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Enterprise Performance Management Done Right: An Operating System for Your Organization by Ron Dimon

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Chapter 5

Debate: Turning “What If” into “What's Next”

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

—Sherlock Holmes

The promise of EPM is to provide a closed-loop framework for decision making, resource deployment, fewer surprises, and new insights. Most organizations are content with having EPM be about planning, reporting, and analytics, which theoretically gives you what you need. But there is a missing component, the most underused, underconnected, underappreciated part of the cycle: a system and process for facilitating, recording, communicating, and leveraging a robust debate about what's possible in the organization.

Looking into the Debate process in more detail, as shown in Figure 5.1, we see:

  • Goals. The debate starts with the company goals and strategic objectives.
  • Optimize. A robust debate can help vet the goals and objectives and make them more appropriate.
  • Financial and Operational Models. What-if modeling should come out of isolated spreadsheets and exposed and collaborated on by people in all functions and layers of the business.
  • Facts. Models are fed by historical trends, external facts, and other data that reflects actual performance.
  • Scenarios. Multiple scenarios are generated and, in turn, vetted through additional analysis.
  • Drivers and Targets. Robust, shared, fact-based models and debates can uncover and prioritize the value drivers in the organization and ...

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