Fluence Technologies Acquires XLCubed

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

It’s another exciting week in the performance management world. The space itself is hot, but the financial consolidation segment is on fire.

Fluence, a top-rated North American consolidation and close vendor for the midmarket, has announced the acquisition of European-based XLCubed, a specialist in financial reporting and analysis leveraging Excel. As one of the newer vendors in the consolidation market, but already a key player, Fluence was looking to accelerate its development roadmap and increase its global footprint. This acquisition helps them achieve both goals.

Details

Fluence gains many new customers, an office in the U.K., and an Excel-centric enterprise class financial reporting, analysis, and dashboard solution designed for Finance self-sufficiency, to complement its Excel-centric consolidation and close solution. XLCubed offers many leading edge capabilities that companies are either looking for today, or will be looking for shortly, such as IBCS compliant reporting templates and models, web-based instant and interactive report distribution to any user on any device, governed real-time access to multiple data sources in addition to Fluence including SAP HANA, Oracle Essbase, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM TM1, and  Microsoft Power BI. The combined products will deliver a comprehensive and unified Finance-owned consolidation, close and reporting solution for the midmarket and upper midmarket.

Our Assessment

This combination is a no-brainer. What’s consolidation without comprehensive financial reporting, and vice versa?

Fluence and its customers:

  • Fluence picks up a European office, expert staff, a global partner network, and over 700 additional customers
  • Fluence should be able to sell their consolidation solution to a sizeable number of those new customers
  • Fluence now is also able to offer a standalone solution for financial, management, and operational reporting that can lead to consolidation and close sales down the road
  • Existing Fluence customers gain dramatically enhanced reporting capabilities at least 18 months ahead of schedule (if Fluence had developed it themselves)

XLCubed and its customers:

  • XLCubed joins a rapidly growing organization that offers a complementary solution, and the combined companies can reach a greater market than either could alone
  • XLCubed customers will continue to see their products enhanced
  • XLCubed customers gain access to a feature rich Excel-centric consolidation solution to complement their Excel-centric financial reporting product

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Buyers of Performance Management solutions:

  • By broadening its product set and global presence, along with an increased customer count, Fluence becomes an even more formidable competitor

This is where we usually talk about downsides, but there are no obvious ones. There is minimal product overlap. The common Excel-centric approach will make integration easier.  The industry veterans at the helm of Fluence have been involved in many mergers and acquisitions over the years so I have every confidence that they will avoid most of the typical merger pitfalls. We believe this is a good combination for all concerned.

We know its difficult to stay on top of everything that is happening in performance management. It’s important though, to make sure you have the most current information as you embark on your next project. We can help. If you would like to discuss midmarket planning and consolidation solutions, or anything else performance management related, you can reach us here.

Further Reading: Prophix Acquires Sigma Conso, Two New and Noteworthy Vendors, 10 Key Requirements for Next Level Financial Consolidation, Leveraging Financial Consolidation to Manage Through Uncertainty

Prophix Acquires Sigma Conso

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

Prophix, a leading North American  budgeting and planning CPM vendor focused on the midmarket, has announced its acquisition of Sigma Conso, a European CPM vendor focused on consolidation and close. While most CPM (performance management) projects are driven by the need for budgeting and planning, demand has been steadily rising for robust financial consolidation and close capabilities. In the midmarket in particular the options for a complete CPM solution that includes budgeting, planning, reporting and true consolidation have been somewhat limited. Consolidation is one of those things that every vendor claims to do, but most only offer a very basic version of the necessary functionality.

Details

The acquisition will bring Prophix several hundred new customers, offices throughout Europe and Asia, and a consolidation suite that includes consolidation and reporting, intercompany reconciliation software,  an IFRS16 (lease accounting) module, and a disclosure management platform powered by Iris Carbon. Equally important is the addition of Sigma Conso’s expert staff to the Prophix team. There will be no job losses related to this acquisition. Although not publicly disclosed, it has been speculated that Prophix paid US$100 million plus for Sigma Conso.

Our Assessment

We believe this is a big win for all concerned, with limited downside.

