Blog: 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 Copyright 2016 Tue, 22 Dec 2015 10:10:54 -0700 Three Predictions for Performance Management in 2016  

The trends for 2015 we identified a year ago have largely come to pass and continue to be a factor in the performance management space. We believe the three new trends described below will have a significant impact on performance management in 2016.


Combination of BPM and BI

 This is a natural progression as users of performance management (BPM) systems are demanding more and better analytics and starting to request predictive analytics specifically. Their needs now go beyond just dashboards and data visualization.  In addition, IT executives involved in BPM vendor selection projects are looking for BI to address custom use cases related to the core data in the system. What this leads to is a preference for performance management vendors that also offer integrated and robust business intelligence capabilities. While all vendors offer some BI-like functionality and most are built on a platform of BI tools, the need is for access to more complete and exposed BI functionality.

The vendors that benefit most from this trend are those that have acquired or partnered as resellers with BI vendors. These include Adaptive Insights (with Adaptive Discovery based on their myDials acquisition), Centage (with Analytics Maestro based on their BI-Metrix acquisition), Host Analytics with their Birst partnership, Longview with their  arcplan merger, and Tagetik with their Qlik relationship. Of course IBM, Oracle, and SAP have significant BI offerings they can bundle in with their performance management solutions as well.


Cloud as the Standard

 We have now reached the point where cloud has become the default deployment option in most performance management deals. At BPM Partners we did not encounter a single deal this year where the cloud option was off the table. Every customer we worked with was open to the cloud and the majority had it as their preference. In some instances they would only consider an on-premise solution if it had significantly better pricing or functionality when compared to the cloud-based alternatives. Recognizing this trend a number of vendors have been re-architecting for the cloud, those with multiple deployment options have been leading with the cloud, and even the largest vendors have introduced new cloud-based performance management offerings. We doubt that we will see any vendors left that don't offer a cloud option by the end of 2016.

Vendors that benefit most from this trend include the cloud-based performance management pioneers Adaptive Insights and Host Analytics, as well as the newer cloud vendors focused on large enterprises - Anaplan and Tidemark, and XLerant focused on smaller organizations. Tagetik and Vena Solutions have largely moved away from their on-premise options (unless pressed) and now lead with their cloud versions. SAP and Oracle Hyperion have introduced new native cloud planning solutions in the past year as well.


Availability of Pre-Built Solutions

This is a trend that has really been picking up steam. The idea is to pre-package specific processes or industry-specific needs so as to reduce the time and effort required to configure your new performance management system. The offerings are referred to by many different names. They include: blueprints, shell systems, templates, best practices, apps, starter kits, accelerators, solutions, etc. They have one primary goal - to demonstrate how to set-up the system to accomplish a specific task or series of tasks, and in so doing to reduce the time and cost involved in implementation,  shorten the time to payback, and ultimately lower the total cost of ownership. Those benefits help to explain why numerous vendors have recently introduced their own versions of these pre-packaged solution sets.

Vendors that benefit most from this trend include IBM Cognos who led the way with their blueprints, Anaplan with their application models, deFacto Global by including pre-built functionality unique to particular industries in the core product itself, Longview with their Smart Client apps and pre-packaged content, OneStream Software with their self-service app store, and Tidemark with their packaged processes. There are three other vendors with unique approaches worth noting. While most of these packages are free Adaptive Insights charges for theirs. The reason is that to make their solution more useful they bundle in some best practice consulting time. AxiomEPM does something similar by bundling in embedded best practices in the form of management consulting delivering what they call 'software with a point-of-view'. On the other end of the spectrum from these pre-packaged solution sets is Altius. Instead of providing templates for you to follow or bundling in some expert consulting they go quite a bit further. They bundle in all the consulting you may require to customize their product for your particular needs at no additional cost.


While there were many other trends we observed in 2015 that will continue into 2016 we think these three are the most significant. They will help reshape the vendor landscape once again creating new leaders and laggards, and therefore should be taken into consideration when you evaluate solutions.

