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Craig Schiff

I am very excited about this opportunity to share my perspectives and experience in my BeyeNETWORK Blog. For those of you who may not have read my articles and newsletters over the past few years, I hope you will appreciate a vendor-independent perspective on all things related to Business Performance Management (BPM). I focus on key topics organizations should consider throughout their BPM project lifecycle, from early stage requirements definition and justification, key measure development, vendor selection and finally, successful deployment and rollout. Of course, market trends and vendor updates will also be part of the mix. Please stop by on a regular basis to see what's new, and to make this interactive, please share your opinions. If you have a specific question, contact me directly at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

About the author >

Craig, President and CEO of BPM Partners, is a pioneer in business performance management (BPM). Craig helped create and define the field as it evolved from business intelligence and analytic applications into BPM. He has worked with BPM and related technologies for more than 20 years, first as a founding member at IMRS/Hyperion Software (now Hyperion Solutions) and later cofounded OutlookSoft where he was President and CEO.

Craig is a frequent author on BPM topics and monthly columnist for the BeyeNETWORK. He has led several jointly produced webcasts with Business Finance Magazine including "Beyond the Hype: The Truth about BPM Vendors," the three-part vendor review entitled "BPM Xpo" and "BPM 101: Navigating the Treacherous Waters of Business Performance Management." He is a recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. BPM Partners is a vendor-independent professional services firm focused exclusively on BPM, providing expertise that helps companies successfully evaluate and deploy BPM systems. Craig can be reached at cschiff@bpmpartners.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Craig's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Vendor News and Notes Category

When Longview Solutions was acquired by Marlin Equity last summer they expressed excitement that they could now focus on both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Last week they announced their first strategic acquisition. It was actually positioned as a merger between Longview Solutions, a Canadian performance management vendor, and arcplan, a German business intelligence and performance management vendor.

On paper at least, the deal makes a lot of sense. Longview is strong in North America and arcplan is strong in Europe and Asia. Longview offers robust budgeting, planning, consolidation, tax planning, and financial reporting. arcplan offers powerful analytics, data visualization, data integration, and performance dashboards. As we mentioned in our predictions for 2015, adding analytics and data visualization to performance management application suites is a key requirement. Vendors have approached this challenge in different ways. IBM, SAP, and Oracle all offer both performance management and business intelligence capabilities that were developed in-house or acquired over the years. Adaptive Insights acquired myDials several years ago so it could do the same. Host Analytics packages Birst BI with its performance management applications. Tidemark focused on analytics and data visualization right out of the gate alongside budgeting capabilities and later consolidation. This move by Longview is beneficial to customers and essential to stay competitive.

Now to the challenges. Having been through a less than pleasant East Coast/West Coast U.S. merger myself while at Hyperion, I have to wonder about the merging of a 20+ year old German company with a 20+ year old Canadian company, both successful and both probably fairly set in their ways because of that success. There is also the matter of product integration. On top of that there is some significant product overlap. arcplan Edge, although it has not had much traction in the U.S.,  appears to target the same FP&A need for budgeting and planning applications as Longview does. There are clearly some tough decisions to be made.

The net of it though is that the challenges can be addressed, the reasoning behind the merger is sound, and the end result is definitely a stronger competitor in the performance management space. We have not heard enough details yet to determine the short-term impact on customers and prospects other than that both companies will continue to sell their existing product sets for the foreseeable future. We'll post an update when we learn more.

Posted April 6, 2015 2:14 PM
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Longview Solutions, one of our 'core performance management vendors for 2014', has been acquired by Marlin Equity Partners.  Their previous parent, Exact Holding, had purchased them in 2007 and let them run fairly independently. However, as often happens with acquisitions anticipated synergies never materialized and strategies changed. Exact ended up placing Longview into a Specialized Solutions group with other non-core businesses and essentially started looking for a buyer. During this period of time there were constraints around business changes Longview could make and limited funds available to invest in new opportunities. With their acquisition last week by Marlin, all that has changed. Marlin Equity sees Longview as a platform for growth in the performance management space and plans to invest in organic growth as well as strategic acquisitions.

We view this a net positive for Longview and its customers. For quite some time now Longview has been doing fairly well in spite of  its position within Exact.  With Marlin at the helm we expect to see much more activity and a more aggressive Longview Solutions.  This should also lead to an expanded product portfolio. Let's not forget though that the  likely goal of Marlin, like most private equity firms, is to invest in and grow the business so they can ultimately sell it or take it public. This is certainly several years down the road,  but something for prospective purchasers to be aware of.

