Tidemark - Solutions/Service Company

The Quintessential Technology Source for Corporate Financial Professionals

Tidemark: Faster Planning. Accurate Forecasting.

CIO VendorChristian Gheorghe, Founder & CEO “We don’t need no education… we don’t need no thought control… ”—the first canto of the Pink Floyd hit, motivated a disgruntled Christian Gheorghe as he roamed around the rubbles of the then communist Romania. Unhappy with the lack of opportunities in his country, the subversive lyrics of The Wall made him realize the opportunities presented by the West. And so, he chose big data and predictive analytics over the echoing gun shots, and a technological revolution rather than a Romanian! The result? Gheorghe began to “democratize” analytics software and founded Tidemark—his fourth start-up in Silicon Valley. Today, Tidemark brings real-time analytics to business users wielding iPads and smartphones in the budgeting and forecasting landscape.

Finance is evolving as a strategic driver in organizations and CFOs need to be equipped with modern technology that allows them to be in the driver’s seat. Gheorghe’s goal was simple with Tidemark. Make BI more actionable, bring it to the iPad wielding masses and boil down company trends, fixes, and other structured and unstructured data to one graphic—without the need to even set any chart preferences. “Traditional business intelligence systems were designed for data that existed in a database somewhere,” adds Gheorghe, Founder and CEO, Tidemark. “Now, probably 90 percent of the data a firm needs is unstructured, and all that needs to be analyzed in near-real time.”

The Redwood City, CA-based firm offers an online analytics platform which provides access to a much larger swath of information than old-school analytics software by tapping into unstructured data gleaned from the web. The Tidemark Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) platform delivers real-time, risk-adjusted metrics management; strategic, financial, operational planning and forecasting; and profitability modeling applications.

The Tide Lifting all the Boats

With a modern cloud based platform, Tidemark strategically equips organizations for financial and operational planning, predictive forecasting, and advanced analytics. While incremental improvements like hosted spreadsheets have been the focal point of attention for other vendors in the market, the firm has enabled true real-time planning for finance with other lines of business. “We recognize a spreadsheet can still provide value, however we don’t think a growth ambitious company can really empower its finance team to be the strategic driver of decision making,” states Gheorghe. The company’s solution is both mobile and social. On the mobile front, the service is built using HTML5 with emphasis on iOS. Blogs, PDFs, Microsoft Word, and other documents can be embedded in the analytics interface, further adding to the variety of information that can be accessed from the single interface.

Tidemark’s cloud and mobile-first platform offers a range of unified applications for the finance domain which includes financial consolidation, operational and financial planning, performance analytics, profitability modeling, and people planning.

We recognize a spreadsheet can still provide value, however we don’t think a growth ambitious company can really empower its finance team to be the strategic driver of decision making

By driving budgeting and planning real-time data, the firm’s platform runs what-if scenarios based on existing and external data, analyzes performance, and produces machine-learning driven forecasts. Tidemark facilitates predictive modeling and big data integration and analysis, all within the financial planning environment. “A new type of app is needed in this day and age. Tidemark’s applications enable enterprises to extract immediate information for decision-making from large amounts of complex and dynamic data—which means that businesses no longer have to be reactive when it comes to data,” says Gheorghe. Further, the Tidemark platform enables customers to benchmark their performance against other companies in the market. For example, the organization has a Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) team in a Fortune 100 brand that uses Tidemark to analyze market share by region, zip codes, and product category within its planning environment. They benchmark the data against competitors and then correlate it to the company’s performance in key categories.

Tactically assembled to empower organizations in overcoming business problems and attain desired outcomes quickly in the budgeting and forecasting landscape, the platform works as the tide lifting all boats. Additionally, an organization’s packaged processes along with the platform assist customers to address industry-specific measurements, compliance, and best practices right out of the box and helps avoid lengthy customization times.

The Tide Turner

As the industry moves from personal computers and servers to mobile devices and cloud computing, the process of moving machine intelligence closer to the people on the front lines—is triggering the next paradigm shift, the next tide wave. With its slew of planning features, designed to expedite forecasting and decision-making, Tidemark is causing the tide to turn. Named Storylines, the firm offers a SaaS based product that presents structured and unstructured data in a series of infographic-like images, providing users with an interactive and detailed view of their company’s operations.

Additionally, the firm integrates financial playbooks and predictive analytics functions into its software. Predictive analytics incorporates big data and social media information for use in forecasting and budgeting. “The point is to let the business user configure the product; when you democratize information with technology, you also make it actionable,” says Gheorghe. Tidemark’s Storylines centers mostly on financial information and represents areas such as profitability of regions and products, or the effects on costs of changing headcount in a graphical manner.

Enterprise analytics is transformed into actionable infographics that present a narrative view of performance, profitability, and people. By replacing static executive dashboards and board report books with visualizations, Storylines enables firms to uncover more detail and comprehend the impact of variations on the entire business.

It layers Tidemark analytics technology on top of customer’s financial management and operational systems and pulls data from external sources as varied as labor statistics, weather conditions, and Twitter. The result is a rich, dynamic picture of what’s really happening with their company and the factors influencing change.

Consumer-Centric Approach

The tenacity and focus of Tidemark to offer innovative solutions is evident from the success stories it has garnered over the years. “Our number one priority is customer success and we’ve built the company on that premise. From the envision session to being live, our goal is to deliver swift and iterative value to help you achieve rapid, predictable growth in a quickly changing market,” substantiates Gheorghe.

"The point is to let the business user configure the product; when you democratize information with technology, you also make it actionable"

In one instance, Tidemark enabled one of the U.S.’ leading regional insurance companies, Shelter Insurance, cut its annual budget cycle in half. “Prior to Tidemark, we set up Excel templates with lots of manual calculations to gather our budget information from about 150 different departments and cost centers,” said Tina Workman, VP-Accounting and Assistant Treasurer, Shelter Insurance. “It took a lot of manual effort. Someone had to enter that into our legacy GL program by hand. This meant we always had to start the budgeting process earlier than we wanted to.” After using Tidemark software, Shelter saw the time it took to prepare its annual budget reduce by half due to the replacement of its spreadsheet-bound budgeting and forecasting.

“Spring” in their Steps

Summer 2016 saw new capabilities being built into Tidemark’s modeling framework to enable finance teams transform their FP&A processes. By significantly simplifying the modeling experience and making it easy to broaden the participation of line of business users in planning, Tidemark is helping companies build more robust plans, faster, and understand variances quicker.

Tidemark’s modeling engine was strengthened with this release to improve the speed and accuracy of plan and forecast creation, while bolstering the platform’s capabilities to eliminate the gap between finance and non-finance users. Line-of-Business (LOB) users can now engage in a self-service environment to perform ad-hoc analysis, pattern examination through instant visualizations, and mobile-first reporting. The release comes on the heels of a record-setting first quarter where the company saw more than 50 customer go-lives.

As for the future, the firm plans to release a new update in Spring 2017 which will deliver the modeling power and f lexibility that an organization needs to build plans and forecasts that ref lect their business model. The release would also contain features such as intuitive and transparent modeling tools to empower firms make better decisions in today’s competitive landscape.

Having just experienced 4x growth, Tidemark has been on a roll of late. “The growth has been phenomenal in acquiring customers with broader transformational wins and a larger number of seats,” mentions Gheorghe. With innovative product offerings and a never-say-never entrepreneur in Gheorghe holding the reins, Tidemark looks all set to move with the future tide!

- Shiv Shanker
    March 17, 2017