The evolution of the cellphone – from a standalone point solution to a multi-purpose device, then to a “smartphone” that includes a platform and apps store – has brought many benefits to millions of people. Many of us carried around Blackberrys 10-12 years ago, and we benefited from the ability of a single device that allowed us to make phone calls, do text messaging, use a calendar and send email.
But we still carried around other devices, such as flashlights, cameras, music players, GPS units and others. We couldn’t easily extend the capabilities of the Blackberry. We had to wait until a new version of the OS came out to get any new features, and those were limited.
The Value of a Platform vs. a Product
Then in 2007 the first iPhone smartphone came along and changed the game. As a platform, its core capabilities went well beyond what the Blackberry offered – phone, text messaging, email, calendar, music player, camera, video recorder – to name a few. But then there were these other apps, developed by Apple and others, available as downloads from the App Store. These apps allowed us to extend our investment in the iPhone as a platform to support many other use cases.
Think about it: GPS maps and navigation, social media, weather forecasts, hotel and airline reservations, ride-hailing, expense reporting, restaurant reservations, and many more. These apps can be downloaded, installed and upgraded independently from the Apple iOS platform. There’s no need to wait for the next platform upgrade to get new features. From 2008 until 2016, the number of iPhone apps available has exploded from 800 to over 2 million!
Platforms Emerging in Business Applications
This evolution from product to platform hasn’t been limited to the mobile phone market. We’ve seen the same evolution occur in business applications. One of the earliest examples was Salesforce.com (SFDC) with its AppExchange platform. Prior to the emergence of SFDC, the customer relationship management (CRM) market was dominated by Siebel, which got acquired by Oracle in 2005.
Siebel had been the market leader up to that point, and SFDC had been growing as an SaaS-based alternative since 1999. But in 2005, SFDC introduced the AppExchange and – like the emergence of the iPhone in the cellphone market – changed the game. SFDC became a platform that a broad ecosystem of developers began using to create add-on applications that would address new use cases and extend the value of the platform.
The rest is history. SFDC is now the most widely used CRM platform in the world, and Oracle is struggling to catch up.
Why? Because selecting a platform that is extensible – and offers a wide array of add-on solutions from an ecosystem of developers – provides a higher return on investment and a lower cost of ownership vs. deploying many non-integrated point solutions. It allows the reuse of core platform components, provides the ability to choose add-ons, streamlines business processes and saves money.
Why Not an App Store for CPM?
There have been a few attempts at implementing the App Store concept in corporate performance management (CPM) but none very successful. Most of the early efforts featured simple demos or starter kits that highlighted various use cases for the “platform” but were not really leveraged by customers. Implementation consultants typically built new applications from scratch, so they could be fully fitted to the customer’s unique requirements.
But now there’s OneStream.
OneStream provides a revolutionary corporate performance management (CPM) solution, the OneStream XF SmartCPMTM platform (XF stands for Extensible Finance). OneStream XF unifies and simplifies financial consolidation, planning, reporting, analytics and financial data quality for sophisticated organizations.
Deployed via the cloud or on-premise, OneStream is the first and only solution that delivers corporate standards and controls, with the flexibility for business units to report and plan at additional levels of detail, without impacting corporate standards – all through a single application. We call this unique capability Extensible Dimensionality®.
Another unique capability of OneStream is the XF MarketPlace. The OneStream XF MarketPlace features over 40 downloadable solutions that allow customers to easily extend the value of the OneStream XF SmartCPM platform to meet the changing needs of Finance and Operations.
These XF MarketPLace solutions are not simple demos or starter kits – they’re real solutions that customers are able to use out of the box. They take only a few minutes to download into your existing application, and they can be configured and deployed within a few hours or days, often without the need for implementation consultants.
The XF MarketPlace solutions are built to solve real business problems. The XF MarketPlace includes several categories of solutions:
- Productivity Tools – Guided Reporting, Postal Service, Task Manager, Metadata Builder, Snippet Editor, Actor Workspaces and many others
- Specialty Planning Solutions – People Planning, Capex Planning, Sales Planning and Thing Planning (plan anything)
- Financial Close and Reporting – Account Reconciliations, Close Manager, Disclosure Management and Compliance Solutions, such as IFRS16/ASC 842 Lease Accounting
And just like the iPhone, with OneStream and the XF MarketPlace, a platform upgrade isn’t needed to get the latest solutions. They can be downloaded and updated independently of the platform, and vice versa.
XF MarketPlace solutions allow customers to extend the value of the OneStream platform to new use cases. They reduce reliance on spreadsheets and eliminate point solutions being used to support specific CPM tasks. And because these solutions are seamlessly integrated with the OneStream XF platform, they streamline key financial processes and improve data integrity.
The OneStream XF MarketPlace solutions currently available have been developed by OneStream with extensive input from customers, consultants and partners. However, in 2018, the XF MarketPlace will be expanded with both OneStream and partner-built solutions that will solve new problems and provide additional value to customers.
So in the same way the mobile phone and the CRM market evolved from standalone products to platforms (e.g., smartphone) and ecosystems that delivered higher value to customers, OneStream is enabling the CPM market to evolve in a similar fashion with the XF Platform and XF MarketPlace.
Hundreds of companies are already reaping the benefits of the OneStream XF SmartCPM platform and XF MarketPlace – extending the value of their investments and accelerating the delivery of new solutions to their users. Are you ready to join them?
John O’Rourke is Vice President of Product Marketing at OneStream Software. With a background in accounting and finance, John has over 30 years of experience in the software industry, including 20 years of experience in product marketing at Hyperion Solutions, Oracle and Host Analytics. He has worked with many customers and partners on financial reporting and planning initiatives and has spoken and written on many topics in corporate performance management. John has also held positions in strategic marketing and product marketing at Dun & Bradstreet Software, Kenan Systems and Decisyon. Find me on: