Tagetik CEO and President, Pierluigi Pierallini, talks to FSN

31st May 2009

Tagetik is one of a new breed of specialist corporate performance management (CPM) and Financial Governance vendors that has stepped in to fill the void left by the rapid consolidation of performance management marketplace. Tagetik 3.0, its latest product release, is designed to simplify the complexity in the day to day business life of CFO’s and CIO’s through a combination of unified database, built-in know-how and support for popular technology platforms. Gary Simon, FSN’s managing editor, met with the company’s CEO and founder, Pierluigi Pierallini, in the company’s Global headquarters based in Lucca (the regional ones are in Stamford Connecticut, Paris, France and London, UK ) during the recent Tagetik User Conference.


Tagetik CEO and President, Pierluigi Pierallini.Tagetik’s 2009 user conference marked a turning point in the private company’s 23 year history. The international presence was around 50 percent of the attendees, with partners, customers and consultants from around the world eagerly awaiting the launch of Tagetik 3.0 its latest performance management solution.

Pierallini believes that the company’s time has come. The rapid consolidation of the performance management marketplace has left many of the notable players with a complex assembly of overlapping applications with different architectures that cannot easily be resolved. “Our mission is to drive simplicity by giving users a common architecture, a single database and user interface,” says Pierallini.  In fact the vision is so engrained in the company that it has borrowed the term “Simplexity” from Jeffrey Kluger the New York Times author of a book by the same name, to denote the company’s aim to simplify the complexity of the business world and the way in which organisations manage their performance.

It is a worthy aim.  Performance management has long been recognised as an overly complex management discipline made more convoluted by applications that do not talk to each other. By contrast, Tagetik, with its rich history in consulting and developing exactly what customers want is well placed to ring in the changes that the market needs as it strives to establish itself as the ERP of the performance management world. And as a private company it can devote all of its resources and energies to its customers rather than being distracted by the short term needs of shareholders.

“Tagetik 3.0 is more than a new product – it’s a reflection of our vision and mission,” explains Pierallini.

“ Simplexity is an emerging theory which suggests that complexity and simplicity are actually complementary.  We themed our conference along the concept of ‘Business Simplexity’ because our product truly provides a way to help organisations condense all Performance Management and Financial Governance products into a one solution with a single user interface and database. Thanks to the built-in functionality and cross-platform technology, companies can reduce their stand-alone systems, leverage their existing infrastructure and rapidly start to gain a return on their investment. This conclusion is supported also by the independent study written by Forrester Consulting, reporting a return on investment of 299% and a payback period of less than 24 months from one of our largest customers,” enthuses Pierallini.

The name Tagetik is itself an interesting fusion of ideas.  “We wanted to remain faithful to our Tuscan roots so we based our name on an Entruscan semi-god.  ‘Etik’ within our name reflects our commitment to business ethics and ‘get’ supports the notion of retrieving information,” says Pierallini.

From its early beginnings as a family business Pierallini and his management team have transformed Tagetik into a thrusting business on a global scale.   As well as using home grown talent the business has also been able to attract and retain top flight international executives worldwide .

But despite its rapid expansion Pierallini has managed to preserve the values that contributed to the early success of the business, building on its customer driven culture and applying it to an international community of customers, specialist partners, large System Integrators and employees.

Tagetik can count on 350worldwide satisfied customers and enjoys a growth rate of 30% per year.  With 11 operations opened in the last 2 years including the most competitive markets such as North America and the UK, Tagetik has been clocking up some notable successes.  

“Our customers include Volex, global producer of electrical power cords and harnesses in the UK,  Talanx, the third largest insurance company in Germany, SNS Reaal,  the third largest banking company, in the Netherlands and Houghton Mifflins, one of the leading publishers in the United States”, says Pierallini.

 “We are proud of what we have achieved within a few months of opening some of these international offices.  Our success has always been driven by our commitment to deliver what we promise and this is what we must continue to do,” he adds.

Pierallini is a mechanical engineer by background and his early experience with computers at university and dissertation about process control languages used to control lathes has served him well. “I learnt at an early stage that the computer is just a box – you have to understand what it is you want to achieve, rather than getting seduced by the technology.” It is this level-headed approach, driving the business by what customers need rather than technology for its own sake that has contributed to the success of the company. Pierallini is Tagetik’s ‘conscience’, ensuring that as the business grows that it conforms to these early ideals.

“Take the example of UniCredit,” he says. “There are 3,000 contributors to the system using around 370 different data entry forms but our approach to training was simple and elegant. We took one person for one week and created a film about how to use the system that was sent to each of the 3,000 contributors so that they could use the system. This is what we mean by simplexity.  We took a potentially complex scenario and simplified it for the customer.”

What happens to Tagetik now is going to be interesting.  The recently released Tagetik 3.0 is a very comprehensive range of performance management applications, ranging from budgeting, planning and consolidation, financial governance and strategy management to profitability modeling and working capital analysis.  It will act a springboard for international expansion.  Its basis of competition around a unified database and the lower costs this implies is compelling; especially at a time when many companies are struggling with multiple implementations of different vendors’ applications in the same business.

"We are already very pleased with the development and our performance in 2009 despite the weak global economy. We have expanded our operations with many new customers and partners and continue to explore new markets as well. Looking ahead in the years to come, I think that Tagetik will play a major role in simplifying business complexity so companies can flexibly adapt to changing economic and financial factors,” says Pierallini.

But it would be surprising if Tagetik’s size, strong culture and nimbleness did not also allow it to become an innovator in the performance management market as it grows. Poised for the next stage in its history Pierallini looks on the business with a great deal of pride. “What gets me up in the morning is the reward of building an efficient company and working with employees all around the world in an extended international community,” he says.

Tagetik is a company brimming with confidence and enthusiasm. As they say – watch this space!