Planful is a financial planning and analysis cloud platform provider. The company was founded in 2001 as Host Analytics and rebranded to Planful in 2020. The vendor is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA and currently has 450 employees globally. Planful is backed by private equity investor Vector Capital. In 2022, Planful acquired Plannuh, a cloud platform for marketing performance management to enable seamless collaboration between finance and marketing teams and to provide marketers with deep financial intelligence for all marketing activities.
The Planful platform helps organizations of all sizes and industries combine financial consolidations and close, financial and operational planning, reporting, analytics and marketing performance in one single solution. As a cloud-based platform, Planful can be accessed via any web browser, including on mobile devices, and Microsoft Office plug-ins for Excel, Word and PowerPoint as well as Google Workspace. The product is sold and implemented by Planful itself and also through a global partner network of over 50 resellers and solution implementers. According to the vendor, Planful is currently used by more than 1,350 customers worldwide.
Planful’s solution is technically based on Microsoft technology, combining relational (for planning and consolidations), multidimensional (for reporting, modeling and analysis) and NoSQL databases. For data integration, Planful uses its own data load wizard, open APIs and Boomi as a third-party ETL tool, providing more than 1,400 prebuilt bi-directional connectors to integrate with ERP, HCM, CRM, data warehouses, spreadsheets and other sources, whether on-premises or cloud-based.
A single solution offers both standardized financial planning and dynamic operational planning. A combination of prebuilt but adaptable models and a flexible engine enables customers to create custom models for specific businesses. Industry and topical planning templates are available for areas such as workforce planning, headcount planning, P&L planning, balance sheet planning, capital planning, marketing planning and others. Planning, budgeting and forecasting processes are supported by comprehensive collaboration capabilities (including commentary, threaded conversations and chats) and workflow functionality (e.g., task management and due dates, status monitoring, approval, email notifications etc.). Once plan data is entered and plans are submitted, they are validated through prebuilt data validation rules along with Planful Signals, the vendor’s embedded AI and ML anomaly detection technology. In addition, Planful Projections enables customers to forecast trends using AI/ML functionality.
Fully integrated with the platform’s other capabilities, comprehensive financial consolidation and close functionality supports statutory and management consolidation processes. The platform includes workflow-based consolidation functionality and financial intelligence, journal entries and reclassifications, currency conversions, intercompany eliminations, and financial and regulatory reporting. Planful complements its capabilities for streamlining financial processes by integrating with partner solutions such as Trintech (for monthly account reconciliation) and Workiva (for financial reporting and disclosure management).
Besides planning, Planful also supports BI and analytics. Customers can build formatted reports and board books including advanced formatting and distribution of report packages. Standard reports are generated directly from the relational database, so there is no need to process a reporting cube to synchronize data for reports. Furthermore, dynamic ad hoc query and analysis functionality is available based on dimensional data, allowing business users to drill up and down hierarchies and through to transactional detail. This functionality can be used in both the web browser or Spotlight in Microsoft Excel and Google Workspace. In addition, visual and interactive dashboards can display financial and non-financial data in charts, graphs, data grids, dials and a vast array of other visual formats.
User & Use Cases
68 percent of Planful users are planning users – just around the survey average of 69 percent – reflecting the fact that Planful is essentially an integrated platform that combines planning, financial consolidation and close, reporting and analytics. This is also born out in its typical use cases. Customers use it mainly for financial planning (88 percent), but also operational planning (69 percent). Here, planning takes place at different aggregation levels. Planful is used for budgeting (98 percent), strategic planning (63 percent) and forecasting (60 percent). Besides planning, customers mainly use it for ad hoc query (85 percent), standard/enterprise reporting (84 percent), group consolidation (59 percent) and analysis (55 percent). Many also plan to use it for strategic planning (30 percent), forecasting (30 percent) and dashboards/BI applications (28 percent) in the future.
Planful targets mid-sized and large companies across all industries. 57 percent of our sample of Planful customers come from mid-sized companies (100-2,500 employees) with a median of 50 users (including 28 using planning functionality), but the mean of 77 users (49 for planning) indicates there are also some larger implementations.
Current vs. planned use (planning use cases)
Current vs. planned use (besides planning)
Total number of users per company
Planning users per company
Percentage of employees using Planful
Planning users (as a percentage of all users)
Company size (number of employees)
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