In a fast changing market, the success of next-generation EPM solutions will rest on an ability to deliver what older legacy platforms haven’t: true collaboration, easy access to external data and predictive analytics, intuitive user experiences, and built-for-mobile architectures.

That’s why it’s great to see these aspects taken into account in the new report from Forrester Research, “The EPM Market Landscape Responds to The Growth Agenda and Digital Disruption.”  The report from Paul Hamerman lays out an exciting future for enterprises – one triggered by disruptive market forces and an increasingly reliance on real-time, largely unstructured data.  But, as the report finds, “cumbersome and inflexible planning processes” threaten to hamper the efforts of organizations to harness timely business data, engage more business users in the planning environment, gain insight into profiability and performance, and align execution with strategy.

In other words, legacy approaches no longer cut it.  Bad news for the Big Three, whose software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings are muddled, multi-pronged monsters tethered to their legacy motherships by cubes-based umbilicals and still clinging to an Excel-centric approach to planning.

The real heat in the marketplace is around cloud-first platforms, whose architectures aren’t shoehorned into looking backward. “The rapid growth in EPM SaaS adoption is being led by a handful of pure-play SaaS vendors,” writes Forrester. “As the pace of SaaS adoption in EPM accelerates, these SaaS EPM vendors are poised to sustain rapid growth.”

This may be bad news for the legacy giants, but it’s terrific news for EPM customers. In fact, Forrester identifies several areas where cloud-first platforms claim a distinct advantage. And in each of these, Forrester calls out Tidemark as a leading market driver. These areas include:

  • Mobile simplicity. That’s two great things in one (ask any user). “Mobile devices are well-suited for EPM reporting and analytics,” writes Forrester, who calls out Tidemark for its reliance on HTML5, which ensures that every user has the same inuitive experience, no matter which device or desktop they’re using.
  • Collaboration. This is becoming a “fundamental platform capability” where stakeholders are able to always work off the same numbers, add context to performance metrics, and explain variances from forecasts. In Tidemark’s case, those collaborations are embedded in business processes, so users can collaborate within the context of where they are and what they’re doing.
  • More varied and advanced visualizations. The Forrester report applauds efforts to go “beyond standard charts and graphs” to explain EPM data, and specifically calls out Tidemark for “adopting consumer infographic constructs to make performance information and outcomes more accessible to employees throughout the organization.”

We’re grateful for the recognition. At Tidemark, we work closely with customers to ensure the capabilities we build into our platform and applications directly address what CFOs, operations executives, and line of business managers tell us they need from their EPM environment.

I’d like to think this is why the Forrester report ultimately concludes that “Tidemark plays the innovation card.” The report sites our “technically avanced planning, reporting and analytics platform using a Big Data engine (Hadoop-based), a mobile-first design philosophy, and signature embedded analytics.” And it describes our “prescriptive approach” to delivering insight, and finally describes how we uniquely “bring performance data to the masses in a consumerized fashion.”

What Forrester describes is what our customers have asked for. And as we move forward, you can count on two things: First, that our competitors – both legacy players and SaaS providers – will be racing to wedge features like these onto their platforms. And second, that we’re not standing still. Not for a second. Our customers won’t let us. Thanks to them, we have all kinds of innovation cards yet to play.