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More great analyst research for Finance and IT leaders, plus a brand new customer conference!
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  iod cio cfo baforum ibmsoftware
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I know it's been quiet around here for last week or two, so I'm hoping to make amends with this post. It's not that I haven't been busy. Quite the opposite, really. The last two weeks have seen a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes activity and more than my share of conference calls in preparation for Business Analytics Forum @Information On Demand 2010.
New this year, IBM has combined the SPSS Directions and Cognos Forum conferences into a single conference and co-located it within Information On Demand 2010. Now, if you work with data in nearly any capacity, you're going to want to be at the Mandalay Bay from October 24-28.
There's a lot to explore in this new combined and co-located conference, so I'm going to blog about it almost exclusively between now and then. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (specifically the #baforum hashtag) to learn more about the content tracks, killer customer sessions and to stay up-to-date on registration deadlines. Or, if you need to start building your business case to attend, you could simply review the track and session details here.
New Analyst Research available, too!
In the meantime, my BI and FPM campaigns colleagues continue to do amazing work, seeking out the most innovative, relevant and exciting research to populate their respective Leadership Forum for Transformational IT and Financial Performance Management Resource Center. Here's a sampling of their latest offers:
For IT leaders, the keys to evaluating your analytics investment from Ventana Research
Assessing the True Value of Business Analytics: Creating a Disciplined Evaluation Framework is new report that will help you better understand and evaluate the ROI you'll gain from your investments in business analytics. For example, you'll learn why consolidating analytics vendors increases IT efficiency, how shorter sales cycles increase business efficiency and why better-informed decisions increase business effectiveness. Here's a excerpt from the introduction:
Among those options, productivity improvements – increasing output, decreasing cost or some combination of the two – are the simplest and easiest of the benefits to understand and can be the easiest to quantify in a return on investment (ROI) analysis. However, enhanced productivity is not the only source of the value delivered by IT investments. Applying business analytics also can enhance effectiveness by providing individuals and organizations with a better understanding not only of how well they are performing but also why, as well as guidance on the best course of future action. For example, analytics tools can continuously monitor the details of the business but request attention from managers only when something out of the ordinary occurs. This allows them to focus their efforts efficiently on things that matter while ensuring that they are made aware of decisions needed to keep the business functioning optimally and are provided with the information they need to make those decisions. Software thus enhances their effectiveness by enabling them to make better decisions faster and more consistently.
Unfortunately, Ventana Research finds that companies’ ROI assessments of their IT capital spending often are simplistic. They overlook two important elements in evaluating whether the investment satisfies a specific minimum rate of return or maximum payback period requirement. First, companies may not evaluate adequately the improved effectiveness that software can deliver, focusing instead solely or largely on efficiency improvements. And secondly, in evaluating vendor proposals they may underestimate the total cost of ownership of a software package.
For FInance leaders, the keys to successsful forecasting as viewed by The Hackett Group
Cash May be King, but Most Companies Can't Forecast It Accurately is the latest from renkowned benchmarking firm The Hackett Group. According to results of its 2009 Cash Flow Forecasting Study, reported in this paper, only one out of five companies can accurately forecast mid-term operating cash flow levels to within five percent. Nearly half can’t get within 15 percent. What three characteristics are shared by organizations that deliver superior forecast accuracy? What other key financial metrics suffer from poor forecasting? The sometimes surprising answers to these and other important issues you need to understand to be an effective finance team. Here's an excerpt:
The financial and economic events that have unfolded over the past few months have changed cash from a line item on the balance sheet into a strategic asset that supports the underlying strength of the broader enterprise.
Most finance organizations will need to carve out a fresh direction for themselves to meet the demands for greater forecast accuracy. At one end of the spectrum, they could take an “incrementalist” approach, making small, one-off changes, improving the visibility of cash in individual processes and securing additional credit/funding sources in the event of another liquidity crunch. At the other end of the spectrum, they could take a more holistic approach and implement a number of enterprise-wide initiatives over an extended period of time. These might include freeing or generating more cash through better working capital management, improving forecasting accuracy through enterprise performance management capability development, and implementing a new or improved Service Delivery Model across the entire finance organization.