Make Smarter Financial Decisions via Analytics

IBM today organized a Finance Forum to help address challenges faced by finance professionals in measuring business performance, providing inputs for enterprise strategy, driving enterprise cost reduction, and managing risk.

There is increasing pressure to gain more visibility, insight, and control to drive the firm's financial stability. To meet these demands, organizations are placing greater emphasis on end-to-end reporting, scenario modeling, optimizing, and effective planning and forecasting. Finance organizations must drive a smarter enterprise through improved analytics and operations efficiency.  Surviving and thriving in the recovery means anticipating and shaping business outcomes, and driving transparency to manage risk and improve decision making.  
At the IBM Finance Forum 2012, special guest keynote speaker and New Zealand based bestselling author David Parmenter talked about key performance indexes. He provided insights on:
·        Understanding the myths of performance measurement that lead to failure
·        The foundations stones required to revitalize performance (including abandoning processes that do not work)
·        Turning reporting into a decision based tool (including a one page summary A3 report to the CEO, one page board dashboard concise financials, brief business unit reports, a one page investment proposal summary etc)
·        Using the right performance measures – your winning KPIs
·        The prerequisites for a rolling forecasting and planning process that works
·        The five things attendees should get on with immediately        
Compliance remains a key issue that many companies are struggling with. The high cost of compliance and getting a complete, reliable picture of financial and operational risk are critical concerns.

“Many companies are struggling with the high cost of compliance and with getting a complete, reliable picture of financial and operational risk. These companies’ risk and compliance programs are expensive, operate in silos, and don’t deliver the risk information needed for effective decision-making,” said Patrick Lim, Governance, Risk and Compliance Sales Leader, IBM ASEAN.

The session on Governance, Risk and Compliance described a better approach on risk and compliance programs with a specific discussion on an Enterprise GRC platform that demonstrates a common risk and compliance architecture.

“This platform helps companies take a more programmatic approach to risk management and regulatory compliance and achieve better alignment of risk and performance management objectives, saving money and improving business outcomes,” said Lim.

The forum also featured the latest IBM Cognos 10 solutions that can drive innovation into enterprise planning, analysis and profitability modeling process. This session described the latest  advances in IBM Business Analytics software, illustrating how companies can establish a more dynamic, reliable planning, analysis and profitability modeling system that connects operational and financial performance to help companies anticipate and act on business opportunities and risk more effectively.

Another session described the capabilities of IBM Cognos BI v10.1, IBM Cognos BI – Scorecarding, v10.1, IBM Cognos TM1 v9.5 and SPSS Modeler v14.1. This solution enables finance managers to anticipate performance gaps between forecasts, targets and actuals for important financial management, revenue, expense and capital management Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) in an executive dashboard format. Built-in KRIs provide early warning signals of possible weaknesses in key areas of the business.

Attendees of the forum were also given a glimpse of how IBM delivers an integrated financial close management platform that automates – within a single, unified application – processes spanning financial consolidations, external reporting, reconciliation management and continuous controls. 

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