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SaaS performance management vendors set sights on enterprise customers

Konica Minolta is using on-demand CPM software to manage its annual budget. With new features, SaaS CPM vendors hope to pick up more enterprise customers.

Two of the leading SaaS performance management  vendors want you to know that on-demand corporate performance management (CPM) isn’t just for small businesses anymore.

Recent product upgrades by Mountain View, Calif.-based Adaptive Planning and Redwood City, Calif.-based Host Analytics stress new functionality aimed at making their respective on-demand software suites easier to scale and manage in large enterprise environments.

Host Analytics’ Executive Report Manager, for example, is an add-on functionality to its core SaaS CPM suite that the vendor says makes it easier to create upper management-level reports and reports for external reporting.

The new tool simplifies the process of collecting and consolidating department-level financial reports and accompanying documentation from across an organization into a single management report for high-level executives, said Keri Brooke, Host Analytics’ vice president of marketing.

It also supports consolidating reports in XBRL, the open standards language required for SEC reporting. Most small, private businesses are not required to report their financial results with the regulatory agency, meaning Host Analytics is targeting larger, public enterprises with the XBRL feature.

Adaptive Planning 7.0, meanwhile, includes enhanced administration tools that should make it easier to manage the suite across a large organization, according to the company. The suite boasts a new administration user interface that includes drag-and-drop features, making it easier to create and administer new user accounts.

The vendor claims it has landed more than 75 enterprise customers, among them Konica Minolta Business Solutions. The America subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate has been using Adaptive Planning’s on-demand budgeting software since December of last year, according to Chris Reale, the company’s director of corporate planning and analysis.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions sells copiers, fax machines and other office equipment through 70 direct sales offices and 300 wholesalers throughout the U.S. The company employs more than 7,000 workers and has revenues of about $2 billion per year.

Reale said one of the biggest benefits of a SaaS CPM suite is the speed of deployment. For a traditional on-premise deployment, he would have to rely on IT to do much of the heavy lifting. In a large enterprise like Konica Minolta, with many competing IT interests, that could mean a significant wait, he said.

With Adaptive Planning’s on-demand software, however, Reale was able to leave IT mostly out of the implementation and deployment process. Konica Minolta made the decision to go with the on-demand software for budgeting in the summer of 2009, and it was up and running in time for the company’s end-of-year budget process.

In addition to being significantly less expensive than the on-premise CPM suites Reale considered, Adaptive Planning’s functionality actually outperformed that of its larger, more established competitors.

“Those traditional products have been around a long time,” and some, especially Oracle’s Hyperion software and IBM Cognos, "felt piecemealed together,” he said. “[Adaptive Planning] was built from the ground up.”

Reale did note that Konica Minolta “did face some performance issues early on” in the deployment, most notably concerning throughput. The company was already in the process of improving its bandwidth potential, he said, which largely solved the problem.

The biggest benefit of deploying SaaS CPM, he said, was that the company no longer relies on Excel and email to manage its annual budget process. The budget has become simply too complex to rely on manual methods, a not uncommon problem facing large enterprises that have traditionally used spreadsheets.

According to Reale, last year’s budget, the first the company processed with Adaptive Planning’s SaaS CPM software, took one-third less time than in years past -- two months instead of three.

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