CEO Dave Kellogg kicked off Host Analytics World 2016 earlier this morning at a packed ballroom at the Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown San Francisco. Over 800 people attended this year, showing up to hear about navigating change at a time of maximum chaos.
"The first thing you'll hear me say at this conference is thanks for being our customers. It's also the last thing you'll hear me say," Dave said in a play on words from the Oscar-nominated film Full Metal Jacket.
No one who's seen Dave speak will be surprised to read that. Funny and animated, his theatrics on stage -- including a demo that had a "fair weather" EPM team dressed in beach outfits and a "foul weather" team dressed in rain gear -- added a light touch to a heavy topic. Making big financial decisions can be problematic when outcomes are uncertain. Helping customers succeed in that environment is the underlying purpose of Host Analytics, which Dave cast as having a surprisingly different way of doing business.
Preamble: Help Over Hype
Narcissistic and self-indulgent, Silicon Valley has a reputation for producing new technology because it can rather than for the benefit of customers. "No one loves Silicon Valley like Silicon Valley," Dave said, a reality he says is perfectly reflected in the HBO comedy of the same name.
You can map the most vulgar cases of this narcissim gone wrong in an equation that's much like photosynthesis. Take the amount of venture capital raised and divide the current rate of annual recurring revenue. The higher the multiple, the greater the value of the company in question is driven by hype. These are what Dave called the Kardashian startups, "famous for being famous" and generating headlines because they generate headlines. Hype begets hype but it does nothing to help customers, which is the serious point the behind the joke.
Unlike Silicon Valley peers that trade in the double-digits, Dave said Host Analytics' VC raised-to-ARR, or "hype factor" is between 1.5 and 3. Not like a Kardashian, but solid like Tom Hanks. And you can see it in the results.
Company Update: Customers First, Last, Always
Host Analytics now serves over 600 customers and more than 33,000 distinct users. Dozens of new customers have joined the ranks over the past year. Of those, over 100 use Host Analytics Modeling to create scenarios and collaborate across departments in a familiar, Excel or web-driven user interface.
Host Analytics is also now NetSuite certified and just last week announced a broad partnership with Qlik Technologies, a current customer whose in-memory analytics and Qlik Sense dashboards and reporting will be made natively available in Host Analytics EPM platform. Other improvements in the Spring16 release include a dynamic user interface, integrated collaboration, improved workforce reporting and many other new features. Meaningful upgrades in availability, response time, and security have made it easier for customers to get the answers they need in a timely manner. Customers navigating rapid changes to their business should expect nothing less.
EPM In Uncertain Times
"No one predicted the rise of Donald Trump or that oil would be $40 a barrel. And certainly no one would have predicted that Cal would produce the first pick of the NFL Draft" Dave, a UC Berkely alum, said to a laughing audience. Yet he makes a serious point. Staying conservative and using tools that allow for agile planning is crucial.
Yet that isn't the only issue. Widespread access to data has led boards of directors to demand more from sales functions. Historically lacking support from finance, because they were busy focused on traditional finance processes, they've built their own sales operations teams. We're also seeing marketing operations teams and other "shadow finance" departments cropping in companies of all sizes, creating a fractured picture of true enterprise performance. Host Analytics introduced its Modeling module to empower operations with a better platform that can link operational models to financial models and plans. Meaningful partnerships with Xactly, NetSuite, Qlik, Google and others add further heft to the platform and, as Dave put it, "ties the enterprise back together again."
Hundreds of companies need this kind of support, Dave said, but Host Analytics is focusing on the "fat middle" of the market where on-premises EPM is far too expensive but no EPM is just as costly. This includes companies that produce $250 million to $1 billion in annual revenues, and for that group Gartner ranks Host Analytics as a top provider of Corporate Performance Management solutions.
Demo: The Value Of EPM in Fair Weather and Foul
That ranking is the result of ongoing improvement to the Host Analytics EPM platform. Today, that includes not only agile planning and automating repetitive tasks but also driver-based planning with models. Dave had several members of the team show these features at work in a demo where Host Analytics Performance Platform was called on to answer big questions about where to invest for high-impact growth ("fair weather") and where to cut back to preserve cash flow ("foul weather"). I encourage you to watch the replay of the livestream to see the full demo.
I hope to see many of you here at Host Analytics World, where you’ll have many opportunities to learn more, not only about the Spring16 release but also our partners and your peers. We wouldn't be here without you, which is why, as promised, Dave ended his talk just as he started it: "Thank you for being a customer."
Only this time he left out The Full Metal Jacket reference.