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Gartner: Pure-plays and SaaS CPM top customer satisfaction survey

SaaS and pure-play vendors topped a recent Gartner CPM customer satisfaction survey.

In the corporate performance management (CPM) market, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and independent pure-play vendors are tops with customers, according to a new survey from Gartner.

Adaptive Planning and Host Analytics – which both fall into the SaaS and CPM pure-play categories -- enjoy the highest level of customer satisfaction of the 18 vendors Gartner ranked. In fact, no mega-vendor -- SAP, IBM, Oracle or SAS Institute – ranked in the top five. Infor came in dead last.

Gartner said the survey results “may not mirror the views of the general population using these products” – survey respondents were reference customers provided by the vendors, meaning they are more likely to have a positive view – but they nonetheless provide a window into the evolving CPM market landscape.

The survey revealed that the overall level of customer satisfaction in the CPM market is relatively high, said Gartner’s Neil Chandler. “I don’t think anybody scored badly,” he said in an interview.

SaaS CPM ranks high in ease-of-use, cost and deployment speed

The most common reasons customers gave for selecting both Adaptive Planning and Host Analytics were ease-of-use and cost. Adaptive Planning was also lauded frequently for its speed of deployment. This indicates “a strong inclination toward end-user-centric buying preferences,” among the two vendors’ customers, Chandler wrote in a report accompanying the survey results.

Rounding out the top five were CPM pure-plays Longview Solutions, Clarity Systems and Prophix Software. Clarity offers both on-demand and on-premise deployments, while Longview and Prophix focus on on-premise installations.

Many of the top five vendors’ customers are likely to be smaller than those of mega-vendors -- meaning their CPM needs are less complex – but that doesn’t mean smaller, pure-play vendors can’t handle sophisticated deployments, Chandler wrote.

“Some independent vendors are best-suited to smaller, less-complex implementations (such as Adaptive Planning and Prophix Software),” Chandler wrote, “while others concentrate more on high-end sophisticated solutions (such as Longview Solutions and Exie).”

Chandler said he is not surprised that smaller, independent CPM vendors have higher rates of customer satisfaction, as “a small vendor lives and dies by its attention to detail.”

Among enterprise customers overall, however, “there has been a trend among enterprise clients toward buying from mega-vendors,” he wrote. Among the most common reasons for choosing a mega-vendor’s CPM software was the ability to integrate with the vendor’s data management or overall software/hardware stack.

Tops among mega-vendors in CPM customer satisfaction was IBM, which placed sixth overall. In addition to integration ability, Big Blue was also cited for its functionality and vendor viability.

Chandler said the other mega-vendors that did not fare as well, Oracle among them, were dealing with the inevitable complications and growing pains that come with acquisitions, which can lead to less focus on the customer.

Oracle acquired Hyperion in 2007 and continues to integrate the smaller vendors’ CPM technology with its software stack.

SaaS CPM vendors provide better support than mega-vendors

The survey also asked respondents for their opinions on sales and support services from each vendor. Again, SaaS and CPM pure-plays – specifically Longview Solutions, Adaptive Planning, and Host Analytics – came out on top.

IBM ranked fourth in sales and support services satisfaction, but fellow mega-vendors didn’t do as well. Oracle, SAP and SAS made up three of the bottom four.

Wrote Chandler: “This indicates that some vendors (or their extended partner networks) have significant room for improvement in the presale and post-implementation phases of the overall CPM program.”

Chandler said there is room in the CPM market for both pure-play and mega-vendors, however, with many organizations yet to adopt the technology. He estimates that around 40% of large enterprises and between 50% and 75% of mid-sized organizations in North America and Western Europe rely on spreadsheets and email, not dedicated CPM software, for financial reporting, budgeting and planning jobs.

CPM adoption rates in the rest of the world are even lower, he said.

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