We focus on enabling our customers to progress

In a exclusive interview with Channel Post MEA, Andreas Simon the Director Sales MEA at Jedox highlights the benefits of its solutions and explain how Jedox Enterprise Performance Management helps in adopting to the new normal and the pivotal role it plays in digital transformation 

When did Jedox entered the region and how has been the business in recent past?
Jedox established itself in the Middle East in April 2019 and then because of the pandemic, things took a bit longer than expected. But now, over two years on, we have an entire team serving sales, marketing and consulting functions based in our Dubai headquarters.

Through this period, our focus has of course been on growing our footprint in the market. Jedox actually had customers in the Middle East prior to the opening of our subsidiary in the UAE and the region has always presented a very attractive opportunity to us. We have been steadily building on this momentum and adding prestigious enterprises to our customer lists – with one of the most recent being a major bank in Abu Dhabi wherein we are implementing solutions for their worldwide budgeting and planning.

What are the benefits of Enterprise Performance Management?
Every company needs to carry out budgeting, planning, and forecasting on an annual basis at a very minimum. But the pandemic shone a spotlight on the fact that this approach of conducting this as an annual activity is no longer feasible. Organisations that planned their budgets in October 2019, would have found these obsolete by March 2020.

As a result, organisations are increasingly moving towards monthly forecasting. So, while they still conduct yearly forecasts, they revisit these on a frequent basis in order to be more up to date, and agile.

What Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) does is to simplify and accelerate the budgeting, planning, and forecasting process with workflows in a very collaborative manner. In the past, the majority of companies used Microsoft Excel for their budgeting process, but this is highly manual system that doesn’t match up to the dynamic nature of business today. So, for example, if you have 300 departments that you now need to include in your forecast, it will be very difficult for you to coordinate this with Excel, and make sure everything is up to date, accurate and free of human error.

Since I started in the EPM space 27 years ago, there has been a significant shift in budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Initially, there was just one person – the CFO or COO – who was in charge of the budget. This then evolved into the era of FP&A (Financial Planning & Analytics) where the office of finance worked in a top down/bottom up approach. At this point, workflows came into play, and organisations started to leverage the knowledge of resources within the finance department.

And now, we are talking about Extended Planning and Analytics (xP&A) where the CFO is now no longer just the cost controller, but also the advisor to the management, and the business partner to all departments in the company – extending the process of budgeting, planning, and forecasting to functions that include sales, marketing, HR, IT and so on so that the focus can then be on analysing the data to drive better insight.

There has been significant digital transformation in the region over the last two years. Organisations are looking for ways to get data insight for performance management. What differentiates Jedox from its competitors in delivering this ability?
Jedox is completely focused on Extended Planning & Analysis and our big advantage is that we are an independent Enterprise Performance Management vendor – meaning we can integrate with every ERP system on the market. So, whether our clients have Oracle, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite or anything else, we can integrate seamlessly with them. This enables us to ensure that our customers can utilise all their data from these systems for their value creation.

Instead of having multiple modules that need to be interconnected, Jedox also follows a platform approach that is highly flexible. All our customers’ applications, such as those for sales planning, HR planning, procurement planning, IT planning and so on, sit on top of a single platform. As a result, updates on any of these applications result in real-time updates to financial statements, P&L, and balance sheets. In this way, we enable each and every department to be part of the financial planning, budgeting and forecasting process.

Given the current focus on the hybrid workforce, how does Jedox’s technology support the new normal?
The hybrid workforce is precisely why Jedox solutions are so important because our Enterprise Performance Management support an automated workflow. We make it possible for employees to contribute to the budgeting, planning, and forecasting process no matter where they are based – and enable them to do this via Excel, or their mobile devices. So instead of having silos and disparate data departments, we combine everything into a single platform that empowers employees to work together seamlessly.

Which are your key market verticals in the region and what are you plans to increase Jedox’s footprint in the Middle East?
Enterprise Performance Management is extremely important to each and every single industry. That said, at the moment we are focusing very heavily on manufacturing, retail, logistics and healthcare.

We are partnering with key consultancy companies in the region such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to have a better reach into the market. We also partner with Microsoft as we are the missing piece in their portfolio.

What are your expectations of the Middle East through 2022?
I expect a dramatic increase in the level of maturity in the market. Organisations that are currently reliant on Excel for their budgeting, planning, and forecasting are rapidly moving towards automation and leveraging integrated data. Those that have successfully implemented such automation will move towards increasing collaboration between all departments in their value chain.

At Jedox we will focus on enabling our customers to progress along this maturity curve as they steadily progress towards a model of continuous, predictive planning.