First, let me answer the obvious question – why do we need more performance management vendors? While it is true that we have a large selection of top-notch vendors to choose from today, more choice is always a good thing. In addition, due to the challenging economic conditions caused by the pandemic more companies than ever are focusing on performance management projects (confirmed by our 2020 BPM Pulse Research Study) and looking for solutions that meet their unique requirements. That is actually where the real need for new vendors comes in. All of the vendors out there claim to do be able to do just about anything that falls under the banner of performance management and more. Do they do it all with the same level of excellence? As a services firm focused on vendor selection in this space we know that each vendor has a handful of key strengths and does a serviceable job with everything else. Whether they want to admit it or not each vendor really has a core niche consisting of a combination of several attributes from this list: robust consolidation, company-wide planning, ease of use, scalability, Excel-based interface, profitability optimization, dynamic reporting and analytics, low total cost of ownership, integrated business planning, operational planning, workforce planning, industry-specific solutions, midmarket solutions, etc. That is why there is a need for new vendors, and therefore an opportunity for them to be successful – to target a niche that is not currently well-served.
This leads us to our two new vendors: Fluence Technologies and Syntellis Performance Solutions. Although neither company existed a year ago, the teams, and in one case the core product, have been key players in performance management for many years.
The members of the Fluence start-up team have previously held senior positions at Longview, OutlookSoft, IBM, SAP, Vena Solutions, and Clarity Systems. This experience shows in the first product that they have delivered to the market: Fluence Consolidation. They have combined a couple of elements from the list above to deliver a unique solution: an enterprise-class consolidation offering that is easy to use, leverages Excel as the interface, and is designed and priced for the midsized to large company segment of the market. While other vendors address several items on the Fluence list, no one else does it all. To get to market quickly, and also understanding that many companies want a unified performance management solution that includes budgeting and planning alongside consolidation, Fluence partnered with Vena Solutions (not too surprising considering Fluence’s executive chairman is the co-founder of Vena). They built the Fluence solution on the Vena Solutions platform so that it seamlessly integrates with the Vena FP&A cloud planning and forecasting capabilities. Rather than taking years to develop (or acquire) all of the pieces, they are able to offer a comprehensive solution today that covers the core elements of performance management and features their robust, but easy to use, consolidation functionality that leverages a familiar Excel UI.
Syntellis Performance Solutions
Similar to Fluence, the members of the Syntellis leadership team also have years of performance management experience and success. More specifically, they have worked together as a team before at Kaufman Hall Software. In June Kaufman Hall Software, part of Kaufman Hall, a management consulting firm, became a standalone company: Syntellis Performance Solutions. Along with the KH Software team the new company also includes the Axiom Software product suite. Even though they are a ‘new’ company, with almost 3,000 organizations already using Axiom Software they are a proven success. As a standalone entity they can now focus on what made them so successful – powerful software paired with benchmark data. While almost 75% of companies are interested in benchmarking their performance against that of their peers (2020 BPM Pulse), very few vendors provide the tools or data to facilitate that process. Their other unique attribute is their focus on specific verticals. Syntellis focuses exclusively on healthcare, higher education, and financial institutions. This is not just a marketing focus – they have expertise, unique product content, and benchmark data to meet the unique needs of each of those verticals. Most other vendors today are only beginning to see the value of focusing on specific industries, but the Syntellis team has been doing it successfully for years. We are hearing more organizations today say they will only consider vendors with deep expertise in their industry, which bodes well for Syntellis, especially since the financial institutions vertical is probably where this requirement is most common.
As you can see, both Fluence and Syntellis add meaningful new choices to the already wide range of performance management solutions available today. Here at BPM Partners where our core business is helping companies find the best fit solution for their unique needs, we welcome the new options.