Analyst(s):Nigel Rayner, Robert P. Anderson, John E. Van Decker
The core financial management suites market is transitioning from traditional on-premises deployment to cloud services. Application leaders in midsize, large and global enterprises should use this new Magic Quadrant to identify viable solutions for moving core finance processes to the cloud.
Core financial management applications provide visibility into an enterprise's financial position through automation and process support for any activity that has a financial impact. For this Magic Quadrant, Gartner defines core financial management suites as follows:
The core functional areas of general ledger (GL), accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), fixed assets (FA), and project accounting, project costing and project billing.
Financial analytics and reporting, including provision of financial information (such as P&L and balance sheet) and the ability to provide financial information such as KPIs to managers and executives.
Basic indirect purchasing functionality (from creating a requisition through to purchase order processing and AP invoice matching and payment), because many organizations — especially midsize organizations — need some basic procurement functionality as part of a core financial applications deployment.
Note: More-sophisticated procurement and sourcing functionality is covered in "Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites" and "Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suites."
The market for core financial management suites has been static for many years. However, over the last 12 to 18 months, cloud core financial management suites have matured to such an extent that they have disrupted this static market. This reflects the increasing prevalence of postmodern ERP strategies (see "Schrödinger's Cat: How ERP Is Both Dead and Alive" ). Postmodern ERP is the deconstruction of suite-centric, monolithic, on-premises ERP deployments into loosely coupled applications, some of which can be domain suites (such as core financials or HCM) or smaller-footprint applications that are integrated as needed.
Consequently, this new Magic Quadrant represents the current market reality. It is focused purely on core financial management suites that are sold and marketed on a stand-alone basis and delivered as cloud services. It does not cover vendors that only sell cloud core financial management applications as part of a broader ERP suite (i.e., the financial applications are always sold with operational ERP capabilities). Vendors are evaluated in this Magic Quadrant only on the capabilities of their core financial management applications as well as their ability to market, sell and support solutions targeted at finance organizations. However, most vendors do offer additional capabilities beyond core financial management applications; these should be evaluated based on an organization's specific business needs.
A full list of attributes for our definition of a "cloud service" is in the Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria section below. In simple terms, the cloud service must confer the benefits of SaaS on the users of the service — that is, the application software is delivered and managed remotely based on a single set of common code and data definitions, consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers at any time. The cloud service is purchased on a pay-for-use basis or as a subscription based on usage metrics. It must be a public cloud service, using shared resources to provide elasticity and support multiple consuming organizations.
The cloud service definition is not aligned to a specific technical architecture, such as multitenancy at the application level. Consequently, we identified four types of cloud service that met the inclusion criteria:
"Born in the cloud" solutions — Architected from the outset only as cloud services. These typically have a multitenant application architecture.
"New-generation" solutions — Architected for multiple deployment models, typically public cloud, private cloud or on-premises. These solutions often support multitenancy at the database or operating system level, and may make use of virtualization techniques.
Existing solutions that have been substantially rearchitected as cloud services — These are similar to the "new-generation" solutions because they also support multiple deployment models (public cloud, private cloud or on-premises). But rather than start over, vendors have invested in substantial changes to the underlying architecture of the applications to support public cloud deployment.
Existing solutions delivered as public cloud SaaS — Solutions where the underlying architecture has not changed significantly but the vendor has developed an infrastructure provisioning layer to deliver the applications in public clouds. These solutions are also offered in private cloud, hosted or on-premises environments.
Our reference customer survey showed that end users value functionality significantly more than technical architecture. However, we do recommend that application leaders include technical architecture as an evaluation criterion, because the different architectural styles have different strengths and weaknesses. These should be evaluated against each organization's own cloud standards.
The market definition includes cloud core financial management suites targeted at the following types of organization:
Midsize — annual revenue from $50 million to $1 billion
Large — annual revenue from $1 billion to $5 billion
Global — annual revenue in excess of $5 billion
Where the organization does not have revenue (for example, public-sector or not-for-profit organizations), an equivalent measure to revenue is used, such as annual funding or expenditure. The market definition does not include cloud core financial management suites targeted at SMBs with annual revenue less than $50 million. These market definitions are used throughout this document whenever it refers to midsize, large or global organizations.
This is the first Magic Quadrant for cloud core financial management suites. The market is still evolving so its definition is broad, covering midsize, large and global organizations across all geographies. Many vendors in this Magic Quadrant would struggle to be a Leader in such a broad market, because they either are focused on a particular company size (several vendors focus on midsize organizations) or, as yet, may have limited global reach.
The fact that certain vendors are Leaders does not mean that their solutions are therefore the "best" from a functional and technical perspective for all use cases compared to vendors in the other three quadrants. All the vendors featured in this Magic Quadrant deliver viable cloud core financial management suites and are equally worthy of evaluation. Gartner plans to produce a Critical Capabilities report in the third quarter of 2017 to assess vendors against a number of use cases. This will enable application leaders to identify which solutions may be a better fit for their use case.
Source: Gartner (June 2017)
Note that all mentions throughout this section to "customer satisfaction ratings" or "survey respondents" refer to an end-user survey performed in conjunction with this Magic Quadrant (data collected in January 2017), where vendors' clients rated various product and vendor relationship criteria on a 1-to-5 scale (1 = Extremely Dissatisfied, 5 = Extremely Satisfied; please refer to the Evidence section for more details on this survey).
Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, U.S., Acumatica sells its solutions through value-added resellers (VARs) and private-label OEM partners, such as Visma and MYOB. It focuses on small and midsize organizations and has customers in all geographic regions, with the majority in North America. It has customers in a wide range of industries, with services-centric being the largest individual segment.
The Acumatica Financial Management Suite is sold stand-alone and as part of a broader ERP suite that includes distribution and manufacturing capabilities along with CRM functionality. The solution is designed for midmarket customers and deployed in the Acumatica public cloud, run on Amazon Web Services, or a private cloud of the customer's choice (either on-premises or at a hosted facility). Acumatica focuses on cloud rather than on-premises delivery, and the majority of its customers use the public cloud service. It also provides a cloud development platform, Cloud xRP Platform, that has many of the capabilities of a platform as a service.
