The services-as-a-business evolution: FinancialForce becomes Certinia

Certinia adds more AI features into its services-as-a-business platform

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Certinia Inc., the developer of a software platform for services delivery, today announced its Summer 2023 product release with new capabilities focused on streamlined resource management and productivity enhancement for accounting teams.

The company, which was previously known as FinancialForce Inc., has operated mainly as an enterprise resource planning provider running on top of the Salesforce Inc. sales automation platform since its 2009 founding. But over the past year, it has rebranded itself as “the platform for services business” and turned its attention to applications like configure/price/quote and financial planning and analysis.

The repositioning was meant to address what Chief Executive Scott Brown (pictured) said is a major shift in the global economy toward services, which now generate more than two-thirds of the global gross domestic product.

Last month the company was acquired by private equity firms Haveli Investments, a division of Whanau Interests LLC, and General Atlantic LP. Salesforce remains an investor and “runs its entire professional services business on Certinia,” said Scott Brown, Certinia’s president and CEO.

AI-infused

The new release incorporates what the company calls “pragmatic artificial intelligence,” or that which reduces the risk of investing in AI by providing curated datasets, closed-loop models and recommendations that improve model accuracy. Enhancements in this release combine Salesforce’s Einstein Discovery machine learning models with a platform for ingesting financial and operational data. Use cases include cash flow forecasting, planning, staffing and decision-making.

“We’ve had AI capabilities such as autoregressions and optimizations for a while, but with the summer release we’re introducing a different set that is more about how you take the data in your Salesforce system, bring it into Einstein Discovery and then bring it back to your application,” said Dan Brown, chief product and strategy officer. “This provides greater visibility into how you use AI as opposed to it being a black box.”

Updated features identify risk and proactive mitigations to scheduled project work, help improve service margins and can be used to predict days-to-pay in cash flow forecasting. A Task Board component of project management enables project teams to update tasks using drag-and-drop functionality. A new feature called Project Overview reduces administrative work and enables more accurate revenue forecasting. The Scheduling Risk Dashboard now identifies potential risks to upcoming scheduled work and takes timely precautionary measures to uphold margins.

Faster scheduling

The product suite’s Resource Management component now integrates with Google LLC’s and Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook calendars to give project managers quick assessments of people’s availability when scheduling events from within a project. Resource managers can edit resource assignments with advanced work planner features and pinpoint the right resources for projects based on employees’ previous experience and work history.

Accounting teams are getting new resources for managing collections, vendor payments and generating depreciation schedules. Accounting playbooks now include associated tasks and due dates for faster closing.

The procurement function has been enhanced with an eye toward providing “full visibility into future spending obligations,” said Heidi Minzner, vice president of product management for ERP Cloud. Teams can now analyze and control spending by category and supplier, enforce spending limits for vendor contracts, receive renewal reminders for subscription licenses, automatically create renewals with uplift and proration and automate cost recognition based on company rules.

Pricing information wasn’t provided. The company custom-quotes prices for each customer.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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