IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced major enhancements to its performance management software designed to help CFOs and finance managers accelerate the adoption of business analytics and drive smarter decisions for better business outcomes.
The new analytic finance solutions can reduce customer planning cycles in half and reduce reporting cycles from days to minutes.
C-level executives today are looking to Finance to provide more accurate data more quickly to aid in risk management and forecasting decisions, and to help drive the bottom line. Finance departments have increased pressures with higher demands for real-time data production and analysis, increased regulation on reporting and compliance, and reduced budgets.
To address these issues, IBM has enhanced its performance management solutions to help CFOs and finance managers use analytics to anticipate performance gaps, prioritize resources, and gain insight into profit and growth - making better decisions, faster.
Features added to IBM's analytic solutions include:
• New business analytic capabilities for end users to provide dynamic hierarchies and allow unlimited flexibility for end user scenario building. As a result, organizations will now be able to access information in the right context and can engage decision-makers in a structured and automated way, creating an enhanced modeling environment for easier, quicker deployment of planning and analysis applications.
• New financial consolidation capabilities with enhanced allocations and stronger formula calculations for preparing financial reports and analyses. Finance managers will now have access to a complete management consolidation solution that ensures accurate, certified and auditable results for external reporting and performance management.
• New industry blueprints to help customers quickly gain stronger insights into key performance metrics. These pre-built models include product profitability and financial analytics, demand planning for consumer packed goods customers, and an executive underwriting dashboard for insurance clients.
Extending Analytics to Finance
New analytic capabilitiities added to IBM Cognos TM1 will help Finance leverage trusted information for better, faster decisions and continuous optimization throughout the organization. The latest release extends analytics into the hands of end users.
Quiznos is one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains with more than 5,000 outlets in the U.S. and worldwide. With a complex business and information structure consisting of 35 separate legal entities in five business segments, the company currently uses IBM analytics to simplify financial reporting and planning across its global operations "With IBM business analytics, we've been able to turn information into a strategic driver for business optimization and make it a competitive differentiation for our company," said Michael McConnaughey, Financial Systems Applications Developer at Quiznos. "With the new IBM Cognos software, all of our business units will be able to use the same assumptions and the same drivers when building budgets and making key financial decisions in real time. Teams will also be able to view business variances and use predictive insights to understand the impact on the organization."
Streamlining Finance Reporting
Organizations today are also faced with the challenge of meeting the quality and time requirements for closing the books and delivering accurate financial statements. A new version of IBM Cognos 8 Controller is now available that extends core financial consolidation capabilities with enhanced allocations and stronger formula calculations used for preparing financial reports and analyses. Seamless, real-time synchronization with IBM Cognos TM1 extends certified financial data into the full functional reporting and analytics environment for business understanding.
With IBM Cognos 8 Controller, finance managers can benefit from a complete management consolidation solution that ensures accurate, certified and auditable financial results for external reporting and performance management.
Liberty Media Corporation owns interests in a broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses. The company increased the number of consolidated subsidiaries over the last few years. As a result, it needed easier insight into financials and a better process for gathering important financial information.
"As a consolidation tool, IBM Cognos 8 Controller helps us streamline the monthly reporting process and supplement the quarterly close report that we have in place for SEC reporting," said Connie Rosengarten, accounting manager at Liberty Media. "With Financial Analytic Publisher in the new version, we expect to be able to create and deliver reports leveraging the full range of IBM Cognos 8 BI to deliver key financial information to our business stakeholders."
Insights to Key Performance Metrics
IBM also introduced today new IBM Cognos Performance Blueprints designed to help customers quickly gain stronger insights into key performance metrics. These pre-built models include product profitability and financial analytics, demand planning for consumer packed goods customers, and an executive underwriting dashboard for insurance clients.
IBM business analytics solutions for finance provide a single line of sight across all time horizons. Planning and consolidation combine the forward management view of the business (planning, budgeting and forecasting) with the current and historical view of the business (consolidations, reporting, and financial analytics.) This integrated operational and financial view enables organizations to proactively address business challenges and opportunities, and improve operational effectiveness.