Think of EPM as a Service, Not a Product
Whether you think of EPM as a service or product says a lot about whether you want to drive change or let change drive you, and also whether you’ll accept less than the best.
In the consumer space, most of us have no problem recognizing the public statements products make about the people who buy them. That’s why companies market different products in the same category to different kinds of people. Take cars. Just by looking at cars you can often tell whether their owners have a particular interest in safety, economy, performance, or some other value. Obviously, such public statements matter to some people. But how others perceive you is only one outcome that flows from your values. Another likely outcome is in fact your actual consumer experience, i.e., the greater degree of safety, economy, performance or whatever other outcome you look to achieve.
In business the link between self-perception and outcomes is particularly useful. Of all purchases, that especially applies to EPM, a category that obviously expresses values like performance, agility, innovation, collaboration, etc. You would not even consider EPM if you did not want more of those things. But as with cars, the deciding question is: how much more of them do you want? With a car you already know what values drive you (pun intended). You do not need to visit the Volvo in your garage to find out you care a lot about safety. What’s more, you are already predisposed to apply that knowledge generally, such as to install a vehicle monitoring device like Progressive’s Snapshot. But with EPM, degrees of value (measuring something’s importance) are harder to discern. That is where looking at how you think of EPM — whether as a product or service — can help. Your “EPM mindset” can determine how much importance you actually do place on EPM values like performance, agility, innovation, collaboration, etc. If you find yourself in the “product camp,” you may consider these values important, but just not important enough. In that case, you can change your mindset. You can start thinking of EPM as a service so you will likely get more of the business outcomes you are looking to achieve.
Your EPM Mindset Has Impact Well Beyond EPM
So, what difference does it make whether you think of EPM as a product or service? The difference is that EPM as a service lets you do things that EPM as a product does not. And if you are in the “service camp” then you probably already know what those extras are and you probably also know those extras are important to you — and not just in how you deploy your EPM software. They will be very important generally in the way you run your company. Furthermore, those values will have compounding effects — i.e., they will drive your success on multiple fronts and will reinforce each other. That is a major payoff.
Let’s start with financial management. If your reason for buying EPM is to improve in that particular area, then you can improve even faster if you use EPM as a service. The same goes for virtually any other EPM value you can name, including agility, innovation, and collaboration. Competitive advantage in any of those areas requires excellence in the same classic business fundamentals that have always applied, such as having the most up-to-date tools, a disruption-free work environment, seamless connectivity among stakeholders, legal and regulatory compliance, information security, effective disaster recovery and restoration, preservation of working capital, and business scalability. With software-as-a-service (SaaS), organizations can scale their computing resources on demand. Capital investment is minimal to non-existent — as is the wait for technology updates. Furthermore, when both the application and application management are hosted as a service, organizations gain uninterrupted access to the host’s technical expertise for security, mission continuity, compliance, and overall application health.
Because SaaS customers have less legacy investment to protect, they willingly lower the barriers to change. They are more invested in the future (and can afford to be); they therefore strive to use change to their advantage rather than wait around for its aftermath. Their readiness to change means they want the best version of themselves they can get as soon as they can get it. They don’t settle for less because they have taken the necessary steps so they don’t have to. Furthermore, if they have partnered with a managed application host it means they want to leverage SaaS advantages — and by extension EPM values — to the fullest.
Thus, an EPM service mindset encompasses much more than just a particular deployment strategy. It reflects an orientation toward growth, excellence, and impatience with the status quo — one not confined to technology. If that’s the mindset you want, you know what to do.