Corporate performance management and business intelligence…what’s the difference?
Although the two concepts are closely related, there are some differences between the two in functionality, usage, and advantages.
In the following post, we will take a quick glance at some of the basic differences between the two concepts. Hopefully, this article will provide you with a clearer understanding as to why Vivid CPM and Vivid Flex BI are distinguished as different products.
Business Intelligence (BI)
The origin of the term business intelligence is generally attributed to an IBM computer scientist named Hans Peter Luhn. Luhn introduced it in an article he wrote in 1958 aptly titled “A business intelligence system.”
Typically, BI refers to an organization systematically making sense of the information that they collect in order to become more efficient, effective, and ultimately more profitable. Today, BI enables organizations to store, display, analyze, and react to this information more efficiently than even Hans Peter could have ever imagined.
With most BI tools, an organization’s raw data is pulled from their various systems and stored in an intermediate data warehouse. The data warehouse is a staging area where the information is organized and prepared for presentation.
The most common types of presentation formats associated with BI are:
- Flexible user defined (aka “ad hoc”) Reports: where users can drill down into the underlying details
- Dashboards: that provide a snapshot of how an organization is performing from positional or departmental perspectives
Good BI enables management to quickly analyze data, recognize trends, and react to changing conditions within their organization.
Corporate Performance Management (CPM)
Sometimes also referred to as “Business Performance Management,” CPM takes the same concept from a more structured perspective. CPM is often considered a subsection of BI, but we feel it is more accurate to distinguish between the two as many organizations may only need one or the other.
CPM is typically focused on G/L-based analysis, financial reporting, budgeting, and forecasting. Often, CPM data is presented in a Microsoft Excel® report for analysis and review.
Without question, Excel® is still the choice of accounting professionals worldwide for financial reporting, budgeting and analysis. However, utilizing Excel® alone comes with several drawbacks. Creating, consolidating and tracking multiple spreadsheets, needing to export the data from systems, and the inherent security issues when collaborating via email are all issues organizations face when using Excel® alone.
Luckily, solid CPM and BI solutions are here to address all of these issues.
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1. Most people are familiar with Microsoft Excel®
If you are in the accounting or finance department, chances are you already know how to use Microsoft Excel®. It’s one of the most widely used spreadsheet programs, if you have worked with spreadsheets, most likely it’s been with Excel. You may not know all the fancy and complex functions, but you can create formulas, insert and delete columns and rows, and add text formatting. If you can do all that, you already know the foundation for Excel-based financial reporting.
2. You can format Excel to your heart’s content
Do you want your negative numbers to be in brackets and red? Would you like to highlight certain cells that contain certain values? Or perhaps you would like to insert your logo or make your titles be in bold? All of this and more you can do easily in Excel without any special training.
3. Data visualization that’s easy to understand
Use the data in Excel to create pie charts, graphs, and certain conditions to add meaning to your data. These can then be used to add visual emphasis to business reports and to make data analysis easier. Most of us can spot trends and notice discrepancies faster when data is visualized compared to when it is presented on a spreadsheet full of numbers.
4. Easily perform ad-hoc calculations and modeling
With Excel, you can quickly copy areas of a worksheet and various reporting elements, calculations, and other data objects to build new reports, templates, and models in minutes. Reports can be changed on the fly and data viewed from new perspectives. What-If analysis becomes extremely easy, especially if the formats are already created and users just need to change a few drivers. Perhaps, you want to quickly make a copy of an entire report, to experiment, or try something new. This is very easily done in Excel! Analysis has never been easier!
5. Functions and Logic for advanced KPIs and operating metrics
Excel ships with thousands of baked in functions. Even better, finding out which function you want is just a Google search away. By leveraging Excel, you immediately have access to advanced functions and without having to spend hours learning a proprietary system.
What does this mean for your business and how can Vivid Reports help?
Vivid Reports is Excel-based. This means that you can pull in your data from your accounting system (and any other databases) and then use the functionality of Excel (that you already know!) to make meaningful, presentation-ready reports. With a click of a button, you can refresh reports with new reporting parameters, but the formatting and calculations are already set up for the newly refreshed data! You can then share these reports across your company. With Vivid Reports security, you can be sure that users are only seeing the data they are permitted to access. You can also take your Excel-based reports and publish them through Vivid Reports. There, they can be interacted with and consumed over the internet through browsers, phones, and tablets while still preserving Excel formatting. You truly get the best of both worlds with Vivid Reports.
