The Planning Survey 20 is the sixth edition of BARC’s annual report on the planning software market. Our research is primarily based on a sample of 1,406 survey responses from software users and consultants around the world, providing detailed user feedback on 23 of the leading planning and budgeting software solutions on the market.

Our user survey covers issues ranging from the selection and purchase of software through to deployment and use, including questions about the success of planning software projects, the usability of each product and problems encountered.

The following links provide more detail on our survey methodology, the survey sample, and the way in which we categorize and rate planning products:

Sample, Products, Methodology & KPIs
Planning Products

Components of The Planning Survey

The findings from The Planning Survey 20 are published across several bite-size documents (see below). These documents do not need to be read in sequence. ‘The Results’ and the ‘Vendor Performance Summaries’ can be read independently.

BARC also provides the raw data via a web-based tool – The Planning Survey Analyzer – enabling users to carry out their own analysis of the survey results.

The Results

An overview and analysis of the most important product-related findings and topical results from The Planning Survey 20.

The Analyzer

Our powerful interactive online tool, enabling you to perform your own custom analysis of the full survey data set.

Vendor Performance Summaries

A series of executive reports on each product featured in The Planning Survey 20. Each report contains an in-depth product review by BARC’s analyst team plus all the relevant product-related results from The Planning Survey.

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Sample & Methodology

Much of the value of The Planning Survey 20 lies in its large, well-distributed and unbiased sample of survey responses. This section describes the characteristics of the people who took part in the study.

The Planning Survey 20 has the largest sample of any survey of planning and budgeting software users available on the market. As far as possible, we only draw conclusions from sub-samples containing at least 30 data points.

Our data cleansing rules are thorough and involve a number of different tests. All fraudulent or suspect data that purports to be from genuine planning software users is removed.

The sample of the Planning Survey

Sample size and make-up

Many thousands of people around the world were invited to take part in The Planning Survey 20, using dozens of email lists, magazines and websites.

A summary of the online data collected is shown in the table, with the total number of responses removed also displayed.

The number of responses is divided between users, consultants and vendors. As in previous years, vendors answered a different set of questions to those answered by users (and consultants answering on behalf of users).

Responses removed from the samplesResponses
Total responses1,496
Removed during data cleansing-90
Total answering questions1,406
Total responses analyzedResponses
All users1,211

Organization sizes by headcount

Planning and budgeting products are mostly found in large organizations, a fact reflected in the high percentage of responses we received from users in companies with more than 2,500 employees.

However, the level of responses from small organizations has been catching up over the years.

The split between respondents from small and large enterprises is well balanced this year.

The distribution of the Planning Survey by company size

Frequency of employee count in respondent organization (n= 1045)

Vertical markets

The chart on the right shows the breakdown of survey responses by industry sector. It only includes respondents who answered product-related questions in the survey (i.e., users and consultants).

Manufacturing comes out on top – as it has in previous years – with 27% of the sample.

Planning Survey respondents analyzed by industry

Respondents analyzed by industry (n=1191)

Planning Products in The Planning Survey

We require at least 30 user reviews for the survey results of any planning product to be analyzed in detail. 23 planning and budgeting tools reached this threshold in this year’s Planning Survey.

When grouping and describing the planning solutions featured in The Planning Survey, we do not always follow the naming conventions the vendors use to the letter. The names we use in The Planning Survey are sometimes abbreviated and are not always the official product names used by the vendors at the time of publication.

We asked respondents explicitly about their experiences with products from a predefined list, with the option to nominate other products. This list is updated each year and is based on the sample size of the products in the previous year, as well including new entrants to the planning market.

Where respondents said they were using an ‘other’ product, but from the context it was clear that they were actually using one of the listed products, we reclassified their data accordingly.

The table to the right shows the planning products included in our detailed analysis.

ProductNumber of reviews
Adaptive Insights41
CCH Tagetik32
Corporate Planning34
IBM Planning Analytics81
Longview Plan (On-Premises)32
Longview Plan (Tidemark)30
macs Software30
Oracle Hyperion Planning35
SAP Analytics Cloud31
Unit4 FP&A33

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The Peer Groups

A range of different planning and budgeting tools is featured in The Planning Survey 20, so we use peer groups to help identify competing products. This approach ensures we make fair and useful comparisons of planning tools that are likely to compete, for the benefit of readers and vendors alike.

The peer groups are defined each year by BARC analysts using their experience and judgment.

The segmentation of the peer groups is based on four key factors:

  • Category of planning product – Is the product focused on flexibly implementing completely individual planning requirements, on predefined planning solutions for particular topics or industries, or on supporting financial corporate management within organizations?
  • Specialization – Is the vendor a performance management/planning specialist or does it offer a broader portfolio of enterprise software for a variety of business requirements? 
  • Geographical reach – Does the vendor have a truly global reach or does it do the vast majority of its business in Europe or North America?
  • Focus – Is the product focused on planning and performance management only or also on business intelligence? 

Peer groups serve as a guide to the reader to help make the products easier to understand and to show why individual products return such disparate results. They are not intended to be a judgment of the quality of the products. Most products appear in more than one peer group.

Besides planning and performance management, BI-focused products target use cases such as standard reporting, ad hoc reporting, analysis, advanced analytics and dashboarding.

Enterprise software vendors have a broad portfolio including most (or all) types of business software.

Financial performance management products are standardized applications that support use cases such as financial planning, consolidation and financial reporting.

Flexible planning platforms are most suitable for developing and implementing bespoke planning solutions to meet a unique set of requirements. They usually offer limited predefined content.

Global planning vendors have a truly global sales and marketing reach. They are present worldwide, and their planning products are used all around the world.

North American vendors are headquartered in North America and do the majority of their business there.

Solution-focused planning products are usually based on, or supplemented by, predefined planning solutions designed for particular applications or industries.

The KPIs

The KPIs are designed to help the reader spot winners and losers in The Planning Survey 20 using well-designed dashboards packed with concise information. There is a set of 25 normalized KPIs (which we refer to as ‘root’ KPIs) for each of the 23 products, as well as 5 aggregated KPIs based on aggregations of various combinations of ‘root’ KPIs.

A set of KPIs has been calculated for each of the eight peer groups. The values are normalized according to the whole sample.

The KPIs all follow these simple rules:

  • Only measures that have a clear good/bad trend are used as the basis for KPIs.
  • KPIs may be based on one or more measures from The Planning Survey.
  • Only products with samples of at least 20 – 30 (depending on the KPI) for each of the questions that feeds into the KPI are included.
  • For quantitative data, KPIs are converted to a scale of 1 to 10 (worst to best).
  • A linear min-max transformation is applied, which preserves the order of, and the relative distance between, products‘ scores.
  • In some instances, adjustments are made to account for extreme outliers.

KPIs are only calculated if the samples have at least 15 – 30 data points (this varies depending on the KPI) and if the KPI in question is applicable to a product. Therefore some products do not have a full set of root KPIs.

Our methodology document describes all the KPIs and calculation methods in detail. See our methodology PDF.

Aggregated KPIsRoot KPIs
Business ValueBusiness benefits
Project success
Project length
CompetitivenessConsidered for purchase
Competitive win rate
Customer SatisfactionProduct satisfaction
Vendor support
Implementer support
FunctionalityPredefined data connectivity
Data integration
Planning content
Planning functionality
Driver-based planning
Legal consolidation
Customer ExperienceSelf-service
Ease of use
Sales experience
Performance satisfaction