Acumatica is a Visionary in this Magic Quadrant due to its focus on cloud, the flexibility of xRP to support extension of the delivered functionality by partners, and good core financial management functionality for midsize organizations. However, limited market awareness and a broader suite focus limit Acumatica's Ability to Execute in this market.
Acumatica has a strong focus on midsize organizations and a partner strategy that is well-suited to that market segment, enabling it to serve multiple industries and geographies.
Acumatica scored slightly above average in customer satisfaction. Reference customers cited ease of use and the speed at which accounting users were able to start using the solution with minimal training. Core ledgers (GL, AP and AR) were also rated above average by users.
The wide range of APIs available coupled with the flexibility of the xRP platform and range of partner apps means that the Acumatica Financial Management Suite is well-aligned to Gartner's vision of postmodern ERP.
The Acumatica brand lacks visibility in the market compared to competitors, and the broader suite focus of its marketing means that it lacks awareness among finance professionals.
Some Acumatica reference customers cited issues with the quality of the partner supporting their implementation.
Reference customers rated reporting and analytics and fixed-asset functionality lower compared to other capabilities in the Acumatica Financial Management Suite.
Product evaluated: Deltek Vision
Deltek is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, U.S., with offices in North America, Europe, the Philippines and Australia. Originally family-owned, it has a history of both public and private ownership, and is currently owned by Roper Technologies, a diversified technology company. Deltek develops and markets several financial management/ERP suites, of which only Deltek Vision met the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant.
Deltek Vision is an ERP solution for project-centric organizations, and has financial management functionality at its core. Originally launched in 2002, this solution is targeted primarily at midsize, project-centric organizations in industries such as consulting services, architecture and engineering, marketing communications, and accounting. It is available on-premises, hosted, and in dedicated and public cloud deployments. Deltek is rolling out its new iAccess for Vision browser-based user experience across the suite, and this is planned for availability with the financial modules in 2018.
Most Deltek Vision customers are based in North America, although it does have localizations for several European countries and is available in seven languages.
Deltek is a Niche Player in this Magic Quadrant because Deltek Vision is focused on project-centric midsize organizations, which limits its overall market penetration, and it has a limited geographic presence outside North America.
Deltek Vision has strong core financials and project accounting functionality for midsize, project-centric organizations.
Higher-than-average user satisfaction scores were given to Deltek Vision, with reference customers citing the high quality of support received from Deltek.
Deltek Vision users have been able to transition from on-premises to cloud deployment relatively easily; this should appeal to organizations that may want the option of moving to the cloud.
Deltek Vision has limited market presence outside its target segment of project-centric organizations, and its sales and marketing presence outside North America is less than many competitors.
Deltek Vision's smart client user interface appears dated compared to some competitor solutions. The iAccess for Vision user experience should help address this challenge.
The usability of Deltek Vision as well as its reporting and analytics capabilities received lower survey scores from reference customers than the rest of the functionality.
Product evaluated: Epicor ERP
Epicor Software is headquartered in Austin, Texas, U.S., with offices around the world in all regions. Epicor is privately held and currently owned by KKR, a global investment firm. Epicor provides a range of business applications for manufacturing, distribution, retail and service organizations. The only solution to meet the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant is Epicor ERP, which is targeted at midsize organizations across a wide range of industries, with most adoption in manufacturing and project-centric organizations. Epicor ERP is sold direct and through partners.
Epicor ERP is a broad ERP suite, but the vendor also sells the financial modules on a stand-alone basis, and has deepened the financial functionality in recent releases. This includes improved analytics for transactional and trend analysis, the introduction of a financial reporting compliance framework, and the acquisition of DocStar for content management and AP automation.
Epicor ERP was released in 2008 and was designed for deployment on-premises and in private and public clouds. Initially, the public cloud offerings were limited to specific target industries and markets, but this has widened in recent years — in 2016 the public cloud service represented the majority of cloud deployments.
Epicor is a Niche Player in this Magic Quadrant due to its primary focus on midsize organizations, which limits its overall market opportunity, and its limited sales and marketing focus on line-of-business finance.
Epicor ERP has good financial functionality for midsize organizations, including multicompany accounting, consolidation and allocations.
With a wide range of country localizations and languages, Epicor ERP is able to support global financial operations.
Survey reference customers praised the flexibility of Epicor ERP, citing the ease with which the solution can be configured to meet their own workflow and process needs.
Most Epicor ERP functionality uses a smart client user experience that lags the usability of some competitor solutions. Advanced Requisition Management, a partner solution for requisition and purchase order processing, has an HTML5 user interface and better usability.
Epicor has a tactical approach to selling stand-alone financial management solutions because its marketing is primarily focused on the broader ERP suite. It does have plans to focus more on stand-alone financial sales.
Epicor ERP received below-average customer satisfaction scores, with some reference customers citing performance and support issues with the cloud service. Epicor has made investments to improve this area, including a new EpicCare global support initiative.
FinancialForce is headquartered in San Francisco, California, U.S., with offices in Canada, the U.K., Spain and Australia. It was founded in 2009 as a joint venture between Unit4 (majority shareholder) and Salesforce (minority shareholder). Since then, it has also received investment from Advent International and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). FinancialForce initially developed core financial management SaaS applications on the Salesforce platform, and subsequently added professional services automation, HCM and supply chain capabilities through acquisitions and ongoing development. FinancialForce sells its solutions direct, and the majority of its customers are based in North America or Europe.
FinancialForce Financial Management is a comprehensive financial management suite, and the vendor also offers functionality for subscription billing, revenue management and revenue forecasting. FinancialForce has customers in a wide range of industries, the largest segment being project-centric organizations (many of which also use FinancialForce Professional Services Automation). Most customers are midsize organizations, with a small number of large and global organizations. However, FinancialForce is planning to increase its presence among larger organizations as well as its range of localizations and translations.
