Delighting FP&A Customers with Enhanced Breakback and More Powerful Analytics

Delighting FP&A Customers with Enhanced Breakback and More Powerful Analytics

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals are being asked to play a more strategic role in their organizations. Unfortunately, the haphazard growth of business organizations often gets in the way.

Many FP&A teams are stuck on a treadmill of laborious number-crunching, and struggle to manage data across disconnected spreadsheets and aging financial applications. The end-result is a huge disconnect between finance organizations and top-level operations.

Fortunately for Planful customers, the latest Summer17 release introduces dramatic improvements across the board to help FP&A teams maximize corporate performance.

The new release has more than 50 enhancements including an improved version of breakback for added flexibility and accuracy; enhanced NetSuite integration to speed up analysis of financial results; a more intuitive and visually engaging user experience; and performance enhancements such as simulation engine optimization to accelerate the processing of “what-if” analyses and scenario management.

FP&A professionals will benefit from the streamlined workflows for both simple and complex EPM operations, and fewer clicks required to accomplish tasks.

“Planful has advanced its support for the office of finance through its optimized integration with NetSuite that brings the entire Planful EPM suite to its accounting and ERP customers,” said Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research, “Through its commitment to NetSuite’s business and finance customers, Planful continues its long tradition for delivering best in class planning and performance management for every organization.”

The new breakback feature is a major game-changer, according to Planful customers, partners, and industry analysts that caught a sneak peak of the Summer17 release.

Simply put, the Planful breakback feature introduced in the Spring17 release, is a powerful analytics tool that enables users to effectively reverse inputs and outputs within a model, allowing them to take a given output variable, override it, and then break the values of its inputs in a consistent way. Summer17 enhances this feature by introducing multi-dimensional holds, which can exclude dimensions from the breakback process. It also includes an audit trail that enables users to track the lineage of numbers within the models. Together, these features give finance professionals the ability to quickly backsolve calculations that no other cloud-based EPM system can handle.

Here’s what our partner BPM Partners shared about the enhancements to breakback:

“The new breakback feature in Planful Modeling is a big differentiator and a big advantage for customers,” said Craig Schiff, CEO of BPM Partners.  “This is a powerful feature that will save them a lot of time when making top-down changes to models and forecasts.”

After previewing the new and enhanced features in Summer17, here’s what Greystar and Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences had to say:

“Global Search is a new feature I did not realize we should have demanded all along,” said Brandt Getz, senior application developer at Greystar.  “What a great enhancement that will change the way our team members interact with the product.”

“The introduction of Bookmarks and Global Search functionality within Planful will certainly aid in a better overall experience for our end users,” said Melissa Osika, senior accountant at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.  “This will allow them to easily find what they need when they access Planful and perform their required tasks in a much more efficient manner.”

Learn More

If you are an existing customer and want more information, you can read the full press release on our website.  You can also view the Summer17 new feature release training webcast.

If you are considering a new EPM solution and reading this blog post, you’ve already taken a big step towards transforming your financial and operational performance. The most important thing in selecting the right EPM solution is to have a plan. Sound planning will help you set clear goals, get buy-in across the organization, select the best solution, and ensure a smooth transition. This whitepaper will guide you all the way through the buying process, from assessing your current state to selecting EPM the right EPM using key evaluation. Click the link below to read the Planful Buyer’s Guide to EPM.

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Users Score CPM Vendors in Gartner Critical Capabilities Reports

Users Score CPM Vendors in Gartner Critical Capabilities Reports

What trusted sources do Finance and IT executives rely on for vendor product evaluations? The answer is typically through their peers; and analysts that specialize in their market segment.

Two recent reports released by Gartner, Inc. bring these worlds together in the Critical Capabilities for Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management Solutions[1] (FCPM); and the Critical Capabilities for Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions[2] (SCPM).

