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Last month, Forrester released a report on the 10 EPM providers that “matter most” and how they stack up. The key takeaways weren’t just the leaders in the field (Oracle Hyperion came out on top) but also Forrester’s research into how EPM technology is evolving.

The following five trends will show you what's on the horizon for your EPM applications.

1. Migrating to the cloud

The push to the cloud comes as no surprise to Hyperion users, since Oracle has openly prioritized its suite of cloud EPM solutions over on-premises counterparts. But did you know that Forrester expects cloud deployments will replace most on-prem implementations in the next five years? Given that 80 percent of EPM customers are using an on-prem solution today, cloud migration will be a major and inevitable shift.

Related resources:

2. Emphasis on user experience (e.g. Excel, mobile optimization)

Microsoft Excel is a huge part of our lives, and it’s not going away anytime soon. EPM vendors preach a lot about “Excel hell” — but in the interest of understanding their consumer base and providing user-friendly products, EPM vendors are opting to work with Excel rather than replace it and will continue to provide plug-ins or interoperability.

Additionally, EPM solutions are keeping with the times as mobile devices become an extension of the office computer. We’re seeing vendors optimize for web-based user experiences with most including mobile browsers and responsive design. Mobile experiences are becoming a higher priority for vendors, more so for analytics and collaboration than examining substantial numerical data (e.g. budgets and forecasts).

Related resource: Hyperion Smart View vs. Essbase Add-In for Excel

3. Dynamic collaboration (e.g. threaded discussions)

EPM applications are taking collaboration a step further beyond traditional annotation and notifications. Dynamic collaboration utilizes features like threaded discussions to allow users to add fuller context to their processes with conversations on variances. Such features provide transparency and facilitate effective process management. You’ll see threaded discussions crop up first in:

  • Input-driven planning processes
  • Task assignments
  • Status monitoring
  • Plan approval

Related resource: Top 5 Enterprise Reporting Challenges, Solved by Collaboration

4. In-memory computing and predictive capabilities to drive advanced analytics

To help customers manage more complex use cases and enable faster calculations, EPM vendors are placing a heavier focus on in-memory computing. Predictive analytics — powered by advanced algorithms, simulations, and machine learning — is still in an early phase of adoption but will become more prevalent as vendors seek to boost advanced forecasting and scenario analysis.

These key drivers of advanced analytics mean better prescriptive advice and data visualization based on patterns found in underlying data.

Related resources:

5. Integration to support real-time use cases

Real-time data flow is critical to timely EPM processes — and automatic data flow is driven by seamless integration. To better integrate EPM applications to disparate systems across the enterprise, vendors are offering prebuilt application connectors, embedded integration and data migration tools, and partner integration relationships. REST APIs connect EPM technology with apps like Salesforce, Workday, and NetSuite as well as on-prem accounting, ERP, and operational systems.

Related resources:

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