Posted July 7, 2014 12:02 PM
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We just announced our annual list of core vendors for performance management. While dozens of vendors lay claim to the space, this list identifies the real players that are winning deals, and more importantly, being successfully implemented. In addition, we also name our 'Best New Vendor(s) of the Year' and 'One to Watch'. These are up and comers that will most likely show up in the core list a year or two down the road.

Core Vendors for 2014: Adaptive Insights, Axiom EPM, Centage, Host Analytics, IBM Cognos, Longview, Oracle, Prophix, SAP, Tagetik, Tidemark, Vena Solutions

Best New Vendors: deFacto Global, Decisyon

One to Watch: OneStream Software

To see what each vendor offers along with their customer satisfaction ratings, you can watch the replay of the webcast where we announced these lists: The Pulse of Performance Management 2014.

In addition, we also share the results of our annual BPM Pulse survey that looks at the intersection of performance management and technology. This year we included research on use of mobile, cloud, big data, collaboration, and predictive analytics with performance management solutions.


Posted June 2, 2014 7:34 AM
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Another acquisition in the performance management space, but this one  doesn't lead to consolidation. Kaufman Hall, a management consulting company focused primarily on financial performance management in healthcare organizations, has acquired Axiom EPM, a leading performance management software provider. We think overall this a net positive for Axiom EPM, its customers, employees, and performance management prospects.


- Bigger company

- Deeper financial backing

- Synergies with performance management consulting practice

- Clear leader in healthcare


- Loss of key talent: some founders will be leaving, but most of the current management team will remain in place.

- Loss of focus on non-healthcare business: management assures us this is definitely not the case. As a matter of fact, they believe things will go the other way - this acquisition will enable  Kaufman Hall  to expand its focus beyond  healthcare.

As with all acquisitions, only time will tell how it all works out. Based on what we know today our advice:

- For current  Axiom customers: sit tight, with Axiom EPM's reputation for outstanding customer satisfaction we don't think they are going to change now and start neglecting their customers. In addition, unlike many other performance management acquisitions, the purchaser (Kaufman Hall) does not own any similar software that they would want to migrate Axiom customers to. So, we expect that the product will continue to be supported and enhanced.

- For Axiom prospects: proceed with your evaluation. The company is now bigger and stronger than in the past, with the same software, and most of the same team. While we  believe this makes Axiom a stronger option for all companies, the biggest upside right now is clearly for healthcare organizations who should move Axiom to the top of their list of vendors to consider.

Axiom EPM will become a wholly owned subsidiary and be known as Axiom EPM, a Kaufman Hall company.


Posted April 23, 2014 6:56 AM
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On Monday there were two significant performance management announcements. First, Adaptive Planning announced its acquisition of myDIALS. Adaptive Planning has been a pioneer in the delivery of cost-effective, easy to use performance management in the cloud. The best indicator of how successful they have been is their #1 rating in our annual vendor customer satisfaction survey. We have also been following myDIALS for several years and have been impressed with their easily personalized operational dashboards. This acquisition extends Adaptive Planning's offerings from budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and data visualization into true operational analytics. When they introduce financial consolidation capabilities at some point in the future they will have covered all the performance management bases and will have an offering that equals or exceeds what many of their on-premise competitors offer.

Also on Monday SAP announced their first cloud-based performance management offerings. This certainly validates the move to cloud-based solutions in this area and may help some larger organizations begin to take this approach more seriously. SAP's initial focus is on expense analysis, P&L analysis, and capital planning. While it is certainly a step in the right direction the limited scope of the initial release will also limit its appeal. For existing SAP performance management customers it might be an easy way to add new capabilities. Right now though for anyone looking for a comprehensive cloud-based performance management suite there are better alternatives.

Speaking of those alternatives, they haven't been sitting still either. In addition to Adaptive Planning, two other broad-based performance management cloud solutions have had some major news of their own this year. Earlier this year Host Analytics partnered with Birst to add business intelligence and analytic capabilities to its already fairly comprehensive offering. Just last month, Tidemark announced the general availability of their next generation HTML5-based mobile/cloud/big data/analytics-based performance management suite.

With several solid cloud-based performance management solutions now available, the question becomes - is the demand there? The answer based on our own BPM Pulse 2012 survey results is an unequivocal 'yes'. For the first time more than half the respondents (57%) said they would consider a cloud-based solution, and the numbers were even higher for smaller companies. In addition, of those that said 'no' to the cloud for now, 76% said that may change over time.

In the end this is all great news for performance management buyers. They have more and better cloud choices than at any other point in time, in addition to many solid on-premise options as well. 

Posted September 12, 2012 1:31 PM
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