What is the difference between EPM and CPM?

EPM stands for Enterprise Performance Management, and CPM for Corporate Performance Management. Often, the terms are used to indicate the same field. Even Gartner uses both terms. To add to the confusion, some software vendors prefer EPM, while others prefer CPM. So, what is the difference? And does it even matter for your strategic software choices or daily activities? 


What is EPM, according to Gartner

Let’s start with what Gartner says about the two different terms. According to Gartner, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is “the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise with the goal of improving business performance. An EPM system integrates and analyzes data from many sources, including, but not limited to, e-commerce systems, front-office and back-office applications, data warehouses and external data sources. Advanced EPM systems can support many performance methodologies such as the balanced scorecard.”

In general, EPM is a term that’s used not only by corporations but also by non-profits, governmental organizations, and educational institutions. Often, the key department driving EPM is finance, but the processes covered also include sales, marketing, and operations. 

What is CPM according to Gartner

About Corporate Performance Management (CPM), Gartner states the following: “CPM is an umbrella term that describes the methodologies, metrics, processes, and systems used to monitor and manage the business performance of an enterprise. Applications that enable CPM translate strategically focused information to operational plans and send aggregated results. These applications are also integrated into many elements of the planning and control cycle, or they address BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) or customer relationship optimization needs. CPM must be supported by a suite of analytical applications that provide the functionality to support these processes, methodologies, and metrics.”

In general, CPM is used primarily in the corporate world. Both the processes and the software are often mainly driven by the finance department.

The difference between EPM and CPM

As you can see, both definitions cover roughly the same areas and the same goals. There are subtle differences. Corporate Performance Management was intended to resonate more with the corporate world. Also, it is mainly driven by finance, focusing on financial data and management. 

Enterprise Performance Management seems to embrace a wider perspective. It is aimed not only at corporations but also at other organizations. Also, it originally had a broader approach to include not only financial processes but also operations.

In practice, these subtle differences are becoming less and less influential as organizations and consultancy firms use the terms simultaneously. Effectively, they have (almost) become synonyms.

EPM and CPM, according to software vendors

Looking at the software vendors, we see that some vendors strongly prefer to use EPM, while others seem convinced that CPM is a better term for their software applications or platforms. A third group uses both terms.

Please find the usage of EPM and CPM per software vendor in the overview below:

OneStream Oracle CCH® Tagetik SAP Board Anaplan Tableau

What’s in a name

So, what is the impact of the difference between CPM and EPM on your organization? In essence, the terms EPM and CPM refer to the same set of business processes. For both approaches, the aim is to establish a structure that helps organizations achieve their financial goals. And in both, that structure includes planning, consolidation, reporting & analytics. 

To summarize, the term you’ll use is probably partly driven by whether you’re in the corporate world or not. Primarily, though, it will be driven by the term preferred by the software you’re using.

Get even more out of your software solutions

To be honest, our support specialists don’t care so much about the difference between EPM and CPM. Software vendors may have heated discussion about it, but for us, it doesn’t matter if your solution is called EPM or CPM. At Swap Support, we’re convinced that the proper support helps you get even more out of your software solutions. Regardless of the name.