Day 2 of Host Analytics World 2016 started with 800 attendees eager to hear Super Bowl MVP Steve Young's lessons from the gridiron. They weren't disappointed.
Young spent most of his hour-long talk explaining what he'd done to overcome humbling moments in the early days of what would become a storied NFL career.
"There were days when I thought I should have gone back to law school," Young says about his first seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He'd felt the weight of tens of thousands of disappointed fans who he says wanted to see Joe Montana throwing the football to Jerry Rice. Young felt like he was in the way.
A chance encounter with the late Dr. Steven Covey changed his perspective in 1991, and the lessons from that meeting informed not only the remainder of his career but also his presentation. Click here to read our full report on Young's keynote.
Host Analytics SVP of Product Management Bryan Katis followed with a review of the Spring16 release and Host Analytics' roadmap for delivering an even more impressive EPM experience.
New features in the Spring16 release are aimed at helping customers modernize the finance function and better model outcomes fast, flexibly, and in any browser or mobile device. To illustrate the improvements, Katis spent much of his talk presenting a new user experience that supports customized branding and helps users become more productive and collaborative.
For example, a simplified planning control panel has fewer "windows" to work in -- three, instead of six -- and features a left-screen navbar with options tailored to the user that's logged in at the time. A responsive design ensures that these simple-to-use functions are just as available on a smartphone or tablet as they are a PC, while embedded collaboration tools and Google Sheets integration helps improve communication and alignment between finance and operations.
"There's never been a better moment for this sort of robust EPM platform," Katis says. "Economic growth is slowing and markets are more volatile, yet there's more data than ever available to analyze for a tech-savvy workforce that's hungry for information. More than ever, finance executives need an ecosystem that's built for more than just better budgeting."
"We're an EPM vendor and we're really focused on EPM processes and the things that finance worries about," Katis says. "But our job is also to help finance work with other areas of the business and it's why we spend so much time working with partners to extend our capabilities."
Katis had two partners on stage during his presentation. Qlik Technologies, a long-time customer that's bringing Qlik Sense dashboards and reporting natively to the Host Analytics EPM platform in the Spring16 release; and Socialcast from VMware for in-platform collaboration around budgets, forecasts, and reports. "Further integrations are likely in future releases, Katis says, including native integrations where a two-way exchange of data between the Host platform and other collaboration tools can yield value for teams." Performance, security, and new analytics and modeling capabilities are also included in the Spring16 release.
You can click here to get a more comprehensive overview of what was announced in the Spring16 release.
Customers wondering what to do with all this new technology didn't have to wait long. Alison Holmlund, Host Analytics' Senior Vice President of Customers for Life (CFL), closed Day 2 with advice and real-world examples of how to get the most from Host Analytics' EPM platform.
Holmlund initially pointed to improvements in the CFL program, including an integrated training curriculum, a beefed-up knowledge base, and an expert-led EPM Academy. And yet she spent far more time on new systems for customers to engage with each other via an expanded and easier-to-navigate community area. Kristine Hegglin is leading this effort as Host Analytics' official community manager, and will be your go-to person if you're unclear how to get help with your Host Analytics deployment.
To end the day, Holmlund invited CEO Dave Kellogg on stage to help her present awards to customers in two categories. The "Rockstar of the Year" awards were given to users who invested time not only in their Host Analytics deployment but in spreading the word about what Host Analytics-powered EPM can do through case studies, press releases, references, and related activities. The winners were:
- Jim Perry iCIMS
- Rick Odom, Welch Allyn
- Sydney Tucker, Colonial Pipeline
- Tim McKiel, EarthLink
Holmlund then introduced a second category of awards, the Cloud EPM awards, which recognize achievement in using Host Analytics' EPM platform to drive business success and which she affectionately referred to as the "EPM-mys." This year's honorees were:
- Abbott Laboratories
- Thrivent Financial
Applause followed the winners but the festivities didn't end there. Chief Marketing Officer Ben Plummer dismissed the Day 2 crowd with a promise to be on the dance floor during the party to come that night. Did he make good? Find out in our next post and then stay tuned for our conference wrap-up, which will include details for what's to expect at Host Analytics World 2017.