Prophix and its customers:

  • Prophix becomes a global enterprise with a comprehensive and competitive CPM suite for the midmarket/upper midmarket, and the ability to pursue deals that may not have been a possibility in the past
  • Prophix will have the opportunity to upsell their budgeting and planning solution to Sigma Conso customers
  • Prophix customers gain access to a consolidation solution that can handle more complexity and larger use cases than their current Prophix consolidation solution

Sigma Conso and its customers:

  • Sigma Conso and its staff become part of a larger organization and will see their flagship product expand into the North American market
  • Sigma Conso customers will now be part of a larger global user community and also  see additional investment and support for their consolidation products
  • Sigma Conso customers will have the option to take advantage of Prophix’s budgeting and planning solution

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Buyers of Performance Management solutions:

  • Prophix will become another viable option for those looking for robust consolidation coupled with company-wide planning

The (limited) downside:

  • It will take a while to integrate the products and we don’t expect to see data integration until some time in Q1 2022
  • Sigma Conso currently sells a budgeting and planning solution (“powered by” Unit4 FP&A) and there will need to be a well thought out plan to manage customers of this product and their expectations, and of course eventually entice them to move to the equivalent Prophix solution
  • Prophix has never done an acquisition before and we all know there will be many challenges both expected and unexpected, hopefully since the companies appear to have similar cultures and are both customer centric this will go more smoothly than some mergers I personally have been part of in the past

The  Updated Vendor Landscape for Midmarket Budgeting, Planning, Reporting and  Robust Consolidation Solutions

Midmarket/Upper Midmarket Focused:

  • Prophix – a new competitor in this segment with the addition of Sigma Conso’s consolidation capabilities
  • Fluence – combines enterprise class functionality with ease of use and is integrated with Vena for budgeting and planning
  • Planful – the former Host Analytics has always had a very capable midmarket consolidation solution coupled with easy to use planning

There are also solutions targeting the larger company market that have seen success in the midmarket: OneStream Software and Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Tagetik are two of the best.

The performance management market continues to grow and evolve. We’ll continue to stay on top of it and keep you informed with everything you need to know for your own project. If you would like to discuss midmarket planning and consolidation solutions, or anything else performance management related, you can reach us here.

Further Reading: Fluence Acquires XLCubed, Hg Acquires Majority Stake in Prophix, 10 Key Requirements for Next Level Financial Consolidation, Leveraging Financial Consolidation to Manage Through Uncertainty

The Top Rated Budgeting, Planning and Consolidation Solutions for 2021

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

This year’s BPM Pulse Research Study (survey, if you prefer) found a higher than usual level of customer satisfaction with performance management vendors. It’s possible that the pandemic economy played a role in this. Data from the BPM Pulse indicated that 96% of companies who had a performance management system in place found it somewhat or very helpful in managing through the economic challenges of the past year. That much needed assistance may have earned the vendors additional praise from their customers this year.

Now in its eighteenth year, BPM Partners’ BPM Pulse is the longest running survey of trends and customer satisfaction relating to budgeting, financial and operational planning, modeling, forecasting, consolidation, reporting and analytics, and performance dashboards (collectively referred to as performance management). Over the years thousands of companies have relied on these ratings as part of their vendor selection evaluation criteria, ultimately impacting purchase decisions for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of performance management solutions.

Now it’s time to acknowledge the top tier of vendors that earned the highest overall satisfaction ratings from their customers in 2021. You can learn more about them including their actual numeric rating, industry success, current offering information, latest news, analyst reviews, articles, blogs,  and current job openings by clicking on their name which will take you to their PerformancePlace page on this site.

 

These vendors received an Overall rating from their customers of 4.75 or above, out of 5.

The list is organized by target market and is in alphabetical order.

 

Target Market: Enterprise

OneStream Software

Target Market: Midmarket

deFacto Global

Fluence Technologies

Place Technology

Planful

Synario

XLerant

 

These vendors received an Overall rating from their customers in the range of 4.50 to 4.74, out of 5.

The list is organized by target market and is in alphabetical order.

