Tidemark wants to save European companies from Excel hell, says CEO

The company will offer its hosted analytics applications in the UK, France, Germany and the Benelux region

Tidemark is expanding to Europe, where it hopes its cloud-based apps and HTML5-based clients will help wean businesses off their dependency on Excel and email for financial planning and analytics.

The first step of Tidemark's European expansion includes the U.K., France, Germany and the Benelux region, where even many large companies have yet to move to more modern platforms for keeping track of their numbers.

"What you find is that the process of reporting numbers and trying to decide what to do next is still Excel and email hell," Christian Gheorghe, founder and CEO at Tidemark, said Wednesday. "This type of approach is highly inefficient and expensive."

Tidemark, which is based in Redwood City, California, was founded about four years ago by Gheorghe and Tony Rizzo, the company's chief product officer. Prior to Tidemark, they built a company called OutlookSoft, which was sold to SAP in 2007 during a period of consolidation in the sector. Working at SAP was a "great experience," but after three years it was time to move on.

"One thing that sort of bothered me working there was that if you looked at the number of people involved in the analytical applications we were providing -- planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, analysis, in general -- it was always in the 20 to 50 range," Gheorghe said.

The question was whether that close-knit world could be opened up by taking advantage of burgeoning cloud platforms and growing popularity of smartphones, while also using the availability of more unstructured data to gain new business insights.

"I realized something different was needed from a platform, application and user-experience perspective. That's the reason we started Tidemark," Gheorghe said.

The resulting platform includes apps for financial, operational, and labor and expense planning. There is also a metrics management app that brings together financial and operational data with external sources to show progress compared to competitors, benchmarks or other targets enterprises can customize.

A key differentiator has been the company's HTML5-based interface, which has the same look and feel on desktops and mobile devices. Also, the underlying platform has been built in such a way that it can be hosted on any cloud. In Europe, businesses will have the option to run it on local clouds to meet security and privacy demands, Gheorghe said.

Tidemark also expanded its portfolio with the Financial Consolidation application, which aims to turn consolidation into a less laborious process. With the app, affected users are able to reconcile company variances, explain differences and help justify changes they feel need to be made.

Tidemark's goal is to get more people involved and provide businesses with better visibility and to help CFOs take on a more strategic role, as opposed to someone who spends most of their time counting numbers, according to Gheorghe.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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