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5 best enterprise management software for financial forecasting for 2024

Get actionable insights faster with the right EPM solution

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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. 

Attributed to Peter Drucker, this quote often elicits mixed feelings in the world of business but does aptly describe a key challenge for rapidly growing businesses—balancing their long-term strategic vision with their current operational and performance priorities while staying on top of financial and business metrics.

This is why businesses need a comprehensive solution that can help them manage day-to-day complex activities, optimize performance, achieve strategic objectives, and maintain competitiveness.

Enterprise performance management (EPM) refers to the processes designed to help organizations plan, budget, forecast, and report on business performance, as well as consolidate and finalize financial results (referred to as “closing the books”). To do this effectively, an EPM solution must be able to collect and aggregate data (actuals) across departments to enable teams to create reports and compelling visualizations for better decision-making. 

On top of reporting, EPM tools also provide planning and analysis tools.Therefore, EPM solutions are primarily used by CFOs and finance teams to analyze, understand, and report on business performance and metrics. EPM software aggregates data (actuals) from all departments, enabling teams to create reports and compelling visualizations to present the information in an effective way for better decision-making. 

In this guide, we have detailed five of the best EPM software in the market in 2024. For each platform, there is a summary of key features related to EPM software with a few pros and cons highlighted, which might be helpful as you evaluate your options.


The best enterprise performance management software compared

Choosing the best EPM tool for your business isn’t easy. There are a lot of features you need to look for, including native integrations, automated reporting, interactive dashboards, predictive forecasting, integrated planning and budgeting, and customizable modeling and reporting templates.

This guide will make evaluating your options a lot easier. We have reviewed and compared five different enterprise performance management solutions to help you find the best fit for your business requirements. The table below provides a high-level, side-by-side comparison of five EPM tools, followed by a more detailed discussion of each. We’ll also explain the many benefits that EPM software can offer your business and discuss the specific features you’ll want to look for in a solution.    

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Price
$$
$$
$$
$$-$$$
$$$
Best for
SMB to  Mid-Market
SMB to  Mid-Market
SMB to  Mid-Market
Mid-Market to Enterprise
Enterprise
Scalability
High
Moderate; Same limitations as MS Excel
High
High
Scalable with  upgrades
Type of FP&A solution
3rd
Generation
3rd
Generation
2nd
Generation
3rd
Generation
2nd
Generation
Native Integrations
200+ OOTB integrations
70+ OOTB integrations
100+ OOTB integrations
25 OOTB integrations
10 OOTB integrations
Automated reporting and interactive dashboards
Predictive forecasting
Financial consolidation and close
Integrated planning and budgeting
Collaboration with access control
Customizable modeling and reporting templates
Onboarding, training and customer support

Drivetrain is a strategic finance platform that helps SaaS companies and other B2B businesses optimize performance to achieve strategic objectives, and maintain competitiveness. 

Drivetrain combines a powerful computation engine that can scale seamlessly with your business with unparalleled ease of use. With a familiar, Excel-like UI, plain-English formulas, and built-in formulas (DAX syntax), users can quickly build the models they need to understand and predict business performance and the reports and dashboard to communicate their results. 

With more than 200 out-of-the box (OOTB) integrations, Drivetrain makes it easy to connect and consolidate financial and business data across many different sources providing real-time visibility into current business performance. By centralizing the data and plans from different teams, CFOs can manage and analyze critical information in a highly efficient manner and turn it into actionable business insights. 

Price: 

$$

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Very user-friendly tool (rated #1 on G2 for ease-of-use)

  • 200+ integrations to unify data from multiple source systems

  • Provides real-time insights, such as budget and forecast vs. actuals, for faster decisions

  • Ability to easily and quickly create custom metrics

  • Advanced collaboration features

  • Automated reporting with interactive dashboards

  • Extensive customization options

  • Interactive charts with drill-down and filters for better analysis and storytelling

Cons:
  • Heavily focused on B2B businesses

Key enterprise performance management features in Drivetrain:
  • Financial consolidation and close

  • Forecasting and planning 

  • Custom analytics

  • Data visualization 

  • Scenario planning and what-if analysis

  • Multidimensional modeling with multi-currency support

Datarails is a Microsoft Excel-based plugin that allows businesses to save their spreadsheet data into a database to facilitate automation of financial planning, reporting, analysis, and data gathering. Users can continue to use their existing financial models in Excel but have reported issues when trying to run complex calculations, sometimes prompting them to revert to Excel defaults. Datarails also uses AI/ML algorithms for predictive analytics and financial insights. 

