IDC Analyzes the Future of Cloud EPM

IDC Analyzes the Future of Cloud EPM

IDC Corporate publishes their report 2018 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Enterprise Performance Management Analytic Applications 2018 Vendor Assessment, where Planful is named a Major Player.

The First EPM Report from IDC

In our recent press release, CEO of Planful Dave Kellogg was quoted “This first-ever analysis of the EPM space by IDC is reflective of the market potential and highlights how innovation, integration and customer support will take our industry to new heights.”

International Data Corporation (IDC) looked at a total of 12 vendors in the enterprise performance management (EPM) software market, with a focus on planning, budgeting, and forecasting functionality. To be included in the assessment vendors had to meet the criteria of being: a cloud-based EPM offering; the capabilities to do financial close and consolidation; a horizontal EPM offering (in addition to any vertical solutions); and a sizable North American presence as mentioned in their recent press release.

Key Findings

“Enterprise performance management has been around for a long time, but in many cases, business users have continued to use spreadsheets to circumvent the complexities of working with heavy, legacy EPM applications. Modern EPM is a game changer, putting insights at the hands of the business user and allowing enterprises to make better and more strategic decisions in a much more timely manner,” said Chandana Gopal, research manager, Analytics and Information Management at IDC.

One key factor IDC noted in considering an EPM system is its ability to integrate with critical source systems. The report added, “For buyers that are interested in having real-time integration with operational enterprise applications, vendors that have technology partnerships with those applications through connectors or pre-built integrations will be easier to implement and faster to deploy.” Planful makes it easy for organizations to connect their entire finance ecosystem; ensuring customers have the most updated information at the point and time of need. Pre-built connectors include Oracle NetSuite, Sage, Xactly, Workiva, Intacct and more.

IDC also found that strategic planning, visibility, governance, and collaboration were listed by EPM buyers as the top benefits of using an EPM solution. Cloud EPM is seeing rapid adoption and is growing significantly faster than on-premise EPM. Lastly, the EPM market innovating with the inclusion of advanced analytics features in the next 12-18 months. (IDC Press Release)

How did Planful do in the IDC assessment?

Planful is a Major Player – which is the highest placement achieved by any company in the assessment. “We are pleased to be recognized for our leadership, and we will continue to innovate, make our customers more successful, and create more value for the industry,” said Dave Kellogg.

This year Planful delivered 175 new capabilities to customers and will continue the beat of innovation in coming releases. As IDC mentioned, strategic planning, visibility, governance, and collaboration are what EPM buyers are looking for in their EPM solution. Features such as Planful MyPlan, Reporting, Dashboards, and Planful Modeling are all new innovations that are delivering to customers that meet the needs highlighted by IDC.

Want to get all the details of the report – download your complimentary copy of the report.


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Press Roundup for Perform 2018

Press Roundup for Perform 2018

The dust is settled, but the buzz around Planful’ annual user conference Perform 2018 continues as analysts and Planful’ partners publish their reviews of the event. A common thread through these posts is innovation and excitement from customers on where Planful is going.

Highlights from the Analysts

Planful Simplifies Collaboration Between Finance and Business Users

Doug Henschen, VP & Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, gives his review of the newly released Planful MyPlan which is an interface to the Planful Planning designed specifically for budget owners. At the conference, it was also announced that a MyPlan mobile app will be released in 2018.

“The big trend in EPM is that companies are going cloud and want to take the power of planning into many operational areas. Planful was already seeing some of the largest cloud-based EPM deployments, but with MyPlan and MyPlan Mobile, the company is raising the bar. One big customer in the property management space that already had 6,000 Planful subscribers added 500 MyPlan users soon after it was released. It’s an early sign that Planful is poised to win even bigger and broader deployments.”

Planful: The Beauty of Focus

Vinnie Mirchandani, CEO of Deal Architect, found his day at Perform 2018 to be refreshingly focused.

“So it was refreshing to spend a day this week at Planful Performance 2018 conference in Dallas. Here is a vendor which is unabashedly focused on the CFO, and even more narrowly just on planning activities – budgeting, forecasting etc. And customers and prospects I met were happily chattering about planning cubes and break backs.”

Life is Good

Vinnie also highlights the keynote speaker at Perform 2018 – Bert Jacobs, CEO of Life is Good, on the New Florence, New Renaissance blog.

“Lots of companies pursue activism and talk about “purpose” and “social good”. Me, I prefer to hear from folks like Bert. Inspire us with your personal example and let us decide on the causes we want to support.”

