The situation at RE/MAX illustrates the dilemma many companies face. Although the privately held firm has been undeniably successful in the course of its 32-year history — it has enjoyed more than 375 consecutive months in which it has increased the number of sales associates marketing homes under the RE/MAX banner — its finance team recognizes the need for better technology to support and continue that growth.
While its current approach to performance management is “not a hindrance,” says Frantz, neither is it “nearly as flexible and as efficient as it should be. We need something that’s more effective and efficient to bring in the results from the various business units than spreadsheets. We’re in the process right now of looking at some business performance management tools, specifically on the budgeting and forecasting side of things.”
Many survey respondents have already taken measures to improve their strategic support tool kit, as more than half have invested in performance management technology over the past three years. Unfortunately, these investments have been met with mixed results. Most companies say that either their investment fell short of expectations, their project was cancelled, or they can’t determine whether their expectations were met.
The results are most discouraging for those using spreadsheets and manual processes as their primary performance management technology; less than a quarter of those respondents report that their investment had met expectations, and none found that it had exceeded expectations. By contrast, 60 percent of companies investing in integrated solutions say their investment met or exceeded expectations.
While the search for the right performance management technology has clearly been challenging for many companies, there is also strong evidence that success does not have to be elusive.
This article is excerpted and adapted from Finance Seeks a Seat at the Strategy Table, a report that summarizes the findings of a mail survey of senior finance executives at 202 companies and further interviews with executives at 8 companies. CFO Research Services and Geac, a vendor of performance management software, developed the hypotheses for the research jointly. Geac funded the research and the publication of the findings; CFO Research Services produced the final report. You may download a copy of the full report by filling out a brief form.