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market

Pros:
  • Offers OOTB templates

  • Easy-to-use UI

  • In-house customer support 

Cons:
  • Initial setup is tedious

  • Requires custom formulas and syntax for many routine operations

  • Doesn’t integrate with Excel 2007 or earlier versions

  • Does not have a native integration with Google Sheets 

  • Data refresh is slow

Key enterprise performance management features in Datarails:
  • Budgeting and forecasting

  • Analysis and scenario modeling

  • Financial reporting

  • Data visualization tools

  • AI features

A heavily edited screenshot of the DataRails product showing the Collection Management feature with some workflows and commenting options.

Planful distinguishes itself from other financial reporting platforms with Planful Predict, which combines the data manipulation capabilities of FP&A tools with AI (more so than Datarails). It is aimed at top-level executives, such as CFOs and CEOs, to enable faster and more insightful decision-making and strategic planning.

Price: 

$$ 

Best for: 

Small and Mid-market 

Pros:
  • Responsive customer support team (for L1 issues or first-line of support)

  • More user control on financial processes

  • Good-looking UI that enables both regular and infrequent users

Cons:
  • Longer implementation time 

  • Difficulty in setting up templates

  • AI is limited to predicting forecasts and budgets 

  • Requires multi-year contracts 

  • Wage data entry process is complicated

Key enterprise performance management features in Planful:
  • Financial close management

  • Financial consolidation

  • Workforce planning

  • Cash flow forecasting

  • Data visualization

Planful Predict product page showing advanced fill feature showing budget projections

Pigment is a business planning platform designed for finance and revenue teams. Targeted towards larger organizations, it enables planning and forecasting in real-time to help leaders make data-driven business decisions. 

Price: 

$$-$$$

Best for: 

Mid-Market to Enterprise

Pros:
  • Flexible drag-and-drop style calculation engine 

  • Strong organizational-wide planning platform

  • Real-time integrated business planning

Cons:
  • Limited formatting and customization features 

  • Complex learning curve

  • Limited visualization capabilities compared to financial BI tools

  • Performance suffers when processing large data sets

Key enterprise performance management features in Pigment:
  • Financial reports and statements

  • Scenario planning

  • Custom dashboards 

  • Financial analytics

Anaplan is a web-based planning and forecasting application. While it is more accurately characterized as a second generation FP&A tool, we have included it here as an option that is particularly well-suited to enterprise-level SaaS businesses. It offers AI/ML features for generating financial insights.

Price: 

 $$$

Best for: 

Mid-market 

Pros:
  • Supports real-time collaboration

  • Provides security and audit tracking

  • Allows integration with other CRM and financial systems

Cons:
  • Steep learning curve, long implementation times (at least 6+ months) and very high time to value

  • Limited visualization features on the dashboard 

  • Complex pricing model and is extremely costly for mid-market and SMB companies 

Key enterprise performance management features in Anaplan:
  • Forecasting

  • Scenario modeling

  • Workflow management features

Anaplan product screenshot showing a Top Line Revenue Summary with a stacked chart split by different revenue types, Group KPIs, P&L summary table and a line chart showing Total Revenue over some period

Why Drivetrain is the best EPM software for your business

Many of the EPM tools on the market today target large enterprises (no surprise there). Due to their complexity, finance leaders and teams often need extensive training and technical expertise (via IT teams or third-party system integrators), to derive maximum value and generate reports. 

It is also an exhausting process involving BI tools and the organization's IT team, as well as longer wait times to get access to performance metrics in real time. Stakeholders and decision makers have no option but to settle for basic reports, instead of insightful, actionable, and customized results. To achieve the agility that businesses need today, CFOs and their finance teams require a user-friendly, self-service solution that enables them to customize and build these reports themselves. 

That solution is Drivetrain, a simple, yet powerful strategic finance software that fully supports  enterprise performance management. Drivetrain provides a highly sophisticated and powerful calculation engine, but also offers the familiarity and ease of Excel spreadsheets through an Excel-like UI.  

The platform combines best-in-class modeling and reporting templates with dynamic, interactive dashboards, pre-calculated and custom metrics and detailed reports. You can quickly analyze your actuals vs. budget on demand, and create detailed variance reports or compare your actuals vs. forecast, all without any external support for IT teams or data analysts. 

Using Drivetrain, finance teams can more effectively and efficiently manage the financial consolidation and close process—by aggregating financial and business data from different source systems, tracking current business performance, and deriving actionable business insights, all in real time.

See how Drivetrain can help you level up your enterprise performance management

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How to choose the right cash flow forecasting software for your business

What is cash flow forecasting?

Cash flow forecasting helps a company predict future financial liquidity over a predefined period. It involves estimating the amount of cash that will flow in and out of the business, including all expected income and expenses. 

