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Choosing a CPM

A great many of you have asked me in the past, what is it that we do in IT? How do we help move the business forward in the construction industry. I can’t begin to fathom where to start, but today I’m going to give you an inkling on how we operate, by exploring one of our recently deployed projects.

For those who don’t know me, my name’s Olivier Cinéas, I’m AGF’s IT Management Systems Analyst. My role first and foremost is to be the bridge between you, the users and your technological needs. That includes but is not limited to, reviewing internal processes, handle communications between parties within a project, present business case for potential project adoption and precisely what you’re reading right about now, as in, communicating our department’s realisations with you.

Now for that project I promised; Mark Clarke our company’s CFO approached the IT department late 2014 with a formal request. How can technology help him with financial consolidation?

What’s consolidation you ask? Well, it means the aggregation of financial statements from multiple companies or division into a consolidated financial statement.

At that time he was getting swamped with this singular task, Maria-Eugenia Nunez was hired henceforth. She oversaw the wellbeing of this assignment and under her guidance it grew through Google Drive. But this method too, would soon show its cracks.

They wanted a CPM, and we were tasked into finding one.

What’s a CPM? There are many appellations, Corporate Performance Management(CPM), Business Performance Management(BPM) and Enterprise Performance Management(EPM). Basically it consists of a set of management and analytical processes, that is data driven, a set of methodologies used to better define specific growth strategies, multiple means to measure and manage our performance vis-a-vis these strategic goals. If you’re still scratching your head, think of it as a translator­. It translates the data of all softwares into one easily readable and create metrix.

In order to help them out we proceeded as follows:

  • We defined their needs and internal processes.
  • We looked at which systems they were using already.
  • We then selected 4 well fleshed out softwares in the industry that seemed to be fit the requirements :
    • The contestants were the following: IBM Cognos TM1, Oracle Hyperion, Tagetik and last but not least SAP EPM.
  • These 4 presented a demo to our internal committee the first quarter of 2015

After the dialogue and presentation we gave our expert opinion,  until one was elected the victor, Tagetik.

Although there’s no consensus on how to properly pronounce the name, it was acclaimed by those that received a demo, ever since it was presented.

It’s an Office of finance type of integration which means it’s integrated directly within Microsoft Office Excel, more specifically.

Jeff Chalifoux has been spearheading the project ever since. Aided with the rest of the committee comprised of: Suzanne Larivière, Mark Clarke, Jean-Pierre Blain, Maria-Eugenia Nunez and two representant from IT, Sébastien Lamoureux and yours truly Olivier Cinéas. Christian Aka was later hired to lend a helping hand with the project.

Now we’re planning parallel implementation with our old ways(Excel) versus our new one(Tagetik). We’ve essentially ported the new fiscal year that started the 31st of March and we should be operational the 30th of July. It’ll serve as the perfect basis of comparison between what we used to do, compared to our new ways.

We’re deploying Tagetik in three phases

  • Phase 1: consolidate all financial statements of all our companies and divisions. With the associated reports.
  • Phase 2: implementing budgeting and forecasting.
  • Phase 3:  we would delve deeper into business intelligence reports (Graphics, historical reports, evolutive curve reports, pie charts and the likes).

AGF has evolved rapidly and steadily over the span of the last 7 years. The horizon forward looks promising and if the trend continues it will steadily moves onward. We are deploying this CPM because we need a faster and more agile way of streamlining the metrics of any and all companies newly minted within our group and a solid base with a unique structure in order to format our data entry. The barrier of entry is pretty easy to adopt, but resistance to change will be the biggest roadblock we’re anticipating with this change. Evolution is imminent, although we’re initially seized with cold feet, we’re quickly acclimated to it after the plunge. Isn’t it a perfect mirroring of real life struggles? I’ll let you ponder on such.