]]> Top Trends Tue, 22 Dec 2015 10:10:54 -0700
Longview arcplan Merger 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.

]]> Vendor News and Notes Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:14:23 -0700
Five Predictions for Performance Management in 2015 It's that time of year again when we are  pressed to make predictions about the next steps in the evolution of our chosen field of expertise. I feel very confident about this year's predictions, and many trends noted below are already in progress. If I missed anything major or you disagree with my assessments, feel  free to add a comment.

            Ease of Use

After many years of adding new capabilities today's performance management products are feature-rich, but more complex, and therefore somewhat more difficult to use. We expect to see more of a focus in the coming year on ease of use, which will lead to greater adoption. How is ease of use accomplished? By redesigning user interfaces to be more intuitive, and to speak the language of the end user, not IT. Unified all in one solutions are also important to ease of use by providing a single interface to learn and reducing the need to move and maintain data amongst several standalone modules. We have seen certain buyers making ease of use their top purchasing criteria. This is specifically true in the higher education vertical, as well as midmarket companies in general.


Vendors leading this trend: XLerant, whose primary selling point is its wizard-driven front-end,  Longview, OneStream, and Tagetik who provide powerful, but unified solutions, and AxiomEPM who offers industry-specific solutions that speak the language of the users.


Embracing MS Office


Since many companies are trying to move away from spreadsheet-based systems, vendors  have interpreted this to mean they are looking to get as far away as possible from spreadsheets themselves as well as other Office tools. This is simply not the case. These companies are looking to move to a real industrial-strength system, but there is still an important role for the familiar and powerful Office tools. As a matter of fact, in our most recent BPM Pulse survey 79% of users said they still planned to use spreadsheets even after implementing a new performance management system. So, what's the answer for vendors? Embrace Office documents. Tie them to a centrally controlled and secure system, but let users take advantage of their interface of choice. They can leverage their familiarity with these tools, take advantage of advanced and flexible functions that may not exist yet in their performance management applications, and maintain compatibility with existing models they have built over the years.


Vendors leading this trend: Vena Solutions utilizes Excel as its primary user interface and has seen significant momentum in the market because of this design choice. deFacto Global and Altius have taken a similar approach. Adaptive Insights released its OfficeConnect solution to great fanfare this year which lets users update Office documents with Adaptive Insights data in real time. Host Analytics took a different approach with its AirliftXL capability which lets users move models created in Excel into native Host Analytics models with minimal effort.


      Analytics and Data Visualization


With the large amounts of data that have been collected in performance management systems, there needs to be a better way to understand the story behind the numbers. Standard reports, and even dashboards, are fine for the monthly reporting package. Those users in Finance that typically receive these reports are familiar with them and can easily find what they are looking for. As performance management systems spread throughout the company they reach a more diverse end user community. For those users to understand what they are looking at they need the information presented in a way that is more graphical, more intuitive, and more interactive. Even in Finance, if they are being charged with improving forecast accuracy they need better tools, such as predictive analytics.


Vendors leading this trend: The big vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and IBM have an arsenal of business intelligence (BI) tools that they can apply to their performance management solutions. Other vendors such as Tidemark have developed their own robust  analytics and data visualization capabilities. Still other performance management vendors have acquired/licensed and incorporated BI solutions into their performance management offerings. Examples are Adaptive Insights with myDials, Centage with BI Metrix, and Host Analytics with Birst.




This term has been thrown around for years. For most vendors it has meant something straightforward and simple such as being able to attach a document to a budget submission to help explain things to anyone reviewing the submission. Other vendors focused on collaboration in the last mile of finance: disclosure management. While this is all fine and useful, it didn't go far enough.  According to the most recent BPM Pulse survey users want collaborative capabilities across all areas of performance management: budgeting, forecasting, strategic planning, consolidation, performance reporting, etc. They also want a range of collaboration features: the aforementioned document sharing, but also submission, review and feedback workflow, insertion of text commentary in reports and dashboards, notifications and alerts, and in-context threaded discussions. As performance management has reached wider and deeper across the organization these capabilities have taken on added importance.


