FinancialForce’s CEO also noted that the company has reinvigorated its channel focus in the last year, which is playing a role in accelerating their momentum.
Today. FinancialForce, which makes both ERP and PSA solutions on the Salesforce platform, is wrapping up its FinancialForce FFX Summit, which began on Tuesday. The company used the virtual event to impress upon the over 2500 expected attendees what it saw as a significant year just concluded, in terms of strong business growth, aided by a resurgent channel emphasis. They discussed their forthcoming Summer release, but the major news on the product front was previews of their Fall product expansion, highlighting the addition of the Cloud Services Operations Cloud to the FinancialForce solutions suite, and a new services estimation feature for their PSA.
“We are coming off an incredible first quarter [February-April],” said Scott Brown, FinancialForce’s President and CEO, who joined the company seven months ago. “We grew new bookings by 85% after a very good Q4, and did twice the amount of bookings we usually do in May. The response to our spring release was off-the-charts great. Customers love the [Salesforce] Lightning innovation.”
Brown noted that while growth picked up with the company’s existing base, the big increase in growth was with new logos.
“We saw triple-digit growth in new customers,” he said. “Coming out of COVID, people realized that they need to use technology to scale, not people. AI and RPA [Robotic Process Automation] and machine learning have to be used. All of those are built into our architecture.”
Brown said that both the ERP and PSA parts of the business did well.
“Between ERP and PSA there was a similar mix, maybe a little faster on PSA,” he indicated.
Brown observed that overall during the pandemic, FinancialForce saw what he referred to as a ‘slingshot effect.’
“We are up 60% in terms of daily active users, after an initial pullback,” he said.
FinancialForce is a separate company from Salesforce, but there have always been ties between them, that extended beyond FinancialForce being built on the Salesforce platform. Now, Brown said, those ties are stronger than ever, which was another reason for FinancialForce’s momentum.
“With Salesforce, services were once ‘out of sight out of mind,’ and now it’s a big part of what they do,” he indicated. “Acquisitions like Tableau have made them an integrator. The amount of collaboration between us has increased dramatically as they have woken up to that opportunity.”
FinancialForce has had an up and down history with the channel in its past, but Brown stressed that under his leadership they have recommitted to the channel, which is another factor in their momentum.
“When I joined the company, there was a lack of a partner ecosystem and most implementations were done directly,” he said. “I came from Cisco and Teradata, and Cisco’s business has been over 90% partner. We brought a new leader in – Aaron Koenderman [Vice President, Global Partner and Channel Strategy] – to bring in partners. We’ve brought in big Sis. We didn’t have a proper training curriculum. We just created that. We didn’t have certifications. We’ve just created that. Our services revenue will be 10-12%, and that’s for partners, not for us. That partner system has become a huge force for us, with the curriculum, certification and focus on making sure we are enabling partners around services. It was a missing focus when I came in, and it’s a big focus today.”
Dan Brown, FinancialForce’s Chief Product and Strategy Officer, then provided an update on the product strategy and product road map. Like Scott Brown, who emphasized the customer-centricity of the FFX Summit, with customers speaking at every session, Dan Brown stressed the customer centricity of the products, both in the major Spring release, and the minor Summer release due in July.
“The Spring release has a ton of innovation,” he said. “These are capabilities that a company needs to be customer-centric. We believe customer-centricity is in the DNA of being a successful service economy company.”
The summer release adds new capabilities through enhancements to the Financial Report Builder that was part of the spring release, including pre-built FRB-based Income Statements, Trial Balance, and Balance Sheets.
“We can now create them more quickly based on templates we provide, and we have deepened the relationship between opportunity management and the professional services cloud,” Brown said.
Brown also noted that they have invested a lot in improving user experience based on Salesforce Lightning, and are taking a broad view of that, extending across the product portfolio.
“We have also expressed an intent to move the product upmarket, which involves making it globalized, so we have done foundational things like generalizing autoreports, improving our relationship with Avalara, and adding more localization,” Brown said. “We will be pan-European and, selective in Asia as we move upmarket.”
A new partnership with Storecove to offer e-invoicing is part of these globalization efforts. E-invoicing and sending/receiving invoices through the PEPPOL network is a regulatory requirement in some locales.
“Much like with our Plaid integration last year, we will start integrations with Storecove in the fall,” Brown noted.
The Summer release also adds Drop Ship Analytics to their Customer Engagement offering, and adds Revenue Management Connector for Salesforce Revenue Cloud.
The big product highlight though was previews of two major offerings coming in the major Fall release.
Customer Success Operations Cloud will be the latest addition to the FinancialForce solutions suite, which includes FinancialForce ERP Cloud and FinancialForce Professional Services Cloud.
“It is designed to help you operationalize customer success best practices, and provide one view of engagement across the lifecycle, where you understand the cost of services and can monetize customer success,” Brown said. “We see a lifecycle management for customer success that brings together resources from different areas of the company, so you can manage them and understand progress – or lack thereof – and understand the cost of service of the engagement.”
The other major fall release previewed is the addition of a new Services Estimation capability to the Professional Services Cloud, to provide detailed and accurate estimates of project requirements.
“As companies scale and want a more frictionless opportunity to build, estimation management needs to happen, and this can be complex,” Brown said. “We are in a great place from an IP perspective to create services estimations very seamlessly on the same platform, in a frictionless and digitized manner. Componentization has made services estimation very quick for us, like adding contingency based on risk.
“It works with Salesforce Revenue Cloud, and when Salesforce provides platform level innovation, we can take advantage of it,” Brown added. “We expect to have a product by the fall. We are accelerating our investment because the time is right for this product.”