In the last blog, I looked at the capabilities of enterprise applications that were designed to replace spreadsheet systems for planning and reporting. We saw how four major vendors dominate the market, and the relative high cost and complexity involved in implementation. In this blog I will look at new entrants who are ‘changing the game’ and are set to have a significant impact on the planning software market.
Changing the game
The current ‘big four’ software vendors (Oracle, SAP, IBM and Infor) all offer good, solid, reliable planning systems. Where they are typically lacking is in not recognizing that the world of planning has moved on from when they were first developed, which for many of them is more than 15 years ago. Today, with the advent of new management methodologies and a focus on continuous planning, applications require different kinds of capabilities that they either don’t provide or can’t support.
Similarly, the way software is delivered (e.g. smartphones, tablets, internet-based) and the cost involved has also significant changed. Because of this new entrants are ‘changing the game’ in terms of innovative capabilities, better usability and with a different kind of business model.
In fact ‘changing the game’ is the only way these new entrants can compete with the established vendors. They do this by providing solutions that expose weaknesses in established vendor solutions and that have a substantially different level of pricing. As a result new entrant systems tend to be more aligned with what more advanced customers, both small and large, desire in order to manage performance in a complex, fast moving business environment.
These systems still support traditional annual planning, but are better able to cope with, for example, a continuous planning process that is triggered by events and exceptions. They are also able to store a lot more detail, can provide focus on how initiatives impact corporate goals, and produce a range analyses that are different from those produced by traditional reporting structures.
Things that don’t change
However, some things don’t change. These new entrants, like mainstream vendors, provide solutions that:
- Employ market leading technologies (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server) for secure, multi-user access
- Are multidimensional in nature, to model the way the organization operates
- Have embedded financial intelligence for currency conversions and dealing with exchange gain/losses
- Perform consolidations across multiple years and across multiple versions (e.g. Actual, budget, forecast)
- Provide secure open-access to third party products (e.g. Excel, Microsoft Reporting Services)
But they are also typically more simple to set up, more responsive to change and do not require technical skills to maintain or administer.
Cloud based Models
Most of the new vendor solutions are ‘Cloud’ based – i.e. they offer hosted services for their applications, where the customer does not need to provide the technical infrastructure.
Interestingly ‘Cloud’ solutions are nothing new – back in the 1970’s many organizations used computer ‘time-sharing’ services. They would access planning and reporting applications through dedicated ‘dial up’ data lines, where users could enter and report data via computer terminals, in much the same way as we access the Internet today via a PC.
Today many of us use ‘cloud-based’ services, for example Google mail – an online hosted service for emails – has dramatically expanded user adoption while at the same time significantly lowering operating costs for those services.
Of course mainstream vendors can also adopt a cloud strategy but the issue is that they still have a huge infrastructure to support whereas the new vendors usually have a business model that has little in the way of cost overheads.
To go with a cloud-based solution, most new entrants have adopted a rental model that does away with high upfront fixed costs and annual maintenance payments. Instead they typically charge a relative low-cost monthly fee that doesn’t require capital approval.
As a result they are able to offer organizations access to modern, on-line, planning and reporting capabilities, that are as powerful as the specialist systems, but at a fraction of the cost.
CorPeuM – Changing the face of Planning
CorPeuM is such a new entrant that is set to change the world of planning. If you are interested in knowing more, the following two papers can be downloaded that details why CorPeuM is different and it can help an organization looking to move on from Excel:
- CorPeuM Platform Leaflet. This paper is aimed at those familiar with BI systems and shows the software components that come with the CorPeuM and how they fit together.
- CorPeuM and Strategy Execution Leaflet. This document compliments the platform leaflet mentioned above, and again is aimed at those familiar with other CPM solutions. It provides an overview of CorPeuM’s unique planning capabilities and how these support the execution of strategy.
I trust you found this series of blogs to be useful. We have provided the complete set as a white paper thay you can download from here.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our software and services, do get in contact.