Highlight from our Partner

Future of FP&A on Display at Planful Perform

Workiva was a sponsor of Perform 2018 and took three major takeaways from the event:

  1. The future of FP&A stats with three Cs – Continuous, Connected, Collaborative
  2. FP&A success is measured differently than other business functions
  3. A brighter future is closer than you think

The Recap Video

Check out all the great news from the event and we look forward to seeing you at Perform 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada!

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How to Build Better Marketing Budgets in Partnership with Finance

How to Build Better Marketing Budgets in Partnership with Finance

Demand marketing is an ever-evolving, squishy, and fluctuating forecasting nightmare most of the time, but with the right strategic partnership with Finance to build a flow-based model you can have a smart discussion around you budgetary needs. So you can ultimately celebrate with donuts and trophies.

Donuts, Trophies, and Budgets, Oh My!

Take a walk with me to a far-off, magical land where marketing and finance work together in perfect harmony. We approach a boardroom setting with happy, smiling, jovial finance and marketing professionals discussing budgetary needs:

  • Marketing says, “We think we need X number of leads to make our number next quarter.”
  • Finance says, “Okay, how much money will that cost?”
  • Marketing says, “Well, if we manage to an average cost-per-lead (CPL) of Y, we need Z amount of money, and we should be in good shape.”
  • Finance says, “Okay great! Here’s your budget.”

Marketing runs off and buys a bunch of media and puts together programs and advertising with the intention of generating the previously defined X number of leads. Because this is a fairytale, that’s all that needs to happen, and the number is magically met. In this mystical land, the ensuing conversation goes something like this:

  • Finance says, “Wow marketing, you know your stuff and came in right on target just by managing a bunch of lead gen programs exactly to the CPL you defined at the beginning of the quarter!”
  • Marketing says, “Yeah finance, this is child’s play. We met our number exactly just based on the top of the funnel lead number and that well-defined budget that never changed at all during the quarter you gave us to run with! We also spent all our money right on the nose down to the penny! It was so easy!”
  • Finance says, “Marketing, you rock. You can do whatever you want next quarter. Let us know if you want more money!”

Moreover, then there’s a big party, and usually, there are donuts and trophies. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had an experience as a marketer (or a finance person working with marketing) that even sort of resembles this. No? Didn’t think so.

The reality of marketing budgets and forecasting

The truth is demand marketing is an ever-evolving, squishy, and fluctuating forecasting nightmare most of the time. Even for the most data-driven marketers, forecasting against a budget and making budgetary decisions in real-time is difficult if not impossible if you don’t have the right tools in your toolbox. And honestly, as marketers, we often deprioritize the things that are difficult and frankly, not that fun. It’s much easier for us to rely on finance to define the budget for us and then try to mash our programs into that budget with CPLs that give us the theoretical volume we need to make our number.

But it is strategic? I’d argue no, it’s not. It usually works out okay, but there’s a better, less squishy way.

Partner with finance and be strategic in marketing

The more strategic approach is to, in partnership with finance, build a flow-based model based on the result, i.e., the net new ARR number or net new customer number for the year. It’s important to ask yourself questions like:

  • How long does it take for my leads to turn into opportunities? How long is my sales cycle once a lead becomes an opportunity?
  • What percentage of leads turn into sales-ready conversations? How many of those does my sales team get ahold of?
  • What’s my average CPL by channel historically? What are my goal CPLs by channel?
  • What’s our close rate? What’s our win rate?
  • How much pipeline do I currently have? How much pipeline does marketing typically generate that will close in the same quarter? Next quarter? Future quarters?
  • How much budget do I need that doesn’t fall into a CPL-type campaign (awareness)? How will it impact my bottom line?

The list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the idea. Once you’ve built a model with all of these considerations in mind, you now have the educated baseline to go to finance and your leadership team and have a real conversation about your budgetary needs. And then, you can build a forecast based on all of these considerations based on a budget that’s actually been defined based on need.

The beauty of building and managing this process in partnership with finance and in an interface like Planful MyPlan, is finance retains control of the actual purse strings and has full visibility into what marketing is doing with the purse. No more back and forth with finance asking about our budget status, and no more surprises for finance at the end of the quarter when marketing comes to the table and announces we were “close” on the budget. It’s all updated in real time – when the forecast changes, finance knows. If the budget changes, marketing knows. Everyone makes decisions and adjustments in real time.

If you ask me, managing the marketing budget process this way warrants donuts and trophies. Learn more about MyPlan and how it helps marketing and finance work together at


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