This article first appeared on the OneStream blog by John O’Rourke
Budgeting and planning are top of mind for many Finance executives as they are working to finalize 2022 budgets and plans and close out 2021. But many Finance executives and organizations realize that most annual budgets are obsolete shortly after they are approved, based on changes in the economic and business environment. So a growing number of organizations are adopting agile planning techniques such as driver-based planning and rolling forecasts to update their planning assumptions on a quarterly or monthly basis.
With this backdrop, Ventana Research recently published their Business Planning Value Index Market Report for 2022. The data collection for this report began over a year ago and it’s a comprehensive assessment of 14 leading vendors and planning products that are available to organizations. Read on to learn about the key market trends identified by Ventana Research and how they ranked the various vendors in the market.
Key Trends in Business Planning
According to Ventana Research, the purpose of business planning is not simply to create a plan – it’s to make better decisions, which I completely agree with. They go on to highlight that planning and budgeting software should make the process faster, more agile, less burdensome, and more intelligent so managers can make better decisions more consistently. And since the early 2000’s Ventana and other industry influencers have advocated using dedicated, purpose-built applications to increase the business value of planning and budgeting.
While these purpose-built applications have been available for over 20 years, many organizations are still heavily reliant on spreadsheets to support planning and budgeting. Why is this? Ventana Research highlights that many organizations are stuck in a planning rut, the result of inertia, the power of vested interests, and the perceived risk of change.
The report goes on to highlight that while planning should be a constructive dialog between executives and managers about objectives, tactics, and resource allocations – in practice, planning is mostly an inconsistent, fragmented, and siloed process. And the spreadsheet-based approach only reinforces these silos and compartmentalizes plans. On the flip side, organizations that have adopted purpose-built planning software have been more successful in breaking down the silos and making the planning process more collaborative, strategic, and value add for the enterprise.
The Business Planning Value Index
The Business Planning Value Index report is the result of over a year of market and product research conducted by Ventana Research, and I have to say this is one of the more rigorous assessments of planning software vendors that I’ve been involved with. In this report, Ventana evaluated 14 planning software vendors across seven categories that were weighted to reflect buyers’ needs.
Five of these categories are product-related: Usability, Manageability, Reliability, Capability, and Adaptability. Vendors were also evaluated in two customer experience categories: Vendor Validation and Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment (TCO/ROI). The data was collected from vendors via an extensive RFP process, then the responses were validated through vendor briefings, demonstrations, and customer reference checks. Product roadmaps and forward-looking strategies were not taken into account in this evaluation.
The Envelope Please!
So what did the results reveal? According to Ventana, the Value Index for Business Planning in 2021 reflects the maturity of the business planning software category. The top finishers were tightly clustered in terms of their overall scores, and even those at the bottom have well-developed capabilities that weren’t available 10 years ago.
The graphical representation of the Value Index shown below depicts the vendors based on their overall scores on two dimensions – Product Experience and Customer Experience. Based on this, the vendors are placed into one of four categories: Exemplary, Innovative, Assurance, and Merit.
So how did OneStream fare in this evaluation? We are proud to report that OneStream was one of 5 vendors ranked as “Exemplary” in the Business Planning Value Index. This means that OneStream was one of the highest-rated vendors in both Product Experience and Customer Experience. OneStream was ranked fifth in Product Experience, where we were designated as a Value Index Leader in Adaptability and Reliability. OneStream was ranked sixth in Customer Experience and ranked Best in Validation.
This recognition by Ventana Research is a powerful validation of the capabilities of the OneStream platform to address the complex planning and budgeting requirements of large enterprises, while also addressing their needs in financial close, consolidation, reporting, and analysis.
To learn more, download your copy of the Ventana Research 2022 Business Planning Value Index report and contact OneStream if your organization is ready to move beyond the limitations of legacy applications, cloud point solutions, and spreadsheets that may be preventing you from leading at speed in today’s volatile economic environment.