FinancialForce is a Visionary in this Magic Quadrant due to its proven cloud architecture and its focus on the needs of the finance function. Its focus to date on the Salesforce community and lower-than-average scores in the customer reference survey restrict its Ability to Execute.
FinancialForce focuses on the needs of the finance function and is well-positioned to take advantage of the transition of finance systems to the cloud.
FinancialForce Financial Management has strong project accounting functionality.
Native Salesforce architecture makes FinancialForce Financial Management attractive to organizations already using cloud services from Salesforce and its partners, due to the common look and feel, wide range of partner applications, extensibility and ease of integration. This was cited as a benefit by most FinancialForce reference customers.
Reference customer satisfaction was below average, with some survey respondents citing difficulty obtaining skilled resources and some issues with support. This was attributed in many cases to the pace of growth experienced by FinancialForce.
FinancialForce's focus on Salesforce to date means there is limited awareness of the vendor outside the Salesforce community and ecosystem.
FinancialForce currently has limited international localizations, with English the only language supported by Financial Management.
Headquartered in San Jose, California, U.S., with offices in Romania and India, Intacct was founded in 1999 to provide small and midsize organizations with online financial applications. It was one of the first vendors to develop multitenant SaaS business applications. Intacct sells direct and through reseller partners, with most of its implementations carried out by partners.
Intacct provides a full suite of core financial management applications, and also offers time recording, expense management, inventory management, contract subscription billing and revenue management. The solution is targeted at small and lower-midsize organizations but is scalable enough for some large organizations. Although Intacct does not actively market to large and global organizations, its goal is to provide financial capabilities that scale with its clients as they grow. Intacct's customers are primarily in services-centric industries and the not-for-profit sector. The vendor has been focused entirely on North America, but is now expanding its reseller channel into Europe and Asia/Pacific, and is focused more on international expansion.
Intacct is a Visionary in this Magic Quadrant due to its cloud commitment, focus on financial functionality and marketing initiatives for finance. Its very limited presence outside North America currently limits its Ability to Execute.
Intacct offers a scalable and functional core financial system with good flexibility and functionality in GL and analytics. It is well-aligned to Gartner's vision of postmodern ERP, with a wide range of APIs and a focus on financial management applications that can work in a loosely coupled manner with other cloud services.
Intacct has a strong vision to use cloud and new technology to support finance process improvement. This includes using AI to eliminate the financial close, enabling continuous auditing and leveraging in-memory computing for embedded financial and performance analytics.
Feedback from reference customers was above average, with survey respondents citing ease of use, extensibility and ease of integration, coupled with Intacct's ability to support their transformation to cloud.
Intacct has very limited presence outside North America, where awareness of it is lacking. It will have to work to build its partner network in new geographies in an increasingly competitive market.
Intacct's focus on small and lower-midsize organizations will likely limit its overall opportunity in this market unless it addresses the needs of large and global organizations.
Some reference customer survey respondents felt that Intacct's fixed-asset functionality lagged the other capabilities in the suite.
Product evaluated: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations
Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, U.S., Microsoft offers a number of ERP solutions, all of which include core financial management capabilities. The only solution to meet the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations. This is a broad ERP suite that is part of Microsoft's Dynamics 365 offering, a cloud-based solution that also includes CRM and PSA capabilities. Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 for Operations in November 2016 as a repackaging of Dynamics AX7, which it released in March 2016. (AX7 was a rearchitected version of Dynamics AX 2012, which was focused primarily on public cloud deployment on the Azure cloud.) Dynamics 365 for Operations continues the "cloud-first" strategy of AX7, but hybrid and fully on-premises deployments are possible.
Dynamics 365 for Operations Financials is a full suite of core financial management applications. It is sold and marketed on a stand-alone basis as well as being part of a larger suite sale. It is targeted at midsize and large organizations, and may be suitable for some global-size organizations depending on requirements. Dynamics 365 for Operations Financials is suitable for a wide range of industries, but the primary target industry sectors are retail, manufacturing, services, the public sector and distribution. It is sold primarily through partners. There are localizations available for 36 countries, with over 60 language translations.
Microsoft is a Visionary in this Magic Quadrant due to its broad financial functionality, wide geographic coverage, cloud focus and plans for finance line-of-business marketing. Its Ability to Execute is limited by below-average reference survey feedback and limited visibility of Dynamics 365 for Operations in the cloud core financials space during the last 12 months.
Dynamics 365 for Operations Financials scored above average with Microsoft reference customers in overall functional capabilities, with flexible GL coding/analysis capabilities, good multicompany features and strong project accounting.
Microsoft offers innovative use of technology for analytics, with embedded Power BI and real-time, in-memory multidimensional analysis. This replaces the static cubes generated in SQL Server Analysis Services in earlier versions of Dynamics AX.
Microsoft has wide geographic coverage and is backed up by a global partner network. It has good marketing initiatives for finance as a line of business.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations is still early in its life cycle. Although Microsoft has a comprehensive partner training program in place, ecosystem skills and knowledge are still developing.
Microsoft received below-average reference customer feedback. Issues cited by survey respondents mainly related to being early adopters of a new cloud solution that is early in its life cycle.
Microsoft's change of packaging and naming to Dynamics 365 for Operations late in 2016 has meant that organizations evaluating cloud core financial management applications have often overlooked it. Microsoft's line-of-business finance marketing initiatives should help to address this lack of visibility.
NetSuite was founded in 1998 to provide web-based financial applications. It was one of the first vendors to develop multitenant SaaS business applications. After initially focusing on financial applications, NetSuite expanded its offerings to include other ERP functionality as well as e-commerce and CRM. In November 2016, it was acquired by Oracle. Oracle is operating NetSuite as an independent business unit, with some sharing of R&D efforts.
