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Best CPM Software: The Definitive Buyer's Guide

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Intro to the Best Corporate Performance Management Software Guide

“Final” budget version 26.5. Countless hours wasted consolidating and re-consolidating data in Excel. Reports based on outdated actuals. No visibility into real-time business performance.

Your organization can’t quickly adapt to change or effectively plan for any situation when your finance team is too busy overcoming these obstacles to support strategic decision making.

Corporate performance management (CPM) software can help you solve those challenges and more.

But how do you find a solution that’s right for your business? With so many options to consider, the process can be overwhelming. Not to worry. This article will help you navigate the market with confidence so you can find a platform that suits your unique needs.

You’ll learn the basics of CPM software—from what it is and how it can help your organization to tips for choosing the best solution.

Key Takeaways from Best Corporate Performance Management Software: The Definitive Guide

Here are four key takeaways to help you select the best corporate performance management software.

  • Choose CPM software that is secure and easy to use. From creating data models to building reports to automating tasks, the CPM software you choose should be intuitive and help you free up more time in your day.
  • Find a solution that suits your unique needs. Find a vendor that can get you up and running quickly with preconfigured solutions, as well as one that supports processes beyond FP&A, such as workforce planning and account reconciliation.
  • Select a platform that leverages Excel. Look for CPM software that combines the familiarity and flexibility of Excel with the structure, audibility and data integrity of a controlled application.
  • Pick a vendor that can scale with you. You’re creating a partnership with your vendor not just buying a piece of software, so make sure your vendor of choice has robust support and training options to help you grow.
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CPM Software 101

CPM (corporate performance management) connects your planning processes across departments and disparate source systems so you can empower  your stakeholders to make strategic and proactive agile planning decisions with reliable, up-to-date data. 

With CPM software, instead of just serving as number crunchers, your finance team will evolve into your company’s strategic powerhouse—business challengers who, equipped with the right insights, partner with every function across the organization to create business value and drive growth.

What is CPM Software and What Does It Actually Do?

CPM software delivers secure, user-friendly applications to power business planning processes and track, manage and optimize performance. Here are just three of the many benefits that CPM software provides:

Gain a Single Source of Truth

CPM software leverages cloud-native database technology to integrate and consolidate financial and operational data from disparate source systems—providing a holistic view of how your business is performing.

Build Reports and Dashboards

With CPM software tools, you can quickly create reports for stakeholders and auditors—and, with some, build dashboards using embedded business intelligence so you can report on KPIs against organizational objectives and strategic goals.

Streamline Business Processes

From budgeting and forecasting to revenue planning to scenario analysis to financial close and more, the best CPM software tools automate manual tasks and workflows, saving you time to focus on business priorities, collaboration and optimizing performance.

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CPM software can help you automate and connect your planning processes across departments and disparate systems so you can empower your stakeholders to make strategic and proactive agile planning decisions with reliable, up-to-date data."

How to Choose the Best CPM Software

If you follow this advice during your initial discovery and demo cycles, you won’t waste your time engaging with vendors who just aren’t the right fit. Here are five tips to help you choose the best CPM software.

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Do a Proper Discover. Send an email, take a phone call, read some marketing materials—and don’t be shy about asking your vendor questions about their company culture, strategic priorities and product outlook because you want to be sure you're partnering with the right company.

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Ask for a Demo. Requesting a demo, and one that is tailored to addressing your unique requirements, is a key step in the evaluation process. A demo will give you a chance to see the product in action, ask any questions you may have and build some trust in your potential partner.

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Gather Feedback from Stakeholders. Even though your finance team is leading the search for a planning solution, users from other departments will probably use the software as well. As such, be sure to get cross-functional leaders involved in the selection process.

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Focus on Flexibility and Ease of Use. Bells and whistles are meaningless if the software isn’t easy to use. Make sure your entire team is feeling confident about usability before taking the next step.

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Make a List of Questions. Here’s a few questions to ask vendors to help you choose the best CPM software:

1.  Have you helped other companies similar to ours? If so, what results have you delivered for them?
2.  What is the typical adoption rate for your software?
3.  What do your support, training and implementation options look like?

List of Best CPM Software in 2023

1. Vena

Vena is a Native Excel Complete Planning Platform built for Microsoft 365 With Power BI Embedded. It is primarily used for budgeting, forecasting, reporting, planning and financial consolidation—and is used by business leaders and finance and operations professionals. Vena is considered a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution by the leading industry analysts including Gartner, IDC, BPM Partners, Nucleus Research, Ventana Research, Dresner Advisory Services and Quadrant Knowledge Solutions.