 

Target Market: Enterprise

Anaplan

Wolters Kluwer (CCH Tagetik)

Target Market: Midmarket

Acterys

Jedox

Prophix

Unit4

Bonus: Top Rated Vendors (4.50 – 5.00) by Functionality:

PerformancePlace Filter: Top Rated for Budgeting and Planning

PerformancePlace Filter: Top Rated for Consolidation

You can add additional filters to sort these Top Rated vendors by target market, price range, and more.

For each vendor’s complete chart of 15 detailed BPM Pulse ratings, plus Recommendation Rate, read the 2021 Vendor Landscape Matrix report, or request free Vendor Snapshots.

The Performance Management Gold Rush

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Updated July 2021

Overview

Casual observers have probably noticed some of the new investments made in the performance management space this year. As dedicated followers of the space we have tracked almost all of them, and the volume (both number of deals and total dollars) in such a short period of time is truly astonishing. This is nothing new for performance management as we have seen similar hot streaks in the past, but the number of vendors involved, the deal size, and the valuations take it to a new level.

Deals

Let’s start by summarizing the deals and their key attributes.

 

Vendor (links to PerformancePlace)  Date of Deal (links to announcement)  Dollars (* our estimate)  Type    Notes
Jedox January 2021 $100 million + Private equity
Prophix January 2021 $400-$500 million* Majority investment
Board March 2021 Not disclosed Ownership expansion Added new CEO
Cube March 2021 $10 million Series A New Vendor
Unit4 March 2021 $2.1 billion Buyout ERP/FP&A vendor
DataRails April 2021 $18.5 million Series A New vendor
OneStream April 2021 $200 million Series B $6 billion valuation
Vena April 2021 $300 million Series C
Fluence May 2021 $10 million Series A Added new CEO
insightsoftware July 2021 $1 billion Minority investment $4 billion valuation

That’s over $4 billion invested in performance management vendors in just the first 7 months of the year! While the big dollars went to established vendors, there are a number of newer vendors getting funded as well. One of the most interesting things to note here is that OneStream’s latest round values it at $6 billion dollars. The acquisitions of two major vendors I was part of didn’t come close to that valuation. Oracle picked up Hyperion for a little more than half that amount, and SAP’s purchase of OutlookSoft was significantly less.

Analysis

So, what’s driving this ‘gold rush’ in the performance management space? Success. This is not some buzzy new technology, although the fact that all of these vendors started in the cloud or have moved their product and market focus there certainly helps. Performance management systems are mission-critical front office business software solutions. They have benefited from two major trends: Finance transformation, and the need for greater agility necessitated by the challenging business climate caused by the pandemic. While many businesses struggled this past year, just about every performance management vendor we have spoken with achieved or exceeded their pre-pandemic budget targets.

With money flowing and demand increasing many new vendors have recently entered the space. In addition, existing vendors around the periphery have rebranded and repositioned to take advantage of the opportunities related to performance management. Some of these newer or relaunched vendors include the already mentioned Cube, Fluence, and DataRails, as well as Acterys, Place, OnPlan, MYGIDE, BankBI, Synario, Quantrix, Limelight, and Jirav.

What does this all mean for prospective purchasers of these products? The larger vendors will use their new investments to expand their offerings as well as their geographic reach. The newer vendors will build out their product suites and invest in sales and marketing. This will result in a great selection of solutions to choose from, in fact possibly the widest range of options that has ever existed in this space. While it all sounds wonderful, not all is rosy. We have recently met with every vendor mentioned here and more. For established vendors who haven’t’ recently raised funds it may get more challenging to compete with vendors flush with cash. For some of the newer vendors, as you might expect, their marketing messages are a little ahead of their current product realities. Hopefully it will all settle out over time. With great choices, comes great responsibility: it is more important than ever to do your homework and make sure you choose the best solution for your organization.

 

Profitability Analytics Center of Excellence

Larry R. White, Advisory Board, Profitability Analytics Center of Excellence

Highly effective internal decision support information is the key to long-term profitability by maintaining or expanding the role of accounting and finance in companies for today’s highly connected, digital, and data-rich environment.  The Profitability Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE) builds on Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) Statements on Management Accounting (SMAs) that are developed by its members, including The Profitability Analytics Framework, Conceptual Framework for Managerial Costing, and Revenue Management Fundamentals.  PACE seeks to design and support end-to-end processes that are tied to strategic planning while building on traditional ROI elements – Revenue, Operations/Cost, and Investment.  The PACE approach to traditional ROI elements is adapted to today’s business environment by incorporating a data-analytics focus, Industry 4.0 trends, and tangible and intangible investments.

