UPDATED 17:24 EDT / FEBRUARY 15 2018

Teamwork CLOUD

Adaptive Insights spreads out into business and sales planning

Corporate performance management software provider Adaptive Insights Inc. is branching out from its base with new cloud-based services aimed at business planning and sales management.

The company sells analytics-based tools that enable organizations to collaborate on business plans, standardize and streamline financial reporting and consolidate performance information faster and more consistently. Adaptive Insights, which has raised more than $176 million in funding,  claims to have more than 3,500 customers, including some of the world’s largest software vendors.

The new Business Planning Cloud, announced Monday, is the company’s first product intended for use outside of the finance organization. It’s a businesswide collaborative planning platform that enables functional business groups to iterate continuously on plans and report processes using a standardized set of terms and metrics. The service is centered on an in-memory platform with built-in analytics that company says can handle multidimensional models with quintillions (1018) of cells as well as rapid scenario planning and reporting based upon included purpose-built domain intelligence.

Adaptive Insights for Sales supports such revenue-related tasks as quota management, territory planning, scenario planning and conversion forecasting. Quota planning-specific templates are tuned for best practices and include top-down allocation of targets across time, regions and segments; bottom-up productivity modeling; and coverage optimization

Territory planning includes the ability to assess and segment markets by factors like geography, company size, industry and product, as well as to assign resources based upon named account, geography and segment. Performance monitoring uses real-time analytics to match planned and actual needs for staffing, productivity and ramp-up across segments and territories.

A game-changer for one customer

The prerelease version of Adaptive Insights for Sales has changed the way information technology management software provider Ivanti Software Inc. does business, according to Mark Chamberlain, the company’s vice president of global sales operations.

Ivanti grew rapidly through acquisition over the past several years, more than quintupling revenue in the process. But the addition of new sales teams, each with its own legacy planning and forecasting tools and processes, made sales planning unwieldy, Chamberlain said.

Even as Ivanti crossed $500 million in annual sales, much of the planning was done with spreadsheet rollups, with each sales manager expected to provide data for his or her territory. However, reality rarely lived up to plan, according to Chamberlain. “People changed formulas and quotas all the time,” he said. “What they sent back was a mess.”

Ivanti initially tackled the problem with software and services from Adaptive Insights competitor Anaplan Inc., but it found that programming the software was too difficult for its nontechnical sales managers. Ivanti was already using Adaptive Insights for financial planning, so it opted to give the sales planning features that were then still in development a try. The payoffs have been in speed, better data quality and less second-guessing, among other things, Chamberlain said.

“Adaptive enforces consistency, so you know exactly what you’re working with,” he said. ““We can turn our models at least 10 times as fast, and it all but eliminates human error.”

Anaplan’s software is powerful, but Adaptive won on user interface, Chamberlain said. “If you can use Excel, you can use Adaptive,” he said. Training “literally took 10 minutes.”

This year, the company created sales forecasts using both Adaptive Insights for Sales and the old spreadsheet-based approach and found that the Adaptive-based forecasts were nearly error-free. “When we found variances, it was invariably something wrong with our spreadsheets,” Chamberlain said.

Ivanti has tied Adaptive Insight for Sales into its back-end corporate financial software from SAP SE and human resources software from Workday Inc. without a hitch.

“It makes so much more sense to have sales planning tied into whatever you’re using for expense planning and headcount,” Chamberlain said. Next step is sales territory planning.

Adaptive Insights licenses its software per-seat subscription basis but doesn’t disclose specifics.

Image: Unsplash

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