NetSuite Financial Management is a comprehensive financial management suite that also includes billing and revenue management along with financial planning. It is delivered with the NetSuite SuiteCloud Platform, which allows partners and users to extend, customize and integrate applications. NetSuite Financials is part of a broader ERP suite, and NetSuite also offers CRM, commerce and PSA capabilities. Its customers are mainly midsize organizations, but the suite's scalability and functional capabilities render it suitable for some large and global organizations. NetSuite has customers in a wide range of industries, although business services/high tech and retail/wholesale are the largest segments. NetSuite Financials is sold through both direct and indirect channels.
NetSuite is a Challenger in this market because it has a strong cloud service record, good financial functionality, and cloud services that are open and extensible. However, its acquisition by Oracle repositions its customer focus primarily to midsize organizations.
NetSuite is a proven and established provider of cloud services, with a broad partner ecosystem. Reference customer survey respondents cited the maturity of the cloud platform and robustness of the NetSuite cloud service.
NetSuite has comprehensive financial management functionality with a very flexible GL, coupled with good capabilities for managing multinational operations.
Reference customer feedback was slightly above average. Survey respondents were positive about NetSuite's functionality, ease of use and flexibility — many stated that this had enabled them to shift to the cloud to improve finance processes.
Oracle is investing in expanding NetSuite's international capabilities, which gives it the potential to expand its customer base in EMEA and Asia/Pacific.
Its broader ERP suite focus means that NetSuite can get overlooked in financials-led deals — especially given the strong market presence of Oracle ERP Cloud.
There is currently some confusion in the Oracle sales channel, especially in the U.S. Gartner is seeing NetSuite excluded from some financials-led deals by Oracle sales in cases where NetSuite may be a better fit than Oracle ERP Cloud. Oracle is putting in place policies to address this challenge.
Some reference customer survey respondents felt that NetSuite's fixed-asset module lagged the rest of the financial management applications.
Headquartered in Redwood City, California, U.S., Oracle offers a number of ERP solutions, all of which include core financial management capabilities. The only solution to meet the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant was Oracle ERP Cloud. Oracle's clear strategic focus is on its cloud applications, which include Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle SCM Cloud, Oracle EPM Cloud and Oracle CX Cloud. Oracle also offers Cloud at Customer as an additional cost option, which enables its SaaS applications to be deployed in a customer's data center.
Oracle ERP Cloud is a comprehensive suite of core financial management capabilities, and includes revenue management, project management, procurement and risk management. It is suitable for midsize, large and global enterprises. Although the majority of user organizations to date are midsize, the number of large and global enterprise customers is growing. Oracle ERP Cloud is suitable for a wide range of industries and has customers in all geographies. There are localizations for over 50 countries and support for 25 languages.
Oracle is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant due to its broad and deep financial management capabilities, its international capabilities, and its strategic focus on selling and marketing the solution in all geographies.
Oracle's SaaS applications are a key global strategic focus as the company transitions to become a cloud service company. Oracle ERP Cloud is one of the primary solutions in this strategy and is receiving significant investment.
Reference customers scored Oracle ERP Cloud above average for functional capabilities and customer satisfaction. Survey respondents scored the breadth and depth of functionality highly, and several cited its embedded reporting and analytics capabilities.
Oracle has a strong vision for financial functionality, is well-known among financial professionals and has messaging for finance that does not get lost in a broader suite story. It is increasingly effective at leveraging its PaaS offering to extend the core capabilities of Oracle ERP Cloud.
Oracle has built a strong partner ecosystem. It has relationships with service providers that are well-known to CFOs and provide finance transformation services linked to deploying Oracle ERP Cloud.
Oracle is still transitioning from an on-premises vendor to a cloud service provider. Some survey respondents and Gartner clients have reported issues with performance and the complexity of support processes (such as upgrades).
Some clients have told Gartner that involvement from Oracle's R&D team was required at times to address support issues, so it can be important to have the right lines of communication with Oracle R&D in place. However, this involvement shows Oracle's commitment to the success of its cloud applications.
The rapid customer adoption of Oracle ERP Cloud means that implementation skills and resources can be limited in some countries. These skills may attract premium pricing as the volume of implementations continues to increase. Oracle continues to invest in partner training, and the number of trained consultants is increasing in response to this demand.
Ramco Systems is part of the Ramco Group of companies — a large, diversified conglomerate. Headquartered in Chennai, India, Ramco Systems has offices in all geographic regions. The vendor provides ERP and HCM suites along with a maintenance, repair and operations solution for the aviation industry.
Ramco Finance & Accounting is part of a broader ERP suite that was first released in the 1990s. Although the financial functionality forms part of a suite solution, Ramco has increasingly been selling its financial applications on a stand-alone basis to manufacturing, logistics, asset-intensive and services-centric organizations. Although Ramco ERP was originally delivered as an on-premises solution, Ramco ERP on Cloud leverages Ramco's VirtualWorks platform to support cloud deployment.
Ramco Finance & Accounting covers all the core financial management capabilities, and includes grant and fund management as well as budgeting and planning. It is targeted at midsize organizations, although a small number of customers are large organizations, and is used across a wide range of industries, with manufacturing and project-centric being the two largest segments. The majority of Ramco ERP customers are based in Asia/Pacific, followed by EMEA (mainly in Africa) and North America. Ramco plans to expand its presence in North America in the next three years. It sells Finance & Accounting direct and through reseller partners.
Ramco is a Niche Player in this Magic Quadrant due to its focus on midsize enterprises, its strategy of primarily selling suites rather than stand-alone financial management solutions, and its limited global brand awareness.
Ramco offers good functionality in all areas of financial management for midsize organizations. Reference survey respondents scored functionality above average in most areas.
An established presence in Asia/Pacific gives Ramco an advantage in this region, where many of the newer cloud vendors have limited presence.
Reference customer survey respondents like the ease of use of Finance & Accounting, despite its slightly dated look and feel. Ramco is working on enhancements to the user experience, including the ability to consolidate multiple screens into a single screen, embedded pivoting and use of bot technology.