Vendors leading this trend: Decisyon makes collaborative decision-making the focus of its performance management offering.  Adaptive Insights, Host Analytics, Longview, OneStream, Tagetik, Tidemark,  SAP, IBM, and Oracle all offer advanced capabilities in this area.


New Era of Competition


The move to cloud-based solutions is no longer a prediction for performance management, it's a reality. The prediction is how this shift will change the relative standings of the vendors in the performance management market. For many years the largest vendors in this market (IBM, Oracle, SAP) won many deals based on the robustness of their offerings developed over the course of many releases, and their deep reference base that could speak to the ability of these solutions to meet almost any size and type of company's needs. The other vendors usually won deals based on price, ease of use, or specialized functionality. Things are beginning to change however. As  the big vendors start to introduce hosted or true multi-tenant cloud versions of their performance management solutions they lose their two main advantages: deep feature sets and a large reference base. Their cloud-based products are version 1.0 with reduced functionality compared to their older products, and few live users. As more and more companies look for cloud-based performance management solutions it is the existing cloud-based performance management vendors that have the upper hand. They have several years of product releases under their belts, hundreds, and in some cases thousands of live references, all coupled with their competitive pricing and ease of use.


Vendors leading this trend: Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Host Analytics,  Tidemark, and XLerant are all true multi-tenant cloud performance management solutions that have gone through several product versions and have a sizeable and happy base of references with live systems.


I view all of these trends as positive for end users, as well as the majority of vendors. It looks like 2015 has the potential to be another great year for performance management.


]]> Top Trends Mon, 15 Dec 2014 12:58:28 -0700
Longview Solutions Acquired by Marlin Equity Partners 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.

]]> Vendor News and Notes Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:02:50 -0700
Performance Management: Core Vendors for 2014 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.


]]> Top Trends Mon, 02 Jun 2014 07:34:38 -0700
Axiom EPM Acquired by Kaufman Hall 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.


]]> Vendor News and Notes Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:56:40 -0700
7 Predictions for Performance Management in 2014

Based on our consulting work with clients and vendors  in 2013, as well as the results of the most recent BPM Pulse survey, we believe the following are the most likely next steps for performance management in 2014.

#1: Cloud becomes the dominant solution approach for Performance Management

This is a logical extension of what we are seeing today. The number of companies saying no to cloud are few and far between. Many companies, particularly in the midmarket where they are resource constrained, have a preference for cloud. The rest are indifferent. In those cases cloud often wins simply based on cost as opposed to the technology itself. The main hold outs still appear to be the largest companies. While security is still an issue (more perception than reality) for some, it is really the need for robust functionality that until recently was lacking in the cloud-based solutions. That issue is going away as the cloud vendors have been aggressively working to close the features/functions gap. The on premise vendors are also working hard to cloud enable their solutions. The end result is that finding a cloud based solution that meets the needs of the largest companies will become a non-issue over time.

#2: Mobile becomes an important differentiator

In our work today we are seeing a mobile access capability as a 'must have' for a handful of companies. It is usually a senior executive that wants/needs access to the latest reports on his tablet. In those situations mobile capability becomes a hard and fast requirement and vendors without it are excluded. For most though, mobile is still a nice to have capability. The focus is also still heavily on consumption of data, not creation. All other things being equal, offering a mobile capability is a way to stand out from the pack.

