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The Emerging Leaders in Business Performance Management, Part 1

Originally published September 15, 2009

It may seem odd to talk about “emerging leaders” in a discipline as well as established as business performance management (BPM), but there are a handful of companies that are making a significant impact in the market, and they are doing so in spite of the strong presence of several larger legacy vendors. Some are relatively new to the U.S. market, while others have found unique approaches to differentiate themselves and stand out. The major acquisitions of a few years ago created a couple of giant BPM vendors (the established leaders), but it also led to a greatly diminished set of choices for buyers looking for smaller, less expensive, more focused vendors. It is that opportunity that these emerging leaders are exploiting.

All the companies that we will be looking at in this article have a couple of things in common. First of all, to earn the title of “emerging leader,” we have noted their increased presence in BPM deals in the competitive marketplace, as well as a growing win rate. This is not based on data that has been provided to us by the vendors themselves. BPM Partners has been engaged by many companies across a wide spectrum of industries to help them successfully manage their move to performance management. It is from these engagements that we have gained firsthand knowledge of what is actually taking place in the field. Secondly, these companies seem to possess a number of similar traits. These traits are not required to be considered an emerging leader, but perhaps they help contribute to the growing success in the market that these companies are experiencing. All of the vendors to be mentioned have a passionate, involved, experienced and BPM-savvy management team. Secondly, they all have a strong foundation in financial performance management. While we hear a lot about operational performance management as well as scorecards and key performance indicators, the financial components of BPM, particularly budgeting and planning, still rank at the top of most people’s performance management implementation priorities. Thirdly, they each have a unique value proposition that has allowed them to successfully differentiate themselves from competitors.

Our first set of emerging leader BPM vendors are old hands that have been helping companies tackle their performance challenges for many years. It is really the reduced “noise” in their segment of the market that has allowed their messages to be heard. People are just discovering these successful veterans who have a long list of happy references and robust products that have been built up over many years.

Longview is the first of these. Their comprehensive financial performance management solution is delivered as a single unified product. Several of their larger competitors still have quite a bit of integration work ahead of them to match the level of seamless integration Longview customers enjoy today. Another somewhat unique element of their offering is a tax provisioning module that essentially every company needs, but few vendors deliver as a packaged application; corporate tax departments have long been underserved by performance management vendors. The Longview platform has long been positioned as one that can take on very complex business rules as well as handle a large volume of financial and operational data. Due to this unique combination, Longview has won some very large deals in the past year against some formidable competition from the “big guys.” In their earlier years, they didn’t invest too heavily in marketing and competed with the likes of a much smaller Hyperion, OutlookSoft and several other companies that no longer exist as standalone independent operations. This new environment and a ramped up marketing effort have enabled them and their always solid product offering to shine.

Our next emerging leader of note, PROPHIX, targets the mid-market. For several years this market was not addressed effectively by the major BPM vendors. Realizing this, many vendors (large and small) jumped in to try to satisfy this unmet need. All of them realized that cost would be a major factor for this group so they took one of two approaches. The smaller vendors came to market with simple, easy-to-use solutions that covered the basics at a low price point. A few of these even offered their solutions via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to further reduce costs in the area of information technology (IT) infrastructure . The larger vendors tended to offer scaled-down versions of their enterprise solutions with feature sets and usage volume reduced along with the price, or relied on their partner channels to satisfy this need. What they all failed to realize is that while many midmarket companies are financially and resource constrained, their business needs are often as sophisticated and complex as their larger counterparts. Many of these offerings were underpowered. What was needed was a lower cost, quick to implement, but fully capable alternative. That is what PROPHIX delivers. Their solution covers most of the major BPM areas with a proven, functionally rich and robust solution. With a relatively rapid implementation time frame, the PROPHIX offering delivers the lower TCO (total cost of ownership) that midmarket companies are looking for. They now have well over 1,000 customers and are growing fast. This past year we have even seen some larger companies evaluate their fully featured but lower cost BPM offerings. The acquisitions of the past several years have removed most of their competition, particularly at the higher end of the midmarket, enabling their strong midmarket solutions to get the attention they deserve.

Both of these companies had been delivering solid solutions for many years, but thanks to changes in the market landscape, they are now on a faster growth path. Next month we will look at some companies that have entered the U.S. market in the past few years but have already established a strong foothold, solid reputation and are poised to accelerate their growth.

  • Craig SchiffCraig Schiff

    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!

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