Prior to joining Host Analytics, Chris LaBruna was Chief Revenue Officer at Saama Technologies and before that he spent almost 12 years as VP of Sales at Hyperion and Oracle. He also spent 3 years as VP of Sales at Business Objects, so Chris has a lot of experience in the EPM and BI markets. I recently sat down with Chris to get his perspective on the market and the opportunity for Host Analytics.
John: Chris, welcome to Host Analytics. What are your key responsibilities as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)?
Chris: Thanks, John. As CRO, I’m responsible for all new revenue generation activities at Host Analytics. That means I’m focused on the integration and alignment of all sales-related processes, including sales, solution consulting, partner sales and development, and our sales development representatives (SDRs), who usually serve as the first touch point as prospective clients get engaged with Host Analytics. I’m also working closely with the Marketing team to make sure our demand generation programs align and support our revenue goals.
John: Roger that. Chris, you’ve been in the EPM market for a number of years – in fact, we worked together at Hyperion and Oracle for most of them. What’s your current assessment of the market?
Chris: Yes, we did have a good run there. Although the EPM market is mature, it’s really heating up now. There’s a big shift going on in the market from on-premises systems to the cloud, with many companies moving off legacy systems to more modern and progressive solutions like Host Analytics. On top of that, there are thousands of companies still struggling with spreadsheets for their planning and reporting processes – in small, medium, and large companies.
John: What changes have you seen in the market over the past few years?
Chris: Good question. One thing is that Finance executives are more comfortable now with using financial applications in the cloud. That’s what is driving a lot of the growth. In addition, customers are more demanding, especially if they have deployed EPM solutions in the past, so they expect a lot from their EPM vendors. I’m also pleased to see more integration between Finance and Operations, which is good for companies and also creates new opportunities for vendors like Host Analytics.
John: You’ve worked for some great companies over your career. What attracted you most to Host Analytics?
Chris: There are a number of things that attracted me to the company. First of all, we have a great product that solves real business problems for companies in planning, forecasting, consolidation, reporting, and financial and operational modeling. Second, we have great people, a great executive team, and a solid board of directors. There’s a lot of great EPM DNA in the company and in our management team. In fact, I worked with our CEO Dave Kellogg at Business Objects and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with him again. And last but not least, we have over 650 customers who are getting great value from our solutions and are willing to help us tell our story. That’s a great combination that makes Host Analytics well positioned in the market.
John: What do you see as the key market opportunities for Host Analytics?
Chris: From a technology standpoint, as we discussed earlier, the big opportunity is to replace legacy applications that companies have outgrown for EPM processes, as well as spreadsheets and manual processes that are bogging down Finance departments. The great thing about a cloud-based platform like ours is that we can provide solutions to large enterprises, as well as to small and mid-sized companies. But the real driver for upgrading these technologies is to partner with customers to help them address the complexities they face in their planning, forecasting, consolidation, reporting, modeling and analytic processes. That opportunity is almost endless.
John: What would you say is the biggest challenge for Host Analytics?
Chris: While we have a great solution for companies, we aren’t alone in the market. There are many other competitors going after the same opportunity. So our biggest challenge is getting our message out there and distinguishing ourselves in the market versus other vendors who aren’t necessarily delivering quality solutions to their clients. This includes lower-end solutions that don’t scale and grow, as well as highly customized solutions that are too expensive to deploy and maintain.
John: What do you see as the biggest impact Host Analytics can have on our customers?
Chris: We help Finance teams become more productive in their roles and provide more value to their organizations. This means spending less time on data collection and more time on value-added analysis and supporting decision-making. We help them align Finance and Operations and be better business partners. When that happens, companies save money. They make better use of existing resources. And they take advantage of new market opportunities that can increase revenue and profits. That’s where the real value and ROI comes from.
John: Last thing, what do you like to do in your spare time when you aren’t trying to transform Finance?
Chris: Well, like yourself, I like to stay active in my spare time. That includes skiing, playing golf, cycling, traveling, and spending time with my family.
John: Thanks, Chris. It’s great having you on board, and I look forward to working with you again. Best of luck in your new role at Host Analytics.
To learn more about the Host Analytics leadership team, follow this link.