In the first half of 2021, CFO Tech Outlook magazine conducted an interview with Director Paul James Coleman to discuss trends in the EPM market and why focus on accountability is important.
One of the main reasons for launching Groupflow EPM was a dissatisfaction, or rather disquiet, with some of the practices I had observed in the corporate consulting world.
While I have never encountered negligence or professional malice, I have witnessed the attitude that causes consultancies to try and squeeze as many billable hours out of customers as possible.
While this makes perfectly good business sense on one level, it is something that has sat uneasily with me especially on account of the focus we have on knowledge transfer and transparency.
I believe that the Enterprise Performance Management world is better served where all of us; consultants, users, developers, can pool and share knowledge.
Where dedicated EPM consultants can differentiate themselves from less specialist resources is in our expertise, breadth of experience (location, sector etc.), broad qualifications across accounting and information technology and client-facing skills.
Bringing these attributes together along with a strong work ethic and the ability to make things happen can’t be under-estimated and it is I believe what sets the talented EPM consultants apart from some of the resources currently occupying the implementation market space.
With this is mind the focus of the article, which you can read in full here, was not just to simply showcase Groupflow EPM’s or highlight a case study, but to try and emphasise the role of accountability in the EPM consultant market.
Fostering EPM knowledge transfer and being transparent with clients is a key characteristic of our ethos and this stretches across all segments of a consultant/client relationship.
We would all consider that it our responsibility to be up-front on our fees, taxes etc. as well as seeking to always have contracts which have clear clauses on liability for each party.
Do we always consider that the knowledge capital we have built while working as a partner with a client is also something to be transparent about?
It is true that many clients do not give much thought into how knowledge shared with an external partner during the lifecycle of a project. I always tell my clients that they have a golden opportunity to understand the rationale behind a system design while taking advantage of coaching from an expert – at no additional cost. This does not mean that Groupflow EPM offers training courses for free – but that we embed knowledge transfer with the client into all stages of a project.
I always insist on the production of solid and understandable documentation as part of the delivery and to suggest that the clients take the advantage of shadowing/mentoring, workshopping and walkthroughs. I would always be available for any specific questions that a customer had.
Too often I have seen knowledge transfer tacked on to the end of a project almost as an afterthought and usually when it’s too late.
It is, of course, up to the client to make sure they have adequate internal resources both willing and able to work with the external partner.
When project planning or scoping I will always mention this to the client, both as a way to drive down external cost and to bolster the in-house knowledge/skillset.
Some of these themes have been covered in our first blog, The Consultant Trap. The CFO Tech Outlook article further emphasises these themes and hopefully this blog will reinforce the importance of transparency and accountability.
Regardless of who Users choose as an EPM consulting partner (and I hope it’s Groupflow EPM), I advise to always question them on their strategy for knowledge transfer.