Summer Image by Bruno /Germany from PixabayCertinia has announced the general availability of its Summer 2023 product releases. The release includes updates across the platform. Once known mainly for its PSA and ERP solutions, the company has recently added Services CPQ, FP&A and Customer Success.

Dan Brown, Chief Product & Strategy Officer, highlighted some key highlights within the release explaining how they fit into strengthening the opportunities renewal cycle with its Services-as-a-Business solution. While there was no major solution launch with this release, Dan did announce a new partnership with Klippa that enhances AP automation on the platform using OCR and natural language processing capabilities.

Other key features include:

  • The Introduction of Embedded AI
  • Project Management improvements that increase productivity
  • Optimisation of Resource Management to drive greater efficiency
  • Time-saving enhancements for accounting teams, including AP automation
  • Insights driven procurement
  • Orchestrated customer success

Mickey North Rizza, IDC Group Vice-President Enterprise Software, summarised the release, saying, “With continuous improvements in project and resource management capabilities across a variety of use cases, adopters of Certinia’s Services-as-a-Business platform can expect to both increase the amount of work that can be done, as well as reduce the amount of resources required to do that work. The introduction of the AI functionality and specific use cases represents a deliberate customer-centric approach to guide the use of AI in services enterprises.”

Much has happened since the FinancialForce Spring 23 release.

Scott Brown, President and CEO of Certinia,
Scott Brown, President and CEO of Certinia,

Much has already happened this year leading up to this announcement. The company rebranded to Certinia from FinancialForce. The company also changed hands, with the deal completing on August 4th, according to Scott Brown, CEO.

Last week, during a briefing, Brown commented, “We also announced that we had an ownership change. That was just finalised last Friday with a transition of Advent International and TCV, who are at the end of their fund lives and needed to transition out. Haveli Investments and General Atlantic are joining us, two terrific companies. I was really pleased with the decision on the part of Salesforce to continue to be an investor in and supporter of Certinia.”

Scott also revealed that the company had closed its largest deal in July and has seen continued growth. Under Scott’s leadership, the company continues to invest heavily in R&D and is notably building towards having a complete platform for services business when combined with Salesforce.

IS HCM missing?

There is possibly a notable exception to this, which is HRIS. While Certinia once owned a solution, it sold it to ADP. Enterprise Times asked Scott what the strategy for HRIS was.

He replied, “Talent management is in the crossroads between workforce or resource management and HRMS (human resources management systems). We’re obviously focused on the former and pull-in skills and professional development inquiries (e.g., from the consultants) as a part of staffing assignments. 

“Enterprise customers already have HRMS systems of record – we can integrate with them. However, what we typically see is that these systems don’t have their impact because they are so disconnected from the work that’s being done (e.g., on projects). 

“We can consume the talent data – e.g., skills – and apply it. But over time, that talent data will live in PS Cloud and its resource management, because that’s where it naturally evolves and that’s where it’s put to use and has impact.”

AI at the heart of Summer 2023

Dan Brown explained how Certinia views its roadmap as having three hierarchical levels of capabilities. His team have completed the basic level one functionality and are now focused on building level 2 and level 3. An example of this is the new embedded AI features.

Dan Brown explained this, saying, “With the Summer release, we’re introducing a different set of capabilities, some of which have been an early adopter. These capabilities are really more about how you take the data that is in your Salesforce system, and bring it into an Einstein discovery solution, and then incorporate it back into your application.

“We think about this as a very pragmatic approach. It’s something that provides greater visibility into how you use artificial intelligence, in contrast to how artificial intelligence can be a black box inside of a solution. This is more of a solution where you can see the application. You can incorporate it into your system of record and take action on it.”

Certinia is using AI to provide actionable intelligence within its solutions. For example, its accounts receivable identifies the different collection risks for each customer. It provides recommendations for reducing “days to pay”, moving perhaps from paper-based to electronic invoicing. In Project management, it will surface ways in which project managers might increase project margin. A third example is how to improve opportunity win rates within CPQ.

Certinia continues to embed AI throughout its platform. As Dan Scott explains, it is doing so in a pragmatic way that might have been driven by customer requests, if not common sense. It delivers actionable intelligence where it is most likely to be used.

Improving Project Management

Part of the Certinia Professional Services Automation solution is project management capability. With this release, Certinia has added a new task board where the user can see who has been allocated to what tasks. There is also a feature that enables the programme manager to look at related projects, including details of status, financial performance and revenue forecasts. Released as part of Spring 23, Scheduling Risk Dashboard has also seen some improvements.

Resource Management

Finding resources in disparate teams is never easy. Certinia has enhanced its resource management by integrating with Microsoft and Google Calendars, allowing resource managers to view availability across multiple people. This enables them to quickly schedule meetings, events and tasks from within a project that requires multiple people.

The updated work planner not only allows the resource manager to view the relevant skills of resources, there is now the ability to see the previous projects that consultants have worked on. Customers requested this feature, and it delivers a greater understanding of consultant experience to resource managers.

Financial Management improvements

Certinia continues to extend the functionality of its financial management solution. While international updates were limited, Heidi Minzner noted that the application had just completed the annual certification process to meet the France accounting standards. The release also sees the availability of Business Activity Statements (BAS) reporting for Australian customers.

The partnership with Klippa automates the AP process, with the customer able to automate the receipt of AP invoices via a dedicated email where the Klippa platform will use OCR to identify and populate the data into the Certinia purchase ledger, automating a process that can take considerable manual effort.

There are several other improvements with a local chart of accounts for intercompany transfers; one of the improvements is improving period-end processes.

Insights-Driven Procurement

Certinia has updated the procurement workspace, delivering more insights to the fingertips of procurement professionals. Users can see contracts that may expire shortly, and the dashboard also flags when there are procurements without a contract. Users now have greater visibility across the whole contract and procurement process. Other improvements include mapping a single invoice across multiple purchase orders. The solution also supports automated renewals with uplift and proration.

Orchestrated customer success

The Customer Success solution also sees major improvements following feedback from the early adopters. The solution now allows the creation of success plans and playbooks from templates. A new success tracker also tracks goals and objectives on the plan. Goals are internal objectives, whilst objectives are focused on what the customer is aiming to achieve. This information can easily feed into a quarterly business review flagged on a calendar.

The customer success manager also has greater visibility of other engagements across the organisation, including open cases, projects and opportunities.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a huge update by Certinia as it looks to move its product forward. What is impressive is the volume of updates that the R&D team delivered in Summer 23. Every part of the Certinia platform is improved with new features and enhancements to existing ones.

The investment in AI is also starting to show up with meaningful features. In Winter 23, there is more to come on AI functionality and new partnerships to extend the platform. There was also the promise of a collaboration with Salesforce, particularly around Einstein GPT and Data Cloud. Dan also spoke about some new offers, though exactly what he meant on this was unclear.


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