Key Functionality and What Makes Vena the Most Complete CPM Software

  • Vena provides a drag-and-drop template/reporting building experience. Map any Excel modeling logic to the Vena app and database.
  • Threaded commenting allows you to tag collaborators and respond to comments. Vena's email notifications will ensure your comments are never missed.
  • Vena is built upon a RESTful API architecture, with user experience delivered through Microsoft Excel.
  • Build unlimited automated financial and non-financial planning workflows. Assign task owners and set deadlines, monitor the review process for your financial planning.
  • A 2-step data model wizard helps build processes and allows users to leverage industry best practice data models.

 

Vena Weaknesses:

  • International presence is still ramping up.
  • Currently does not support Google Sheets.
  • No free trial. However Vena does provide a free 7 product preview.

How Does Vena Compare to Competitors? Vena
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
yes
Collaboration & Sharing
yes
Central Database
yes
Integrations
yes
Process Management
yes
Security and Compliance
yes
Modeling
yes
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
yes

2. Anaplan

Anaplan is a transformative way to see, plan, and run your business. Using its proprietary Hyperblock™ technology, Anaplan lets you contextualize real-time performance, and forecast future outcomes for faster, confident decisions. Anaplan enables connected strategy and planning across your enterprise to move your business forward. Anaplan is based in San Francisco, CA.


Key Functionality and What Anaplan Does Well:

  • Data aggregation and can calculate billions of cells of data.
  • Can write, maintain and audit complex models.
  • Efficient calculation engine

 

Anaplan Weaknesses:

  • Complex for users without experience in multi-dimensional modeling.
  • Adjusting and making changes to calculations and business models after the fact can be difficult and time consuming.
  • Steep learning curve and on-boarding to get started.

How Does Vena Compare With Anaplan? Anaplan
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
no
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
no
API and Integrations
yes
Flexible, Visual Process Management
no
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
caution

3. Cube

Cube is a spreadsheet-native FP&A platform that focuses on meeting strategic finance teams where they already live and enhancing the workflows they use every day. Cube aims to help companies of all sizes plan and analyze for the unexpected and stay ahead of changes. Cube is headquartered in New York City.


Key Functionality and What Cube Does Well:

  • User friendly and easy to move dimensions around.
  • Pushes financial data to a friendly user spreadsheet environment.
  • Custom mapping allows for multiple views of the same data.

 

Cube Weaknesses:

  • There is no FX normalization.
  • There is no drill down to see the lowest level accounts. When a new account is created on the GL Cube users have to manually map it to a parent account.
  • No pre-configured templates, each model has to be built from scratch.

How Does Vena Compare With Cube? Cube
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
yes
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
yes
Central Database
caution
API and Integrations
caution
Flexible, Visual Process Management
no
Integrated Security and Compliance
caution
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
no
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

4. Datarails

DataRails is an FP&A solution that automatically consolidates data from all existing organizational systems (ERP, GL, CRM, and HR data). It is designed so users can keep working on Excel while benefiting from automated data transformations. Office locations in New York City and
Tel Aviv (HQ).


Key Functionality and What Datarails Does Well:

  • Has a friendly user interface.
  • Integrates data across multiple systems.
  • Supports an Excel user interface.

 

Datarails Weaknesses:

  • Need native functionality around roll-forward for forecasting, budgeting and reporting.
  • Steep learning curve to fully utilize the platform to its max capacity.
  • Are constantly upgrading the system and few options are available in the spreadsheet
    template library.

How Does Vena Compare With Datarails? Datarails
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
yes
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
yes
API and Integrations
no
Flexible, Visual Process Management
no
Integrated Security and Compliance
caution
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

5. Jedox

Jedox is a Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management solution. Their solution’s unified planning, analysis and reporting empowers decision makers from finance, sales, purchasing and marketing. Jedox helps business users work smarter, streamline business collaboration, and make insight-based decisions with confidence. Office locations in Germany (Global HQ), France, the US, Australia, Singapore, and the UAE.


Key Functionality and What Jedox Does Well:

  • Provides an integration to Excel, is an Excel add-in.
  • Strong security down to the cell level.
  • Supports mobile devices.

 

Jedox Weaknesses:

  • Data visualizations and dashboards are limited in terms of chart and dashboard choices.
  • Complex projects require expertise of specialized consultants.
  • Proprietary syntax, cannot use all Excel formulas, hard to self-train in Jedox
    specific programming.

How Does Vena Compare With Jedox? Jedox
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
no
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
yes
Central Database
caution
API and Integrations
caution
Flexible, Visual Process Management
caution
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

6. OneStream

OneStream provides a finance platform that aims to reduce the complexity of financial operations. OneStream unleashes the power of finance by unifying corporate performance management (CPM) processes such as planning, financial close & consolidation, reporting, and analytics through a single, extensible solution. Headquartered in Birmingham, MI.


Key Functionality and What OneStream Does Well:

  • Have solutions available on a MarketPlace.
  • Allows for detailed transactional level data (with millions of transactions).
  • Provides consolidation tasks at the detailed and summary level.