With cash flow forecasting, an organization can plan for future resource needs, ensuring they have enough cash to cover upcoming requirements like product enhancements, hiring new employees, expanding into new markets, etc., when they need it.  

Effective cash flow forecasting supports strategic decision-making, allowing businesses to anticipate and navigate financial challenges, manage debt more efficiently, and identify opportunities for investment and growth.

5 key benefits of cash flow forecasting software

1. Accurate financial planning and resource allocation

Cash flow forecasting software uses historical cash inflow and outflow data analysis to considerably reduce the margin of error in financial projections. With enhanced cash management, businesses can make better proactive strategic decisions such as funding for product development, marketing initiatives, and hiring. This ensures that resources are utilized efficiently and aligned with strategic priorities.

2. Ability to more successfully navigate uncertainty

The software gives companies the ability to simulate various financial ‘what-if’ scenarios, helping them prepare and better navigate possible outcomes with greater confidence and agility.

3. More time to spend on strategic initiatives

By automating data collection and analysis, cash flow forecasting software tools can save countless hours that would have otherwise been spent on managing multiple Excel spreadsheets needed for forecasting. With the right software, teams can instead focus on important and strategic tasks. 

4. Real-time insights

SaaS businesses can access up-to-date financial information, thereby enabling proactive adjustments to cash flow strategies that help in quickly responding to changing market conditions or internal factors.

5. Easy collaboration across different teams

A centralized platform for financial data enhances the ability for different teams to collaborate more effectively, enabling a more unified, cohesive approach to financial planning and analysis that leads to better-informed decision-making. 


How to choose the right enterprise performance management software for your business

What is enterprise performance management software?

Enterprise performance management software is used to do budgeting, create forecasts, and facilitate other types of FP&A activities that help manage financial performance of a business. Such tools typically provide data analytics, reporting, and forecast modeling so organizations can analyze, understand, and plan strategically for the business. EPM software helps companies align business strategy with business execution.

Top 5 benefits of enterprise performance management solutions

A comprehensive third-generation FP&A software enables finance leaders and teams to track and optimize business performance and make data-driven decisions. In this section, we have outlined some of the key benefits businesses can expect when they start using financial performance management software.

1. Automated data consolidation

Most of the EPM tools on the market today support large volumes of data, automating its  consolidation from several different source systems. This saves FP&A teams the trouble of manually pulling and reconciling from different sources, as well as removes the hassles of cut- and copy-paste errors—making it more time and effort friendly.

2. More accurate forecasting

The right enterprise performance management software enables finance teams to accurately forecast expenses and revenue. By pulling historical data and centralizing modeling assumptions in one single platform, EPM software not only eliminates a huge amount of the effort involved in forecasting but also most of the error and ensures that finance teams are always working from the most accurate data available when they create their forecasts. 

3. Real-time insights

EPM tools help FP&A teams stay on top of their business performance and metrics with detailed insights into their financial performance, including revenue, expenses, and profitability, in real time. The best EPM software solutions will make it easier for FP&A teams to view and update their models with a click of a button and then share those results in a meaningful way with all the stakeholders that need to see them. The ability to update forecasts on the fly also allows businesses to be far more agile in their decision-making to respond to emerging threats and leverage new growth opportunities.  

4. More time for strategic initiatives

By handing off the data-related burden of consolidating data from multiple sources to an EPM tool and making it available in one place, CFOs and their teams have far more time to think strategically about the business and explore what the data is telling them. With the detailed insights derived from financial performance management tools, they can better predict the profitability of future initiatives and scenarios and make more informed decisions to improve efficiency and profitability. 

5. Better collaboration across different teams

Consolidating data from multiple sources and making it easily accessible to all stakeholders that need to see it are table stakes for effective EPM. This drives better strategic alignment across departments as teams are able to view and work on the same data set more confidently and efficiently—without worrying about the errors of data consolidation and validation as well as version control. It also helps to achieve alignment faster by eliminating disagreements about whose data is the “right” data, shifting the conversation instead to how to best achieve business goals and objectives. 

What are the different types of enterprise performance management tools in SaaS?

Most SaaS businesses still use spreadsheets for the FP&A activities necessary to manage and predict performance. The simple truth is that this makes EPM much harder than it has to be, not to mention far  less effective. We’ve already touched upon a few of the limitations inherent in spreadsheets. Let’s just lay them out right here: 

  • Manually entering all the data you need can be extraordinarily time consuming.
  • They’re highly error prone, especially when it comes to complex formulas.
  • Lack of version control means you’re always chasing down the owner to verify the data.
  • Keeping the models you use to make critical business decisions is very tedious and complex.
  • Unifying data across multiple spreadsheets can take days (if not weeks).

