CollabNet is the world's most widely used collaborative development environment, enabling more than 1,000,000 developers and IT project managers to collaborate online. CollabNet's solutions transform the way software is developed by enabling any organisation to leverage global development talent to deliver better products more quickly. CollabNet has 170 employees based throughout California, India, Europe, and Asia.
CollabNet's open source technologies are taking the software development marketplace by storm. Seeking to plan carefully for future innovation and expansion, CollabNet built its first detailed forecasting and budgeting solution in 2004—but quickly outgrew the Excel-based tool.
"I didn't realize at the time that you can break Excel—but you can," recalls Tom Clark, CFO, CollabNet. "We kept all our information in one huge spreadsheet with about 150 tabs until the links just stopped working. That's when I realized we were in trouble. When I make an assumption change, I need it to flow reliably through the business model, because our business can change on an hour-by-hour basis."
As he began to look for a replacement solution, Clark considered Hyperion Pillar but feared the solution would require a long, complex implementation process. Clark also looked into Budget Maestro before scheduling a demo of Adaptive Planning, part of the Adaptive Suite.
"Halfway through the Adaptive Planning demo, I told them to send me an order form," says Clark. "The solution was lightweight and intuitive, and I knew we could implement and maintain it without needing a large IT organisation—which we don't have anyway. Also, the reasonable pricing eliminated much of the risk from my decision."
Today, CollabNet's major offices in Brisbane, California and Chennai, India use Adaptive Planning for budgeting and forecasting. Four of the seven employees in the accounting department use the solution, along with business users who can now perform their own accounting functions.
"In choosing Adaptive, I was really just hoping for a solution that worked better than our giant spreadsheet," says Clark. "But the system has exceeded my expectations in terms of functionality and flexibility. It's easy to get up and running, and we can quickly change assumptions and see rollups."
"As the provider of a hosted development environment, CollabNet appreciates the availability and intuitive navigation of Adaptive's web-delivered software. CollabNet's business users can simply log on to Adaptive Planning to participate in the budgeting and forecasting process.
"Adaptive Planning is accessible to our VPs and directors 24/7, so if they're busy during the day, they can log on at night to make planning decisions," says Clark. "Because they're more engaged, we can now hold them more accountable for results." With business units taking responsibility for the accuracy and timeliness of their own budgets, CollabNet has freed up its accounting staff to perform more strategic work. Rather than rolling up numbers and checking formulas, the accounting staff now spends more time analyzing results.
"With Adaptive, we've increased the efficiency of our planning process by 25 to 40 percent," says Clark. "Instead of sending spreadsheets across the organisation, we can more easily collaborate because we have one designated budget file that's under the control of our finance department."
Because Adaptive provides a flexible, easy-to-update forecast model, CollabNet now creates detailed forecasts quarterly rather than semiannually. These forecasts provide a clearer picture of where the business is heading and help CollabNet lead a fast-moving market.
"Last August, we were going through some changes in our market approach, so we ran through three very detailed ‘what-if' forecasting scenarios in about three weeks," says Clark. "Without Adaptive Planning, I would never have been able to have our investments in place and appropriately allocated, and the process would have taken three or four times as long."
Adaptive also lets CollabNet users quickly create a new version of a budget, change rollup structures and assumptions, and see results instantly.
"Adaptive is one of the most flexible budgeting tools I've ever used," says Clark. "Countless times, right before a board meeting, I've gone into the system and looked up a budget assumption to answer a question. I've even been in board meetings and gotten answers on the spot."
So far, Clark has been impressed with the uptime of the Adaptive system. And he considers Adaptive to be an outstanding business partner.
As CollabNet continues to storm the open source software world, Adaptive will be along for the ride, from Brisbane to Chennai and back again, 24/7.