Baseball season is well underway and teams are starting to jockey to position for the few coveted playoff spots. But for the Boston Red Sox organization and other savvy businesses, it’s also a time for smart budgeting and planning.
As many of us are familiar, corporate and organizational budgets can take months to aggregate and finalize, leaving little nor no time for strategic and insightful analysis. Worse still, mistakes can be made and remain undiscovered, creating inaccuracies in the financial reporting that the executive team is viewing. The results can lead to wasted hours on data collection and verification that hurts the bottom line.
I’m very excited for our next webinar guest, Ryan Scafidi of the Boston Red Sox organization. The webinar is set for today, August 29th at 12pm PT. In this session, Scafidi, a member of the organization’s financial team, talks about how the Boston Red Sox recognized a need for better financial processes and management and moved beyond their tired old spreadsheet method to a modern cloud CPM technology approach for a home run in streamlined and automated budgeting and planning. Today, Scafidi and his team have quick and easy access and valuable insight into financial data.
This webinar will coach you in:
With so much marketing buzz around the term “cloud,” it can be challenging for financial decision makers to separate fluff from fact. The plethora of could-based solutions available today offers simplifications to both IT teams and business owners.
In a recent blog post on Forbes.com, Brian Galicia of Microsoft discussed the benefits of not only cloud based solutions, but the use of paired solutions to leverage even more productivity. According to Galicia, “The productivity experience is now more
than just giving workers tools like e-mail, document sharing and web conferencing. It is about equipping people with collaborative productivity solutions that are easy to use, easy to access, and work so well together that collectively they are worth more than the sum of their parts.”
The Schumacher Group, owned and operated by physicians, provides staffing and management for the emergency and hospital medicine operations of 187 hospitals in 23 states. Schumacher Group’s business grows 15 percent or more annually. The combination of growth and geographic span strained the manual way it used to do budgeting – using Excel spreadsheets circulated by e-mail. “The inefficiencies associated with that process were enormous,” CIO Douglas Menefee recalls. “In some years we didn’t complete our budget before the beginning of the new fiscal year.”
In a free webinar today at 8am PT, CIO, Douglas Menefee, of the Schumacher Group will talk about why they embraced the Cloud, Host Analytics, and what it meant for their Finance team.
In this webinar you will:
• Understand how to leverage Cloud and related technology to monitor and manage the metrics that empower better decision-making
• Use leading indicators to anticipate changes in your company’s environment
• Learn the significance of metrics driven organizations
The office has been abuzz lately over a recent Q&A series with our own CEO Jon Kondo. Beyond discussing Jon’s personal story as an entrepreneur, the seven-piece Entrepreneur Journeys series, written by veteran journalist Sramana Mitra, reinforces the one thing that matters most to him and to everyone else at Host Analytics: our customers.
As a CEO approaching his four-year anniversary at our rapidly growing company, it’s noteworthy that, in Jon’s eyes, customers remain first. “What customers really come to appreciate is that the responsibility of customer satisfaction falls on us,” Jon said.
So what does Host Analytics do to ensure customer satisfaction? As Jon explained, it starts at the beginning—understanding what a potential customer’s requirements and business needs are. “Philosophically, we want to make sure our customers are successful with our solution,” Jon said during the interview. “We are going to understand what they want to do and the best possible way to accomplish these goals.” This may include something like consideration of time-to-value in implementing a CPM product. Host Analytics’ ability to standup a solution takes probably a tenth of the time that the heavy, on-premises solutions require. Another factor that makes Host Analytics’ cloud-based CPM solution a standout solution: “we are about a third of the cost of on-premise solutions,” Jon explained.
Aside from offering a cost-effective alternative to the big guns, Host Analytics serves our users in being consistent in how we manage our product. Our team strives to provide enhancements that matter most to customers. To ensure customer feedback is translated effectively into new product offerings, Jon has led the way in mandating that our product management teams spend ample time with our customers. This effort is implemented from top-down, starting with the CEO himself as Jon makes a conscious effort to check in with customers throughout their use of Host Analytics.