To be clear, spreadsheets are a great, cost-effective way for small companies with a relatively simple business model. When you multiply all the different FP&A processes required for effective EPM by the problems listed above, it becomes clear that spreadsheets simply do not scale. For SaaS businesses (or any other business for that matter), growth is mission critical making it inevitable that most will have to seek better solutions managing performance.   

This reality is what has given rise in recent years to the category of what we now know as modern FP&A software (aka strategic finance software) and has driven its continued and rapid evolution. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the maturity of each of these tools in terms of the degree to which each solution relies on spreadsheets. 

Note: We've adapted the table below from FP&A software classifications developed by Paul Barnhurst (The FP&A Guy).

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Web application that replaces spreadsheets
Web application that integrates with spreadsheets
Application uses a spreadsheet for calculations
Add-in for spreadsheet applications

Source: Adapted from FP&A software classifications developed by Paul Barnhurst (The FP&A Guy).   

Real-world use cases for an enterprise performance management software like Drivetrain

The way [the data] shows up on Drivetrain is clean. A person can drill down into everything. Drivetrain offers a ‘package solution’ – one that ‘does the job, end to end.
— Kushank Poddar, Head of Sales Strategy, LambdaTest

For LambdaTest, a software testing infrastructure platform, one of the biggest challenges in its growth journey was overreliance on technologies that couldn’t keep up with the company’s rapidly changing needs, especially in its revenue operations.

Initially, LambdaTest was using a combination of Zoho CRM and Google Sheets to track its revenue generating activities. With rapid expansion into new markets, however, the sales strategy team was struggling to get a comprehensive view of the sales funnel with the reports available in Zoho CRM.

The problem was magnified when they began to prepare the company’s annual plan. Before any actual planning could begin, Poddar and his team would have to configure and run a massive number of customized reports in Zoho CRM to get the required data. And, with multiple sales channels and individual teams, they had to deal with dozens of funnels, each of which had to be evaluated against 6-8 different metrics.

Drivetrain was instrumental in helping the sales strategy team streamline its annual planning, enabling them to create the annual financial plan in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise. 

Drivetrain also eased the process of cross-functional collaboration at LambdaTest, as team members can easily log in to the platform and get access to whatever data they need. The company has people in multiple departments who now use Drivetrain in various ways to meet their different needs.

With these time-consuming processes and activities out of the way, LambdaTest’s strategy team now has unprecedented visibility into business performance and can turn insights into action even faster to spot new opportunities. According to Poddar, he can now devote more time and effort on long-term initiatives, such as experiments to improve the productivity of the sales team.

Features

In earlier sections, we detailed the features as well as with the pros and cons of the five of the best EPM tools in the market today. The information we have compiled here will help you gain a better understanding of the specific features you should look for in an EPM software depending on your company’s unique needs. 

1. Native integrations 

Swift integration with data source systems is a crucial feature for any FP&A software, especially those that ensure financial performance management. Integration with source systems eliminates the need for manual entry of data, minimizing typos and human errors in formulas. Without native integrations, real-time financial reporting can be challenging for finance teams. 

Drivetrain has 200+ native integrations that finance leaders and teams can use to automatically sync financial and business data from integrated systems into one central platform. Creating a single source of truth ensures that forecasts are always up-to-date.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Native integrations with top 6 ERPs
Native integrations with top CRM, HRIS, Billing & BI tools
Integration with Excel and Google Sheets
Excel/CSV
upload
download

2. Automated reporting and interactive dashboards

Automation streamlines the financial reporting process by eliminating manual entries and reducing the risk of errors—saving hours for finance teams while at the same time, significantly  improving efficiency and accuracy. This ensures that any report, such as collections reports, marketing funnel reports, headcount analysis reports, variance reports, can be generated quickly and are reliable. 

An EPM software should also provide a real-time view of all the core financial and SaaS metrics businesses use to measure their performance. Assuming the system can track them (refer to the section on integrated planning and budgeting features), customizable and interactive dashboards allow finance teams to monitor easily and more effectively to determine at a moment’s notice, answers to questions that arise regarding company performance to enable rapid decision-making.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Automated reporting templates
Automated 3-way financial statements
Drill down to transaction level
Drill down by any dimension
Global- and chart-level filters
Text callouts/notes in dashboards

3. Predictive forecasting 

Forecasting is a critical part of financial planning and analysis. The ability to forecast accurately and efficiently empowers finance leaders to make more data-driven decisions both in terms of resource allocations in the short term as well as their long term strategic planning. 