This year, Planful was recognized in both the FCPM and SCPM Critical Capabilities reports, right on the heels of also being named a Leader in both CPM Magic Quadrants earlier this year, which evaluated companies based on completeness of vision and ability to execute. What’s better than being a Leader in two Gartner Magic Quadrants in 2017? Nothing!

Furthermore, the 2017 Critical Capabilities FCPM and SCPM research studies are the first of its kind to focus on cloud-only solutions. We believe this move reflects the increasing adoption of cloud-based CPM solutions over on-premise offerings and is validation by Gartner that cloud-based solutions are the preferred deployment approach.

In the Gartner Critical Capabilities Report for Cloud FCPM, Planful received the highest scores in three out of five use cases (see graph). Planful received:

  • Highest Score for Midsize Organization ($250M to $1B annual revenue), with a score of 4.10 out of 5
  • Highest Score for Midsize/Large Organization ($1B to $3B annual revenue), with a score of 4.06 out of 5
  • Highest Score for Business Unit, with a score of 4.06 out of 5
  • Third Highest Score for Large Organization, with a score of 4.06 out of 5
  • Third Highest Score for EMEA-Based Organization, with a score of 3.88 out of 5

In the Gartner Critical Capabilities Report for Cloud SCPM, Planful received one of the highest scores in three out of six use cases. Planful received:

  • Highest Score for Midsize Organization, with a score of 4.09 out of 5
  • Shared the Second Highest Score for Midsize/Large Organization, with a score of 4.03 out of 5
  • Shared the Highest Score for Business Unit, with a score of 4.07 out of 5

We believe this is primarily due to our ability to scale and address more complex customer needs in planning, modeling, financial consolidation, and reporting.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about critical capabilities in Cloud FCPM and SCPM, and how Planful scored against 11 use cases, download complimentary copies of Gartner’s “Critical Capabilities for Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management” and “Critical Capabilities for Cloud Strategic Corporate Performance Management.”

If you’re considering a new EPM solution, you’ve already taken a big step towards transforming your financial and operational performance. The most important thing in selecting the right EPM solution is to have a plan. Sound planning will help you set clear goals, get buy-in across the organization, select the best solution, and ensure a smooth transition.

You can download the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrants For Corporate Performance Management by clicking on the link below.

Download Report

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

[1] Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management Solutions, by Christopher Iervolino and John E. Van Decker, September 4, 2017.

[2] Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Cloud Strategic Corporate Performance Management Solutions, by Christopher Iervolino and John E. Van Decker, September 4, 2017.

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New Executive Powerhouse at Planful

New Executive Powerhouse at Planful

Planful is growing and expanding, but our vision stays the same: to give finance professionals what they need to drive peak performance at their organizations.

Our focus on customer success and product innovation are key to realizing that vision, so we are excited to report two newly created roles for current executives in our customer success and product organizations, and a new addition to the executive team to strengthen our overall brand, marketing and go-to-market strategy.

Alison Hol mlund, Chief Customer Officer

For the past five years, Alison Holmlund has led our Customers for Life organization, focusing on the ongoing success and satisfaction of all Planful customers. Now, she is expanding her role to include the Planful Professional Services division as our new chief customer officer, a newly created position that oversees all of the company’s customer accounts and ensures that, from the moment a customer joins the Planful family, all the way to contract renewal, expectations are exceeded every step of the way.

Alison has a strong background in developing B2B customer-experience strategies by constantly driving innovation, being a strategic thinker, and keeping the customer front and center at all times. She is the obvious choice in this important role to lead our Customers For Life and Professional Services teams to success.

“Our goal is to get customers to peak performance,” said Alison. “Our Professional Services and Customers for Life organizations play a crucial role in making that happen. We are truly invested in making our customers successful with us for the long term, and our teams are perfectly aligned to support that effort by providing expertise in project implementation, delivering ongoing product education, sharing best practices, and supporting our customers through critical milestones.”

