Thursday, 22 June 2017

Gartner selects IDU as one of the top 25 Corporate Planning Applications in the 2017 Gartner Market Guide.

Gartner, the world's leading research and advisory company recently published their Market Guide for Corporate Planning Applications.  IDU is very proud to have our award-winning Budgeting and Reporting Software idu-Concept recognized amongst the best in the world for providing innovative financial management solutions.

The Gartner Market Guide is independent and insightful, it highlights the rapid development of financial analytics technology, and the considerable opportunities that exists for finance professionals to take advantage of these developments.

IDU has over 300 clients in an ever-increasing global footprint with users across 33 different countries, we are constantly innovating and are rapidly becoming a globally recognised brand.  Our Corporate Performance management (CPM) solutions are also available via the cloud using Microsoft Azure as well as Amazon Web Services, the latter has opened the door for smaller and medium sized organisations across the world to access our cutting edge financial management solutions. 

IDU streamlines the budgeting and reporting process, frees up financial managers to be more strategic and business to be more agile and responsive, which is essential in a disrupting market.

About IDU

IDU makes budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting tools to simplify financial management. Our flagship product, idu-Concept, provides easy, effective budgeting and financial reporting for medium-sized to large businesses. It is the most widely deployed dedicated budgeting system in South Africa. idu-Concept integrates easily with ERP software, but unlike more cumbersome offerings, idu-Concept can be implemented quickly, requires little or no ongoing consulting fees and reduces budgeting cycles from months to weeks. idu-Concept addresses this establishing a platform of ownership and empowerment that inevitably leads to radical improvement in the effective management control of every business. 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Gartner “Market Guide for Corporate Planning Applications” by Christopher Iervolino and John E. Van Decker. Published 24 May 2017.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Financial system migrations: Beware the pitfalls and enjoy the upsides

The Apple iPad is only seven years old this year. Believe it or not, the first one was launched in April 2010, and if you dig a first generation iPad out of the storage cupboard you’ll find it’s probably more useful as a paperweight than anything else – it doesn’t even have a camera! Frighteningly it, and second and third generation iPads, are also unsupported by Apple.

Leaving aside Apple’s rabid upgrade tactics and the notoriously short lifespan of its devices, this is just one indication of how fast technology is changing. Therefore, it’s likely that the decision on whether or not to upgrade your financial system, for instance, is pretty much a done deal. Any argument for a “wait and see” approach has been crushed by the reality that the longer you stay with a legacy system, the further you fall behind your competitors, your customers and your employees.
In the event of a disaster your clapped out old iPad 1 equivalent is going to be harder and more expensive to fix, and the risk of data loss is greater. But you need to go into any systems migration with your eyes wide open. Here are some of the things to watch for.

End User Resistance
End users are typically attached to familiar experiences of systems, and this colours their expectations of any upgrades. Plus, they expect systems to be as easy-to-use and intuitive as the consumer apps they use every day. A disconnect here can manifest as resistance to the new system and a loss of time and money for the business.

User Requirements
It is also vital to understand your users’ requirements and deliver on that. In other words, give them what they need to do their jobs well; don’t give them everything merely because it is there in the new ERP system.

Chart of Accounts Opportunity
Now consider that a financial systems migration is a great opportunity to restructure your company’s chart of accounts (COA). Your business has almost definitely changed to such an extent that your current COA is no longer suitable to today’s reporting requirements.
However, when implementing an updated COA you need to get two things right. You need to create an environment whereby you can provide reasonable comparative information when the account codes are different. And, secondly, you need to figure out how to reproduce historical numbers when the accounts, as well as how they are aggregated, differ to the legacy system.
When mapping historical codes to new ones it is unlikely that there will be a one-to-one relationship from old to new. And when you have a one-to-many or many-to-one relationship, comparative reporting becomes a challenge.

Data Migration
And what about data migration? Decisions need to be made about which data is migrated and how many years to go back. The simple decision is normally to migrate immediate history and maintain a minimum license on the old system to be able to access historical information. But do you really think your old system is going to be a key priority for your previous service provider, especially after you have slashed your contract with them?

Major system migration is never easy and the pitfalls are many, despite what the salesman tells you! However, if you approach challenges with eyes wide open you are better prepared to identify the potential pitfalls and navigate around them.

Article published on Accountingweb May 2017

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

How running to standstill won't get you ahead of the pack

Image result for busy
Ask anyone how they are nowadays, and the answer is likely to be ‘crazy busy’ or something along those lines. Today’s world, designed around convenience and speed, seems to have had the exact opposite effect. We’re trying to cram more and more into the same 24 hours and wearing our ‘busy-ness’ like a badge of honour. Part self-imposed, part a reality of modern life, we’re a bit like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass — we’ve got to do all the running we can just to stay in one place.