“I want to see customers when they are at various stages. I want to see them right after they have bought, right after they have implemented and after they have been using the product for a couple of years. We work very hard across all levels of the organization to never lose customer intimacy,” he said.
To further build customer intimacy, Host Analytics created a customer success team earlier this year. This combines our support team and professional services so that they are better optimized to serve the needs of our customers. “Those are the things that keep me up at night and that I work hard on,” says Jon. “I want to take the organization to the next level.”
From the top down, Host Analytics knows the best way to do that is through enabling our customers’ successes.
For a full look at Jon’s Q&A series in Entrepreneur Journeys and his business philosophies, click here.
The fourth annual Host Analytics Customer Conference, Focus 2011, took place in San Diego, California. It was attended by almost 200 customers and partners with activities including hands on training, deep dives into Host Analytic products, partner presentations and customer sessions.
A highlight of the customer sessions was a presentation by Tom Sullivan, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Acciona Energy, based in the Chicago area.
In his presentation, Tom recounted the impetus for selecting a new financial software: a desire in 2008 to improve Acciona’s closing and financial reporting processes along with its Excel based budget process, which consolidated input from 50 people into a budget with 90 intricately linked Excel workbooks. Once the company decided to go with the Host Analytics SaaS-based solution, Tom and team had the system up and running within 60 days. Not only is the system used for budgeting, but many of the systems 50+ users also do ad-hoc reporting. These ad hoc reports, which are available at the individual department level, have helped the company by providing more detailed information, and have also helped the company uncover data anomalies. In summarizing their success, Tom stated Acciona had obtained a much smoother financial close process, which is less prone to errors and less labor intensive. “Overall, we were able to provide a deeper level of information and up level the role of finance within the company.”
For more information on Host Analytics CPM product offerings visit http://bit.ly/mg6mEU
This week, Host Analytics kicked off its fourth annual Host Analytics Focus11 Customer Conference in San Diego, Calif. with more than 200 customers and partners in attendance.
Customers gathered to focus on sharing the latest trends in Software as a Service (SaaS) and corporate performance management by discussing ways customers can get the most out of their investments, as well as discussions of best practices and strategies.
Highlights of the day included a customer roundtable with discussion focusing on the changing role of the finance organization, as it becomes more central to the company’s success equation.
Kerisa Armstrong from New West Health in Montana talked about the power of its Host Analytics implementation, which has allowed his team to up level daily activities. No longer are they spending time keying in information to an Excel spreadsheet. The team is now much more involved in the strategic areas of the budget.
David Gosnell of Calypso Technology has a history of working for large corporations and has used Hyperion for financial needs. He recently moved to Calypso Technology to head up its finance efforts. He recounted how he initially thought Hyperion might be a solution for Calypso, but its implementation overhead was an issue for the startup. Luckily he discovered Host Analytics and was amazed at the speed and ease of implementation. He hasn’t looked back since.
Irene Wong of Baxa Corp recounted how its first module of the CPM suite, Host Analytics Consolidator, was up and running in about a month. The finance users saw immediate simplification and time savings, and in particular allocations function that use to take hours to build from multiple reports and spreadsheets now takes minutes.
Sean Finneran, Sea Island, Co. explained how his goal was to get its operations team at this five-star resort to be more accountable, as there was no departmental ownership of the numbers. When they started ad hoc reporting with Host Analytics, it really helped the team understand where the numbers came from and led to the cultural shift within the organization that Sean was looking for. More importantly, Sean and his team have moved from being disciplinarians to trusted advisors. “We’re now seen as a partner to the various departments. They come to us for guidance to help them understand their business better.”
To read more about how companies are using Host Analytics to move from finance from the back office to the front office visit http://www.hostanalytics.com/Customers/Customer-Overview.aspx.