#3: Vertical solutions will be included in more evaluations

We say this every year and each year we are closer to being right. Customers always want a product and vendor that speak their language and understand their business. The benefits are many - reduced learning curve, industry-specific functionality, reduced customization required/reduced consulting cost. This past year we have seen this more than ever. Companies that were looking for and/or selecting industry-focused solutions came from manufacturing, retail, insurance, healthcare, utilities, and banking. Prospects are also willing to overlook quite a bit if the vendor focuses on their industry. They will look at smaller vendors they never would have otherwise considered. In addition, they will accept less than state of the art solutions (i.e. out dated user interface, older technologies, etc.). Holding back this trend has been the limited availability of solutions for a wider range of industries. We are now seeing vendors that have had success in one or two industries branching out to new sectors. In addition, some of the more established vertically focused vendors are updating their products to make them more competitive.

#4: Growth of packaged operational analytics

Operational analytics is a major area of potential growth for performance management. Once you have tackled corporate budgeting, consolidation, and reporting, the next step is to bring the pillars of performance management: strategize, plan, measure, act to each area of the business. This enables tighter management of the core business functions, and also results in a more holistic view of the entire business and cross-departmental impacts. The challenge has been that for many years you had to build these solutions yourself from business intelligence toolsets. We have seen significant growth recently in packaged analytics applications for one area in particular - sales performance management. This is also the area most in demand from prospects so it makes sense. There are now a wide range of solutions available that focus on revenue recognition,  incentive compensation management,  forecast accuracy or some combination. We expect this segment of the market to grow and perhaps branch out to other areas of the business beyond Sales.

#5: Predictive analytics will continue to slowly gain steam

We know that predictive capabilities could add tremendous value to performance management solutions, but it still seems a little early in terms of acceptance. The prospects are still a little confused as to how it works and what the value is, while the vendors themselves offer an inconsistent range of functionality under the predictive analytics banner. The result is a missed opportunity for all. It is a sophisticated and powerful tool that involves complex mathematical algorithms which is part of the reason it is not well understood by the average prospect. Predictive analytics can lead to more accurate forecasts, or at least a better and more realistic understanding of the probability of a forecast coming to pass. What is needed is some degree of standardization - a consistent definition of what is included in this module or feature, regardless of vendor. In addition there needs to be clear messaging and education as to how it is used and what the real benefits are. This is exactly the situation that performance management itself was in about 10 years ago until a group of us (consultants/vendors/analysts) came together to address this challenge. The results were dramatic and led to the successful and mainstream performance management market we have today. This area could use the same kind of focused attention to increase the rate of adoption.

#6: Big Data will not have a major impact on Performance Management

You can't read an IT article or blog without some mention of Big Data and related analytics. There's no question that this is an important area that can provide real value to most companies. The question is, how does this relate to performance management? Most data tracked by performance management systems is financial in nature. There may be a lot of numbers but this data does not usually fit the definition of 'Big Data' - a tremendous volume of semi-structured and unstructured data from inside and outside the company that is too large for traditional databases and analysis tools. There is a role for Big Data to play though: as a leading indicator. For example analyzing social media data may indicate customer dissatisfaction that can translate into fewer renewals or reduced new sales. How this analysis makes its way into the performance management system can vary. For most, this analysis will take place in a separate system designed to handle this type of data. This will then become another source system, much like ERP or CRM systems,  for the performance management system. Alternatively some performance management vendors, particularly the newer  cloud-based vendors, can provide built-in Big Data analytics capabilities.

#7: There will begin to be a focus on execution

At this point in time most performance management solutions do a solid job of measuring performance. They allow you to define strategic objectives, put together a long-range plan to achieve those objectives, and create detailed budgets and forecasts to measure progress against.  As actual data comes in from source systems the performance management systems tracks performance and highlights significant variances. Taking action to address those variances usually takes place outside of the performance management system. There are two reasons for this. First of all, more detailed operational data is usually required to determine the appropriate course of action, and that data is contained in other systems. Secondly, other than sharing a common view of the results it is still cumbersome to have a group of people discuss what action to take from within the performance management system. As we monitor the vendor landscape we are seeing newer solutions that attempt to tackle both of these areas. These new solutions include more detailed monitoring of operational activities (down to the plant floor level), as well as tools to facilitate collaborative decision making. As these solutions mature they should be able to address the last big missing piece of performance management, and possibly the most important, helping a company successfully execute on  its strategy.

