It's Time to Rollover

edited August 2023 in Groups

It's Time to Rollover

For many institutions, it’s that time of year or very close to it at least. You know what time I’m talking about – model rollover time. Whether you are in the midst of rolling over your models or preparing to rollover your models, we hope that this article provides some insight for you and sparks discussions around lessons learned, tips and tricks, and rollover best practices.

A quick aside before we begin, there are various names used to refer to the model rollover process and there is no consensus regarding which term is the standard. Some of the terms you may be familiar with include model rollover, roll-forward, or cutover. For the purposes of this article, we will use the term rollover.

Model Rollover Defined:

At a basic level model rollover refers to the set of tasks that a workspace administrator must perform to transition a model from one planning cycle to the next. Commonly, an Anaplan model is configured to support a specific planning cycle and all model configurations are oriented with respect to that cycle.

For example, consider a university that has implemented Anaplan to support their annual budget development cycle. The university operates on a fiscal year that runs from July through June of the following calendar year. The university’s annual budget development cycle opens on November 1st and runs through September 30th of the following year with two distinct phases: (1) the preliminary budget phase and (2) the final budget phase. Figure 1 below depicts the university’s budget cycle over several fiscal years along with key milestones for each annual cycle.

Figure 1: Annual Budget Development Life Cycle

In the example outlined there is a natural break in the university’s planning cycle between October 1st and November 1st; this window of time will be used to transition the Anaplan model from one budget year to the next. For example, between October 1st and November 1st of 2023, the workspace administrator will close out the FY23 budget development cycle and transition the model to open the FY24 budget development cycle. The tasks involved in this transition are collectively referred to as a model rollover.

Common Rollover Tasks:

It’s critical to note two things regarding model rollovers. First, each model will require its own set of rollover tasks and requires careful consideration for the design of those tasks. Second, it is likely that a business process may span multiple models and that the tasks involved in a full rollover will require the coordinated rollover of all models involved in the business process.

With those two things in mind, let’s talk about what may be included in a model rollover. Some common rollover tasks include:

  • Copying and archiving a model
  • Running processes to export data to an enterprise data warehouse or other data store
  • Running processes to snapshot data that may be referenced in the next planning cycle
  • Running processes to stage data that may be create a baseline for the next planning cycle
  • Updating the model calendar and/or time ranges
  • Updating non-native time lists, if applicable
  • Running cleanup to remove unused list members, if applicable
  • Running cleanup processes to clear module data, if applicable
  • Renaming any module line items that may have time references in the line item name
  • Updating any UX pages that may use Show/Hide to create highly tailored, custom views

Model Rollover Best Practices:

Be Intentional

First, and perhaps the most important, recommendation we can provide regarding model rollover is to be intentional from day one. The model rollover process is a critical, but often overlooked, aspect of a model’s life cycle. When architecting a model (or models) the model rollover tasks should be considered and thoroughly mapped out as part of the overall architecture from the very beginning. They should never be an afterthought.

Automate, Automate, Automate

Second, minimize the amount of manual tasks involved in a model rollover by automating wherever possible. At a minimum, processes such as exporting data, taking data snapshots, or staging data that are related to the model rollover should be supported by dedicated saved views, actions, and reusable model processes.

Other automations may include using dynamic filters that automatically adjust based on a time settings configuration module so that ‘Show/Hide’ can be avoided on a UX page; automating the maintenance of non-native time lists by creating processes that link them to the model calendar, or creating processes that automatically rename any module line items that have time references in the line item name.

For a tutorial on how to dynamically rename module line items, check out Dynamic Renaming of Line Items by Master Anaplanner Upali.


Third, document the rollover process early and update the documentation regularly as the model changes to facilitate a smooth rollover. Since the model rollover process happens infrequently, it is easy to forget small steps involved in the process and these forgotten steps can lead to broken models and big headaches. Additionally, the rollover process is often sequential in nature and getting the order of each step correct is as critical as remembering each step. A best practice is to create a model rollover checklist that can be used during the process to ensure each step is executed properly and in the proper sequence.

For more details on model rollover documentation and checklists, check out Five Tips for a (Mostly) Painless Model Rollover by Master Anaplanner Clarissa Hassfurder.


Lastly, like any other aspect of an Anaplan model, the model rollover processes should be tested. If possible, a dry-run or simulated rollover should be executed before go-live to ensure that this critical aspect of your model’s life cycle is setup for success.

Discussion Questions for the Group:

What does model rollover look like for you at your institution?

What are some pain points in your rollover process?

What are some nifty rollover solutions you have found?

What is one thing you wish you knew about rolling over a model when you first implemented Anaplan?

Bonus Question:

Do you call it a model rollover, roll-forward, cutover or something else entirely? And why?

Have feedback on this content? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributing authors: Ethan Bell, Lauren Newbauer, and Brinia Colbert

Title Photo by Behnam Norouzi on Unsplash