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Ventana Research Unveils 2015 Value Index for Business Planning

New research provides in-depth, research-based vendor and product evaluations to help assess existing and select new software

Bend, OR / Oct 2, 2015 6:00:00 AM / by Ventana Research

BEND, OR, October 2, 2015 – Ventana Research today released its 2015 Value Index for Business Planning, the first and only quantified research evaluating business planning software vendors and their products. Using this new Value Index, business and IT organizations will be able to evaluate business planning technologies and examine software vendors’ offerings, enabling buyers to assess product offerings based on a deeper understanding of how the technology can address their business requirements.
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The 2015 Value Index for Business Planning finds that the companies that deliver the highest value, as determined using a rigorous research-based methodology, are Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Host Analytics, IBM, Infor, Longview Solutions, Oracle, Prophix, SAP, Tagetik and Tidemark.

This Value Index is designed to help organizations support a range of business planning needs that encompasses all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage. Using this Value Index, business and IT organizations – especially those in business leadership, and the supporting operations and analysts – will be able to evaluate business planning software and examine vendors’ offerings in the context of their own business, process, information and technology requirements.

Ventana Research’s Value Indexes are the product of more than two decades of experience in and knowledge of the market and of in-depth analyses of technology suppliers' products and the buying support those suppliers offer. The Value Index for Business Planning is based on a comprehensive examination of vendors’ products and their ability to support the full span of processes and methodologies used in business planning. It examines vendors’ products in seven evaluation categories – five that evaluate the products’ ability to support the evolving business processes associated with planning across line of business and two that address the customer assurance categories of vendor validation and total cost of ownership/return on investment. It offers a guide to making informed investments, which can maximize an organization’s ability to use these tools to gain insights to support business decision-making and help to gain competitive advantage.

Ventana Research defines business planning as the processes that encompasses all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage, such as sales, operations, and workforce planning, as well as budgeting. It also serves as a discussion about objectives and the resources and tactics needed to achieve them. Budgeting is a type of planning that is financially focused. Its essential purpose is to impose controls designed to prevent a company from failing. So while planning and budgeting are similar, they have distinctly different aims. This Value Index assesses applications that are designed to support general purpose business and financial planning rather than specific functional planning tools.

“The lack of substantive research that provides guidance and best practices in using business planning has hampered business in being effective in the adoption of software that can improve the efficiency and time spent in this essential business process.,” said Robert Kugel, SVP and research director of Ventana Research. “This Value Index research provides the level of detail required to assess existing business planning software and processes using a balanced set of real world-based evaluation criteria. Unlike other analyst firms’ futuristic and immaterial ratings that look minimally at the products’ and technologies’ fit for business and processes, we are able to provide no-nonsense guidance that is immediately applicable to every organization needs.”

“Each Value Index is the result of a detailed evaluation of the suitability-to-task of each offering’s capabilities as well as the product’s usability, manageability, reliability and adaptability. These aspects of the evaluation are designed to mirror how organizations conduct RFIs and RFPs; they are unique to the Value Index report and are not found in any depth in other analyst firms’ ratings, which often include only limited, if any, evaluation of actual products. Unlike the Ventana Research Value Index, those reports are based on customer lists and revenue of the vendors being evaluated. In contrast, this independently produced, research-based Value Index will help organizations confidently assess software and also develop the proper RFI/RFP to support a well-designed and efficient selection process.

As part of its evaluation, the Value Index also assesses the effectiveness of each vendor’s support for the buying process and customer assurance. It gauges the value offered by a vendor and its products and presents the results in a clear and accessible graphic representation of a thermometer and in a precise numerical index. Technology vendors earning the highest Hot and Warm vendor classifications are those that Ventana Research has concluded are most or more able to deliver value to buyers based on a thorough evaluation and audit – that is, based on research and verifiable facts. The Value Index is not just a selection of “cool” products; rather than evaluating a vendor primarily on its vision or market execution, the Index provides specific numerical ratings, both overall and for each of the seven components of the Value Index, for technology buyers to consider. Organizations can use the Value Index as a guide to assess existing technology providers and determine if their provider best meets their needs today and in the future.

“Planning is an essential process that every organizations conducts to one level of detail or another across every line of business areas, Ventana Research has designed the Value Index to provide a balanced perspective of vendors and products that is rooted in an understanding of business drivers and needs,” said Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer of Ventana Research. “It moves beyond just a feature review and vision of products’ customers, which are only a small part of what should be done in assessing the market of vendors and products. This limited approach by other analyst firms increases the risk of selecting and using the wrong technology for business by influencing IT with incorrect and limited information that can skew what business needs to be successful.”

The benefits of using dedicated business planning software can be significant. New benchmark research by Ventana Research finds companies that use dedicated planning applications are able to estimate accurately one plan’s impact on others twice as often as those that use spreadsheets (26% vs. 13%). Our analysis found how well a company manages its planning processes with efficiency: 85 percent of those that manage planning well or very well said that they spend the right amount of time on it, compared to 46 percent of those that manage it adequately. The use of business planning software and by using the Value Index can support the efficiency and achieve the desired outcomes in a faster and simpler manner.

This new Value Index is a fully independent, research-based undertaking. It is neither sponsored nor influenced by technology vendors and is conducted solely in pursuit of Ventana Research’s mission to provide value to business and IT through benchmark assessments, workshops and advisory services. Ventana Research’s goal is to help guide organizations to optimal efficiency in their use of technology investments for business and IT. To learn more and see how the vendors specifically ranked, download a complimentary executive summary of the 2015 Value Index for Business Planning, please visit http://www.ventanaresearch.com/BPValueIndex/ .

About Ventana Research

Ventana Research is the most authoritative and respected benchmark business technology research and advisory services firm. We provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies through a unique set of research-based offerings including benchmark research and technology evaluation assessments, education workshops and our research and advisory services, Ventana On-Demand. Our unparalleled understanding of the role of technology in optimizing business processes and performance and our best practices guidance are rooted in our rigorous research-based benchmarking of people, processes, information and technology across business and IT functions in every industry. This benchmark research plus our market coverage and in-depth knowledge of hundreds of technology providers means we can deliver education and expertise to our clients to increase the value they derive from technology investments while reducing time, cost and risk.

Ventana Research provides the most comprehensive analyst and research coverage in the industry; business and IT professionals worldwide are members of our community and benefit from Ventana Research's insights, as do highly regarded media and association partners around the globe. Our views and analyses are distributed daily through blogs and social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. To learn how Ventana Research advances the maturity of organizations’ use of information and technology through benchmark research, education and advisory services, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.

Media: Copies of the Value Index report and analyst interviews are available upon request.

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