]]> Top Trends Tue, 07 Jan 2014 10:51:25 -0700
The Pulse of Performance Management 2013 BPM Pulse survey attempts to get answers to all of these questions. To particpate in the survey and see the results for yourself go here. The survey will be closing mid-April and the results will be made available at that time.]]> Top Trends Mon, 01 Apr 2013 15:39:57 -0700 Do Requirements Really Matter? Of course they do, but you wouldn't know it by looking at many of the companies we meet with while they are in the process of selecting a performance management solution. A company we worked with a few months ago illustrates this point perfectly.

When we walked in the door they were far down the path with a particular vendor and they just wanted us to 'validate' their decision. In other words, did we believe their assessment was right that this vendor could meet their requirements. Well, we'd have to see those requirements first. The good news is that on the technology side they had a decent set of requirements outlining required interfaces, supported databases, desired performance/responsiveness, remote access needs, security, etc. It was a 12 page document and also included a project timeline.

On the business side, it was a paragraph someone had sent as an email. It went something like 'need to implement a system to replace Excel-based planning and reporting'. Now of course the finance team and business unit leaders involved had a lot more thoughts on what they wanted, but it was all in their heads. It was not clear that they had even discussed it with each other. There was no way this was going to end well. So, we recommended they step back for a moment and let us help them develop detailed requirements.

They put together a team of 40 key stakeholders and we interviewed all of them (some in departmental groups, others individually). The end product was a nearly 60-page document reviewing the current status of their systems, related challenges, and required functionality of the new system. While the raw interview data was maintained, the requirements were summarized by product functionality area and prioritized by frequency of request. One of the first things that became apparent was that they were looking at capabilities that went far beyond just planning and reporting.

The end result of all of this was that the vendor they were about to purchase was now obviously not a fit. Using these new detailed requirements we helped them identify several vendors that could potentially meet their needs. They went on to evaluate four of them against their specific requirements. They then scored them according to their ability to meet each requirement and went into contract discussions with the top two scoring vendors.

Without detailed business requirements you could easily select the wrong solution, as almost happened here. In addition how can you compare vendors without knowing what specific criteria you are using for the evaluation and scoring? There is also a hidden benefit to this requirements process. Those 40 people that were interviewed now feel that their voices were heard and their input was taken into account. While it is unlikely that 100% of their requests will be met by the new solution, because they were part of the process they will help support a successful rollout and accelerate user buy-in and adoption.


]]> Tales of the End User Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:32:03 -0700
Performance Management in 2013 Last year was a good one for performance management.  Vendors continued to add customer-focused enhancements, they acquired or partnered their way to broader suites, new vendors appeared with surprisingly well developed offerings, and the pace of end user adoption accelerated. Where do we go from here? Hopefully we'll see more of the same plus some growth in specific functional areas and utilization of the latest technologies. Here are my 5 predictions for performance management in 2013.

1) Focus on Forecasting

While almost every vendor that offers budgeting also offers forecasting capabilities, it is clearly not their focus. In fact it is more of an afterthought. More and more users though are looking for solutions optimized for forecasting. This means specific functionality, such as predictive analytics, as well as not having to be burdened by the overhead of menus, options, and functions better suited for budgeting. In our 2012 BPM Pulse Spotlight survey on budgeting, planning, and forecasting the most requested product capability was support for continuous forecasting. While most organizations are not actually there yet, it is clearly a direction they expect to be moving in. What really brought this home for me was a conversation I had late last year with a large telecommunications company. They informed me that they had abandoned their budgeting process four years ago because it couldn't possibly keep up with their market realities. Now all they do is forecast at a fairly summary level. They had looked at the usual performance management vendors and were struggling to find one that had a strong forecasting focus. We pointed them to two smaller vendors that might meet their needs, but the fact remains that there is room for improvement in the forecasting solutions offered by the mainstream vendors.

