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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.

Findings from the 2019 BPM Pulse Survey

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

While most people focus on the individual vendor customer satisfaction ratings that are part of our annual BPM Pulse survey, they tend to gloss over the other useful information that makes up the bulk of the survey. Let’s highlight some of those key findings that would otherwise be overlooked.

The Three Main Reasons Products are Selected Over Alternatives

When asked why they purchased the performance management vendor they did, one answer rose to the top, regardless of which vendor they actually selected: Product Flexibility. This of course assumes that the product also met their business requirements. All other things being equal  though flexibility was a key selection criteria. In second and third place respectively were Ease of Use and Scalability/Complexity Handling. If a product is flexible, easy to use, and can handle large, complex problems it should come out on top more often than not. The problem is some easy to use products are not very flexible, nor can they handle big challenges. On the other hand, some very flexible products that can handle anything thrown their way are not as easy to use as they should be.

Dashboards Are Not Meeting Expectations

Survey respondents were asked to rate their own vendor’s functionality in several areas: budgeting, reporting, consolidation, analytics, and dashboards. One clear trend emerged – regardless of the vendor, dashboards received comparatively low ratings across the board. Why is that? The survey data didn’t provide much additional insight, but we know from our field work what the general complaints have been. Customers are looking for more interactive dashboard solutions (as opposed to the static Executive Information Systems of days gone by). They want to be able to drill down as many levels as it takes to understand why a particular metric fell short of the target. They want to be able to insert commentary to explain variances. They want the dashboards to be even more visual and intuitive. Based on the survey results there is clearly work to be done here.

Performance Management Solutions are Sticky

When asked how much longer they were planning to keep their current performance management solution 80% of respondents said they had no plans to change. This is consistent with another question which asked ‘what is the useful life of a performance management solution?’ and a third of respondents said 9 years or more (and another third said 6-8 years).  A couple of takeaways a) these systems must be doing something right to have so few purchasers expecting to change any time soon (or it is so painful to change that  it may just be easier to stick with a sub-optimal solution), and b) you better make sure you get the right solution because whether it is for good reasons or bad, you will be living with it for years to come.

Want to see more results? Get your own copy of the 80-page 2019 BPM Pulse Survey Results whitepaper.

Top Rated Performance Management Vendors 2019

Craig Schiff , President and CEO, BPM Partners

Overview

We have been running the BPM Pulse survey for 16 years now. What I find most amazing is the consistency of results from year to year. When we ask questions such as ‘which components of performance management are you focused on?’, the number one answer year in year out has been ‘budgeting’. Similarly, questions about the key drivers of the initiative always end up with ‘improve management reporting’ somewhere near the top. There are of course questions that have seen dramatic changes in responses over the years such as ‘would you consider a cloud-based performance management system?’. The ‘no’ answers have virtually disappeared.

Vendor Ratings

While the survey contains many questions about performance management itself, the section where customers rate their vendors garners the most attention. It too has been largely consistent over the years. Highly rated vendors tend to remain highly rated vendors, mid-rated vendors tend to stay mid-rated, and low-rated vendors mostly continue to be low-rated, although some have moved up into the mid-rated category (perhaps after taking corrective action upon seeing their lower ratings). To make things interesting this year we have added some new rating categories. What used to be just a single rating for ‘product functionality’ has been broken into five ratings: ‘budgeting functionality’, ‘consolidation functionality’, ‘reporting functionality’, ‘dashboard functionality’, and ‘analytics functionality’. We are already seeing meaningful results. Even the most highly-rated vendors are not getting high marks across the board. This new level of detail will enable buyers to select vendors based specifically on the satisfaction ratings in the areas most important to their business requirements. In addition, we have been surprised by the fact that in one of these functional areas none of the vendors received high scores.

Top Rated vendors received a customer rating of 4.5 or better out of 5.0 in the category listed.

Top Rated Vendors for 2019 in Key Categories

Overall: XLerant, OneStream, Vena, Jedox, Longview, Host Analytics, Prophix

Budgeting/Planning Functionality: XLerant, Vena, Jedox, Adaptive Insights, Centage, IBM, Prophix, OneStream

Financial Consolidation Functionality: OneStream, Vena, CCH Tagetik, Host Analytics, BOARD, Axiom Software, Jedox, Prophix

Ease of Use: XLerant, OneStream, Vena, Jedox, CCH Tagetik

Finance Self-Sufficiency: Vena, Host Analytics, OneStream, XLerant

To see additional customer ratings for these vendors and others watch the on demand Pulse 2019 webcast, read the 2019 Vendor Landscape Matrix report, or request free Vendor Snapshots.