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        Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

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        The Value Index for Business Planning Classifies and Rates Vendors

        I am happy to share insights gleaned from our latest Value Index research, an assessment of how well vendors’ offerings meet buyers’ requirements. The Ventana Research Value Index: Business Planning 2022 is the distillation of a year of market and product research. Drawing on our Benchmark Research, we apply a structured methodology built on evaluation categories that reflect real-world criteria incorporated in a request for proposal to business planning vendors supporting the spectrum of planning. Using this methodology, we evaluated vendor submissions in seven categories: five relevant to the product experience ﹘ Adaptability, Capability, Manageability, Reliability and Usability ﹘ and two related to the customer experience ﹘ Total Cost of Ownership/Return on Investment and Vendor Validation.

        Business Planning Value Index logo (1)-1This research-based index evaluates the full business and information technology value of business planning software offerings. I encourage you to learn more about our Value Index and its effectiveness as a vendor selection and request for information/request for proposal tool.

        This Value Index research evaluates the following vendors that offer products for Business Planning as we define it: Anaplan, Board International, IBM, Infor, insightsoftware, OneStream Software, Oracle, Planful (formerly Host Analytics), Prophix, SAP, Unit4, Vena Solutions, Wolters Kluwer and Workday. Twelve of these 14 suppliers responded positively to our requests for information, providing completed questionnaires and demonstrations to aid our analysis of these planning products. Along with briefings and information where provided, all online material that was generally available was used for the analysis. This report includes products available as of September 2021.

        Infor and insightsoftware declined to participate or did not respond to our invitation. To organizations considering products from these vendors, we recommend extra scrutiny as part of the software assessment, as Ventana Research did not have access to the technology for the Value Index evaluation process.

        Unlike many IT analyst firms that rank vendors from an IT-only perspective or consider futures or vision over what is available in the products today, Ventana Research has designed the Value Index to provide a balanced perspective of vendors and products that is rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs. This approach not only reduces cost and time but also minimizes the risk of making a decision that is bad for the business. Using the Value Index will enable your organization to achieve the levels of efficiency and effectiveness needed to optimize business planning.

        We urge organizations to do a thorough job of evaluating business planning systems and tools, and offer this Value Index as both the results of our in-depth analysis of these vendors and as an evaluation methodology. In addition to evaluating existing suppliers, the Value Index can be used to provide evaluation criteria for new projects. Applying our research can shorten the cycle time when creating an RFP.

        The Value Index for Business Planning in 2022 finds IBM first on the list, followed by SAP and Oracle. Vendors that place in the top three in any category earn the designation Value Index Leader, and eight of the vendors evaluated qualify in this respect. The Value Index leaders in Product Experience are:

        • Oracle
        • IBM
        • SAP

        Leaders in Customer Experience are:

        • Anaplan
        • IBM
        • SAP

        Value Index Leaders across any of the seven categories are:

        • SAP, in five categories.
        • Oracle, in four categories.
        • IBM and Anaplan, in three categories.
        • Board International and OneStream, in two categories.
        • Vena Solutions and Workday, in one category.

        The overall performance chart provides a visual representation of how vendors rate across Product and Customer Experience. Vendors with products scoring higher in a weighted rating of the five Product Experience categories place farther to the right. The combination of ratings for the two Customer Experience categories determines placement on the vertical axis. As a result, vendors placing closer to the upper-right are “Exemplary” and rated higher than those closer to the lower-left and identified as vendors of “Merit.” Vendors that excelled at Customer Experience over Product Experience have an “Assurance” rating, and those excelling instead in Product Experience have an “Innovative” rating.The following classifications of vendors are represented in the Value Index:

        Exemplary: IBM, SAP, Board International, OneStream Software and Anaplan.

        Innovative: Oracle and Infor.

        Assurance: Wolters Kluwer and Workday.

        Merit: insightsoftware, Prophix, Vena Solutions, Planful and Unit4.

        Ventana_Research_Value_Index_Business_Planning_2021_Scatter-2

        We warn that close vendor placement should not be taken to imply that the packages evaluated are functionally identical or equally well suited for use by every organization or specific process. Although there is a high degree of commonality in how organizations handle business planning, there are many idiosyncrasies and differences in how they do these functions that can make one vendor’s offering a better fit than another’s for a particular organization’s needs. Moreover, the evaluations are independent of ongoing cost and resource requirements.

        After more than a decade of technological advances, all the products we evaluated are feature-rich, but not all the capabilities they offer are equally valuable to users. Moreover, the existence of too many capabilities may be a negative factor for an organization if it introduces unnecessary complexity. Nonetheless, an organization may decide that a larger number of options is a plus, especially if some of them match its established practices or better support a new initiative that is driving the purchase of new software.

        Considerations beyond features and functions or vendor assessments may turn out to be a deciding factor. For example, an organization may face budget constraints such that the TCO evaluation can tip the balance to one vendor or another. This is where the Value Index methodology and the appropriate category weighting can be applied to determine the best fit of vendors and products to your specific needs.

        Our firm has made every effort to encompass in this Value Index the overall product and customer experience from our Business Planning blueprint, which we believe reflects what a well-crafted RFP should contain. Even so, there may be additional areas that affect which vendor and products best fit an organization’s particular requirements. Therefore, while this research is complete as it stands, utilizing it in your own organizational context is critical to ensure that products deliver the highest level of support for your projects.

        The structure of the Value Index reflects our understanding that the effective evaluation of vendors and products involves far more than just examining product features, potential revenue or customers generated from marketing and sales. We believe it is important to take this comprehensive, research-based approach, since making the wrong choice when selecting business planning technology can raise the total cost of ownership, lower the return on investment and hamper an organization’s ability to reach its performance potential. In addition, this approach can reduce the project’s development and deployment time and eliminate the risk of relying on a short list of vendors that does not represent the best fit for your organization.

        To ensure the accuracy of the information we collected, we asked participating vendors to provide product and company information across the seven categories that, taken together, reflect the concerns of a well-crafted RFP. Ventana Research then validated the information, first independently through our database of product information and extensive web-based research, and then in consultation with the vendors. Most selected vendors also participated in one-on-one consultative sessions, after which we requested additional documentation to support any new input.

        Ventana Research believes that an objective review of specific vendors and products is critical to the establishment of business planning software and applications. An organization’s review should include a thorough analysis of both what is possible and what is relevant. One caveat must be noted: Our assessments are price-independent because of the broad and complex set of factors that affect these calculations. However, cost considerations are a primary factor for all organizations in vendor selection.

        We use our research-based analytics and methodology to generate the Value Index ratings. We then build a set of indicators that we present in both analytic and graphic form, each depicting the value of a specific vendor’s offering in terms of what it can deliver relevant to your business planning needs. The Value Index is not an abstraction; we use a carefully crafted best practices-based methodology to represent how organizations assess vendors and products. We have designed the Value Index to ensure that it provides objective research and guidance to organizations looking to assess and evaluate applications for business and IT needs.

        You can find more details about the 2022 Business Planning evaluations on our community as well as in the Value Index Market Report.

        Regards,

        Robert Kugel

        Authors:

        Robert Kugel
        Executive Director, Business Research

        Robert Kugel leads business software research for Ventana Research, now part of ISG. His team covers technology and applications spanning front- and back-office enterprise functions, and he personally runs the Office of Finance area of expertise. Rob is a CFA charter holder and a published author and thought leader on integrated business planning (IBP).

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