PACE is a not-for-profit organization that works to advance management accounting and thought leadership to ensure the profession is prepared for a future that is focused on creating value and insights, standing in contrast to traditional historical reporting.  PACE is committed to helping the accounting profession move beyond historically-oriented financial reporting models and move aggressively toward models that reflect cause and effect for internal decision support and the real economics faced by companies in fast-moving markets.

PACE addresses issues like:

  • Why is finance and accounting’s cost information ignored? What’s wrong?
  • What are the indicators needed by organizations for new and improved cost systems?
  • How can accounting and finance more effectively engage in revenue management processes?
  • Why is traditional depreciation misleading? What a good alternative?
  • How to develop and deploy affective models for internal decision support information?
  • And more…

The PACE website contains information about our program and reference materials to assist your efforts to improve internal decision support.  It also has a forum for discussion and questions. PACE also maintains an active LinkedIn page that supports discussion and routinely announces PACE activities, such as our monthly webinar. PACE webinars are recorded on the Profitability Analytics YouTube Channel.

Written by PACE Directors:  Larry R. White, CMA, CFM, CSCA, CPA; Douglas Hicks, CPA; Gary Cokins; and Monte Swain, PhD, CPA, CMA, CGMA.

For assistance with your own profitability and operational analytics efforts learn more about BPM Partners’ offerings in this area.

Hg Acquires Majority Stake in Prophix

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

The trend of significant investments in the performance management space continues into 2021. It was announced last week that Hg, a global investment firm with a focus on software and service businesses, has taken a majority ownership stake in Prophix, a successful midmarket focused performance management vendor.  The first question people usually ask when they hear about these acquisitions is: how much did they pay? It has not been publicly disclosed and I’m not one to spread rumors, so you’ll have to do your own research to find the answer to that question. From what we‘ve heard though, the investment does indicate a fairly significant valuation of the company. The second round of questions that people often ask includes: how will this impact the vendor and their customers, prospects, and competitors? Those questions are much easier for us to answer.

Prophix

Prophix has been around for over 30 years and has over 1,600 customers. More importantly, they have a solid product with a broad range of capabilities that supports both financial and operational planning and reporting. We have met with the team many times over the years and they are very focused and know exactly where they are going. They are also highly thought of by their customers. In fact, our own BPM Pulse Survey confirms the high levels of satisfaction they have achieved (see their current BPM Pulse rating here). The main knock we have heard about them is that they are overly cautious and risk-averse. That’s interesting because that can also describe their target customer in Finance. This may explain why several of their prospects have told us they felt a greater cultural kinship with Prophix than with the other vendors they were considering. This slow and steady approach does sometimes have a cost though. They were late to the party with a cloud-based solution and may have missed out on some opportunities, but in the end they did ultimately deliver a well-received solution.

The Competitive Landscape

The midmarket performance management space is the place to be. In the past year we personally were involved in many deals in the space, even in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, the economic environment may have caused some companies to toss their spreadsheets or legacy systems sooner than planned. From a midmarket vendor perspective, the landscape has evolved over the years. Up until fairly recently Adaptive Planning (Adaptive Insights) dominated this market segment. Since their acquisition by Workday that has changed. While they are still included in many midmarket deals, our experience is that they don’t end up as a finalist as often as they used to. Some of this is due to the fact that they are often the most expensive midmarket vendor in the deal. In addition, they appear to be self-selecting for deals that will also include other Workday solutions. This of course makes perfect sense, but results in them focusing on a subset of opportunities. Other vendors have swooped in to fill the gap and there is now  a good array of top-rated solutions to choose from. This space is also about to get even more competitive. Some new venture-backed vendors (see Jirav and PlaceCPM as just two examples) have entered this market in the past year or two and are focused on the lower end of the midmarket. They don’t intend to stay there forever, and as they flesh out their product sets they plan to move up into the core midmarket performance management space.

