UNIT4 Continues Enhancing Its Business Intelligence Stack—Analyst Roadshow

UNIT4 has had a very active year in many respects, from the arrival of its new chief executive officer (CEO) in the person of tech-savvy executive José Duarte to its acquisition by the Boston-based equity firm Advent International.

One of the key announcements at the Analyst Roadshow that grabbed my attention was UNIT4’s continuous reinforcement of its analytics and business intelligence software stack. In my opinion, this is a great move on the part of the Dutch company, enabling it to fill in the gaps and grow its enterprise software solutions in an organic and organized manner.

In this respect, two particular announcements made for an interesting perspective: the release of two new financial performance products for the North American market and the incorporation of a new in-memory analytics solution to the vendor’s analytics stack.

UNIT4 Expanding Its Business Performance Offering to North America

With availability both in the cloud and on premise, UNIT4 Cash Flow and UNIT4 Financial Consolidation were launched to the North American market. This happens to be no last-minute move or abrupt decision on the part of UNIT4. On the contrary, I think that this well thought out move based on the beneficial acquisition of Coda and the Swedish-based company OCRA, which, by the way, was already a leader of business performance solutions in Sweden at the time of the acquisition. So, with the experience of challenging successfully powerful competitors such as SAP and Oracle in the enterprise performance arena locally, UNIT4 is now looking to take on a bigger challenge—establishing a presence in the North American market.

Both UNIT4’s Cash Flow and Financial Consolidation offerings are available for new and existing customers of UNIT4 Agresso and UNIT4 Coda Financials. This availability enables UNIT4 to address the needs of large organizations for an agile and robust performance management functionality integrated with their existing operational software solutions.

According to Ton Dobbe, VP of Product and Product Marketing of UNIT4:

“UNIT4 Financial Consolidation and Cash Flow compete with the largest financial performance management vendor offerings in the market, but without the hefty installation price tag and without the rigidity that requires high-cost ongoing spend.”

Some of the important features of UNIT4 Cash Flow according to the company are listed here:

  • Cash liquidity roll-ups and forecasts that support multi-company, multi-geography, and multi-currency businesses.
  • Centralized monitoring via functionality for generating visualizations and graph presentations using a single, consolidated screen.
  • Integrated functionality that enables treasury to have control of net cash, liquidity forecast, and currency exposure.
These and other features of the product show how important it is for financial managers and controllers to have seamless integration of these elements with the existing corporate software and the ready availability of indicators and results.

On the other hand, according to the company, UNIT4 Financial Consolidation will be able to provide complete financial performance and visibility, a full set of communication and collaboration capabilities, as well as wide statutory reporting capabilities, such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

This is by all means an interesting addition to UNIT4’s functional portfolio—i.e., it gives functional completeness to the vendor’s performance management offering and puts UNIT4 right in line with the big vendors with its enterprise software stack. The challenge for UNIT4 in North America, though, will be the vendor’s ability to convey its message and break some of the barriers in the large market already crowded with offerings from the big players such as IBM, Oracle, and SAP, and some really interesting players such as Adaptive Planning and SAS, among others.

Entry into the In-Memory Area

The other appealing news is UNIT4’s announcement of entering the in-memory area by introducing Agresso Analyzer, UNIT4’s new in-memory analytics application.

Naturally, with the incorporation of this technology UNIT4 aims to enter right into the game of real-time analytics, providing users with a tool for performing data analysis of large amounts of data in an instant. The move warrants close follow-up, especially considering the potential of in-memory technologies in the context of not only data analysis, but also operational systems, particularly an ERP such as UNIT4 Agresso.

Without having many technical details at this point, the new offering nonetheless appears to be a sound move from UNIT4 to keep good pace with new technology standards being adopted by both major and smaller players in the ERP space.

According to UNIT4, no changes will are required for the adoption of its in-memory data analysis application. The Agresso Analyzer application can be deployed easily and can be turned on and off as needed. According to UNIT4, aside from being in-memory based, some of the key features of UNIT4 Agresso Analyzer include the following:
  • Availability of associative filters
  • An intuitive user interface
  • Availability of multiple graphical choices
  • Rapid implementation features
So what does this all mean for customers?

UNIT4’s integration of in-memory computing within its technological stack is certainly something to follow closely in light of recent technological changes unfolding within the enterprise software space. The increased adoption of the cloud and mobility will significantly enhance the performance and adaptability of enterprise software solutions systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), to meet business requirements. So it comes as no surprise that UNIT4 is taking a serious and systematic approach to its software development—intelligently expanding its product stack with a combination of business- and technology-focused new products. It will be interesting to see how UNIT4 expands its current offerings and develops new products for its customers. I look forward to learning more about UNIT4’s recent offerings.
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