Cartesis shows off its French flair

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Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

I am just back from attending the Cartesis world-wide user
conference in Athens. And what an interesting experience it

Cartesis is historically known as a somewhat lacklustre French
software company that sold over-engineered financial consolidation
software to French companies, and was owned by PWC. But how things
have changed.

Cartesis is positively brimming with vitality and optimism for
the future. In its year-ended 30th June 2006 it posted a 28%
year-on-year increase in software revenues to break the $100m
revenue barrier for the first time. It now places itself in the BPM
market (Business Performance Management) where is competes
head-to-head with Hyperion and Cognos.

At the conference it fielded some of its new recruits to its
management team including the charismatic smooth-talker Crispin
Read (their new CMO) from Business Objects, and tough-talking hard
man Eduardo Sanchez (their new COO) who was previously world-wide
sales director at BI vendor MicroStrategy.

The management team is starting to get a decidedly international
feel about it—which is no bad thing given their ambitions to
grow outside of France. I suspect their role model is leading BI
vendor Business Objects which started as a 2-man start-up in a
bedroom in Paris, and is now a truly international player with a
$1bn+ revenue. Ironically enough this heavyweight and its
protégé may well be meeting each other in the
marketplace soon, given Business Objects’ recent announcements of
new products and initiatives for the BPM market.

But what differentiates Cartesis from the rest is its energy,
enthusiasm and innovation. They remind me of QlikTech who have
brought some much needed marketing flair and entrepreneurial spirit
to the BI industry. While many of the larger BPM/CPM vendors are
showing multi-tiered ‘solution stacks’ to try and
convince us that they have an integrated offering, Cartesis is
getting down to the good old fashioned virtues of delivering
practical and pragmatic solutions and operational efficiencies for
their customers.

Roche enthusiastically talked of reducing their close process
from 20 days to 5 days, Royal Bank of Scotland talked of delivering
a financial planning solution across their Group finance reporting
structure, and Siemens talked of using Cartesis to manage legal
compliance for their 1800 subsidiaries, of which they acquired 400
last year, and disposed of another 350!

New products include Intercompany 5.0, a link up with EDGAR to
enable financial analysts to compare financial data of different
companies side-by-side, a new Analytics module (3.5) which was
launched at the event as part of the newly re-branded Cartesis 10
suite of consolidation, planning and analytics modules. Pretty
heady stuff!

What can we expect in the future? More compliance, more focus on
the fast close, more market-driven benchmarking functionality, more
rolling forecasts and acquisitions features, and more integrated
BPM according to their thoughtful visionary leader, Didier
Benchimol. Vive la France! Of course the jury is still out as to
whether they can make it to the big league and grow a truly
international and global presence. In the meantime however, more of
the same if you don’t mind.