Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Finance & Accounting OneStream

Recap: Sensible Machine Learning for EPM – Future Finance at Your Fingertips

This article first appeared on by Zach McKeown

Machine learning (ML) has the potential to revolutionize Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) by providing organizations with real-time insights and predictive capabilities across planning and forecasting processes.  With the ability to process vast amounts of data, ML algorithms can help organizations identify patterns, trends and relationships that would otherwise go unnoticed.  And as the technology continues to evolve and improve, even greater benefits are likely to emerge in the future as Finance leverages the power of ML to achieve financial goals.

Join us as we examine Sensible ML for EPM – Future of Finance at Your Fingertips.


The Shift to Intelligent Finance

For CFOs, whether artificial intelligence (AI) and ML will play a role across enterprise planning processes is no longer a question.  Today, the question instead focuses on how to operationalize ML in ways that return optimal results and scale.  The answer is where things get tricky.

Why?  Business agility is critical in the rapidly changing world of planning.  To think fast and move first, organizations must overcome challenges spanning the need to rapidly grow the business, accurately predict future demand, anticipate unforeseen market circumstances and more.  Yet the increasing volumes of data across the organization make it difficult for decision-makers to zero in on the necessary data and extrapolate the proper insights to positively impact planning cycles and outcomes.  Further exacerbating the problem, many advanced analytics processes and tools only leverage high-level historical data, forcing decision-makers to re-forecast from scratch whenever unforeseeable market shifts hit.

But with AI and ML, business analysts can analyze and correlate the most relevant internal/external variables.  And the variables then contribute to forecasting accuracy and performance across the Sales, Supply Chain, HR and Marketing processes that comprise financial plans and results.


Those dynamics underscore why now is the time for Intelligent Finance.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll share a four-part blog series discussing the path toward ML-powered intelligent planning.  Here’s a sneak peek at the key topics in our Sensible ML for EPM series:

  • Part 1:  4 Driving Forces for Change.  These forces have the potential to accelerate ML and move organizations away from descriptive and diagnostic analytics (explaining what happened and why) and toward predictive and prescriptive analytics
  • Part 2:  Increase Accuracy and Transparency.  Today more than ever, organizations are looking to become more agile, accurate and transparent with their financial plans to stay competitive.  And Sensible ML can help.  It allows input from users closer to the business to infuse business intuition into the model, which can increase accuracy and ensure all the available information is considered. (see figure 1)

Figure 1: Sensible ML Dashboard

  • Part 3:  Key Capabilities for Intelligent Planning.  Sensible ML is unlike “most” predictive analytics forecasting capabilities (looking at prior results and statistics and generating forecasts based on what happened in the past).  Specifically, Sensible MLhas the capability to not only look at prior results but also then take on additional business intuition – such as events, pricing, competitive information and weather – to help drive more precise/robust forecasting.
  • Part 4:  Customer Success Stories.  Every customer must be a reference and a success.  OneStream’s mission statement drives everything we do.  Taking a deeper look into customers who have reaped the benefits of leveraging Sensible ML can help any organization gain true predictive insights.

Regardless of where you are in your Finance journey, our Sensible ML for EPM series is designed to share insights from the experience of OneStream’s team of industry experts.  We recognize, of course, that every organization is unique – so please assess what’s most important to you based on the specific needs of your organization.



The aspiration of ML-powered plans is nothing new.  But to remain competitive amid the increasing pace of change and technology disruption, Finance leaders must think differently to finally conquer the complexities inherent in traditional enterprise planning.  ML has the potential to greatly improve EPM by providing organizations with real-time insights and predictive analytics.  However, organizations must overcome challenges (e.g., ensuring good data quality and selecting the right ML algorithm) to achieve success.  As ML continues to evolve, increasingly more organizations are likely to leverage its power to drive better financial and operational outcomes.

Several challenges lie ahead for organizations of all sizes, but one of the most important decisions will be implementing the right ML solution – one that can effectively align all aspects of planning and elevate the organization toward its strategic goals.  Sensible ML answers that call.  It brings power and sophistication to organizations to drive transparency and increase the velocity of forecasting processes with unprecedented transparency and alignment to business performance.