What we expect to see in 2013: vendors will start to flesh out their capabilities in this area and perhaps even begin to package and price this functionality separately as opposed to just bundling it in with budgeting.

2) Increased Importance of Financial Consolidation

While budgeting and performance dashboards have been at the top of most organizations must-have performance management lists for year, financial consolidation has been near the bottom. Last year many projects, even those ostensibly focused on budgeting, added some consolidation functionality to their requirements. In some cases it was driven by the need for intercompany matching and eliminations, in others it related to currency conversion and partial ownership, and for some it involved the ability to make journal entries in their performance management system. For the vendors the opportunity is large for two reasons - not having basic capabilities can cause them to be eliminated even if it is not the focus, and financial consolidation led deals tend to be larger than budgeting deals. The largest multi-million dollar project we worked on last year was primarily focused on consolidation.

 What we expect to see in 2013: at least one leading performance management vendor will introduce their first financial consolidation module, while other vendors will continue to enhance their existing capabilities in this area.

3) Expansion of Cloud-based Performance Management

Performance management has been a bit of a laggard in the acceptance of cloud-based solutions. The primary reason has been perceived security issues and the nature of the data stored in these systems. Of course any company that has been passing around spreadsheets loaded with confidential data has much bigger security issues than any hosted solution could ever have. In fact, unlike many systems and processes in use today by these companies, the leading cloud-based performance management solutions meet very stringent security standards. However, what is beginning to really turn the tide is the reality of overwhelmed IT departments. We have seen numerous organizations move to cloud-based performance management in the past year primarily because their IT groups told them they would have to get in line and wait for IT support for any new systems. The next issue to arise is that there is general confusion in the end user community when comparing true cloud-based solutions and single-tenant hosted versions of on premise solutions. In the end though, most organizations looking for cloud-based solutions have been purchasing products built from the ground up for that environment.

What we expect to see in 2013: the cloud-based vendors will see continued growth in demand, and several on-premise vendors will begin to develop their hosted offerings to more effectively compete with full cloud solutions. While we don't expect any short-term re-architecting for the cloud, we do see pricing, marketing, and branding that will enable them to be taken more seriously.

4) New Choices

Several years ago there were a sizeable number of independent performance management vendors to choose from. Then came the great wave of acquisitions and we were left with a handful of mega vendors and a much smaller number of performance management focused application vendors. I personally thought it was going to stay that way because the barriers to entry seemed so high (how could a new vendor compete with the marketing clout of the big guys and the established track records of the remaining independent players). Apparently, I was wrong. Several impressive new performance management vendors have emerged  in the past year or two. They are run by management teams made up of people that came from many of those companies that got acquired several years ago, so they clearly know what they are doing. Some solutions are simply incremental improvements upon what has come before, while others are truly innovative. Either way, more choice is always a good thing for end users. It also helps to keep the other vendors on their toes and constantly moving forward.

What expect to see in 2013: more new vendors! The year is young and we have already met with two vendors new to the performance management market. They continue the pattern of having seasoned management teams with deep experience in the space. One is somewhat innovative, the other is a new and improved version of a unified performance management solution. Both should be solid options for organizations looking for solutions this year. We will share more details as we spend more time with these vendors.

5) More Due Diligence

While performance management is no longer the Wild West of its early days when unsubstantiated marketing claims were flying all over the place and buyers had limited relevant knowledge and experience, it is still a challenge to get it right. By getting it right I mean: getting the best solution, at the best price, in a timely manner, with end user buy-in and a successful roll-out. While there are still many organizations that go off on their own, do some web research, and buy a product based on a canned demo, there are many more that are doing it the right way. They put together a team of internal stakeholders, prepare a long-range roadmap, gather detailed requirements, look at multiple vendors that could potentially fit, put them through scripted in-depth custom evaluations, score them against their ability to met the prioritized and weighted requirements list, and aggressively negotiate the price with the finalists. Since BPM Partners provides tools and expertise to guide companies through this process we get to see this first-hand. In 2012 we worked with more organizations than in any year in our history.

