An old joke about advertising is that half of it works, but no one knows which half. A good example of this phenomenon was the August 2016 decision by Procter & Gamble (the world's biggest spender on product advertising) to reduce its ad spending on Facebook, mainly because it wasn't sure how effective its targeted social campaigns were. Another reason may have been that there is just so much for any single post to compete with on a social network like Facebook, whether it is sponsored content, a simple status update or a shared link to an article.
Companies in new media and entertainment are uniquely exposed to such challenges. If they are publishers, digital magazines or marketing/PR firms, then their content is likely heavily promoted through channels such as Facebook and Twitter and must stick out within the endless stream of updates. If they are film production companies, then so much rides on building consumer awareness through ads. Either way, these businesses need the ability to focus on improving their actual products and services, but in too many cases they are held back by legacy corporate performance management software that makes it hard for them to know about their own finances.
Seen this movie before? The 'Groundhog Day' reruns of inefficient financial processes
With Excel sheets and old-fashioned CPM software in place, finance teams at media and entertainment organizations often run into similar sets of problems that can stretch their consolidations out for weeks and also delay monthly closes. It can be the financial equivalent of the film "Groundhog Day," in which the main character relives the same tiresome day every day. There are several common signs of this problem:
- Lack of data integration: Relying on many separate, manually managed spreadsheets means that there are probably multiple versions of the truth out there, with that stale data leading to inaccurate budgets and forecasts. Integration with info in critical apps such as Salesforce, for customer relationship management, is often missing as well.
- Drawn-out budgeting and forecasting processes: It may be impossible to produce weekly reports or even to get timely, high-quality reports of any kind that provide real insights into company sales and finances. Having to review spreadsheets for errors also compounds this issue of seemingly endless (and painful) budgeting and forecasting.
- Cumbersome multi-entity management: Small inconveniences, such as not being able to easily set up multi-currency and global consolidations, quickly add up and make it difficult to stay on top of multiple entities. Accordingly, conducting intercompany transactions and sharing reliable dashboards and reports becomes increasingly difficult.
- Poor usability: A lot of CPM software was originally designed only for use by the finance department, and it shows. Applications may be outdated, hard to access from mobile devices or the web, and tough to manage without IT's intervention. You end up becoming overly reliant on IT just to complete routine tasks like report generation.
As a result of these issues, it is always a struggle to get an accurate picture of how the business is performing – it is like being stuck in the "no one knows which half" conundrum we described earlier, except worse. Specific initiatives such as modernizing an advertising strategy or adjusting it for an economic recession also suffer from reliance on spreadsheets and outdated CPM software.
Manually keeping track of multiple entities can quickly become a mess.
Back on track with cloud CPM software
Fortunately, cloud budgeting and forecasting software such as Adaptive Insights provides a solution to these deep-seated financial troubles. It offers a highly integrated, automated and easy-to-use platform for taking on the financial challenges in media and entertainment, so firms can devote more energy to their actual businesses.
Connections to apps like Salesforce make it possible to look into revenue sources and improve forecasts accordingly. Plus, with rich analytics and metrics readily available, essential workflows such as sales modeling are greatly enhanced. The resulting reports can be easily shared across departments to give everyone adequate insight into performance.
Say goodbye to manual multi-entity management. Reports and dashboards can be seamlessly consolidated, while scenario modeling can be automated. Teams no longer have to set aside so much time at the end of each month simply to make sure all of their numbers line up.
"Say goodbye to manual multi-entity management with modern cloud CPM software."
An intuitive and sophisticated interface makes it possible for all stakeholders to get real-time performance. This eliminates the need to wait on IT for reports or hunt for the "right" spreadsheet at a critical moment. Access is possible from any web browser, with the application itself always automatically updated to the most recent, stable and secure version.
Even more value can be extracted from a new CPM solution such as Adaptive Insights by working with a certified partner such as RKL. With specific expertise in the entertainment industry as well as a proven process for planning your implementation process, RKL can put you at the front of the pack in tracking your organization's performance.