Upgrading Corporate Performance Management – Best Practices From Our OneStream Practice

April 9, 2024
Season 5, Episode 21

How can companies improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their finance and accounting operations by implementing OneStream as their corporate performance management system? How can the technology shift be used to drive process improvements and implement best practices? A discussion with Sahil Patel, a director in our OneStream practice, and Stephen Ferguson, a director in our Advisory practice.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Stephen Ferguson, director of the Advisory practice in Europe at The Hackett Group. Stephen is joined by Sahil Patel, the director of the OneStream practice at The Hackett Group.

To begin, Sahil introduces himself and how he works with clients to improve enterprises that raise billions of dollars in revenue. He helps them with their processes and introduces automation, security, and integrity through the work of OneStream. First, the corporate performance management (CPM) layer impacts the project every single day through the SMP. It’s not necessarily black and white, but more nuanced than that. It should be considered in the middle of transitioning, and the CPM is more targeted and can deploy tactical solutions. On average, the OneStream users find value in their investment two years ahead with OneStream in their S4 upgrade. This shows the value of the OneStream platform. It gives you the capability to do things like account reconciliation, cost management and long-range planning. Once the new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is in place, there is more integration work, but it is more digestible than starting from scratch. There are many additional functions with OneStream because it is a platform with lots of solutions. First, everything is in one place so all of the data is in one area and comes from one source of truth. Typically, you have one system and then another system that handles reconciliation and works to merge the two things. There are also better natural work flows because the end users don’t need multiple applications up and running.

Next, there is danger in not implementing all of the parties with OneStream. There is inherent synergy, and you need to align everything. The first thing to consider is the levels that the data will sit in. The clients also get lost in the planning, and end users are burdened. There needs to be a good information technology (IT) financial strategy combining these two things. OneStream provides extensibility and allows the organization to create different data input layers up and down the chart of accounts. They can also forecast at a higher level. You need to set the foundations up to acquire the solutions. ESG data is the environmental, social and governance data that needs to be honorable and traceable. With OneStream, you can have comfort that the data is valid, and you can combine the ESG data with your financial data. There is preparation that needs to be done in order for the project to be more smooth. Every organization will have challenges, and you need to have some introspection and investigation into your own organization, and then get ahead of those challenges. There needs to be an extraction of data with knowledge of who actually owns the data. You need to have those conversations early on. The clients who get out ahead of these conversations have a smoother project. Sahil suggests having samples of the data files and getting the data in a consistent manner.

In addition, he discusses the typical reporting flow clients run into. Reporting drives the requirements, and they hold, calculate and consolidate the data. There can be a gap, and reporting needs to always be in mind. The pitfalls can come from either people or the process. Sahil’s first advice is don’t underestimate the number of voices that need to be in the room. Make sure end users are part of the conversation and that their voices are heard. End users will ultimately own the data so they should have a say. He also says to challenge the design and architecture of the application because it is the foundation for scaling on the OneStream platform. Your company will be benefited by having a well-established foundation. Try not to lift and shift your existing process, and use trend calculations or drivers that will improve the timeline. CPM solutions will drive efficiency, and bring cost and timelines down. If you rebuild what you have, you’re sacrificing that. Also, don’t underestimate the effort it takes for a pretty solution, and articulate your vision of the solution.

In conclusion, Sahil shares advice for companies weighing OneStream at a corporate performance level. He says don’t wait. Clients realize value in OneStream investment two years before others. He also says to get involved in projects and ask others in your company what  they’re doing and how they are enabling. Be involved throughout the build process because it is always easier if you know more to help the clients.

Time stamps:

0:54 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Stephen Ferguson.

1:08 – Introduction of guest Sahil Patel.

2:54 – How does the CPM layer impact the project?

6:45 – Additional functionality with OneStream.

9:04 – Is there a danger in not implementing all of the parties with OneStream?

16:00 – What kind of preparation is necessary for a project?

18:41 – Typical reporting flow clients run into.

24:09 – Advice for companies weighing OneStream at a corporate performance level.