[Pre Work] COE Maturity: Arendelle Analytics Case Study
Pre-Work: Read the following Case Study and post below in the comments your response to the following question:
As Anna WarmHeart, what would be your recommended strategy and mandate for the Anaplan CoE at Arendelle Analytics?—
Establishing the Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE) at Arendelle Analytics: A Case Study
Note: This case study is based on a fictional company Arendelle Analytics, and a fictional character, Anna WarmHeart. However, it closely resembles the experiences and challenges faced by many of our CoE’s. The purpose of this case study is to provide insights and best practices for organizations looking to establish or scale their own Anaplan CoE.
This case study explores the challenges faced by Arendelle Analytics, a leader in software design and engineering, due to the absence of a formalized Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE). The lack of a CoE led to difficulties in project prioritization, stakeholder management, knowledge retention, and team scalability.
Arendelle Analytics successfully addressed these challenges by establishing a structured CoE, implementing a project intake process, developing model building standards, and adopting a comprehensive staffing strategy.
The case study highlights the importance of a formalized CoE in managing growing demand for Anaplan projects and offers valuable insights for other organizations looking to establish or scale their own Anaplan CoE.
In 2019, Arendelle Analytics became a customer of Anaplan, and its finance organization began exploring the platform's potential. The team noticed the limitations of traditional planning techniques and recognized that Anaplan could support Arendelle Analytics' “Future of Finance” initiatives to create engaging new career paths and build a top-notch finance team. As the tool gained traction, the number of use cases skyrocketed, sparking excitement throughout the company.
Between 2019 and 2023, external partners developed numerous models but left behind scant documentation, resulting in maintenance becoming both challenging and costly. As external partners departed, they took their expertise with them, leaving the Arendelle Analytics team to navigate the complex models without proper guidance. This knowledge gap jeopardized the long-term sustainability and success of Anaplan's implementation at Arendelle Analytics.
During this period of growth and exploration, the organization grappled with a lack of defined project intake and prioritization processes. Work was often allocated to the most vocal stakeholders instead of prioritizing projects based on impact and value. Consequently, finding the right balance between maintenance and new projects became increasingly difficult, leading to inefficiencies and frustration among team members.
As Anaplan projects continued to accumulate, effective workload management became a significant challenge. With no clear process in place for task monitoring and capacity optimization, miscommunication and inadequate stakeholder alignment ensued, resulting in missed opportunities and unmet expectations. Moreover, knowledge transfer and retention within the team emerged as a critical issue.
Recognizing these mounting challenges, Elsa ColdFusion, the Vice President of Finance Transformation, decided to take action and sponsor the formal creation of an Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE). In 2022, Elsa hired Anna WarmHeart to lead the CoE with a mandate to "connect, optimize, and automate."
Current State of Arendelle Analytics' CoE:
Use cases: Four live use cases, all in the Finance organization:
- Revenue Planning
- Opex Planning
- Long Range Planning
- Workforce Planning
Users: ~350 across all use cases
Integrations: Automated using MuleSoft
Existing model builders: ~2 model builders: one certified MB, and one who has only done L1. Anna is a Certified Master Anaplanner (CMA), but doesn’t have the capacity to be a full time Solution Architect (SA). Arendelle Analytics had a partner who was acting as SA but their contract ended shortly after Anna started in her new role.
Defect/enhancement process: The team currently uses something they call the “Big Anaplan List”, which is an Excel file they use to track enhancements. Anna has mostly been maintaining this on her own.
Performance/best practices approach: Arendelle Analytics leverages Anaplan Hypercare and has a budget set aside for Model Optimizations and Concurrency Testing. There are no modeling standards currently set internally.