Last week in finance and accounting

SUMMARY:

Brian Sommer’s quick round up of stories from the finance and accounting solutions markets.

mobile banking and finance © Oleksiy Mark - Fotolia.comThere was a fair bit of news re: financial accounting software recently. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights I picked up. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed but these are the ones I consider have the most importance to readers.

Workday

Workday had its annual customer conference in Las Vegas last week. Among the various announcements, Workday:

  • Gave a glimpse of the proposed new functionality in its Budgeting/Planning/Forecasting capability that should arrive around the Workday 27 release. That release is still a ways off. This solution will be fully integrated with the software and NOT a standalone or bolt-on product. That alone will make some customers prefer this unified solution over competing standalone products on the market today. (More below)
  • Shared its customer counts on the Financials applications. 160 firms have subscribed to the product with 84 live. Wall Street believes that the new functional enhancements will drive more sales of this product line. Why I tend to agree with this assessment, I suspect the OneSource Virtual announcement (see below) will actually trigger more deals, more quickly in the short-term.
  • Showcased their mobile expense processing capability. While Workday’s had a more limited capability in the past, this version now is quite complete, especially with regard to mobile functionality.
  • Introduced its Inventory module. This application is not suited for complex manufacturers or firms in the warehouse management, distribution or logistics outsourcing space. But, it does do the job for those firms that need to track internal fulfilment actions (e.g., consumable supplies, supplies needed to complete some services, etc.)
  • Showed customers its scorecard functionality. The company promised to add many more scorecards in the near future. Given how little time executives have, having a vendor pre-supply and design new scorecards and metrics is of value. With Workday’s continued focus on metrics and big data, new data types will doubtlessly drive the development of new metrics and ways to report them.

 

Adaptive Insights

Simultaneous with Workday Rising, Adaptive Insights announced their recent Workday product certification. Adaptive Insights provides budgeting/planning/forecasting and consolidation software in the cloud. The company has now passed the 2,800 customer mark.

Of Workday’s 160 total financials customers, 30 are also Adaptive Insights customers.

I’ve already written about the impact of Workday’s announcement and the impact it could have on this space.

There were several other budgeting/planning/forecasting vendors in attendance at Workday Rising. On the Mandalay Bay meetings screen that I glanced at, I saw meetings scheduled for Anaplan and Tidemark. Make no mistake, financial applications were a big focus at this event.

OneSource Virtual

One of the lesser covered, but quite important stories, re: Workday Rising was OneSource Virtual’s announcement that it’s launching a Workday Financials offering as part of its FAO (financial accounting outsourcing) solutions.

What makes this announcement so noteworthy is that OneSource has been the dominate HR Outsourcer of Workday solutions especially in the mid-market. The company provides a services’ rich solution for those customers and will likely follow a similar path with its financial accounting outsourcing offering, too.

OneSource Virtual will be the only FAO product, for now. Given the market interest that major service firms have in Workday, one should expect other deals to emerge from the likes of Accenture and Deloitte (to name a few). Both firms were titanium sponsors at Workday Rising.

Workday will likely benefit from this arrangement with OneSource as OneSource will enable the sales of many more Workday Financials solutions. If OneSource follows its past methods, it will likely focus on getting a lot of mid-market customers acquired and implemented quickly. We should see the customer count for Workday Financials grow quickly.

There’s another reason to expect customer count to grow as OneSource can cross-sell the financials solution to its numerous pre-existing HR Outsourcing customers. Offering these HR customers an integrated, one-vendor solution set will be a selling advantage for both OneSource and Workday.

Tagetik

Tagetik, another financial planning software provider, had their user conference the week prior. Tagetik’s Italian roots have netted them a number of large European customers. However, the company has been increasing its focus in North America the last couple of years. Total customer count is around 600 firms.

Tagetik added a collaborative disclosure management capability to its offering. This permits users to quickly generate documents that external parties like regulators or other stakeholders like boards of directors might require on a regular basis.

IBM acquires Meteorix

IBM acquired Meteorix, a four-year old Workday implementation partner. Meteorix did an earlier acquisition when they acquired BTRG in November 2012. Analyst colleague, Phil Fersht, did a solid analysis of this acquisition.

There’s been a lot of interest in larger firms buying (or looking at) niche Workday implementers. Previously, Mercer bought Jeitosa; Deloitte bought Aggressor; and, Aon/Hewitt bought Omnipoint. IBM’s deal gets them into the space in a material way but they’ll likely need to expand the acquired skills and capability materially to grab even more market share.

This deal means that there are fewer specialty Workday implementation firms left. Some of the survivors include: Appirio, Collaborative Solutions, Kainos, Kloud and OneSource Virtual.

Some analysts have questioned Workday’s selective implementation partner/channel development efforts. They feel that major systems integrators and offshore outsourcers have been underrepresented to date. I’ve had a number of conversations with Workday top executives on this matter over the years. When you take the time to understand their reasoning, I can’t fault their logic (the way they communicated things could have been better though). I’ve also spent time with top leaders of many integrators and outsourcers and they are usually guilty of one or more of the following:

  • Wanting to apply the same old, tired implementation methods and practices of client-server solutions to the multi-tenant cloud world
  • Not willing to dedicate people to a Workday practice.
  • Too willing to take old-skill ERP people and retrain on Workday. The problem is that when the integrator has a multiple year chargeable opportunity for these resources on an older ERP solution, then these people are no longer available for Workday implementations.

Acquiring a niche Workday practice is no guarantee of long-term success in the Workday ecosystem unless the acquirer is willing change in a material way. If the acquired firm gets absorbed, it will lose its relevance.

Good luck with this IBM.

Disclosure: Workday is a premier partner at time of writing

Image credit: mobile banking and finance © Oleksiy Mark – Fotolia.com