Traditionally speaking, corporate finance teams haven’t been quick to embrace cloud software for their day-to-day duties.
That hasn’t discouraged a whole bunch of companies from trying to get them to change their minds, including well-known software companies such as Workday and upstarts like Adaptive Insights and Anaplan.
You can now add another big name to the list of companies touting the virtues of cloud financials software: SAP.
On Monday, the German company introduced a new mobile software application, called RealSpend, that business managers can use to generate reports in real time. The app connects to corporate finance and management systems running on SAP’s HANA cloud, such as sales pipeline reports, marketing insights, inventory updates, expense inventory, and so on.
Technically speaking, SAP has sold software that helps with budget planning for some time, but not as part of its cloud services. What’s new is that RealSpend expands the audience of people who can access the data, so teams can act on issues or concerns far more quickly.
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Overall adoption for cloud financial software is still pretty modest, but the forecast is pretty optimistic. Almost 20% of companies surveyed in late 2015 by Forrester Research have replaced all or most of their accounting systems and financial tracking applications with cloud alternatives. Another 24% plan to do within two years.
There’s plenty of revenue at stake here. More than $23.1 billion will be spent on financial management software in 2016. That’s second only to what will be dedicated toward apps for managing custom relationships.
One particular beneficiary of this interest is Workday, with the number of businesses using its finance applications having doubled over the past year to almost 200 companies. It took several users to reach the 100-company market, and Workday has reorganized its sales team to capitalize on its accelerating momentum.
There are several highly visible startups angling for share—particularly when it comes to financial planning and modeling. They include Anaplan, which is in the process of hiring a new CEO and a management shakeup in late April; and Adaptive Insights, which signed up a new CFO in January.