This delivers businesses a massive catch-22. Although we are running as fast as we can, keeping up is no longer good enough. We need to be fundamentally and exponentially change the way we work in order to succeed in the digital economy. For instance: transitioning to cloud computing is critical to enable the services, features, and capabilities demanded by the market today and tomorrow. Things like collaboration, mobility, self-service, real-time data analytics, omni-channel retail and so on. Not to mention the long-term cost savings and efficiencies cloud economics can bring.
But, how are companies supposed to find the time to take a step back and re-engineer their infrastructure and processes to make the shift to the cloud?

The same applies to wider innovation: fundamentally changing how you do things, from small, incremental enhancements to new business models and existential shifts in your organisation. Innovation is a product of a few things: time, money, and being open to failing fast and often. Organisations don’t innovate though, people do, and to do so they need time to think, research, experiment and develop their ideas.

Google’s 20% time is probably the most well-known initiative where companies try to carve out time for employees to innovate away from their day-to-day tasks. The search giant gives staff around a day a week to work on side projects, and the outcomes have included commercial successes such as AdSense and Gmail.

This is not some harebrained internet start-up window dressing, though – like beanbags, hammocks and foosball tables. 3M, the inventor of Scotch Tape and Post-it notes, and the holder of almost 23 000 patents, has offered its employees 15% time to work on passion projects since 1948.
Indeed, the invention of Post-it notes is an illustration of just how long innovation can take: an employee invented the adhesive in 1968 but it was only in 1974 that another 3M employee joined the dots and realised it could be used to create a reusable sticky note. Ditto the development of Gmail. The Google engineer who invented this worked on it for two and a half years before convincing management that it should be launched.

All very well, as are innovation competitions, hackathons and other tactics companies use to foster new ideas. But reality bites. And the reality is that if we are running to standstill, we can’t currently carve 15–20% out of our business day, no matter how vital strategic innovation is.

It reminds me of that cartoon doing the rounds: two cavemen are energetically but not very effectively pushing and pulling a barrow with square wheels. Their friend offers them a set of round wheels. ‘No thanks,’ they say with a wave, ‘we are too busy’.

Something’s got to give. Somehow tired, ineffective and antiquated processes need to be sped up and automated, freeing people to be more strategic and perhaps to come up with the enhancements your company needs to survive.

Take the typical CPM (corporate performance management) processes, for example. In today’s real-time world, it can’t and shouldn’t take more than four weeks to complete a budget, or hours to complete month-end reviews. Bloated timeframes are compounded by manual processes resulting in errors and unnecessary admin. Plus, lack of transparency and collaboration between departments causes confusion and reduced accountability.

Fixing this single process can have a series of positive knock-ons. First, it can save you time. The vital time you need to spend innovating and thinking strategically about your business. But it will also improve the timeliness of your data – giving you and your senior management the real-time financial data to base decisions on. And if, as part of the fix, you have effectively included those at the coalface in the process, your data will be more accurate and relevant. Inclusive management also increases transparency and accountability, resulting in an aligned organisation that manages itself better.

So the flipside to the catch-22 mentioned above – that to keep up effectively, organisations need to slow down to change gear – is that once you have done this, the outcome is not only winning the time you need to innovate, but also gaining the data and other capabilities you need to succeed in a digital world.

Article published in Accountacy SA Magaine May 2017

Monday, 8 May 2017

CRAN highly recommends idu-Concept for Budgeting, Reporting and Analytics.

CRAN is the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia and regulates telecommunication services and networks, broadcasting services, postal services and the use and allocation of radio spectrum.
CRAN uses the Financial Budgeting, Financial Reporting and Analytics Modules of IDU. They purchased the system in April 2014, after looking for a cost effective, online financial management solution, that would allow them to easily administer the system with little ongoing IT support.
“IDU is a user-friendly system with amazing functionalities. The software has really made our work processes more efficient.” Says Maria Moses Manager: Management Accounting at CRAN.
CRAN has found idu-Concept Administrator simple to manage and use, there has been no need for IT or system development skills and very little need for ongoing support. Managing their own system has meant a huge cost saving to their business. 
“The IDU helpdesk is very efficient and any user queries are addressed as soon as possible”
CRAN have been particularly impressed with the Recodes and Accruals functionality within the IDU Reporting modules.
IDU's Recode functionality allows users to request the reallocation of journal entries posted to the general ledger directly from the Financial Reporting Module and the Accruals functionality allows the user to have the ability to create accrual entries at a cost centre level for items that they feel have not been accounted for.
“I would highly recommend IDU, the system offers functionalities that meet the needs of businesses, it is highly responsive and also very cost effective”