Market interest in corporate performance management (CPM) solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytic applications that help organizations enable confident decision-making is clearly on the rise. Maybe this, combined with the reduced pandemic threat and return to corporate travel explains why attendance at OneStream’s 2023 Splash User Conference and Partner Summit reached a new high with 2300 in-person attendees.
Making a Splash at National Harbor
From April 17th – 20th, 2023 the OneStream Splash User Conference made its debut at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Convention Center overlooking the Potomac River just outside of Washington, D.C. This was the second in-person, North American Splash event following two years of virtual events held during the COVID-19 pandemic where a record number of attendees came together to learn, connect and get inspired by each other.
This year’s event still had a virtual option which drew over 700 attendees, while the in-person event attracted roughly 2300 customers, prospective customers, partners, employees, media, analysts and other guests. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the highlights from the week.
The Monday of Splash week is traditionally the day when OneStream hosts hands-on workshops for customers and prospects, offers drop-in demos on a variety of topics, and opportunities for our partners and customer advisory board (CAB) members to get together and provide feedback on OneStream’s key initiatives.
This year was no exception, with full-houses at all the workshops – while most of the conference attendees spent the day traveling and arriving in time for the opening reception in the expo hall featuring our 38 partner sponsors, OneStream demo pods, and other activities.
One of the highlights of the opening reception was the presence of the Washington Nationals famous Racing Presidents, larger-than life figures who joined us to take pictures with attendees and entertain the group with their antics.
The Tuesday of Splash started with the Opening Keynote featuring updates from several OneStream executives including Ken Hohenstein – Chief Revenue Officer, Tom Shea – CEO and Craig Colby – President. In his opening, Mr. Hohenstein highlighted the growth in customers OneStream has achieved as a company, which has averaged 56% per year over the past 8 years and is now over 1200 organizations globally. Mr. Hohenstein also highlighted the featured charity for this year’s event (The Children of Fallen Patriots) and some upcoming events such as Splash Berlin in September and the 2nd annual Wave Developers’ Conference in October.
Co-founders Tom Shea and Craig Colby then embarked on their keynote session titled “Empowering Today to Plan for Tomorrow.” They spoke about the vision and strategy for OneStream’s unified CPM software platform and the exponential value it’s delivering for customers in Finance and across the enterprise, with a growing number of use cases. Then they provided the audience with a tour of the key enablers within the OneStream platform, including the Unified Data Model, Data Management and Quality, Core CPM Services, Analytic Services and AI Services.
Mr. Shea highlighted how AI Services provides the foundation for OneStream’s Sensible Machine Learning solution, and he previewed some of the use cases OneStream is exploring for Chat GPT-style AI tools under the moniker of Sensible GPT. Mr. Shea even showed a demonstration of how after consuming OneStream’s documentation, a purpose-built version of Chat GPT like capabilities could tell a user how to create a working capital ratio in OneStream. The response included a 5-step method for the user to follow and even suggested some highly accurate business rules to include in the process. Tom and Craig then announced the official launch of the OneStream Solution Exchange.
The Solution Exchange builds on the success of the OneStream MarketPlace and the inaugural OneStream Wave Developer conference to further enhance the OneStream platform development experience with the addition of partner-built and community shared solutions.
The Solution Exchange will accelerate the development and delivery of new solutions to OneStream customers to help extend the value of their investments in the platform. The Solution Exchange consists of three solution portals: MarketPlace, PartnerPlace and OpenPlace.
Five OneStream partners were included in the initial launch of the PartnerPlace: AMCO, Black Diamond Advisory, Finit, Spaulding Ridge and Strategic IQ. Check out the PartnerPlace to learn more about the solution these partners have created for the initial launch, with more on the way!