There is limited awareness of the Ramco brand outside the Asia/Pacific region, and it will face strong competition from other vendors as it expands.
Its focus on suite-based sales will make it challenging for Ramco to win cloud financials opportunities as it expands in North America.
Ramco offers limited global capabilities in terms of localizations and languages, especially in Europe.
Product evaluated: SAP Business ByDesign
Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, SAP offers a wide range of business applications. SAP Business ByDesign was the only SAP solution that met the inclusion criteria for this Magic Quadrant, although SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP's new flagship cloud solution, is a candidate for possible inclusion in future iterations. SAP Business ByDesign runs on the SAP Hana in-memory DBMS, and SAP is more committed to its continued development and support than it has been in previous years. It is increasing its partner ecosystem and plans to continue to grow the number of partners throughout 2017.
SAP Business ByDesign is a broad cloud-based suite that covers all core business processes and includes CRM and SCM capabilities. Although most users deploy other capabilities outside finance, it is often used as a stand-alone financials system. It is targeted at midsize organizations with fewer than 1,500 employees; SAP positions SAP S/4HANA Cloud as the preferred cloud solution for organizations with more than 1,500 employees. However, SAP Business ByDesign can scale to support upper-midsize and large organizations, and Gartner is aware of organizations using SAP Business ByDesign that have revenue in excess of $1 billion.
The suite has good global coverage, with comprehensive localization for 19 countries and support for nine languages, and it has been deployed in 120 countries. SAP Business ByDesign has customers in a wide range of industries, with professional services being the largest segment. It is sold direct and through reseller partners.
SAP is a Niche Player in this Magic Quadrant due to its focus on organizations with fewer than 1,500 employees, which limits its overall opportunity in this market. There is also limited awareness of the SAP Business ByDesign brand, especially among finance users evaluating stand-alone finance systems.
SAP Business ByDesign is an established cloud solution with a wide range of financial functionality, good international capabilities and strength in professional services. It is also suitable for deployment as a two-tier solution in large organizations that use SAP ERP on-premises.
Reference customers gave SAP above-average satisfaction score, citing ease of use, value for money and ease of deployment as key factors.
SAP offers a flexible and extensible underlying platform that allows resellers and ISVs to build extension functionality and add-ons.
SAP Business ByDesign is primarily sold as a suite solution; SAP has limited focus on line-of-business finance marketing and sales.
There is limited awareness of the Business ByDesign brand. Most midsize organizations evaluating cloud core financial suites are unaware of it as a viable contender in this market. However, SAP plans to increase marketing efforts during 2017.
SAP Business ByDesign risks being overshadowed by SAP S/4HANA Cloud, to which SAP is devoting significant strategic effort and investment. The vendor will need to ensure that it maintains enough separation in go-to-market strategies to allow both products to grow.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Pleasanton, California, U.S., with offices in Canada, Europe and Asia/Pacific, Workday is one of the new generation of cloud-only ERP vendors. The vendor built its applications on a multitenant SaaS architecture and uses an object-based in-memory data store — an innovative approach to application design. Workday initially focused on HCM solutions.
Released in 2008, Workday Financial Management covers all core financial management capabilities, and also includes revenue management, expenses and inventory. It is frequently sold as an administrative ERP suite together with Workday HCM. The vendor strongly markets its solutions as integrated and all built by Workday on a common platform. The Workday portfolio also includes PSA and Planning (financial and workforce planning).
Workday Financial Management customers are generally midsize, large or global organizations in services-centric industries. The majority are based in North America, but Workday is expanding its financials presence internationally. It now provides localizations for several Europe and Asia/Pacific countries, and supports five languages. Workday Financial Management is sold direct and is generally implemented by partners.
Workday is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant due to its proven and robust cloud service, strong financial functionality and innovative use of technologies to support finance transformation.
Workday has a proven and robust cloud platform. It makes innovative use of in-memory computing to combine core financial management applications with planning and performance management capabilities in real time.
Workday Financial Management scored above average for functional capabilities. Survey respondents praised the flexibility of the GL architecture — especially Worktags, which allow users to easily aggregate, report and analyze financial information. Several stated that the platform had been key in enabling the transformation of their finance function.
Workday has a good vision for finance functionality, including continuous close and consolidation, proactive audit, and compliance with "always-on" audit trail.
Reference customers scored Workday above average in customer satisfaction. They consistently reported a strong and positive working relationship, despite any challenges they may have encountered.
Workday is more successful selling either a combined Financial Management and HCM suite, or Financial Management to its existing HCM customers. It needs to strengthen its go-to-market capabilities for stand-alone financials deals outside of its HCM user base.
Workday has a limited footprint of Financial Management customers based outside the U.S. to date. However, the increased availability of localizations and languages now enables it to compete more effectively outside the U.S.
Workday needs to expand its consulting and partner skills focused on financials, especially outside North America. Some survey respondents reported challenges with partners and the availability of resources.
We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.
The inclusion criteria represent the specific attributes that analysts believe are necessary for inclusion in this research.
To be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must demonstrate the following:
1. Product Capabilities:
Deliver a suite of core financial management applications that include the following capabilities: general ledger (GL), accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), fixed assets (FAs), project accounting, basic purchasing (requisition to invoice processing for indirect procurement), reporting and analytics.
Deploy the core financial management suite as a cloud service (see 3. Cloud Service Attributes below). The core financial management suite may also be deployed in other ways (for example, on-premises or as a managed cloud service) — this Magic Quadrant is not restricted to "cloud-only" solutions.
Actively market and sell the cloud core financial management suite to midsize and/or large and/or global organizations.
Actively market, sell and deploy the cloud core financial management suite on a stand-alone basis, regardless of any additional bundling with broader ERP suites or other applications with a vertical focus (for example, PSA or other industry-specific capabilities).
