Adaptive Live 2017: Bearing the Torch of Innovation

If Adaptive Insights customers ever wonder whether their feedback shapes the evolution of the Adaptive Suite, Chief Product Officer Bhaskar Himatsingka answered that question on Day Two of Adaptive Live 2017, our annual user conference.

Speaking directly to the 1,400 finance pros attending Thursday’s opening keynote, Himatsingka set the record straight. “Every time you write a note or a product review,” he said, “you push us to do something great.”

Himatsingka then demonstrated what he meant by presenting a few of the innovations that appear in the just-announced 2017.2 release of the Adaptive Suite, such as an Excel interface to engage FP&A practitioners who are hesitant to leave the familiar world of spreadsheets. He also showed off a feature called Model Overview, which drew applause from the audience as they were able to visualize how data flows to different parts of a model.

“It’s not enough to build a powerful modeling engine,” said Himatsingka as he verbally unfolded a roadmap of even more innovations under development. “It must be delightful to use, flexible, and so fast that you can have a Google-like experience that allows you to self-service anything.”

The reason for it all
Himatsingka’s keynote underscored the twin themes of Day Two: customer success and innovation. Founder Rob Hull appeared once more to announce our Torchie Award winners, companies who have achieved excellence in strategic FP&A categories such as operational planning, forecasting, and performance management. Sioux Steel, Fastems, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and EPCOR Utilities walked away with today’s honors.

And when Fred Gewant, chief revenue officer of Adaptive Insights, took the stage, he quickly explained that his CRO position would better be defined as Chief Realization of Value Officer. “Our goal is to deliver value for customers,” said Gewant.

To pound his point home, he shared how he measures three of his divisions: Professional Services/Partners are evaluated based on how soon customers realize value after implementing the Adaptive Suite; Customer Success gauges its own success on customer satisfaction scores; and Support & Education is measured by how quickly they respond to and resolve customer issues.

Simply put, Gewant built the case that Adaptive Insights is a company designed to drive value for our customers. For a glimpse of what that means out there in the real world, Carolee Gearhart, senior vice president of customer success and global channels, joined him to highlight how American Family Insurance has harnessed the innovation of the Adaptive Suite to fuel its own transformative journey toward active planning.

Fittingly, the focus of the keynotes ended where it began, on the global community of Adaptive Insights customers. Gewant described how the Adaptive Torchbearers community was an online manifestation of “the collaboration and support you’ve received in the past couple of days.”

Gewant urged attendees to “harness the power of this global community,” noting that “there’s no better way to help us deliver the kind of lifetime value you deserve.”

Take it from the Torchbearer of the Year
Sarah Sebby, financial planning manager at environmental sciences and services firm Clarke, backed up everything Gewant said when she accepted a Torchie Award for Torchbearer of the Year in recognition for her active participation in Adaptive Torchbearers.  A frequent community contributor with posts, speaking engagements, training, and more, Sebby said she’s found Torchbearers to be enormously helpful to her, even as she helps others. “It’s fun and I learn new things,” she said. “It’s changed the way I learn here at Clarke.”

With Day Two breakout sessions focused on more advanced topics and panels where customers could provide feedback on future features, attendees left with the sense that while Adaptive Suite 2017.2 may be packed with new features, there is no shortage of customer-focused innovation yet to come.

It all tied nicely back to Himatsingka’s opening statements, where he noted that with three software updates a year, the next three years will see Adaptive Insights delivering “nine releases of innovation.”

To ensure those advances deliver the greatest possible value to customers, Himatsingka wanted everyone in the audience to continue to push his team just as they push themselves to do more on their path to active planning. “Our goal is to make our software not just easy to use, but delightful to use,” he said.

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Read a complete overview of the enhancements included in the 2017.2 release.

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