Someone recently asked me how “sticky” corporate performance management (CPM) applications are, meaning how long do organizations typically use a particular system? The answer of course is – that it depends! But in general, having worked in the CPM market for over 20 years, I’ve observed that it’s not uncommon for a particular CPM application to be used in production for 5 – 10 years or longer, especially those deployed in on-premise environments.
Why is this? My take is that Finance is a busy function that’s always scrambling to meet deadlines and other pressures. So if they have a system that the staff is familiar and comfortable with, and that “does the job,” they will use it as long as they can, even when the software is unsupported. Then a tipping point often occurs where the cost of not changing exceeds the cost of changing systems - and a transformation opportunity arises.
Reaching the Tipping Point
One example is SPX Corporation, a supplier of highly engineered products and technologies for HVAC, detection and measurement, and engineered solutions markets. SPX had been using their legacy CPM applications for over 18 years. That’s right – 18 years!
SPX was using separate solutions for data loads, consolidations, planning and forecasting and account reconciliations. They had also built their federal tax provision process into their consolidation solution and had built flash forecasts, bridge reporting, and state tax provisioning into their planning applications. In 2018 SPX was reaching the end of support for their legacy application set – which was their tipping point.
This multi-product approach to their critical financial applications created challenges for the Finance and IT teams. According to Keith Chapman, Director of IT for Corporate Applications, “Just keeping all the data and meta data in synch was challenging given all of the changes in our organization structure with acquisitions and divestitures. The end-users were constantly moving and reconciling data. There was no single version of the truth, reporting was siloed and fragmented. From an IT standpoint, it was a lot of work maintaining and upgrading the applications, and we also used managed services to keep the products running.”
With an expensive upgrade to their on-premise applications, or an expensive migration to the current vendor’s cloud offering looming, SPX began evaluating their options and selected OneStream Software.
Going for the “Big Bang”
SPX did a “big bang” implementation of OneStream focusing on financial consolidation, reporting, planning, and tax provision. This included converting their flash forecast and bridge reporting from their current solution as well. They used the Tax Provision solution from the OneStream XF MarketPlace and extended it to meet their needs. During this project, the SPX team also decided to implement Account Reconciliations in OneStream and eliminate their use of their current subscription model.
The implementation was deployed in their on-premise data center and went live as planned in January 2020. The first month’s financial close went smoothly, and the 1st quarter tax provision process only required some minor tweaks. Said Chapman, “OneStream support has been a night and day improvement over what we were getting from our previous solution.”
Benefits of a Unified Platform
The SPX team has experienced many benefits from having one, unified platform for actuals, plans, forecasts, tax and account recons. This makes life much easier for users in terms of loading data, reviewing results and drilling into the details.
According to Chapman, “OneStream has provided a huge benefit in keeping everything aligned, with automated control procedures in place, so when business changes happen, we can keep up. Tax and FP&A are no longer separated, actuals can be seeded into budgets, and we are no longer waiting for overnight processes. The tax team can leverage the roll-forward data from consolidation right into the tax solution. Users enter the data once and it is leveraged across multiple processes.”
Said Chapman, “We also leverage OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality®. This allows us to do corporate cost forecasting in the same application, at lower level of detail than our normal forecast – very easily. It’s all about offering solutions to the business and delivering rapid value. Instead of being viewed as a corporate application, OneStream is a platform, it adds value and continues to add value by providing timely insights.”
Next steps include expanding their use of Account Reconciliations, making more use of Extensible Dimensionality, drill through, leveraging the XF MarketPlace and implementing OneStream Dashboards. To learn more, read the interactive case study on SPX Corporation and contact OneStream if you are ready to leave your legacy behind and move to a modern, unified CPM platform.