As a full-featured strategic finance platform, Drivetrain is ideal for enterprise performance management because it allows finance teams to access historical data in real time. They can select from a number of predefined forecasting methods, adjust their assumptions, and make futuristic predictions—all on the same unified dashboards. Drivetrain also helps CFOs and their finance teams proactively identify hidden risks and opportunities.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Rolling forecasts  and budgets
Pre-configured forecasting methods
unknown
unknown
Driver-based forecasting

4. Integrated planning and budgeting (modeling capabilities)

Third-gen FP&A tools help automate the labor-intensive planning and budgeting processes, centralize all the planning and financial data, improve collaboration across teams, and boost productivity. Finance teams can quickly and easily produce budgets and forecasts, model what-if scenarios, and generate detailed reports—all on a single platform.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
In-memory multidimensional calculation engine
Actuals vs. forecast  analysis
Budget variance analysis
Multiple scenario planning
Sensitivity analysis
unknown
What-if analysis
OOTB financial ratios and business metrics
OOTB SaaS metrics
Automate and track custom metric calculations

5. Collaboration with access control

Any enterprise performance management software should provide a single source of truth—consolidating and reconciling data across systems—and include facilitating seamless collaboration across all teams. Collaboration features allow multiple users to work on forecasts simultaneously and share insights with relevant stakeholders within the organization. User access controls and other permissions ensure that only authorized users are allowed to view and manage sensitive financial information.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Commenting Threads
Fine-Grained Role Based Access Control
unknown
Slack Notifications

6. Customizable modeling and reporting templates

All businesses, especially SaaS organizations, have unique business models, strategies and requirements, thereby reducing the scope of one-size-fits-all templates. It is crucial for finance teams to review the templates provided by EPM tools and determine how easy it would be to customize those for their own specific requirements. The built-in templates Drivetrain provides are designed with flexibility in mind, making it easy to customize assumptions, inputs, and formulas per business needs, industry-specific nuances, and changing market conditions.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Customizable model templates
unknown
Automated reporting templates
unknown
Custom data modeling

7.Onboarding, training & customer success

Onboarding, training and customer success is possibly the most important feature to derive maximum value from any EPM software. Reliable customer support and comprehensive training, along with easy access to best practices and resource documents ensures that users can effectively utilize and leverage the software for their business requirements, as well as address any issues as they occur.

Software/
Platform
DrivetrainDatarailsPlanfulPigmentAnaplan
Implementation time
4-6 weeks
unknown
>3 months
6-10 weeks + (also requires 8 hours of user training)
> 6 months
In-house implementation
Yes
unknown
No
unknown
No
White-glove onboarding
unknown
Self-service management (admin)
Dedicated customer support/success
unknown

1. How long does it take to implement Drivetrain?

Implementation time is the make-or-break factor for choosing an EPM software solution because it directly impacts your time-to-value and ultimately the ROI you’re able to achieve with it. 

Drivetrain streamlines the entire user onboarding process, ensuring that finance teams and other users are fully up and running in less than six weeks. Our in-house implementation team provides a top-notch white-glove onboarding experience, including guiding you through complex features and allowing you to provide instant feedback.

2. What is the importance of an EPM software?

A modern EPM solution enables financial teams to respond quickly to disruptions and stay ahead of the curve, by:

  • Optimizing the financial close
  • Streamlining account reconciliation
  • Making accurate and agile forecasts
  • Managing and driving profitability
  • Aligning tax reporting with corporate financial reporting
  • Fulfilling reporting requirements
  • Managing change with enterprise data management

3. What is the difference between EPM and CPM?

There are a few fundamental differences between Corporate Performance Management (CPM) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM):

EPM is the process of monitoring performance across the enterprise, via an EPM software, with the goal of improving business performance. An EPM system integrates and analyzes data from many sources, including, but not limited to, e-commerce systems, front-office and back-office applications, data warehouses, and external data sources. Advanced EPM systems can support many performance methodologies such as the balanced scorecard.

CPM is an umbrella term that describes the methodologies, metrics, processes, and systems used to monitor and manage the business performance of an enterprise.  CPM platforms are used by teams to align corporate goals and strategies with planning and execution processes to better control organizational success. CPM is also regarded as a subset of business intelligence that helps manage corporate performance per specified KPIs.

SaaS strategic finance goes far beyond just budgeting…

A modern FP&A software platform purpose-built for SaaS strategic finance can set the stage for predictable, accelerated growth. Here are a few resources to help you learn more about how to do that through budgeting and other important FP&A processes.

See how Drivetrain can transform your enterprise performance management

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