May 19, 2015

Starting a Journey from Growth to Profitability

Ryan Chan

Since 2012, HubSpot Inc, an inbound marketing and sales company that sells software on a subscription basis, has been growing rapidly. But like a lot of young SaaS companies that typically need several years for subscription revenue to offset customer acquisition costs, it isn’t yet profitable, having lost $34.4 million in 2013 on revenues of $77.6 million. As HubSpot continues to grow, it is committed to improving its margins.

HubSpot is using Tidemark for its financial planning and analysis to sharpen its ability to track expenses, develop forecasts, make smarter business decisions, and ultimately drive improvements in the bottom line.

John Kinzer, CFO, HubSpot

“In a high-growth business like ours you need the ability to do dynamic budgeting and forecasting. Our new systems are much more flexible. As the business changes, we can update our forecast to reflect those changes and minimize the work involved in the annual budgeting process. With the new system we will be manaing the business with rolling forecasts over multiple periods to evaluate how the decisions we are making now will impact us in the next few years.”

With Tidemark, Kinzer says his team is now working to help business managers grow revenue faster than expenses. “As we think about our transformational journey,” Kinzer says, “we’re trying to empower our business leaders with financial information. We want them to be able to go into the system themselves, see how their numbers are trending, understand the details behind their numbers, and allow them to refine their business plans using the data in the system.”

On August 25, 2014, HubSpot filed a $100 million public offering. John Kinzer will be sharing his perspective on going public at Zuora Subscribed 2015 in San Francisco on May, 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm. Request and invite to his session, “Going Public: The CFO’s Perspective,” here. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

Read HubSpot’s full journey from growth to profitability here.


May 12, 2015

With Tidemark Spring ’15, an Industry First for FP&A and Subscription Commerce

Christian Gheorghe

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re living in a pay-as-you-go world.  Software, storage, data access, music, and even aircraft engines are all available on a subscription basis now.

By all accounts, businesses and consumers like living in the on-demand economy, and the companies that supply and serve them have responded by transforming entire industries. An Economist Intelligence Unit survey (report free with registration) found four out of 10 companies have implemented subscription options for goods and services, with up to 10 percent of their revenue generated by subscriptions. And this is just the beginning: 84 percent of companies surveyed expect their share of subscription revenues will continue to grow.

Rather than traditional one-time transactions, recurring-revenue businesses are focused on the ongoing customer-vendor relationship. Subscribers don’t pay for products; they pay for value. This means performance must be measured on a continuous basis using modern metrics like annual contract value (ACV), annual recurring revenue (ARR) and total contract value (TCV).

A foundational principle of Tidemark is that we collaborate closely with customers to make sure our apps deliver the value they need (after all, we’re a recurring-revenue business ourselves). As part of that collaboration, we learned that traditional financial planning and analysis (FP&A) solutions are seriously limited in their ability to track, measure and report metrics like ACV, ARR, TCV and churn-rate. Developing accurate recurring revenue forecasts requires extensive calculations that are time-consuming and disconnected. The process is further plagued by constant manual adjustments that threaten the integrity and timeliness of entire business plans.

In other words, the world may have embraced on-demand service and subscription commerce companies, but FP&A tools have not. That is, until today.

Tidemark Subscription Commerce AppIntroducing Tidemark’s Subscription Commerce App

As part of our new Tidemark Spring ’15 release, we’re introducing the industry’s first Subscription Commerce app. This groundbreaking solution delivers advanced analytics to help decision-makers understand key metrics and variances for TCV, ACV, ARR, and MRR, and to analyze metrics by customer, product and region.

We’ve also built in driver-based processes and native integration with CRM, ERP and billing applications so forecasts can now account for recurring revenue from existing and new customers, renewals and churn-rates.

Subscription revenue businesses can now use Tidemark for recurring revenue, people and expense planning in one environment while gaining the ability to drive analytics across departments to collaboratively lead strategic decision-making.

More Breakthroughs in Spring ’15Tidemark Spring '15

The Spring ’15 release includes other new advances as well. Forecasting and predictive modeling capabilities now include Proactive Intelligence (delivering automatic notifications and root cause analysis), as well as Search and Command capabilities that helps anyone in the organization ask questions on financial and performance-related activities and results.

We’ve also enriched our industry-leading user experience (UE). Take our Easy Formulas functionality for example, which lets users accelerate planning by creating their own analysis within the context of a business process, and do it all with a simple click. Fast reporting allows you to create department-specific reports at the drop of a hat. These are but a few examples of what you can expect from the new Spring ’15 release. Since the world is changing, business models are being disrupted, and the old ways of doing things are no longer relevant…we continue to focus on innovations that re-imagine outdated processes and make a difference for you.

