Companies worldwide have embraced the value of enterprise performance management (EPM) – solutions that bring together data, processes, and analytics to help a company make better decisions, improving supplier and customer performance, profitability, and business plans.

Until recently, the standard for EPM deployments was on premise; EPM solutions were installed on the company’s own servers and maintained by local IT staff.

Recent advances in cloud computing, however, have made it possible to subscribe to EPM functionality on demand, complementing traditional on-premise EPM implementations.

With cloud-based EPM solutions, companies can reduce the costs of building servers, allocating dedicated IT resources, and maintaining long-term infrastructure.

A company subscribes to EPM software preconfigured to address specific business needs, such as expense insight, capital expenditure planning, and profitability analysis – you simply log into a website to access full EPM functionality. You can choose a fully functional out-of-the-box option that fulfills enterprise-level goals, or a solution that can be customized to target a specific business need.

As with any new approach, you’ll find tradeoffs. For example, you pay an on-demand subscription fee but incur no on-premise implementation costs. To take full advantage of new on-demand EPM solutions, you need to consider all the options, then find an approach that works best for your business and your bottom line.

On-premise vs. on-demand

Both types of deployments have their merits – the challenge is finding the right balance for your business.

In the short term, not every company will need to make a wholesale move to on-demand EPM; traditional on-premise EPM solutions can be the best choice for many business processes.

If your current on-premise EPM solutions are meeting your needs, think about complementing existing on-premise solutions with targeted, cost-effective cloud offerings that make your IT operations easier and more cost-effective. Such a hybrid approach can reduce overall costs and limit capital outlay while extending the power of existing IT investments.

Customization vs. standard functionality

Another consideration is whether to implement a standard or customized EPM solution. Some on-demand solutions can be customized to align with your unique processes.

While this approach gives you the benefit of customization, you will spend more time on implementation – and you’ll need specialized expertise for designing the solution to fit your needs.

On the other hand, if standard functionality meets your needs, you can get faster time to value at lower cost – likely a good fit for universal business process that are line of business or industry specific.

Moving data from on-premise solutions to the cloud

Most of the data companies generate comes from on-premise solutions. ERP, CRM, POS, HR, and BI systems, for example, generate both transactional and reporting data.

For on-demand EPM solutions to work, this data – generated on premise – must be moved into the cloud, which means addressing volume, sensitivity, and security issues. EPM on demand requires certain data formats, so you’ll need to be able to translate existing data into the cloud accurately and securely.

Once you take into account the above issues, you’ll be ready to hone in on the best solution for your particular business. Factor in cost, implementation speed, and practicality to find the solution that’s right for you. Keep in mind that SAP cloud solutions:

  • Can be up and running in just weeks, accelerating business innovation and speeding time to value
  • Are scalable, making it easy to keep up with growth
  • Extend existing on-premise business processes and investments
  • Support specific EPM needs such as financial reporting and strategic planning
  • Offer a pay-as-you-go model that helps reduce TCO through migration of existing ERP installations to the cloud

In the end, choosing the right combination of solutions for your business is a balancing act.

To find out more about how analytics services from SAP can help your company develop a customized roadmap that unlocks the business value of EPM investments, please visit us online.

This article originally appeared on SCN SAP Services and has been republished with permission.