Impacts of the Deal

We met with Hg several times last year and provided our research to them as part of their due diligence process. We believe they have a good understanding of the space, the opportunities as well as the challenges, and are in it for the long haul. Based on the structure of the deal as we understand it, Prophix employees had an opportunity to participate as well. So, from a Prophix perspective it looks like they found a knowledgeable investor that will help them grow the product set, the team, and their global footprint. With their product and team they were already in a good position to do battle, but sometimes you just need more resources. This is especially true when you consider that competitors Planful (formerly Host Analytics) and Vena Solutions had recent infusions of capital as well, and just this week Jedox also joined in.

From a customer and prospect perspective there seems to be little risk, only potential upside. With more funds Prophix can accelerate the rollout of new product features, expand customer support offerings, open offices in more locations, add more voices to the user community, and perhaps even acquire a complementary product.

For competitors there may be a valid concern that this will make Prophix an even stronger foe, but on the other hand this new investment is further confirmation that there is significant growth still to come in this market segment. From what we have seen in just the past year we are confident there will be continued growth and more than enough opportunities for all the key midmarket players to prosper.

 

The Best Midmarket Budgeting and Planning Solutions for 2020

Top Rated Midmarket Vendors

 

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

The midmarket has historically been underserved when it comes to having a wide range of top-rated and robust options for budgeting, planning, and reporting (also known as performance management: BPM, CPM, or EPM). Midmarket Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) managers have struggled to find an Excel replacement that is easy to use, cost-effective, yet comprehensive in terms of its functionality. That is no longer the case. Today there are many good solutions available that target this market segment. Existing midmarket vendors have enhanced their offerings with new capabilities, while at the same time making them easier to use.  Other vendors who had previously only focused on larger companies have now made their full-featured solutions available to this market as well. Lastly, new vendors (either brand new or new to the North American market) have also been added to the mix. If you are a midmarket organization (US$ 50 million to US$ 1 billion) and are looking for a budgeting, forecasting, planning, reporting, or financial consolidation system you now have a large number of viable options to choose from.

The following list is based on three key criteria:

  • Vendors offering products that are designed and priced for midmarket companies
  • Vendors receiving top “overall satisfaction” marks from their customers (4.5 or higher out of 5 in our 2020 BPM Pulse Research Study)
  • Validation in BPM Partners’ field work with hundreds of FP&A departments selecting and successfully deploying budgeting, planning, and reporting solutions from these vendors

Top-Rated Midmarket Budgeting, Planning, and Reporting Solutions for 2020:

Note: Clicking on each vendor’s name will take you to their PerformancePlace page which will display their overall BPM Pulse rating, latest developments, resources, analyst reviews, and even job openings.

In alphabetical order:

deFacto Global – a Microsoft-based FP&A solution that handles complexity, leverages AI, and integrates business intelligence for additional capabilities

Jedox – complete FP&A focused offering with an Excel UI, coupled with business intelligence and an extensible platform and library of supplemental applications

Planful – robust planning solution with powerful modeling and consolidation capabilities and a dynamic interface tailored to user role

Prophix – comprehensive financial and operational planning solution that selectively leverages AI, with low TCO

Vena Solutions – pairs Excel with a full FP&A solution that turns the spreadsheet into a secure, centrally -controlled, and extensible platform linked to a visual workflow engine

XLerant – easy to use budgeting and planning solution with a unique wizard-driven interface and low TCO

Bonus Top-Rated Vendors:

Although these vendors don’t focus primarily on the midmarket, they have been successful in this segment by offering additional capabilities.

CCH Tagetik – for more complex needs this budgeting, planning, and consolidation solution is highly-scalable and supports global regulatory requirements

Syntellis Performance Solutions – this vendor focuses exclusively on budgeting, planning, and reporting for healthcare, higher education, and financial institutions and provides value added content and data

If you would like to learn more about any of these vendors, or find out why some well-known names are missing, speak with one of our experts. For detailed BPM Pulse vendor ratings (overall plus 15 attributes)  read the 2020 Vendor Landscape Matrix report, or request free Vendor Snapshots.

Two New and Noteworthy Performance Management Vendors

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

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.

Fluence Technologies

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.

