Case Study: Using Benchmarking to Drive Growth

Intelex: Using Benchmarking to Drive Growth

Intelex, a Canadian-based global leader in Environment, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) SaaS, with offices in Toronto, Denver, and the UK, uses OPEXEngine’s SaaS Benchmarking platform, BenchmarkEngine™, together with Adaptive Insights budgeting and planning solution to drive operational analysis enabling fast growth.

Intelex has grown to 500 employees with global offices and over 30 percent growth in 2017 to become one of the fast growth SaaS companies in Canada. With over 1,100 clients and 1.5 million users worldwide now, benchmarking guides resource allocations and operational decisions at Intelex.  David Dean is Intelex’s VP of Financial Planning & Analysis and uses OPEXEngine’s benchmarking platform for:

  • Budgeting and planning 1 – 5 years out
  • Getting the management team on the same page about relative KPIs
  • Driving operational change and efficiencies throughout the organization
  • Building resource allocation business cases for the CEO, CFO, & executive team

Intelex Drives 30% Growth in 2017 Using OPEXEngine’s Benchmarks and Adaptive Insights To  Guide Operations

Intelex is a global leader Environment, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) software in North America and one of Canada’s largest SaaS companies.

Before using OPEXEngine’s benchmarking platform together with Adaptive Insights, Intelex faced several challenges scaling their organization:

  • Transitioning the organization from a small company structure to a fast growth, global competitor
  • Implementing financial and operational systems to dynamically manage budgets and planning
  • Getting the management team alignment in terms of key metrics and targets.

Intelex needed to transition from a small company structure to drive more sophisticated business decisions and move more quickly. Intelex grew from 200 employees in 2015 to a company with global offices with almost 500 employees in 2017.   The management had to evolve the organization in order to scale it both operationally and financially.  The financial team began benchmarking as a way to guide the conversation: “How do we drive best practices and become a world class organization with  data and research? “

 “Benchmarks really helped to create the rallying cry for change.”

Initially, the Finance team started with some publicly available surveys, but quickly found they needed more depth and different company cohorts to compare themselves against as they expanded. Looking for a comprehensive set of data about public and private companies, Dean discovered the OPEXEngine BenchmarkEngine™.  Since he started using the proprietary benchmarks, Dean has sharpened and focused the budgeting and planning process.   Intelex drove more than 30% revenue growth in 2017.

Executive Management now makes decisions with a higher degree of confidence

The finance team shares benchmarking analysis with operating executives on a regular basis.  With confidence to make  critical decisions based on credible data about itself, its peers and aspirational companies, Intelex has been able to take a deeper look at their organization.

One of the great benefits of sharing the benchmarks with the management team regularly is that it is now a two-way street where Finance and senior management are both pushing to be more data driven.  The management team have really taken to understanding the metrics and using them to guide the business.

David Dean uses the benchmarks as a starting point in the planning process as well as analysis or various business units.  “We look at what companies our size, type & growth profile are doing.  This helps sharpen and focus the planning with operating executives.”  The best way to drive continuous improvement is when the benchmarks and relative performance are reviewed regularly by the Executive team.  The team uses the benchmarks to guide investments in the strongest parts of the business and hone in on areas for improvement, aiming to drive revenue growth and greater efficiency at the same time.

KPIs BENCHMARKED REGULARLY BY MANAGEMENT TEAM

  • Revenue per FTE on trailing 12-month basis
  • ARR growth rate
  • CAC
  • LTV of a customer
  • Gross & Net Customer Retention
  • Recurring Revenue gross marginsEmployee turnover
  • Rule of 40

How Key Benchmarks Were Used to Focus Spending and Investment 

With significant growth in the business at Intelex, David says it was not really about cost cutting, but about optimal resource allocation. When the finance team partners with other groups to serve up a business case to the CFO or CEO, they want to make decisions and invest based on credible data.  Our CFO, in particular, likes to see that companies which are similar are spending ‘x’ amounts in certain areas, or have a certain headcount compliment, or that they are investing in an area that has been proven to drive performance and we have a clear ROI. 

The financial team using the OPEXEngine Benchmark Engine™is able to review similar companies in terms of revenue and business model.  It can also look at cohorts for market leaders.  “It is helpful to look at similar size companies, sometimes similar deal sizes, sometimes public companies or certain growth rates.  The breadth of the information about different parts of the organization is really useful since metrics cannot be understood in a vacuum.”

BenchmarkEngine™

Using the BenchmarkEngine™, Dean can compare their expenses in any given category to peers, as well against aspirational cohorts with a higher revenue growth rate, or higher average contract value.  This way, Dean can plan in advance for how expenses and headcount will change as the company achieves its goals. 

The BenchmarkEngine is a powerful ally for us to help analyze and shape the organization as we scale, where we can improve and where to invest our resources.” David Dean, VP Financial Planning & Analysis, Intelex

The OPEXEngine benchmarks give Dean and the management team confidence to anticipate the hiring and investment decisions necessary to keep their growth on track.  “The benchmarks help us to better understand the business, how different areas are performing and how to guide investment.” 

Using the Benchmarking Platform Beyond the Budgeting Process

Dean describes how the management team may focus on different issues throughout the year.  The team may be digging into Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) deeply, to compare themselves against various types of companies.

BenchmarkEngine™

Or, recently, the company reexamined their hosting infrastructure.  They used OPEXEngine’s hosting expense benchmarks to compare fees paid by similar sized growth companies. Dean found the benchmarks critical to the analysis of hosting expense and for validating the internal proposals.  

Other operational issues come up throughout the year which require comparisons to benchmarks as the company is continually evaluating how they can improve the business and manage fast growth. 

Using Benchmarks with Adaptive Insights Financial Planning Solution

David Dean has been using Adaptive Insights for the last 2 years for budgeting and planning. “Our whole business model is built in Adaptive Insights, which has given us a lot of power, flexibility and efficiency.”

OPEXEngine & Adaptive Insights Partner to Guide Planning

OPEXEngine’s partnership with Adaptive Insights makes it easy to incorporate their benchmarks into Adaptive’s solution and provide context in the planning process.  Adaptive Insights users can compare their metrics to companies of similar or different size or stage of development for a range of both public and private companies with OPEXEngine’s benchmarks, which Dean has found incredibly useful when planning and analyzing growth scenarios.

In short, Intelex uses OPEXEngine’s SaaS benchmarking, together with Adaptive Insights budgeting and planning solution, to reduce risk in resource allocation decisions, helping the management team to move quickly on operational challenges and making it one of Canada’s fastest growth SaaS companies.

Actionable operating benchmarks for SaaS and software companies to see where they are going and how to get there.

For over 10 years, OPEXEngine has been the leader in SaaS financial and operational benchmarking through its proprietary SaaS Benchmarking Platform, the BenchmarkEngine™.  OPEXEngine’s benchmark data is used by operating executives to support the budgeting, and strategic planning process, and to provide context for resource decision-making. For more information, learn more by contacting OPEXEngine at info@opexengine.com. OPEXEngine is based in the Boston area.   www.opexengine.com

Adaptive Insights is the worldwide leader in cloud-based business analytics solutions for companies and nonprofits of all sizes.

The company’s software as a service (SaaS) platform allows finance and management teams to work together to plan, monitor, report on, and analyze financial and operational performance. With capabilities for budgeting, forecasting, reporting, consolidation, dashboards, and business intelligence, Adaptive Insights enables finance, sales, and other business leaders to make better, faster, more collaborative decisions that drive a true competitive advantage. www.adaptiveinsights.com

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