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Innovation in overdrive

At Adaptive Live 2019, which is underway this week in Las Vegas, the future is coming into focus for planning professionals from around the world who have gathered here to discover new tools and technologies that will help them plan for what’s next.

I’m happy to say we’re giving them a lot to work with.

So much has taken place since Adaptive Live 2018 that a brief recap is in order. Last year, we unveiled Elastic Hypercube Technology, our next-generation planning, reporting, and analytics engine that automatically scales with the demands of a modern business. This breakthrough technology removed traditional guardrails on modeling and scenario planning: Virtually no limits on the number of dimensions or dimension values. No limits on how many scenario versions you can conjure up. No limits on data set sizes or model complexity. Reporting and editing without excessive preparation.

We introduced a workforce planning solution that, along with our solution for sales planning, extends the reach of our Business Planning Cloud. And as we were busy bringing our new engine and solutions to market, we became a Workday company. For the product side of our business, that meant we suddenly had more R&D resources and investment than ever before. Already in high gear, our pace of innovation has shifted into overdrive.

This morning before a packed house in Las Vegas, I joined with colleagues and customers to reveal just how busy we’ve been. Here’s a brief overview.

Performance and scale

Elastic Hypercube Technology is now in use by all of the more than 4,000 Adaptive Insights customers worldwide. With it comes record-breaking performance: Our overall 90th percentile response time has improved by 50% from a year ago.

What does that mean for planners like you? By delivering results quickly, Elastic Hypercube Technology enables you to spin more complex scenarios and explore more options, anticipating many possible scenarios to ensure you’re making the right decisions with the best data. In the time required to take a breath, you’ll be able to recalculate the margin impact of a change in tax rates across your entire product line. And we expect it will save our customers a combined 100,000 hours in the next year.

Application and data integration

I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: We are an open cloud platform and will remain an open cloud platform. So we are dedicated to not just maintaining, but enhancing our integration with the ERP, HCM, CRM, and other core solutions in your enterprise stack. For instance, we’ve significantly enhanced our ability to integrate metadata with back-end systems, enabling for customers a truly automated integration for all their data and metadata. We also added two-factor authentication for Oracle NetSuite to continue serving our ever-growing population of joint customers who require a powerful yet easy-to-use strategic planning capability.

We’ve also advanced our strategy to implement more deeply with Workday to realize the Power of One, the driving philosophy behind enabling people to plan, analyze, and execute in one system. Our latest enhancements include: an advanced security framework featuring single sign-on to allow easy access to Adaptive Insights from within Workday; the ability to drill through from Adaptive Insights into Workday business objects and transaction details; and built-in access to Workday data and metadata. It’s worth noting that unifying the Adaptive Insights and Workday experience comes at zero expense to customers who aren’t using other Workday solutions; they’ll never have to re-platform, and we’ll continue innovating our Business Planning Cloud for all of our customers—including the thousands who prefer to use other ERP and HCM solutions.

Company-wide planning

We’re making it easier than ever for more people across your organization to model your business by infusing intelligence about different operational planning right into the software. And we’re working on even more advances to better support complex reorganizations with version-specific hierarchies, territory planning with visual carving, and workforce planning with skills planning.

Collaborative planning

Because we recognize that everybody plans, we’re continuing to simplify and expand our collaboration capabilities—particularly for distributed planning, where you now can empower department or LOB managers to participate directly in the planning process by providing plan and forecast inputs, generating self-service variance analyses and reports, and more.

And we’re working on many other exciting advances coming in future releases:

  • Enhanced user interface. Our acclaimed user experience continues to get even more visual and compelling—with immediate improvements available now and future enhancements focusing on cleaner, more intuitive interfaces for all types of sheets
  • Active dashboards. One of the most exciting advances is a new ability to immediately see how your inputs impact KPIs. Active dashboards include input tables alongside charts and graphs. Changes to one immediately impact the other, enabling easy optimization for visually oriented users all in one instantly updated view. This delivers instant insight and allows you to plan for what’s next with greater confidence
  • Personalized what-if scenarios. We are taking the power of versions, which today get heavily leveraged for global plans, to the department manager. Think of this as a kind of planning sandbox, where you as a department manager can privately model scenarios and compare them to other scenarios to test out your hypothesis. Only when your scenario is ready and you want to merge it into the global plan will others be able to see it

Intelligent planning and continuous guidance

In his opening keynote yesterday, Adaptive Insights CEO Tom Bogan described how we’re putting business planning on a fundamentally new and exciting course by incorporating advanced machine learning technology. As a first step in our machine learning journey, this morning we demonstrated a powerful new anomaly detection capability, available next month to select customers and generally available later this year. This new feature examines your organization’s financial and operational data to detect when data is outside the norm, and automatically flags those anomalies. You can then take a closer took to see if these outliers are in fact correct and determine their impact on your results and analyses. Innovative machine learning algorithms help the system learn from your feedback and activity, so it actually gets better at spotting your anomalies over time.

Advances like machine learning and AI will evolve intelligent planning in dramatic ways, and there is much more to come as we look further ahead in areas such as sensitivity analysis to uncover key drivers, or augmented analytics to automatically identify trends and opportunities. Like a GPS system for agile businesses, the intelligent planning system of the future will take in data and make continuous adjustments, automatically generate insights and recommend various scenarios, and provide a path forward that is optimized for each user and each business.

As Adaptive Insights customers are discovering this week, we’ve shifted our pace of innovation into overdrive. When we promised a year ago that you could plan, model, and report with virtually no limits, we meant it—whether you’re a 100-person nonprofit or a global corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees. Now more than ever, we’re fiercely committed to delivering breakthrough innovations for every one of our customers so they can harness the next generation of planning.

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