Longview Acquired by insightsoftware

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

It was just announced that insightsoftware, a leading financial reporting vendor, acquired Longview, a leading planning, consolidation, analytics, and tax vendor. Both companies have a global presence and successfully address the needs of thousands of customers. What’s behind this deal and is it  good for customers of the two companies and the industry at large? Let’s dig a little deeper.

insightsoftware, backed by TA Associates, Genstar Capital, and ST6 Partners has grown largely by acquisition. Prior to this latest acquisition they already had a sizeable portfolio of products with overlapping functionality that address various aspects of performance management. The way they turn this potential weakness into a strength is through their unique go-to-market strategy. insightsoftware takes a multi-pronged approach to the market. Firstly, as some vendors who target multiple market segments do, they have a different strategy for selling to the midmarket than they do for reaching enterprise prospects. Where they are relatively unique though, is that they actually sell different products to these market segments to address the same requirements. They even take it a step further and have products that are optimized for specific ERPs. Here is what it looks like:

You might be saying to yourself what could they possibly be missing? Well, if they really want to be a major player in the performance management market they could use an enterprise-class cloud-based planning and budgeting solution, financial consolidation, and tax provisioning and reporting which is a growing area. Longview just happens to fill these gaps with Longview Plan (formerly Tidemark), Longview Close, Longview Tax, and Longview Analytics (formerly arcplan). Now the analytics piece may be one overlap too many and we’ll have to see how that plays out. Otherwise though the acquisition fills key gaps in their portfolio.

What’s in this for Longview? Unfortunately, while they had a strong product set Longview lost some momentum in the core performance management market in the past few years, although the Tax offering has continued to be successful. Longview was distracted by significant integration work as a result of the arcplan and Tidemark acquisitions as well as having to deal with senior management turnover. This acquisition can hopefully breathe new life into the Longview offerings which will benefit their customers as well as the performance market in general.

With insightsoftware’s strategy of selling different products to different market segments they may not need to do significant integration work with Longview and their existing portfolio, at least in the short-term. Common look and feel may be an area of focus though for products that may be purchased together.

As an analyst in the performance management space I have followed Longview for years and have been impressed with their products, specifically the ability to handle complexity as well as to process large data volumes with better performance than many competitors. I have only recently met with insightsoftware, but was pleasantly surprised by how well their executives understood the challenges of the Office of the CFO and what was required to address their needs. So, I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic that this will turn out well for all concerned. Well, maybe not for the salespeople who will now have an even larger product grid to analyze before they can figure out which product(s) they should be leading with. Although if this positively impacts deal size and revenues I’m sure they won’t mind in the end.

Host Analytics Becomes Planful

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

The Name Change

Last week Host Analytics announced a name change to Planful. Why you ask? After nearly 20 years they felt the name Host Analytics had outlived its usefulness in describing their business.  As for their choice of Planful as a replacement let me allow their CEO to explain: “Planful is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘full of plans’ — organized, systematic, thoughtful. We felt there was no better word to describe our customers’ mindsets, aligning well with the type of impact we can help them achieve in their organizations.”

While I have heard people comment on the name – at a quick glance it can look like Painful or Playful, neither of which you would want to be associated with planning, they miss the bigger picture. This is about a relatively new CEO preparing his company for its next stage of growth. They have a new logo  designed to stand out from the pack (see below), a fine-tuned vision, and most importantly: a new senior team to drive the company forward.

The Vision

Their vision is to enable Planful clients to  quickly and confidently make financial decisions both large and small. It is important to note that their focus on planning and decision-making doesn’t lessen the role of financial consolidation – streamlined closing cycles and reliable reporting are critical to the entire process.

Our Take

We have always believed Host Analytics/Planful has one of the most capable native cloud budgeting and planning solutions. Their consistently high customer satisfaction ratings in our annual BPM Pulse survey confirm this. In recent years with innovations such as ‘MyPlan’  they have greatly enhanced their ease of use, which is a top priority for performance management buyers. On the financial consolidation side they have perhaps the most robust solution in their target market. With the additional financing provided by Vector Capital last year, new energy in the senior management ranks, their solid product set, and this modest new re-branding effort, we think Planful is well positioned to expand its role as one of the key performance management solution providers.