Before handing the keynote back to Mr. Hohenstein, Tom and Craig laid out OneStream’s expanded vision for the OneStream platform, delivering what they called “CPM+” capabilities. They highlighted how traditional CPM solutions have provided value to customers in enabling management to “manage” the business based on month-end reporting and planning. But there’s a big gap between the ERP systems that are processing transactions and the CPM solutions that are summarizing results at month-end, and that’s the lack of operational detail that truly drives financial performance.
CPM+ solutions fill this gap by delivering daily and weekly KPIs and metrics to managers that enable them to “steer” the business by making key decisions that can have a big impact on month-end results. The analogy they used to drive this point home was a race car driver closing their eyes and opening them every 30 seconds vs having visibility into what’s happening around them in real-time. With eyes closed, the driver has a high chance of crashing into another car or going off the track – and the same is true for enterprises that are only measuring financial performance every 30 days.
The keynote session wrapped up with a customer panel, with Mr. Hohenstein hosting a fireside chat with representatives from several customers including Pella Windows & Doors to discuss their journeys replacing multiple legacy EPM applications and custom solutions with OneStream’s unified, Intelligent Finance Platform.
After the keynote session, the crowd dispersed to attend breakout sessions, drop-in demos, meet and greets and to spend time with our sponsors in the Expo Hall.
One of the more interesting sessions held on Tuesday was the “Moving Beyond the AI Hype: Sensible ML Customer Panel.” In this session several early adopters of the solution (Polaris Inc., Stora Enso and The Howden Group) spoke about their implementations and deployments of OneStream’s Sensible ML solution and the impact this has had on their decision-making. This included improving the speed and accuracy of their forecasting, gaining improved visibility into the true business drivers behind their forecasts, and giving line managers the ability to make more agile, informed decisions.
The Wednesday of Splash continued with more breakout sessions, drop-in demos, mix & meet events and other activities leading up to the guest keynote session with former professional racecar driver, Danica Patrick. During this session, CEO Tom Shea hosted a fireside chat with Danica to learn about the journey she took from racing go-carts to the Indy 500 and her current interests and pursuits. It was an interesting conversation, that touched on a variety of topics ranging from cars to conspiracy theories about the moon-landing, to extreme workouts with surfer Laird Hamilton.
One of the more interesting and thought-provoking sessions on Wednesday was an R&D session focused on how OneStream is planning to leverage Generative AI capabilities in its platform. Initially badged as Sensible GPT, during the session Tom Shea and his R&D team demonstrated several use cases for the technology. One of these use cases was similar to the one highlighted in the keynote, where the tool consumed OneStream documentation, white papers, books and other content and could provide technical and application assistance to users entering questions via a chat interface.
Another use case was based on the tool consuming corporate information, then answering questions about legal contracts, sales forecasts, and the impact of investments in advertising. We are early in the lifecycle of Large Language Models (LLM) such as Chat GPT, and the technology is evolving quickly – but the potential is clearly compelling.
The true highlight of the day was the annual Splash Night Out party, which took the form of a rock ‘n roll themed street party in the streets and bars surrounding the Gaylord. OneStreamers, customers, partners and guests showed their true colors, dressing up as everything from Elvis and Willie Nelson to the Spice Girls, Devo, Harry Styles and Sia. A great time was had by all!
The conference wrapped up on Thursday with the closing awards ceremony, reveal of next year’s event location (Las Vegas) and a full day of more learning opportunities for attendees. The awards included recognition for the best costumes at Splash Night Out, our top customer advocates and “Power of the Platform” award given to our partners that have the broadest and most innovative platform deployments. Congratulations to:
Overall, it was another amazing event. Over 75 sessions including customer success stories, product updates, tips & tricks, and breakouts on topics such as Financial Close & Consolidation, Planning & Forecasting, ESG Reporting, Sensible Machine Learning, ChatGPT, the Solution Exchange, and more.
Registered attendees will have access to the virtual event content for 60 days. If you didn’t register or attend, you can check out a recording of a live OneStream podcast that was recorded on the expo floor, hosted by OneStream CSO Peter Fugere and featuring interviews with several OneStreamers, partners and other guests.