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As many organizations have faced financial uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19, cash flow reporting and expense control has become essential.
Why Cash Flow Now?
In simple terms, cash flow management refers to the process of tracking how much money is coming in and out of your organization in real-time. Measuring cash flow is not the same process as measuring profitability. Your organization may still be profitable, but what if you are faced with a situation where expenses are due before revenues are collected? This is where cash flow management comes into play. Business has slowed down around the world, and many organizations are faced with a situation where expenses are due before expected incomes can be realized. Building an effective cash flow management strategy now will help your organization plan for the long-term even while you’re uncertain about how long the current economic disruption may last.
How Vivid Helps
Currently, Vivid Reports is offering our cash flow reporting package for free use* for 90 days. We hope that having free access to an effective cash flow management tool will help organizations plan for the future and get back on their feet stronger. Our advanced, interactive cash flow management reports connect in real-time directly to your ERP through one of our primary products; Vivid Flex. Like all Vivid Flex reports, they can be refreshed in real-time with the click of a button. This allows you to have up to date information anytime you need it. So, if there are any sudden changes, you can rest assured that you will have the information needed to respond. No need for guesswork or estimation as your most recent numbers will always be right at your fingertips.
What is included in the Cash Flow Report Package?
- Cash Activity Report
- Monthly & Weekly Cash Forecasts
- Collections Forecasting
- RMR Forecasting
- AR Aging
- AP Aging
Click the images below for a closer look at the examples!
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By integrating with a wide variety of systems, we ensure that our software is compatible with your ERP. We do this to reduce technological barriers and to make Vivid easy to adopt and deploy. Vivid works directly with Microsoft Excel® and your system. As a result, the need to manually export and import to Excel® is eliminated.
Vivid Reports also provides seamless navigation of reports and information. Information is always connected allowing you to gain insight from a single system. You don’t have to jump between multiple screens or multiple systems. Reports and budget templates can be defined so that analysis is immediate and accurate.
We have completed many integrations to ensure that Vivid is compatible with most popular ERP systems. Cloud-based ERP such as Acumatica or Epicor E10 Cloud are no problem for Vivid Reports. Today, Vivid is fully integrated with at least 60 ERP systems.
We also provide seamless reporting across multiple systems. Today, many companies are running multiple systems. Trying to report off of all of these data sources to gain a complete picture can be challenging. To help combat this challenge, Vivid provides seamless access to all data with a single refresh point and shared parameter set.
Software compatibility is never an issue. Vivid Reports works with all desktop versions of Microsoft Excel®, going back to Excel® 2003 (pre-ribbon!). Vivid also works with Microsoft SQL Server® as far back as 2005, including 32 and 64 bit. Future compatibility with newer version of your ERP is guaranteed. For example, Vivid Reports has been integrated with every version of Dynamics GP (Great Plains) since version 6.0 from 2001.
To see some of the systems Vivid is already fully integrated with, see our integration page. If your accounting system is not on this page, please let us know. We will check if we are integrated as not all of our integrations are listed online.
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You can trust Vivid Reports to be there when you need us! We provide excellent training and support services to ensure your satisfaction with our software. We also offer support around report development and data conversion if you don’t have the resources to do so yourself. Whether you’re a partner or a customer, Vivid is dedicated to helping you succeed!
Customers have told us that our support is second to none. We have many long-term customers who take comfort knowing that we are always there for them. Our support team is made up of friendly Vivid Reports team members that are always locally sourced. There will always be a trained Vivid expert available to pick up the phone or reply to a support email during normal business hours. Remote screen sharing is also provided allowing our team to see exactly what you see.
If you’re a new Vivid user, we offer an excellent training program to help you gain a deep understanding of the software. Customers from a wide variety of industries have a high satisfaction rate with our training program. Training sessions are recorded and provided back to our customers as an additional resource or to help train other staff members.
Our training program can be tailored to suit both technical and non-technical Vivid users. We are happy to book a cost-free discovery call with you. In this call, we can discuss your needs and tailor our training program to you. Please feel free to take a look at what some of our other customers have to say about their experience.
Continually, we have a trusted partner program. We are dedicated to our partners’ success and offer both pre-sale and post-sale support. To learn more, visit our partner program page.
Whether you’re a potential partner looking for a supportive organization or a potential customer, we would love to hear from you!
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