It was a breakout year for planning

Organizations of all sizes are adopting cloud solutions, even in functions like finance that once were hesitant to entrust their data to the cloud.

Think back to what the cloud planning market looked like a year ago. Now compare that to what it looks like today. A lot has changed.

Consider what happened just this year with three of the leading cloud planning software providers: Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, and Host Analytics all experienced fundamental changes.

It was a lesson in how change can be both dramatic and unpredictable. Just days before our own scheduled initial public offering (IPO) in June, we announced that Workday would be acquiring us for $1.55 billion. It was an unexpected but ultimately awesome turn of events—one that positions us to bring world-class business planning to organizations large and small.

Meanwhile, Anaplan went public, and Host Analytics was acquired by a private equity firm. As I say, a lot has changed.

This market is coming of age

When a particular market undergoes a series of IPOs and acquisitions, it often signals a process of market development—that it’s coming of age. Liquidity events cement the value of market players. Large enterprises signal a willingness to make next-generation solutions a core part of their software stack. What not long ago was aimed at a single business function now becomes enterprise class. It’s a moment of arrival.

That’s exactly what’s happening in the cloud planning space. Organizations of all sizes are adopting cloud solutions, even in functions like finance that previously were hesitant to entrust their data and infrastructure to the cloud. An IDG survey published last year found that four out of every 10 enterprise IT managers say their senior executives want them to migrate all of their applications to the cloud. So far, three out of four have adopted cloud solutions at some level.

Our experience suggests the desire to adopt cloud-based planning is strong and getting stronger. This is especially true when organizations realize that in business, everybody plans. And to ensure that the people closest to your day-to-day business can participate in budgeting, forecasting, and more, you need planning software that’s easy for everybody to use and built so they all can collaborate. These organizations are moving to cloud-based planning solutions because they simply can’t get there with the legacy tools they’ve used for years. Those legacy tools tether them to manual, siloed, static planning processes that leave them flat-footed at a time when agility counts more than ever.

It helps that these organizations now have powerful, scalable, enterprise-class planning solutions at their disposal. Throughout the year, we delivered on our “everybody plans” ethos by introducing powerful new solutions designed to transform static planning processes into active planning environments that are continuous, comprehensive, and collaborative. There was the launch of the Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud, the next generation of our modern cloud planning platform, and with it Adaptive Insights for Sales, our first solution purpose-built to take comprehensive, cloud-based planning beyond finance. More recently, we expanded further with Adaptive Insights for Workforce Planning, another purpose-built solution that helps growing businesses strategically plan their workforce with agility and confidence.

Planning for every organization

Active planning is about gaining insights that allow you to operate with agility. As organizations grow, as they take on more layers and locations, insights and agility become more critical than ever. Indeed, a planning environment that leads to agility isn’t just a good idea—it’s a strategic advantage. So it’s important that a company’s planning environment can scale along with it.

In 2018, we recognized the need for organizations to quickly model virtually anything at practically any scale. So our amazing engineering team rearchitected the engine that drives our Business Planning Cloud, and the result is our breakthrough, patent-pending Elastic Hypercube Technology. This means that large and complex models don’t force organizations to make compromises that slow insight or limit the number of scenarios a team can evaluate.

Becoming a Workday company gives us an opportunity to work with some of the largest businesses in the world—organizations that demand the scalability, speed, and ease of use that the Business Planning Cloud delivers. Yet it also equips us with additional resources to ensure that we continue to address the needs of small and midsize businesses and nonprofits even as we make it possible for the largest organizations to plan strategically and pivot with precision.

At Adaptive Insights, we believe culture matters. We’ve worked hard to create an honest, ethical culture that rewards innovation, celebrates diversity, and encourages collaboration. This made our pairing with Workday even more fitting. This year, we were recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2018 and one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area. Meanwhile, Workday was ranked No. 7 on the Fortune 100 Companies to Work for 2018 list. It’s gratifying to see our incredible workforce team up with Workday, aligning cultures with the same focus and shared values.

An uncertain future makes planning critical

Step back and look at the world and the marketplace as we enter 2019. We’re seeing enormous volatility in the stock market, uncertainty around interest rates, and worries about trade relations between the United States and China, the European Union, and others.

In this new normal, agility becomes more important than ever. Your business alone can’t change these variables; all you can do is respond to them. You can model scenarios so you can game out what you can do in every likely situation—how you can act with confidence and pivot with precision. This will help drive even further evolution in the cloud planning market.

It’s a belief. But it’s also a forecast. In 2019, we’ll see more companies entrust their planning to the cloud. In fact, nearly two out of three enterprises see cloud migration as the key to improving their ability to respond to changing market conditions. In the next 18 months, nearly every enterprise will migrate to cloud solutions as a way to achieve that kind of agility. And one in five already identify finance, HR, and data analytics as top priorities for that effort.

I’d say that sounds like a market coming of age. Wouldn’t you?

Watch the webcast Moving Away from Spreadsheets for Planning

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