Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

PROS Enables Modern Commerce with Dynamic CPQ

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 16, 2018 11:29:47 PM

PROS Holdings is a software vendor with two distinct but related sets of products. The company began in 1985 offering revenue management software to airlines, hospitality and rental car companies. More recently it added price and revenue management software focusing on B2B services, chemicals and energy, consumer goods manufacturers, food and beverage, healthcare, insurance and technology. This note focuses on the B2B portion of the business.

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Topics: Analytics, Big Data, Data Preparation, Customer Experience, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Pricing and Promotion Management, Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Sales, Sales Enablement and Execution, Sales Performance Management

Make Accounting Cool (Again)

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 12, 2018 8:18:32 AM

Was accounting ever cool? Well, yes, in a nerdy sort of way. Double-entry bookkeeping, codified in the 15th century by Fra Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar and pal of Leonardo Da Vinci, was essential for the expansion of trade and the creation of the modern corporation. Bookkeeping and accounting were as important to economic development as two other financial inventions – insurance and fractional reserve banking. Double-entry bookkeeping is an elegant system, simple yet powerful. It supports the accurate recording of transactions and the economic condition of a business as well as analyses of its performance. That’s cool.

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence, Big Data, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Financial Performance Management, Enterprise Resource Planning

Blockchains Come in Different Shapes and Sizes

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 27, 2018 11:23:51 PM

Blockchains are attractive because their built-in security and trust factors make them useful for almost all business interactions involving organizations and individuals. Blockchains have two basic functions. One is as a method for handling transactions involving property such as land deeds, trademarks or other assets. The second involves exchanges of data such as identities of individuals or businesses, the location of an object at a point in time or weather conditions. All interactions involving property or assets include the transfer of data as well, of course, but some blockchain use cases are informational only.

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, data science, Internet of Things, Mobile, Big Data, Data Integration, Data Governance, Data Preparation, digital technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Marketing Performance Management, Office of Finance, Operations & Supply Chain

OneStream Delivers Financial Performance Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 4, 2018 9:35:31 AM

OneStream XF from OneStream Software is a financial performance management (FPM) platform available on-premises or in the cloud. The company is a relative newcomer (it started in 2010) but its founders are industry veterans and it has a long list of referenceable customers. Being self-financed, it only recently began to raise its market profile. Its SmartCPM system consists of software for statutory financial consolidation, planning, forecasting, budgeting and reporting that’s used primarily by midsize and larger corporations, including large multinationals with complex ownership structures. Designed as a platform, OneStream XF fits into the company’s strategy to offer an array of financial applications developed by itself or third-parties that use a single authoritative source of data.

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Topics: Analytics, HRMS, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Financial Performance Management, Sales Planning and Analytics

Self-Describing Data Powers B2B Blockchain Distributed Ledgers

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 15, 2018 7:23:11 AM

The use of blockchain distributed ledgers in business processes is now a common theme in many business software vendors’ presentations. The technology has a multitude of potential uses. However, presentations about the opportunities for digital transformation always leave me wondering: How is this magic going to happen? I wonder this because the details about how data flows from point A to point B via a blockchain are critically important to blockchain utility and therefore the pace of its adoption.

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Topics: Planning, Continuous Planning, FP&A, Integrated Business Planning, budget, Budgeting, Forecast, forecasting, Predictive Analytics, Analytics, Reporting, consolidating, Data Management, AI, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing

Predictive Finance Organizations Are More Valuable

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 12, 2018 4:32:47 AM

Ventana Research uses the term “predictive finance” to describe a forward-looking, action-oriented finance organization that places emphasis on advising its company rather than fulfilling the traditional roles of a transactions processor and reporter. Technology is driving the shift away from the traditional bean-counting role. The cumulative evolution of software advances will substantially reduce finance and accounting workloads by automating most of the mechanical, rote functions in accounting, data preparation and reporting. (I recently summarized these in a “Robotic Finance”)

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Topics: Planning, Continuous Planning, Integrated Business Planning, FP&A, budget, Budgeting, Forecast, forecasting, Predictive Analytics, Analytics, Reporting, consolidating, Data Management, AI, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing

Prophix – Financial Performance Management for Midsize Organizations

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 12, 2017 5:47:01 AM

Prophix is an established provider of financial performance management (FPM) software for planning and budgeting, forecasting, analysis and reporting, and managing the financial close and consolidation process. Its eponymous software is designed specifically for midsize companies or midsize divisions of larger corporations. These organizations are a distinctive segment of the market in that they have almost all the functional requirements of large enterprises but have fewer resources to apply to these critical tasks. Fortunately, the evolution of information technology over the past decade has been especially beneficial to midsize customers, bringing them expanded capabilities, substantially better performance and greater automation of routine tasks at an affordable total cost of ownership.

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Financial Performance Management, Price and Revenue Management, Work and Resource Management, Sales Planning and Analytics, Budgeting, Planning, Integrated Business Planning, Midsize, Consolidation, accounting close, Reporting

Kinaxis Kinexions Advances Supply Chain Value for Customers

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 23, 2017 8:52:34 AM

From my perspective, supply chain management (SCM) and sales and operations planning (S&OP) are two of the most underappreciated disciplines of modern corporate management. Properly applied, they can improve performance and competitiveness by increasing customer satisfaction and reducing costs. A combination of more capable information technology with advances in operations research and analytics has made managing supply and demand chains potentially more impactful by making them more flexible and adaptable to market conditions. Consequently, companies can enhance profitability, reduce working capital and improve customer satisfaction by providing more reliable service.

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Topics: Supply Chain Planning, supply chain management, SCM, Sales and Operations Planning, S&OP, Analytics, procurement, ERP, Kinaxis

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Business Applications

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 26, 2017 7:18:56 AM

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to business computing will have a profound impact on white collar professions. This is especially true in heavily rules-based functions such as accounting. Companies recognize the transformational potential of AI and ML, but the progression and pace of the adoption of these technologies is unclear. Some applications of AI and ML are already in use but others are a decade or more away from replacing human tasks.

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Topics: Accounting, AICPA, AI, Machine Learning, natural language processing, Office of Finance, finance, CFO, CEO, Analytics, Big Data

Unit4 Prevero Provides a Practical Alternative to Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Sep 22, 2017 8:15:20 AM

In 2016 Unit4 acquired Prevero, a financial performance management software company. The acquisition reflects a trend toward the convergence of transactional and analytical business applications. ERP and financial management software vendors increasingly are adding analytic capabilities – especially in financial performance management (FPM) – to the core functions of transaction processing and accounting in order to broaden the scope of their offerings. The integration of transaction processing and analytical software is especially valuable to Unit4’s core customer base of midsize organizations, which we define as those with 100 to 1,000 employees. Midsize entities have almost the same systems requirements as larger ones but lack the resources the latter enjoy.

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Topics: Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Workforce Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Continuous Planning, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Operations & Supply Chain, Work and Resource Management, Sales Planning and Analytics