is the upgrade process like? How long does it take? Do I need consultants or can I do it myself?


Most importantly, ask them to show you and count the steps it takes to get the task done!

One of the many great things about Tagetik is how well it understands the impact of changes you make to the application. It will has embedded intelligence to automatically change all the appropriate rules, reports, etc. to accommodate those changes. This allows the Finance group to actually maintain the application and significantly lowers Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and reduces risk.  

One of our clients summed it up nicely:

"I want my team to be the ones who actually own the financial reporting process and Tagetik has allowed us to do that"  Jun Kim - Vice President & Controller / Treasurer, Marubeni-Itochu Steel America Inc.

 

The average CPM solution is implemented for 7-10 years. Its a long relationship so next time you are in the market looking for a CPM solution, or any solution for that matter, make sure you take the time to dig a little deeper. You need to live with the decision for a while and the time and cost savings will be well worth it.

What are your thoughts? Have you had a similar experience?

 

Tagetik CPM Software

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