Mr. Tran, Agile Performance Management – what exactly does that mean and how did you get your solution out to the public?
Many companies face new challenges that arise with digitization and are under constant pressure to innovate and build new digital business models. In conjunction with this trend, requirements related to enterprise performance management are growing. In today’s VUCA world there is an increased need for more efficient and more agile EPM solutions to support top management in the decision-making process.
Valsight’s agile performance management approach improves FP&A processes such as planning and forecasting with a combination of new technologies and best practices. As a consequence, unnecessary details are removed and planning efforts are reduced while the overall planning quality is increased.
Winning the first corporate clients was challenging. To be honest, performance management is not exactly the easiest use case for a startup. Within the first one or two years we were balancing the need for new and innovative solutions for better business processes and the degree of software maturity our prospects required. By now, we’ve overcome all the hurdles and are happy to count many exciting and very innovative companies amongst our customers
What kind of support did SAP provide for you specifically?
Valsight is a spin-off from the renowned Hasso Plattner Institute and received funding from Hasso Plattner Ventures. Therefore, the founders have a close connection to SAP and have always enjoyed a good and productive relationship. Within a few weeks after its founding, Valsight was admitted into the SAP Startup Focus Program. This was an early milestone in our company history since the technical validation we received through the Startup Focus team confirmed that we were on the right track with our vision.
From then onward, we have continuously worked together on Marketing & Sales topics. Through the Startup Focus Program we got to attend various SAP marketing events in the US and Europe. We also made valuable contacts within the SAP sales network which allowed us to present our software to potential corporate clients together with a strong partner.
You’re using SAP Hana at the core of your solution – why did you choose Hana?
SAP Hana allows flexible filtering and aggregation of incredibly large data sets. It serves as a flexible data source and supports our simulation tool in CPU-intensive tasks during the data preparation process.
For us as a cloud-based solution provider the Hana cloud platform is particularly relevant strategically. However, we have not reached the end of the road yet. Our vision incorporates not only simulations but also stochastic approaches and predictive analytics – which is why we keep an eye on the progress of Hana PAL as well.
Where do you see the USP of your product & service offering?
Valsight stands out through its unique combination of state-of-the-art technologies like simulations and in-memory, and current best practices in enterprise performance management. Unlike other vendors, our key focus is on the integration of strategic planning and the target setting process for operational planning.
In concrete terms, this means that corporations choose driver trees and scenario modeling to reduce planning efforts and the degree of detail while simultaneously increasing transparency as well as planning quality. Additionally, a strong focus on strategic measures helps to link strategic objectives to operational execution.
Our solution thoroughly supports this approach by providing the FP&A department with an easy-to-use user interface to simulate effects of changes in value drivers and strategic measures affecting important KPIs.
How do you get the necessary data into your system?
Key element of what we call “simulation-based planning” (strategic planning, medium-term planning, target setting) is the simulation of different financial scenarios based on existing data. Our clients mostly use actuals or the most current forecast data.
In order to achieve a “single version of truth” those data sets are stored in a central data warehouse (e.g. SAP BW) that is connected to Valsight via JDBC or OData interfaces. Additional not centrally-stored data from other sources can be imported via .csv files.
What are the technical requirements for Valsight customers regarding IT-infrastructure and data availability?
Almost all of our larger clients are using SAP solutions such as BW or Hana which provide clean base data for accurate simulations in Valsight. However, our flexible interfaces also allow connecting other source systems.
Since Valsight is primarily used as a cloud solution (on-premise deployment is also possible) the technical requirements on the customer side are very low – a modern web browser suffices.
How long does an implementation take on average and what kind of support do you provide for customers during a project’s planning stage?
Our cloud solution can be used directly upon receipt of login details – no technical implementation required. Since we put a lot of emphasis on usability from the very beginning, FP&A departments can model anything from a P&L statement to complex value driver trees within a remarkably short time.
The initial modeling process takes on average less than a month. Of course, that depends on each respective company and their use case. Upon request, we support our customers throughout the whole process and offer individual consultation services and workshops. Our technically-trained support team ensures the ongoing success of our clients during and after the implementation phase.
What are the next steps for Valsight and how does the Startup Focus Program support you in those?
Within the past years we primarily focused on the technical development of our product to provide an enterprise-quality software solution delivering real process optimization value in performance management.
Now, after successfully building a portfolio of renowned reference customers we strive to substantially expand our client base. To achieve that we are aiming to increase our visibility through more investment in Marketing & Sales activities. This includes a higher presence at relevant industry-specific events and the expansion of our sales team. The support from SFP on the Marketing & Sales side is highly appreciated, and we are looking forward to taking our partnership to the next level.
This article is part of a larger series about SAP Startup Focus. If you would like to read one about Indigo Media, click here.