Driving Winter Image by fancycrave1 from PixabayCertinia has unveiled the latest release of its Services-as-a-Business platform. As customers have come to expect, Winter 2024 is full of new and updated features across the solution portfolio. Certinia continues to strengthen what it sees as the end-to-end platform for services businesses. It begins with Salesforce and flows through its Professional Services Cloud, Customer Success Cloud and ERP Cloud.

Douglas (DJ) Paoni, CEO Certinia
Douglas (DJ) Paoni, CEO Certinia

D J Paoni, CEO, Certinia in his first press briefing, explained it as, “The way that Certinia thinks about this market, particularly compared to some of our competitors, is we’re not providing piecemeal solutions for disparate groups within services business that have no real connection to a larger cycle. We think of the entire services business cycle, we call it as services as a business. It’s a 360-degree view from selling and staffing to delivering to accounting and retaining customers. It’s not just about ERP or customer success cloud. It’s the power of the sum of the offerings here.”

There are several pillars within this release, including:

AI-Driven Transformation in Finance and Operations

Leverages the Salesforce AI platform to provide more precise cash flow forecasts with the ability to drill down to an individual customer level. The new feature will deliver trend analysis and also predict days to pay, surfacing insights to accounts teams on actions they may take to reduce the DTP.

Other new AI-powered features include the ability for organisations to better understand project margins and how they may influence them by surfacing and enabling users to adjust the key factors.

Modern Capabilities with evolution to xP&A and xRB

Certinia is extending its platform beyond the traditional FP&A and FRB reporting. It aims to let users leverage the operational data that it holds to complete planning for the whole business. Users are able to build up their plans by drawing data from a wider set of data.

Laura Heath, Product Manager, noted, “(With) Certinia XP&A early adopter capabilities, we will meet the needs of the modern CFO and business leaders with more data sets, cross-functional planning, templated use cases, greater modelling and ease of use for financial and non-financial users.”

As this solution matures, it is an example of how Certinia is becoming a full platform, and services organisations may no longer need an external planning tool. Within XP&A, this release also includes wider support for what-if scenario planning.

Enterprise Times asked Dan Brown, Chief Product and Strategy Officer, Certinia whether this would extend to ESG reporting. He answered, “ESG is a broad topic. xRB can report on ESG data, but the ‘E’ and ’S’ data have to be available and typically coming from specialized tools today. This is something we’re exploring with customers, especially in Europe, but that’s what we’ve seen so far.”

Streamlining Accounting Workflows

Period and year-end processes are often time-consuming and require finance teams to use countless spreadsheets or purchase an alternative solution, often both. With Winter 2024,  Certinia has further streamlined the process, delivering most playbooks that can automate several processes across allocations, revenue recognition and report packs.

AI-Driven transformation in resourcing risk

Resource management is a key focus for professional services organisations. Done poorly, it can break an organisation. Certinia continues to deliver improvement. It has improved the estimate schedules of project requirements, which enables resource managers to better understand requirements and capacity. For example, there is an expanded set of utilisation dashboards to proactivly manage upcoming capacity and demand, as well as employee targets.

Optimise resources for project success and career satisfaction

There are several updates to the work planner that enable users to view what is happening using different criteria, from the whole organisation to a single key customer or by project.

For employees, the Work Opportunity Hub is now available on the mobile app, enabling employees to request their next project without having to return to a laptop.

Partners can also see the Work Planner uses Salesforce experience sites to manage resource allocations themselves. The intent is to improve collaboration with third partners during projects and reduce the communication barrier between organisations.

Project Management enhancements

At the core of the professional services cloud is the project management solution. With this solution, Certinia has enhanced and simplified the task board. It is now easier to look at the work being delivered either by an individual project or across different multiple projects. Users can quickly view due dates and the current status. The same information is extended to the communities pages so customers can also see the information.

Customer Success

Certinia continues to expand and fill out its customer success cloud. Still in early release, it is expected to launch in 2024. This release sees the additions of:

  • An Activity Time Line tracker, providing all the customer information in a single place.
  • A new action panel within the success tracker makes it easier to create, track, and manage objectives in context.
  • The Account Level success tracker enables every CSM to see relevant information and documents about the account.
  • Certinia has also combined elements of its extension resource management features from its PSA within CS Cloud, demonstrating the value of having both products in its portfolio.

Investment in AI

Certinia continues to invest in pragmatic AI; it follows the Salesforce compliance guardrail and enables customers to take advantage of their own, but not others’ data in their AI model. Users can also look at the models and understand the factors that they are taking into consideration.

Dan Brown, CPTO Certinia, explained this as a three-pronged approach to AI. He stated, “We want to make sure that a couple of things happen. Number one, you can deploy it fairly quickly. Number two, it provides that predictive insight directly where you’re making decisions. And last but not least, you can get as much understanding about those predictions as possible.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a packed release with a huge amount of interesting new features. Certinia’s approach to AI is pragmatic; it seems to be surfacing the insights where users want them most. It is also filling in the smaller gaps in what can now almost be said to be a full platform. Once CS Cloud is live, it will be interesting to see where Certinia goes next.

Enterprise Times also asked whether the recent acquisition by Haveli has changed the acquisition strategy. Brown noted, “We continue to evaluate strategic acquisitions, and Haveli has encouraged us to do that.” However, it seems that partnerships are more likely in the short term at least.


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