Alison has 20 years of experience in technology sales and services, helping companies manage their customer success initiatives. Prior to Planful, she built out the technical sales, professional services, customer support, and renewal teams at Proofpoint, and played a key role in developing technical sales and professional services for AirFlash. In her role at Netscape as a principal consultant, Alison designed and implemented multimillion-user email systems for projects such as mac.com and the Palm VII device.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Ron Baden, Chief Product Officer

Ron Baden is switching gears and moving from the services side of the business to head up our product management division as the new chief product officer. A seasoned veteran with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the EPM space leading engineering, product management, sales, and professional services, Ron possesses deep cloud DNA and has witnessed first-hand the increasing adoption of cloud-based EPM solutions, citing that, ‘The cloud has revolutionized the way we deliver complex software applications, and it is now the preferred software delivery model for organizations of all sizes.’

As CPO, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s product direction and strategy to drive the technical and innovation engines for Planful, and to ensure that Planful continues to meet the needs of customers everywhere. Ron also supports the user experience and will drive the collaboration between UI and UX designers, engineering, and product teams. His deep understanding of the Planful customer base and expertise in the EPM marketplace make him ideally suited to lead our product strategy moving forward.

“A great CPO needs to have both a micro and macro focus on making things better, and has to be focused on making sure important deliverables are out the door in the short term, while simultaneously inspiring people to find ways to innovate and improve the core product steadily and noticeably over time,” said Ron. “One of my favorite quotes about the customer experience is from Steve Jobs. He said, ‘Some people say, give the customers what they want…but that’s not our approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.’ I couldn’t agree more!”

For the past seven years, Ron has led the Professional Services division at Planful where he managed the internal services, partner enablement, and data integration teams. Under his leadership as senior vice president of services, his team successfully deployed more than 500 customer implementations; was instrumental in signing the Dell Boomi partnership agreement; and delivered numerous large-scale EPM projects to customers with more than 3,000 users.

Prior to joining Planful, Ron served as the CEO and president of RTC Consulting, a consulting firm that specializes in implementing EPM solutions, where he led the company’s strategic direction and oversaw the support of the IBM Cognos and Microsoft product lines.

He also served as vice president of services at Merador, a Cognos Platinum Partner, where he was responsible for defining the services and product strategy, and helping the company achieve Platinum status. He also spent time implementing the Hyperion product lines, as well as working for Comshare, a leader in the EPM space.

Ron holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Georgia Southwestern State University.

Christelle Flahaux, Senior Vice President of Marketing

Rounding out our executive team with a strong background in B2B marketing, Christelle Flahaux joined Planful in 2017 as senior vice president of marketing, where she is chartered for driving the overall go-to-market strategy for the company, and will be working collaboratively with regional teams to develop creative sales and marketing programs that increase sales, value, and differentiation across markets.

Christelle is a seasoned professional drawing on more than 17 years of experience in customer and field marketing, including senior leadership roles at some of the tech industry’s most recognized and fastest-growing B2B companies. She is particularly passionate about sales and marketing alignment, and leading cross-functional teams to drive conversions beyond inquiry creation to pipeline and revenue.

“Alignment between marketing and sales is potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance today,” Christelle said. “When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity, and, most importantly, top-line growth. Planful is no exception. With sales and marketing aligned, and our award-winning technology for financial planning, modeling, consolidation, and reporting, we’ll be unstoppable.”

Christelle’s experience spans all areas of marketing, including marketing operations, forecasting, market analysis, and lead generation. Prior to Planful, she was the vice president of customer field marketing at Domo, where she built a global field marketing organization to support the growing enterprise sales team, and ushered in a new age of customer advocacy, and customer lifecycle management.

While at big data software company MapR Technologies, she ran demand generation, field marketing, and marketing operations; and created the MapR (Converge) Community where Hadoop developers can learn, communicate, and collaborate on projects. Christelle has also held senior marketing positions at Ariba, Taleo, Marketo, and Jive Software.

She has a Master of Science in Sports Marketing from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Marquette University.

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