It’s that time of year again where the kids are back to school, adults are back to work and everything that happened over the summer starts to feel like a too-distant memory. That said, there was one thing that happened this summer – and another planned for this week – that leave me with a fresh perspective on Vena’s future as the new season dawns: the acquisition of Adaptive Insights by Workday, and Anaplan’s upcoming IPO.
This is where you might expect me to trash the competition, but that’s the last thing I’m going to do.
Because these developments aren’t just good news for Workday, Adaptive and Anaplan; they’re great news for Vena — and more importantly, for the community of finance professionals we all serve.
These developments aren’t just good news for Wo-rkday, Adaptive and Anaplan; they’re great news for Vena — and more importantly, for the community of finance professionals we all serve.
Vena is arguably the fastest growing corporate performance management (CPM) software company on the market. We’ve been successful because we solve vital, real-world challenges for finance departments and their overall businesses, helping them move towards greater data-driven thinking. We’ve been successful because of our focus on – and wide recognition as the market leader in – customer satisfaction and product usability, to our clear competitive advantage
Like our own trajectory, the growth figures in Anaplan’s S-1 filing show how much and how quickly companies are adopting cloud finance, accounting and business planning software like ours. The more than $1.5 billion valuation of both firms goes even further to show how much the market values companies like Vena and the software we offer.
In Vena’s particular case, comparing key metrics such as growth, operating profit and churn rate, our competitors’ announcements spell great news for our growth prospects and tangible validation of our value proposition. Just as importantly, they translate into plenty of reason for optimism on the part of our customers, investors and other shareholders.
But what about other company’s customers? What are the implications if their FP&A vendor gets acquired or goes public? What would further consolidation mean?
The Capital Tipping Point
After more than 10 years in this business, I’ve seen first-hand the effects of industry consolidation. I was there when Clarity – a precursor to Vena in the CPM space – was bought by IBM. I saw Hyperion, early leader in the sector, get bought by Oracle.
When these deals happen, senior management starts paying attention.
When these deals happen, senior management starts paying attention. That helps CFOs and the office of finance by helping justify investing in new FP&A and related software, and gaining executive buy-in for those investments in the process. For finance teams, that buy-in leads directly to having better tools for their jobs so they can do their jobs better. Companies that invested in ERP systems many years ago, for instance, are learning more about the gaps in effective planning and reporting capabilities, just one of the trends our competitors’ news clearly highlight.
It’s also important to note that this is not a “winner take all” market. Cloud computing is still relatively new to many finance departments, and to large enterprises in general. That means there is room for several top vendors to continue delivering software, automation and insights to transform customers’ budgeting, reporting, and business-wide planning.
With only a dozen or so analyst-recognized CPM software vendors, these developments should bode well for shareholders of the market’s top-performing independent players, regardless if they are acquired or choose the IPO path.
Clearing Up Confusion
On the other hand, IPOs and major M&As can have adverse effects, too. They can mean clients aren’t sure if their software will be supported the way it had been previously, or whether ongoing subscription pricing will change. Product rationalization and integration are two others to watch for. Roadmaps should be developed quickly and communicated clearly, for example, to allay any concerns the market may have.
On the positive side – with companies that are acquired primarily for their products and access to high entry-barrier markets, the combined entity should enjoy additional product sales through acquirer’s sales teams and channel partners, and vice versa. For newly public companies, an IPO obviously means freshly filled coffers not just for sales and marketing, but for research, product development, customer service and more.
What Happens Now
The bottom line? Vena has enjoyed an exceptional win rate versus Adaptive, Anaplan and other FP&A or CPM vendors. We will continue to do so as Vena’s basic value proposition remains the same – embrace Excel for maximum usability and adoption, and maintain a riveted focus on customer satisfaction.
Vena’s basic value proposition remains the same – embrace Excel for maximum usability and adoption, and maintain a riveted focus on customer satisfaction.
After seven years in business, Vena’s growth trajectory rivals both Adaptive’s and Anaplan’s, but neither company’s announcement changes our market dynamics, product differentiation or value proposition. Our focus remains not on being bought on pursuing an IPO, but on maximizing the benefits we offer the thousands of business professionals we’re proud to call our customers.