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Adaptive Planning brings BI to NetSuite

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7th Jul 2009
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Two Software Satisfaction Award winners have formed an alliance to bring business intelligence capabilities to the 6,600-strong NetSuite user community. John Stokdyk reports.

Online business intelligence (BI) developer Adaptive Planning, last year’s Newcomer of the Year in the Software Satisfaction Awards has teamed up with CRM award-winner NetSuite to offer users an integrated ERP & BI solution,

The initial links have been included in the latest version 6.0 upgrade of Adaptive Planning, along with new multidimensional modelling capabilities. The BI developer has also launched a collaborative benchmarking service for its users.

The NetSuite tie-up is likely to have the most immediate impact, said founder and CEO Bill Soward. “They have 6,600 customers - if they’re going to buy performance management, why would they buy it from anyone else than us? It's a major validation of our position in the marketplace and might have a significant impact in the next 24 months.”

In the longer term, he anticipated that the benchmarking service would become a major differentiator because it was something competitors couldn’t do. “If you can tell people things they don’t know, you become more of a partner. Software as a service (SaaS) gives us the ability to leverage the community - that could be very powerful for us,” he said.

The NetSuite connection was announced in mid-June and the companies have collaborated to let users navigate seamlessly between Adaptive Planning's budgeting & planning tools and NetSuite’s general ledger and CRM modules. Adaptive Planning 6.0 brings new extensions to NetSuite’s existing SuiteCloud API toolkit that make it possible to map dimensions and accounts in NetSuite and import the actuals to Adaptive Planning with a single mouse click. Soward claimed it took “a few minutes to set up” the data import, and from then on the information could be refreshed at any time. The data comes over so users can do planned-versus-actual variance reporting: they can look at revenue and drill down from national level to regions in Adaptive Planning,” Soward said.

When the next release appears in the autumn, it will be possible to drill from the analysis to summary NetSuite data and then the underlying transactions. “If a deal was going to close that didn’t, you could go into the NetSuite CRM module to see why,” he said.

This streamlined approach to analysis meant, “more insight was available with no training required - that’s kind of the Adaptive Planning theme”.

Also added to the latest upgrade of the core application is a new Cube Sheet that makes it possible for end users to construct multi-dimensional planning scenarios using drag and drop tools.

But the most eye-catching addition to the Adaptive Planning portfolio is its new benchmarking service, which aggregates anonymous data from the software users and presents it back to them in a series of comparative performance indicators.

“As a SaaS company we’re capturing a lot of data on behalf of our customers. We’re asking them on an opt-in basis if they want to participate in the programme.” The service is being organised into industry groupings, the first of which includes 75 software companies. The benchmarking service includes some backward-looking data from external sources as well as forward-looking measures draw from the participating companies’ plans and budgets.

“Every quarter we will be able to look at the likely pace of change,” said Soward. “We’ll see whether they did a reforecast ar if they plan to increase hiring. The change information may be fore more interesting than the historic metrics.”

This article is an extract from an article originally published on our sister site BusinessCloud9.com. Click here for more.
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