 

OneStream Weaknesses:

  • Requires consultant to implement, need better training.
  • Users cite dimension limits.
  • Dashboards are complex and time consuming to build.
  • Users cite that the product lacks Excel like functionality and prefer to work in more of an Excel like interface where formulas, calcs, short keys and inputs operate similar to that of Excel.

How Does Vena Compare With OneStream? OneStream
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
caution
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
yes
API and Integrations
caution
Flexible, Visual Process Management
caution
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

7. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud

Oracle’s complete EPM suite is designed to give users the agility needed to respond to change faster. Combined with the simplicity of the cloud, it enables companies of any size to drive accurate and agile plans across finance and operational lines of business, accelerate financial consolidation and close processes, streamline internal and external reporting, and ensure compliance with financial and tax reporting regulations, according to the vendor. Oracle has multiple products that are also part of this suite including Oracle Hyperion and NetSuite PBCS.


Key Functionality and What Oracle EPM Cloud Does Well:

  • Provides one step login and management to view database activity and logs.
  • Supports multiple integrations into source data repositories with both Oracle and
    non-Oracle databases.
  • Consolidates large company financials while keeping compliance of IFRS.

 

Oracle EPM Cloud Weaknesses:

  • Users cite that the user interface does not provide an Excel like experience and there is workbook type functionality.
  • Does not allow the addition of custom dimensions and there is no feature to add custom rules to enable customized calculations.
  • Multiple products in the EPM suite causes confusion for buyers.
  • Support needs to be improved and initial onboarding can be rocky.

How Does Vena Compare With Oracle EPM Cloud? Oracle EPM Cloud
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
caution
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
caution
API and Integrations
yes
Flexible, Visual Process Management
caution
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

8. Planful

Planful provides a Continuous Planning platform that enables finance to automate and accelerate FP&A activities, drive faster and more agile planning and decision-cycles, and elevate the financial IQ of the organization so that everyone is making smarter decisions more frequently. Planful is an end-to-end platform for financial planning, consolidation, and reporting & analysis. Offices located in Scottsdale, Vancouver, Toronto, Hyderabad, San Francisco (HQ) and in London.


Key Functionality and What Planful Does Well:

  • Supports rolling forecasts. Enables annual data to be quickly pulled up.
  • Users cite that scenario analysis is responsive.
  • User management and accessibility is available on a per user basis.

 

Planful Weaknesses:

  • No view-only dashboard capabilities that can be shared with executives or management.
  • Spotlight Excel add-in periodically becomes unresponsive and requires re-installation.
  • Multiple hierarchy setup is difficult and not easy to set-up.

How Does Vena Compare With Planful? Planful
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
caution
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
yes
Central Database
no
API and Integrations
yes
Flexible, Visual Process Management
no
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

9. Prophix

Prophix’s Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software promises to help users achieve goals more successfully. Prophix promises to support the user's future with a platform that flexes to suit strategic realities, today and tomorrow. Prophix is available in the cloud or on premise. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


Key Functionality and What Prophix Does Well:

  • Reports are easy to distribute.
  • Supports multiple scenarios for budgeting and planning.
  • Supports Month End Financial Statement Binders.

 

Prophix Weaknesses:

  • Users cite multiple issues and challenges with migration to the cloud from the
    on-premise solution.
  • Creating, updating and formatting of templates can be manual, time-consuming and tedious.
  • Excel based interface can be challenging to use when using Excel specific formulas.

How Does Vena Compare With Prophix? Prophix
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
caution
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
yes
API and Integrations
caution
Flexible, Visual Process Management
caution
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

10. Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning aims to power a new generation of business planning, and drive business agility in a fast-moving world. The Workday Adaptive Planning Business Planning Cloud offers modeling capabilities for organizations of any size, and helps users to collaborate, gain insights, and make smarter decisions faster. Headquartered in Pleasanton, California.


Key Functionality and What Workday Adaptive Planning Does Well:

  • Easy to use layout and user interface where spreadsheets are not needed.
  • Setting up formulas to auto populate certain areas makes it much easier for budget 
    owners to fill it out.
  • Users cite the ability to easily create dynamic models.

 

Workday Adaptive Planning Weaknesses:

  • Formatting of built-in reports cumbersome.
  • Excel users report that familiar spreadsheet shortcuts are not available.
  • Performance lacking for larger datasets.

How Does Vena Compare With Workday Adaptive Planning? Workday Adaptive Planning
Native Microsoft Excel User Interface
no
Inherent Collaboration and Sharing
caution
Central Database
caution
API and Integrations
caution
Flexible, Visual Process Management
caution
Integrated Security and Compliance
yes
Unlimited and Integrated Modeling
caution
Microsoft Power BI Embedded
no

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