Financial management software provider Intacct recently held its seventh annual user conference. In addition to a long list of enhancements in current and upcoming product releases, the company used the occasion to announce Intacct Collaborate, a capability built into its software that enables finance and accounting organizations to work together to answer questions or resolve issues while performing a process. Our benchmark research shows that collaboration ranks second in importance behind analytics as a technology innovation priority. Collaborative capabilities in software will multiply over the next several years as software transitions from the rigid constructs established in the client/server days, which force users to adapt to the limitations of the software, to fluid and dynamic designs that mold themselves around the needs of the user. A while back, I noted that finance and accounting organizations need collaborative capabilities although they might not realize it. At the same time, finance departments have their own requirements for these systems that reflect the character and constraints of the work they do. This means narrowcast, not broadcast, feeds (Finance doesn’t want a Facebook or Twitter experience because it considers much of what it does to be confidential) and in-context collaborative capabilities to simplify the working environment.
Topics: Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Chatter, Cloud Computing, cloud ERP, Collaboration, Dashboards, ERP, Financial Performance, FinancialForce, Intacct, NetSuite, Performance Management, Reporting, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Office of Finance, Human Capital Management
Infor recently held its annual Inforum user group meeting, along with a series of sessions with analysts. The $2 billion business software company has products in the major categories of ERP (including enterprise financial management), human capital management, customer relationship management and performance management among others.
Topics: Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CFO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, ERP, Financial Performance, FinancialForce, HANA, HCM, HR, Human Capital, Infor, Kenandy, Microsoft, Mobile, Operational Performance, Plex, Professional Services Automation, PSA, SaaS, Sage Software, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, Unit4, Workday, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance, Sales
Like most vendors of on-premises ERP and financial management software, in moving to the cloud Oracle has focused on developing for existing and potential customers the option of multitenant software as a service (SaaS). (I’m using the term “ERP” in its most expansive sense, to include such systems employed by all types of companies for accounting and financial management rather than only systems that are used by manufacturing and distribution companies.) Oracle’s ERP Cloud Service includes Fusion Financials as well as planning and budgeting, risk and controls management, procurement and sourcing, inventory and cost management, product master data management, and project portfolio management. Although to date our benchmark research has consistently found that a large majority of finance departments do not prefer to deploy software in the cloud, we also observe the balance shifting in this direction. SaaS vendors that address finance department requirements have demonstrated faster revenue growth than those that offer products only on-premises. Like other vendors Oracle must establish itself as a credible vendor of cloud ERP and financial management services to be well positioned as market demand shifts further in that direction. The company made sizable investments in acquiring ERP and financial management software in the 2000s (notably PeopleSoft – which included JD Edwards – and Hyperion), and the investments have paid off as many companies have opted to keep their existing systems (and continue to pay maintenance) rather than replace them. Our Office of Finance benchmark research finds that over the past decade the average age of ERP systems in use has increased to 6.4 years from 5.1 years. The longevity of these systems is partly the result of the slow pace of innovation in underlying technologies used for business computing. Even so, modest year-by-year changes are adding up to make replacement a more attractive option while negative attitudes toward the cloud are dissipating. To retain its installed base, it’s important for any established vendor to have solid customer references and the ability to make sales of cloud products as demand for ERP and financial management software in the cloud increases.
Topics: Analytics, Business Performance, CFO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, ERP, Financial Performance, FinancialForce, HANA, HCM, HR, Human Capital, Infor, Kenandy, Microsoft, Mobile, Operational Performance, Plex, Professional Services Automation, PSA, SaaS, Sage Software, Salesforce.com, Unit4, Workday, Office of Finance, Sales
FinancialForce’s 2014 summer release incorporates improvements in mobile and collaboration features and provides enhancements to the planning dimension of its professional services automation (PSA) suite. In the last couple of releases the company emphasized expansion in the functional capabilities of its ERP suite, as I noted, focusing on human capital management and professional services automation as well as some supply chain automation capabilities.
Topics: Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Consulting, distribution, ERP, Financial Performance, FinancialForce, HCM, HR, Human Capital, Professional Services Automation, PSA, SaaS, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SCM, Social Media, Unit4, Office of Finance, Sales
Like other vendors of cloud-based ERP software, NetSuite offers the key benefits of software as a service (SaaS): a smaller upfront investment, faster time to value and potentially lower operating costs. Beyond that NetSuite’s essential point of competitive differentiation from is broad functionality beyond financial management, including capabilities for customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA) and human capital management (HCM). These components make it easier for businesses to manage processes from end to end (such as quote- or order-to-cash) as well as to have transactions and business data available in a single system in consistent forms and synchronized. This in turn facilitates real-time reporting, dashboards and the use of analytics that integrate a wider set of functional data. Midsize companies are most likely to benefit from this integration because typically they have smaller, less sophisticated IT staffs than larger ones. A side benefit of having a single, integrated data source is improvement of situational awareness and visibility for executives and managers. It also enables organizations to reduce their use of spreadsheets for stitching together processes, doing routine analyses and reporting. These sorts of activities waste valuable time and reduce an organization’s agility.
Topics: Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CFO, Cloud Computing, communications, CRM, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, ERP, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, FinancialForce, FPM, HCM, HR, Human Capital, Infor, Microsoft, Mobile, Plex, Professional Services Automation, PSA, SaaS, Sage Software, Social, Social Media, UI, Unit4, Workday Collaboration, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance, Customer Experience, Sales