What we expect to see in 2013: the continuation of this trend. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is the abundance of viable options to evaluate and choose from. Another is the fact that companies that have waited until now to move forward with performance management tend to be more risk-averse. In addition, list prices are higher than ever and finding a more cost-effective solution or knowing where and how far to push in price negotiation is critical.

Those are our thoughts. Now share yours: take the BPM Pulse 2013.

]]> Top Trends Mon, 28 Jan 2013 14:38:01 -0700
Big Day for Cloud-based Performance Management 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. 

]]> Vendor News and Notes Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:31:58 -0700
Which Performance Management Vendor Has the Happiest Customers? webcast (don't worry if you are viewing this after April 26th, a replay should be available at that same link address). In addition we will name our selection for Best New Vendor of the Year, as well as identify the core list of vendors that we believe everyone should use as a starting point for finding their ideal performance management solution. Lots of  other information will be covered including updates on the latest vendor releases, and market feedback on topics such as the willingness of finance departments to utilize cloud-based solutions for performance management.]]> Vendor News and Notes Wed, 25 Apr 2012 08:12:55 -0700 IBM Invests in Sales Performance Management announced today an agreement to acquire Varicent Software, a leader in Sales Performance Management. We were one of the first to recognize Varicent and its important role in expanding the operational analytics capabilities of performance management.They took incentive compensation management, and elevated it to a new level of importance and value in the organization by embracing the core concepts of performance management: strategic focus, planning, monitoring, and analyzing. More and more of our clients today are seeking to expand their performance management systems beyond finance, and sales is often  the first area they target. We view this acquisition as very positive for IBM. This is a growing area of focus, and not just for the big guys. Just last year Adaptive Planning introduced its own sales performance management offering targeted at midmarket companies. We look forward to more vendors providing their own pre-packaged capabilities in this area.]]> Vendor News and Notes Fri, 13 Apr 2012 11:16:20 -0700 The Relationship Between Performance Management and Big Data BPM Pulse 2012 focuses on these topics and more. The survey has been open since January and will close at the end of March. If you take the survey you will receive a full results report in April along with a gift card to thank you for your time. To learn more or take the survey: BPM Pulse 2012. Once the survey is closed I will weigh in with my opinion on this topic and share what I have heard from the vendors as well.]]> Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:19:00 -0700 Investment Dollars Flowing into Performance Management Within the past week two very different performance management vendors have received millions of dollars of outside investment. I say very different because one is generating excitement due to its application of the latest technology,  and the other is getting attention because of its new approach to solving a long standing business challenge. The companies are Tidemark and XLerant. You can read what we have recently written about each of them here and here. They are both good companies with a solid vision and very experienced teams. Venture capital guys tend to like to get in on the next big thing. Performance management is an established big thing so why the investments now? For one, they must expect continued growth. In addition, each of these companies does have a 'next big thing' element. Tidemark is wedding the proven principles of performance management to the next generation of technology. They are still relatively early stage, but the potential is huge. In the case of XLerant they are approaching the  crowded, but still in high demand, budgeting solutions area from a new angle. There certainly is  room for both of these companies to succeed. These investments also bode well for the established performance management vendors as it is just one more validation that performance management is an important and growing area. In particular Adaptive Planning and Host Analytics, pioneers in bringing the latest technology to performance management, should see interest in their solutions increase as the investment and related coverage of Tidemark may help more companies recognize the value of this approach.


XLerant received 3 million, and Tidemark 24 million.

]]> Vendor News and Notes Wed, 25 Jan 2012 06:06:29 -0700