2. Market Presence:
Have at least 100 organizations each with annual revenue/expenditure/funding in excess of $50 million in production using the cloud service. Each user organization must be live with the GL functionality plus at least one other module — either AP, AR, FA, project accounting or purchasing. ( Note: Each organization must be managing at least $50 million annually through the core financial management suite. The $50 million minimum is not intended to represent the annual revenue of a parent organization where a smaller subsidiary uses the cloud service. Vendors must be prepared to provide evidence of sufficient in production customers.)
For vendors that offer multiple deployment models, they must have at least 100 live user organizations using the cloud service, not 100 live user organizations spread across cloud and on-premises deployments.
Have at least $15 million booked subscription and support revenue for the cloud core financial management suite cloud service only (that is, excluding any revenues from on-premises, hosted, managed cloud service or other deployment models) from 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016 (or whichever 12-month accounting period most closely aligns with that period). Unrealized recurring revenue is not included. If a vendor chooses not to disclose revenue information, Gartner may use its own market research, as well as insights from public sources, to judge that vendor's eligibility for inclusion and viability.
Actively sell and market the cloud service (and have live users of the cloud service in the qualifying revenue ranges) outside the vendor's home region in at least one other of these regions: Americas, EMEA or Asia/Pacific.
3. Cloud Service Attributes:
Manage all technology infrastructure either in its own data centers or in third-party data centers.
Implement upgrades as part of the cloud service, not a third party or managed service provider.
Licensing and technology
License the cloud service on a subscription basis or metered pay for use.
Not tailor contracts to specific user organizations (except for minor adjustments), nor provide them with a version different to that offered to other cloud customers.
Have a cloud service that uses internet technologies: use of internet files, formats and identifiers are necessary for delivery of cloud service interfaces.
Use computing resources to support the cloud service that are scalable and elastic in near real time, rather than based on dedicated hardware/infrastructure.
Not allow modification of source code. Configuration via citizen developer tools and extension via PaaS (partner, vendor or user) is allowed.
Pace of change
Use a single codeline for all customers of the cloud service, to allow rapid deployment of new functionality by the vendor.
Deliver at least two upgrades containing new functionality per annum to all users of the cloud service, and control the pace of the upgrade cycle.
Offer self-provisioning capabilities for the service (at least for development and test instances) without involvement of vendor's staff.
Use technology to deliver the service that is shared by multiple customers, in order to create a pool of resources from which elasticity can be delivered.
These cloud service attributes (see the Appendix section for a tabular layout) were defined to allow the inclusion of cloud services that confer the benefits of a SaaS solution without specifying a particular technical architecture (such as multitenancy at the application level).
Where vendors offer multiple cloud core financial management suites with separate codelines, each codeline is represented as a separate "dot" in the Magic Quadrant.
The pivot to cloud has disrupted what has been a static market for on-premises core financial management applications. New vendors have emerged, while many existing vendors offer new cloud-deployable solutions that are maturing in the market. The following vendors/solutions offer cloud core financial management solutions but did not meet all the inclusion criteria for this year's Magic Quadrant. These are emerging solutions that Gartner will be tracking for potential inclusion in future iterations of this Magic Quadrant, and are candidates for inclusion in evaluations of cloud core financial management suites:
Aqilla: Founded in 2006 and based in the U.K., Aqilla offers cloud-based accounting and business applications to SMEs and midsize enterprises. Aqilla is expanding its partner network and its operations outside the U.K., already having customers operating in 34 countries. Aqilla is likely to increase its market presence in midsize enterprises during 2017.
Infor: Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management is a major redevelopment of Infor Lawson Financials, with significant new code and functional capabilities, along with an architecture that supports on-premises, private cloud and multitenant cloud deployments. It was made generally available in the first quarter of 2016. There were not enough clients live on the public cloud version to quality for inclusion at the time of preparing this research, but Gartner expects this solution to increase its market presence in 2017.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud: This is SAP's SaaS ERP offering (see "Best Practices in Planning for SAP S/4HANA — 2017 Update" ). It includes all the capabilities of core financial management applications, as well as industry capabilities for services-centric organizations, manufacturers and other product-centric organizations. At the time of preparing this research, there were only a limited number of customers live on S/4HANA Cloud, but it is an area of strategic investment for SAP and should increase its market presence in 2017. SAP positions S/4HANA Cloud as the public cloud SaaS solution for organizations with more than 1,500 employees as well as for subsidiaries and operating units of larger enterprises. SAP Business ByDesign is SAP's preferred solution for midsize organizations with fewer than 1,500 employees.
Sage: The company has rearchitected its established Sage X3 business management suite for public cloud, private cloud and on-premises deployment. It also has a new cloud-native solution, Sage Live, a core cloud financial management suite built on the Salesforce platform. Targeted at small and midsize enterprises, this was initially announced in July 2015 and has been growing in functional capabilities since its launch. Although neither solution had enough live users in the required market segments to qualify for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant, Gartner expects adoption to grow during 2017.
Unit4: Unit4 developed a provisioning infrastructure on the Microsoft Azure platform that enables public and dedicated cloud deployment of its existing applications. Business World On was made available on this architecture in the second quarter of 2016, but did not have enough live users deployed in the public cloud to qualify for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant. Adoption is expected to grow during 2017, and Unit4 Financials is also planned for availability in public cloud deployments later in 2017.
Gartner assesses Ability to Execute of the vendors in this Magic Quadrant by evaluating the products, technologies, services and operations that enable it to be competitive, efficient and effective in the market as well as positively impact revenue, client satisfaction and retention, and general market reputation. A provider's Ability to Execute is judged on its success in delivering on its promises, using the following criteria:
Product/Service: The product offerings that compete in the defined market. These can be offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria. This Magic Quadrant evaluates the functional capabilities in all of the areas defined in the market description, the ability to support the needs of midsize, large and global organizations, and the ease with which the cloud service can be integrated with other cloud and on-premises applications.
Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the organization's overall financial health as well as the financial and practical success of the business unit. It views the likelihood of the organization continuing to offer and invest in the product, as well as the product position in the current portfolio.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The organization's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel. Vendors are also evaluated on their ability to sell to finance buying centers, such as CFOs and financial controllers.
Market Responsiveness and Track Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve, and market dynamics change. The market for cloud core financial management suites is dynamic, so vendors are analyzed on their ability to respond to user needs and demands in this changing market. This will include responding to the demands of delivering core financial management applications in the cloud, which creates new challenges for both vendors and users.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message in order to influence the market, promote the brand, increase awareness of products and establish a positive identification in the minds of customers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional, thought leadership, social media, referrals and sales activities. Vendors are also assessed on their ability to market to finance buying centers, such as CFOs and financial controllers.
Customer Experience: Products and services and/or programs that enable customers to achieve anticipated results with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes quality supplier/buyer interactions technical support, or account support. This also includes the ability of vendors to make the marketing vision a reality and help finance teams make the transition from on-premises to cloud.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, skills, experiences, programs, systems, and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently. In particular we will be analyzing the ability of vendors to deliver a robust and reliable cloud service, and the associated support and service capabilities (whether directly or through partners).
Product or Service
Source: Gartner (June 2017)
Gartner assesses the Completeness of Vision of the vendors in this Magic Quadrant by evaluating their ability to successfully articulate their perspectives on current and future market direction, to anticipate customer needs and cloud technology trends, and to meet competitive forces. A vendor's Completeness of Vision is also judged on its understanding and articulation of how market forces can be exploited to create new opportunities for itself and its clients, using the following criteria:
Market Understanding: Ability to understand customer needs and translate them into products and services. Vendors that show a clear vision of their market listen, understand customer demands and can shape or enhance market changes with their added vision. We analyzed vendors' understanding of how the market for core financial management suites is pivoting toward cloud and what that means for finance functions.
Marketing Strategy: Clear, differentiated messaging consistently communicated internally, externalized through social media, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements. We analyzed how effective the marketing strategy has been in creating market awareness in what is a new and evolving market.
Sales Strategy: A sound strategy for selling that uses the appropriate networks, including direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication. Partners that extend the scope and depth of market reach, expertise, technologies, services, and their customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: An approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes market differentiation, functionality, methodology and features as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The design, logic and execution of the organization's business proposition to achieve continued success.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The strategy to direct resources (sales, product, development), skills and products to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including verticals. Vendors were assessed on their strategy for services-centric industries where core financial management suites represent the foundation of an ERP strategy. However, as cloud core financial management suites are primarily a cross-industry solution, this criterion receives a low weighting.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes. In particular, we analyzed the strategy of vendors to use cloud delivery as a way of bringing innovation to the finance function and finance processes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries, as appropriate for that geography and market. Vendors were evaluated on their strategy for providing the localizations and translations required to support multinational and global organizations, along with their global go-to-market approach.
Offering (Product) Strategy
Source: Gartner (June 2017)
Leaders demonstrate a market-defining vision of how core financial management systems and processes can be supported and improved by moving them to the cloud. They couple this with a clear ability to execute this vision through products, services and go-to-market strategies. They have a strong presence in the market and are growing their revenues and market shares. In the cloud core financial management suites market, Leaders show a consistent ability to win deals in organizations of different sizes, and have a good depth of functionality across all areas of core financial management. They have multiple proof points of successful deployments by customers based in their home region and in other geographies. Their offerings are frequently used by system integrator partners to support finance transformation initiatives.
Leaders typically respond to a wide market audience by supporting broad market requirements. However, they may fail to meet the specific needs of vertical markets or other, more-specialized segments that may be better addressed by Niche Players.
Challengers have greater market presence than vendors in the Niche Players and Visionaries quadrants. They may have developed a substantial presence in one area of the market, but do not have a broad enough vision to execute consistently across the market more widely. They understand the evolving needs of finance functions as they move to the cloud. They have a viable and proven cloud service, but are focused on a specific size of organization or subset of vertical industry. They may be more focused on core financial management applications as part of a broader ERP offering, rather than developing deep financial management functionality that is acknowledged as market-leading in its own right.
Challengers can become Leaders if their vision and focus develop for this market. Over time, large companies may move between the Challengers and Leaders quadrants as their product cycles and the market needs shift.
Visionaries understand how finance is changing as core financial management applications move to the cloud. They have a good technology and functionality vision but are limited in execution and/or demonstrable track record. Their solutions are attractive to organizations that want to move core finance systems and processes aggressively to the cloud, and they may have some areas of differentiating functional capability. They are typically limited in terms of market presence, geographic presence outside their home region and the market awareness of their company and its products. Organizations evaluating Visionaries should therefore closely evaluate their market presence in their industry segment and geography.
Whether Visionaries become Challengers or Leaders depends on how they build their go-to-market capabilities and if they can develop partnerships that complement their strengths. Visionaries are sometimes attractive acquisition targets for Leaders and Challengers.
Niche Players offer core cloud financial management functionality but are limited in both their Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute. Some Niche Players do not have a strong cloud technology vision; instead they have "cloud-enabled" existing applications that are now delivered as a cloud service, but lack the usability of more "cloud-native" solutions. Niche Players are also more focused on core financial management applications as part of a broader ERP suite. Although they do sell and market these on a stand-alone basis, this is not their primary focus or go-to-market strategy. Consequently, they have a weaker vision for finance transformation compared to Leaders and Visionaries. However, they may target specific industry segments or company sizes with deeper functionality than competitors do. For example, several of the Niche Players in this Magic Quadrant are focused on project-centric organizations or midsize organizations.
A Niche Player may be a good fit for your requirements, and all Niche Players in this Magic Quadrant should be considered as viable contenders for a cloud core financial management suite evaluation. However, it's important to understand their focus and see if this fits your business requirements. If you like what a Niche Player offers, your evaluation should assess how well-aligned the Niche Player is to the direction of the market, because it may be a risky choice if it is not headed in the same direction as the rest of the market.
