Adaptive Planning Acquires myDIALS Interview with John Herr CEO Adaptive Planning Q Please introduce yourself, your role, and Adaptive Planning. Hi, I’m John Herr, the CEO of Adaptive Planning. We are the global leader in corporate performance management software for the cloud. Similar to what Salesforce.com did for CRM, we're doing for financial budgeting, forecasting, planning, and reporting. I am helping to accelerate the company’s already impressive growth and leadership position to seize a big market need and opportunity. We fill a really big hole in the market between Excel on the low end – which is manual, error prone, just doesn't scale – and more traditional legacy enterprise software like IBM, SAP, and Oracle for example on the high end – which are expensive, complex and very IT intensive. As a result of this market opportunity and our leadership in the cloud, the company is growing rapidly, with over 70% annual growth, 1500 customers, #1 ranking in customer satisfaction, and 300 partners in 65 countries, including Armanino McKenna, Intacct, IntuitiveTek, Plex Systems, SAP, and NetSuite, which offers a specialized version of Adaptive Planning as the NetSuite Financial Planning module. Our product is used by organizations worldwide, from midsized companies and nonprofits to large corporations, including AAA, Boston Scientific, Siemens, CORT, Konica Minolta, NetSuite, Philips, and Vail Resorts. We are headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. And are funded by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), ONSET Ventures, Monitor Ventures, and Cardinal Venture Capital.
As a bit of background, I came to Adaptive Planning as a former Executive in Residence (EIR) at Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), and I helped usher in Adaptive Planning’s latest round of funding, a $22 million round led by NVP. My background includes positions as Vice President & General Manager at eBay, working across the eBay, PayPal, and international businesses. During this time, revenue grew 15 times, from $400 million to $6 billion, and employees increased from a few hundred to 15,000. Prior to eBay, I was Chief Revenue Officer at Buy.com where I was responsible for scaling revenues from $35 million to $860 million. I have also held senior roles at Ziff Davis Media, Johnson & Johnson, and Bain & Company, and earned a BA in Economics and an MBA from Harvard. I am bringing my background and relationships to bear in helping to continue to scale Adaptive Planning’s business, both in terms of market targets and expanding the product portfolio. The most rapidly growing part of our business today is the enterprise, companies over $1 billion in revenue, which accounts for about 25 percent of all of our new bookings. As the business climate becomes more familiar with and attuned to the advantages of the cloud, we are finding that even the largest and most complex organizations are embracing our solution as a better alternative. And in terms of product roadmap, we are expanding our suite of solutions to go beyond financial planning to include business intelligence and visual discovery. With our recent acquisition of myDIALS, the cloud leader in visual discovery, we are bringing operational information into the mix of decision making in an easy and intuitive way.
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Q What unique value does Adaptive Planning bring to the market? Let’s start with the forces at work that are driving new thinking in corporate performance management. At one extreme of the market there are low-end, personal productivity tools – like Microsoft Excel. While many swear by Excel as a personal tool, it is manual, inefficient, error-prone, not collaborative, and just doesn’t scale to the demands of growing businesses. The shocking truth is that over 65% of companies still rely upon spreadsheets for planning and reporting. Spreadsheets continue to dominate planning and reporting processes in most companies because they are familiar and readily available. There’s a huge cost to all of this wasted time and error-prone process. At the other extreme are large, on-premise CPM applications, such as those offered by Oracle, SAP, and IBM that are typically expensive, complex, take a long time to deploy, and require a huge amount of IT involvement. These two traditional, insufficient approaches are creating a gaping hole in the market, particularly for mid-market and enterprise organizations.
Adaptive Planning’s cloud-based CPM has all the key elements that are missing in the market extremes, combining ease of use and fast deployment with a collaborative and scalable environment that requires no IT. Software-as-a-Service solutions are very affordable (with a total cost of ownership that’s up to 75% less than on-premise alternatives), easy to use (even for non-finance staff), and rapidly deployable. And you don’t need any new hardware, software, or IT involvement. Web-based, easy-tolearn interfaces mean that even people without strong finance skills can participate in financial planning and reporting processes, which increases adoption and collaboration across the company. Finally, cloudbased CPM solutions are accessible worldwide with nothing more needed than a browser and an internet connection. This is a mission critical application for our finance customers, and once they're up and running on Adaptive Planning, we see very high levels of satisfaction because our offering lets them do entirely new things in scenario analysis, reporting, forecasting, budgeting, consolidating financial results, visual discovery, and the display of key operating metrics. Due to that, we have really high levels of retention and expansion among our existing customer base as evidenced by our growth from 60 customers 6 years ago to 1,500 active customers today.
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Q What are the market forces at work, and what has Adaptive Planning done to address those trends? Tell us about the recent myDIALS acquisition. We see ourselves at the center of a perfect storm of market opportunity with strong tail winds at our back which starts with the market shift to the Cloud. We're beyond the tipping point; the Cloud is going mainstream and that's helping us in a very big way. There's also a trend of data proliferation in big data which really enhances the need for data analytics platforms like ours. The third I'd highlight is the focus on cost savings. When we say, “No IT required” those are magic words to our CFO customers. Also, social enterprise and workplace collaboration is what budgeting, forecasting, planning are all about - getting all these departments and people all over your company in different divisions around the world on the same page. Mobile computing and remote computing is another driver along with the consumerization of business software. So that's fueling our growth. Cloud-to-Cloud connections are also very important. We have acquired one of our key OEM partners that's ranked very highly in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Customer survey called myDIALS, and they are a real leader in Cloud BI visualization; we have worked with them for 18 months and they're integrated into our product line and roadmap. We've had dozens of joint customer wins and a very good relationship with the team. We decided to acquire them a few months ago, and the beauty of Cloud-to-Cloud connections is that we're already up live working with dozens of customers with myDIALS. myDIALS gets us into the $18 billion BI market and expands our addressable market considerably; it's a company we know and trust with a great tech team and a great platform. We have the sales and market engine in the channels to really take it out and scale it. myDIALS is a synergistic acquisition for us. The technology is very intuitive, quick to get set up and running, and rates highly in terms of customer adoption and satisfaction. And similar to our Adaptive Planning product, myDIALS presents a formidable challenge to incumbent legacy Business Intelligence Software solutions which are often expensive, cumbersome, and difficult and non-intuitive to implement and use. myDIALS forms the core of our business intelligence line for the future. It enables us to offer standalone BI initially as well as a fully integrated business intelligence capability into the Adaptive Planning suite going forward. To conclude, this has been a milestone year in Adaptive Planning’s history. The acquisition of myDIALS complements a 70+% year-over -year growth rate, a significant $22 million round of additional funding led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), an expanding presence globally, including new offices in the UK and Australia, a broadening product line and addressable market of over $20 billion, and a widening base of loyal and evangelical customers. We like to call it “Addicted to Adaptive” – once customers see the power and the ease of our product, they’re hooked.
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