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Hortonworks Runs Enormous Expansion, High-Growth on Adaptive Insights

Big Data Software Developer Manages Employee, Financial Forecasts With All-In-One Solution

  • Hortonworks built its business on innovation. So from the get-go, it sought a financial management solution that shared the same mindset.  That’s why the open source data company turned to Adaptive Planning.  With the click of a button, Adaptive made it easier to drill down into key performance indicators and forecast the impact of employee growth. The visibility elevated financial management beyond  just tracking labor and managing expenses. Analytics prowess gave Hortonworks a competitive edge in a landscape of continuous innovation.


    • Planning and analysis for rapidly growing business in multiple countries and currencies
    • Simplifying corporate-wide budgeting,  planning, and reporting processes
    • Reconciling variances to plans quickly


    • More accurate and frequent planning with detailed “what-if” analysis to model all key scenarios
    • Easy-to-update, 18-month rolling forecasting helping the company scale
    • Instantaneous analysis of changes to assumptions facilitates faster, more informed decision-making
  • About:

    Hortonworks develops, distributes and supports the only 100% open source Apache Hadoop® data platform. The Hortonworks Data Platform provides an open platform that deeply integrates with existing IT investments and upon which enterprises can build and deploy Hadoop-based applications.

    Palo Alto, CA
    Software and Technology

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How fast-growing is Hortonworks?

Today's leading international commercial developer and distributor of Apache Hadoop was founded in 2011 and already has a case of the "multies" – multiple entities, in multiple countries, handling multiple currencies.

Acceleration, Expansion on Adaptive

According to Hortonworks CFO Dan Bradford, the Palo Alto-based company uses Adaptive Planning to do everything from managing employee growth, to generating weekly financial forecasts.

"We're a high-growth company and we're still adding headcount, expanding globally, and handling more types of currencies," Bradford explained. "Adaptive is key to keeping up with our growth. If Adaptive fell off the earth, it would be like cutting off my arm." Without Bradford, Hortonworks may still be using a time-consuming, on-premise FP&A solution; an outdated model ill-fit for an industry-leading company. But when Bradford joined Hortonworks in June, 2011, he arrived with some valuable career experience.

"I've used Adaptive at different career stops, beginning in 2008 when I was a professional services consultant," Bradford said. "I also used it when I worked for a real estate firm and had about 30-40 budgets to maintain. So when I came to Hortonworks and realized we needed a more efficient process, I implemented Adaptive right away."

Deeper, More Accurate Insight

"We love the Netsuite connector," Bradford continued. "We're using it to make income statement reconciliations and quickly find and reconcile any variances so that I can focus on the most important nuggets of data. And at the end of each quarter, we import actual costs from Netsuite and give our Board a complete corporate performance report."

For Hortonworks, the list of Adaptive benefits goes on, including:

Drill-down analysis of KPIs
More accurate and frequent planning & detailed "what-if" analysis
Easy-to-update, 18-month rolling forecasting

"For me, I instantly knew Adaptive had return on investment," Bradford explained. "It's top of mind for financial planning, and it allows me to spend much more time on really strategic things instead of jockeying spreadsheets for eight hours. I haven't needed to hire a director of FP&A yet, because Adaptive has streamlined our planning and reporting. That alone is a significant cost savings for the company."

Adaptive Plays Key Role in Employee Growth

According to Bradford, "people" is Hortonworks' main cost center. And that's where Adaptive has been most crucial to the company's growth.

"I use Adaptive to track new hires and who is slated to be hired," Bradford said. "The ability to change a headcount assumption, and have it globally run through our entire business model to see the impact on payroll taxes, or personnel allocations, is instantaneous with Adaptive. I click a button and holy cow! I have a huge set of neatly-packaged reports to discuss with the management team, which would have taken hours to do without Adaptive."

Executives Get Answers Fast

Bradford's job includes more than tracking and managing people and expenses. He also has to field and answer questions about growth and performance from the rest of Hortonworks' executive team – a job that would have taken most of Bradford's time away from important tactical initiatives. Instead, Bradford has questions under control, allowing him to be the strategic finance leader that is crucial to any fast-growing company.

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