All vendors included in this Magic Quadrant sell and support cloud core financial management suites. The extent of support for country-specific financial reporting and accounting processes (such as tax processing) varies, as does the availability of their solutions in multiple languages. However, to be included in this Magic Quadrant, vendors must actively sell and market their solutions outside their home region, which means that every vendor in this Magic Quadrant operates internationally, if not globally. Application leaders should ensure that they gather a clear list of required languages and localizations at the start of any evaluation of cloud core financial management suites — this will help eliminate vendors that cannot meet your needs early in the process.
Gartner's inquiry data shows that interest in cloud core financial management suites is increasing significantly. However, we see clients frequently falling prey to many of the myths that surround SaaS when looking to move to cloud core financial management suites (see "The Top 10 SaaS ERP Myths" ). Many application leaders and senior finance users feel that moving to cloud will allow them to quickly and easily resolve the challenges they face with on-premises core financial applications, such a cumbersome user interfaces, too much customization and expensive, hard-to-manage upgrades. While all the solutions featured in this Magic Quadrant offer the potential to address some or all of these challenges, application leaders and finance users nonetheless need to be prepared for the following issues when moving to cloud:
Getting finance users, who are frequently change-averse, to move from heavily customized systems to standardized processes in SaaS solutions. This requires strong change management capabilities.
Realizing cost savings by reducing internal IT costs. This means that finance users must take a greater role in application configuration, management and testing. Most finance teams are not equipped to do this.
Integrating cloud core financial management applications with on-premises feeder systems and other cloud services. This requires different integration strategies as well as use of integration tools and techniques that IT may not be familiar with.
We explore these issues in more detail in "Finance Moving to the Cloud: The Steps to Take and the Benefits You Can Expect." We recommend that all application leaders use that research in conjunction with this Magic Quadrant, to engage with finance users and ensure that moving core financial applications to the cloud is not treated simply as a vendor selection exercise.
Cloud core financial management applications should be deployed as part of a broader postmodern ERP strategy. Many organizations evaluating financial functionality in the cloud are tempted to adopt the old-style, suite-centric approach they used in on-premises evaluations. They assume that they should source other ERP capabilities (e.g., human capital management and procurement) from the same vendor as their financial capabilities. While this approach can be appropriate in some situations, it is definitely not the default approach in a postmodern ERP environment of more-federated, loosely coupled cloud services.
Application leaders evaluating cloud core financial management applications should use these research notes to help finance users work with other domains to build a coherent postmodern ERP strategy: "Cloud ERP: The Suite Shouldn't Always Win in Administrative ERP Strategies" and "The Impact of Postmodern ERP on Procurement."
ERP is the single largest category of enterprise software spend, at $31.4 billion in 2016 and growing at 7% per annum through 2021 (on a constant currency basis). For market sizing purposes, Gartner's definition of ERP includes the categories of administrative ERP (financial management software [FMS] and human capital management [HCM] software) and operational ERP (manufacturing and operations software, and enterprise asset management [EAM] software). FMS is the largest market segment and an essential element within ERP, representing $12.6 billion in 2016 and growing at 7.5% through 2021.
The ERP market is undergoing a generational technology shift, driven by the advent of cloud computing. Over the last five years, SaaS ERP growth has exceeded 25% per annum and three cloud-native providers were among the top 10 in ERP market share in 2015. We expect the trend to continue to grow unabated.
However, SaaS adoption has varied across the different segments of ERP. HCM has been the fastest-growing adopter of SaaS, with over $4.9 billion of SaaS revenue in 2016 (around 45% of total HCM revenue). FMS lags HCM, with around $1 billion of SaaS revenue in 2016 (around 8% of total FMS revenue). So far there has been very limited adoption of SaaS in the operational ERP segments.
Public cloud SaaS solutions that support FMS capabilities are maturing fast and are now viable for both midsize and large organizations (those with revenue of more than $1 billion). Global organizations with revenue in excess of $5 billion need to approach public cloud SaaS FMS with some caution, but we anticipate that adoption in this segment will increase in the next one to two years. There will be a greater shift toward SaaS FMS as historical on-premises deployments reach end of life within organizations.
Gartner predicts the following market developments over the next four years:
By 2018, at least 25% of new core FMS deployments in large enterprises will be public cloud. By 2020, more than half of large enterprises with systems up for replacement will switch from traditional on-premises licenses to SaaS or subscription licenses.
The fastest rate of adoption of cloud FMS through 2021 will be by services-centric organizations of all sizes. But by 2020, half of North American asset-centric organizations adopting FMS will also adopt SaaS.
SaaS will drive faster FMS replacement cycles as it matures. Twice as many North America-based companies will be replacing their FMS solutions in 2020 compared with in 2015. The midmarket will lead this transition.
By 2025, demand for financial management application deployments delivered as cloud services will equate to more than 65% of total market spend.
We estimate SaaS FMS to outpace all other forms of deployments, with a five-year CAGR of 24% and revenue representing 14% of the overall FMS market spend, or $2.2 billion, by 2020. SaaS FMS revenue, unlike perpetual licenses, takes time to mature as it is recognized over a period of time. Conversely, on-premises license revenue is expected to slow to a five-year CAGR of 5% through 2020, with its much larger $14 billion revenue contribution being driven substantially by the "long tail" of maintenance revenue, derived from previously sold perpetual licenses.
These developments show that the market for FMS, and in particular core financial management applications, is pivoting toward SaaS. In the last 12 months this shift has become significant enough for Gartner to create its first Magic Quadrant specifically for cloud core financial management suites.
As well as meeting the product capabilities and market presence criteria, vendors in this Magic Quadrant all met the cloud service attributes shown in Table 3.
Licensing and technology
Pace of change
Source: Gartner (June 2017)
Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.
Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.
Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.
Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.
Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.
Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.
Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.
Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.
Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.
Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.
Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.
Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.
Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.
Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.
Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.