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Business Planners Are Turning to the Cloud

Aug 24, 2016

Corporate adoption of cloud software for business planning and operations management is growing.

The latest evidence comes courtesy of one of the more aggressive companies in this category, 10-year-old Anaplan, which Wednesday said it topped a $100 million revenue run rate for the first half of 2016.

The private company has also reached cash-flow “break-even” status one year before it expected, said Anaplan co-president and CFO James Budge.

San Francisco-based Anaplan has around 600 customers, including the likes of Del Monte and Morgan Stanley. What’s more, it is scoring larger contracts, demonstrating interest in business planning systems beyond corporate finance teams, according to Budge. “We have lots of interest from sales and sales operations leaders,” he said.

Anaplan is frequently the subject of IPO speculation. Backed by more than $240 million in venture funding, it has been looking for a new chief executive since late April when CEO Fred Laluyaux abruptly resigned. Budge, who joined in January, is running day-to-day operations along with chief revenue officer Paul Melchiorre, a former SAP executive.

Budge told Fortune the CEO search is ongoing, and no appointment is imminent.

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Anaplan’s competition from the cloud software world includes Adaptive Insights, Host Analytics, and Tidemark Systems. Although specific forecasts for this slice of the cloud financial software market are elusive, Forrester Research predicts that more than $23.1 billion will be spent on financial management software in 2016, second only to apps for managing customer relationships.

As for the players. Tidemark had an estimated 75 corporate accounts last fall including Netflix. The Redwood City, Calif., company disclosed a “growth investment” in late July from Marlin Equity Partners to expand into new geographies, but didn’t reveal the amount. (It previously raised more than $100 million.) Tidemark said its annual recurring revenue has grown 100% over the past 12 months, but it doesn’t provide a baseline.

Tidemark customer AAA Washington, which represents more than 1.2 million regional AAA members, adopted Tidemark’s software last year in order to speed its planning cycles. The system helped shave at least four weeks off the process by giving branch managers better access to the numbers needed for their projects, said AAA senior analyst Peter Hessler. Previously, they had to contact someone in the central finance group for that information.

Host Analytics is also growing quickly, according to an update the Redwood City company issued in late July. Although it didn’t share specific revenue numbers, Host Analytics said it just closed the second largest quarter in its eight-year-history. It didn’t disclose total customer numbers, but some of its larger accounts include NEC, Burlington Coat Factory, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

By virtue of its customer count, Adaptive Insights, in Palo Alto, Calif., is considered the leader in cloud performance management software—it crossed the 3,000-company mark back in February, including accounts like Boston Scientific, Konica Minolta, P.F. Chang’s, and Siemen’s.

Adaptive Insights hasn’t released any growth metrics in recent weeks, although it has named several new executives, an indication that its laying the groundwork for an initial public offering. Its latest addition was a new CMO, Michael Schmitt, whose resume includes stints at Ariba and J.D. Edwards.

Another company to watch is Workiva (wk), based in Ames, Iowa, which sells a software suite meant primarily for risk management that is used by approximately 2,500 customer including eBay (ebay) and Winnebago (wgo). The company, which went public in December 2014, has been adding more planning features into its flagship product called Wdesk.

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