You can see Tidemark’s Subscription Commerce app and all the Spring ’15 innovations in action at Zuora’s Subscribed 2015 user conference May 20 and 21 in San Francisco. In addition, we’re holding special demos on May 20 and May 27 so you can see how FPA is being reshaped for you.

May 7, 2015

Forrester: As EPM Moves to the Cloud, Tidemark ‘Plays the Innovation Card’

Caroline Japic

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.

April 15, 2015

Tidemark: An OnFinance Top 100 Company

Caroline Japic

AlwaysOn just published its first-ever OnFinance Top 100, a list of private companies that are “overturning the world of finance, and opening up new avenues of technology for money and financial management.” And it’s my pleasure to announce that Tidemark is one of the Top 100.

AlwaysOn Top 100 WinnerWe’re excited because the OnFinance 100 winners were chosen by top venture capital firms and industry experts who “went out into the entrepreneurial ecosystem to find the top 100 private companies that are creating opportunity” in markets that are seeing fundamental change due to the intersection of finance and technology. Selection was based on five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, shareholder value and media buzz.

I like the notion that the companies in the OnFinance Top 100 are “creating opportunity” for companies to rethink how they use technology in finance. Tidemark appears in the Top 100’s Big Data & Analytics category, which makes sense because so many of our customers rely on Tidemark’s modern cloud and mobile-first financial planning & analytics (FP&A) apps to create more accurate plans and forecasts by incorporating data from multiple internal systems paired with external sources like Twitter, Facebook, and more in real-time. They also utilize our advanced analytics to run detailed what-if scenarios so managers can predict how their decisions will affect costs, revenues and margins. In a very real sense, they’re creating opportunities to run in the now while impacting the future – and for many organizations, this is a game-changer.

You know you’re doing something right when you appear on the same list as such disruptive market forces as Zuora, Kickstarter and Square. We’re grateful for the recognition, and not just from the creators of the OnFinance Top 100 list. Recently, Tidemark debuted in the Visionaries quadrant of Gartner Research’s new Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management 2015.  2015 is off to a great start and we’re just getting started.

These honors are the result of the ongoing support and collaboration we’ve received from our customers, partners and employees. Their input directly influences Tidemark’s software features, capabilities and user experience. Because of this, we believe these honors belong to them.

April 10, 2015

From March Madness, a Lesson in Collaboration

Michaela Dempsey

It’s hard to conceive of a more powerful display of collaboration than the NCAA Basketball Tournament, known to us mere mortals as March Madness. Beginning with the Round of 64 on March 21 and culminating with the NCAA Championship game on April 6, millions of viewers watched a total of roughly 1,900 collegiate players work together methodically, strategically and sometimes feverishly in their effort to prevail in the most important contests of their young lives. There were 126 games played in just 2½ weeks.  Madness indeed.

TideMarch Madness GameHere at Tidemark, we followed this year’s tournament more closely than usual – and not just because we (and our customers) recognize the enormous value of collaboration. The competition felt more personal to us this year because we hosted our first annual NCAA Tournament bracket: the 2015 TideMarch Madness Game. We invited professionals from throughout the Higher Education community to try to out-predict their colleagues (and their rivals). Many participated in hopes of winning our Grand Prize: a $500 donation to the school or non-profit of their choice, along with an official NCAA game ball customized with our snazzy TideMarch Madness logo.

When the final score told the world that Duke beat Wisconsin, Ed Martin, Deputy CIO of George Washington University, stood alone in our bracket. While Ed didn’t pick Duke to go all the way, his bracket picks were prescient enough in the pre-final rounds to earn an impressive total score of 116. As our Grand Prize winner, Ed selected the Alliance for Lupus Research as recipient of a $500 donation from Tidemark. And let’s not forget that sweet NCAA game ball, which he’ll no doubt be showing off to colleagues at GWU.

Tied for our second place prize are Anthony Heyward, a member of the Finance Department at New York University, and Jason Patterson, senior computer technician at Pellissippi State Community College. Both gentlemen finished the tournament with 109 points – enough for each to earn a gift certificate from Rickshaw Bagworks, purveyors of handcrafted urban messenger bags and other great stuff.

As we wrap up our inaugural TideMarch Madness Game, we’d like to congratulate Ed, Anthony and Jason – and we’d like to thank all our Higher Ed participants. We’ll be back next year with even bigger prizes.

Until then, we’ll focus on what we do best:  Providing born-in-the-cloud, mobile-first applications built to make finance a participation sport. Fortunately for our customers in Higher Ed or every other industry, transforming your FP&A environment is nothing like March Madness. Because when you get in the game with Tidemark, everybody wins.