Interviews

Helping Companies Plan Business Continuity

Arabian Reseller speaks to Andreas Simon, the Director of Sales for MEA at Jedox, about why companies need to invest in Enterprise Performance Management solutions

Please tell us about Jedox and the products and solutions it offers on the market?
So, Jedox is an independent Enterprise Performance Management vendor. With the headquarters based out of Germany, we have been on the market for around 20 years now. We sell end-to-end Enterprise Performance Management solutions, which are all about budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and analytics.

So we are fulfilling the whole data analytics cycle in that. And of course, our customers are mainly CFOs such as the head of finance, where we are simplifying and accelerating the budgeting, planning, and forecasting processes. Our mission is that we want to enhance the value creation of the whole value chain, and help people to automate and to collaborate, and be faster in that very competitive world in terms of their planning, budgeting, forecasting the future.

Why do companies need Enterprise Performance Management solutions?
So perhaps we should go back to 20 years ago when I started working in the management information system. Now, it’s called Business Intelligence and Enterprise Performance Management. At this time, one person in the company decided what will be the next year in terms of budget targets or the costs, that was normally the CFO or the CEO. So they said, “Okay, we do 5% or 10% more.”

And there was functionality in our software called splashing, where you add another 10% more on the top level, and then dependent on the seasonality of the last year, it spread out the data to the lowest level. So then came the era of financial planning and analytics. More people have been involved in the budget planning forecasting process because it was understood that the experts on the ground needed to be involved in that process.

So the workflow came on board, we had a top-down bottom-up approach. So that happened for a lot of years. A couple of years ago, Gartner coined a new term called PMA, which meant extended planning and analytics. This meant that planning and forecasting were not only happening in the finance department, but it was happening across the whole value chain including sales, HR, procurement, production, and so on.

And these are normally departments with isolated systems, that use their own data and plan only for their respective departments. But what should happen is, all these need to be combined into a single solution on one platform into an integrated business planning solution. This could give an insight into each and every department – what they are doing, what their future will be, and what is the value they are creating for the whole company.

And if we look now at the role of a CFO, it is not only limited to controlling the cost but also analyzing numbers from the past. All of this can only be done using an Enterprise Performance Management solution.

Which markets in the EMEA region are you looking at expanding into?
We have recently opened up our subsidiary here in JLT, Dubai, UAE. We are very well focused on the United Arab Emirates, but also on KSA as one of the major markets. We are focused on the whole GCC region – so Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, are all important markets for us. We are also focusing on select markets in Africa, such as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and so on.

What sort of plans do you have for your channel strategies in terms of expanding your channel reach?
So we want to grow quite quickly. Over the past one and a half years, we’ve seen a lot of challenges on the market. And business continuity is something that companies look forward to when markets start evolving after the pandemic. The tools that we provide, specifically help companies plan that.

What marketing messages do you have for the regional market?
Well, the message should be that it’s not anymore the strongest or the biggest, who will survive, but the one who adapts more quickly is the one that will survive. So, flexibility is the keyword at the moment on the market. We have learned that everything that was planned in October is now obsolete by March especially during the pandemic. However, we see that the management cycle hasn’t changed.

What companies need to do is to break away from a one-year budget exercise. Instead, they need to go into the rolling forecast, zero-based budgeting approach. And for that, companies need very flexible and agile platforms that will help them as a technology enabler for this modern approach. People need to become more resilient against future changes and become more stable. And this is one of the many reasons why companies need to move to a modern Enterprise Performance Management platform that gives them the speed to adapt quickly to the new reality.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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