August 2023 Community Member Spotlight: Steve Bows
Join us in celebrating @sjbows as our featured Community Member Spotlight for August! He has been in the Anaplan ecosystem and in the Community for five years, a Certified Master Anaplanner for the last four years, and is currently a Group leader for the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) - Sustainability. We're excited to share more about Steve's impressive background, expertise, and contributions.
We asked Steve about his background, current role, and history with Anaplan. Here’s what we learned!
I’m the founder and Managing Director of Zooss Consulting, where we’re pioneering the concept of ‘Sustainable Business Planning’. This is about applying the goals and techniques of sustainability analysis to the world of Connected Planning, and doing our bit to help solve the looming crisis that the world faces. I’ve been implementing planning systems for nearly 30 years now, initially with Adaytum, then Cognos Planning, and for the last five years with Anaplan. I’ve been a Certified Master Anaplanner for the last four years.
We asked Steve a few questions to get to know him!
Please share an Anaplan success story you’re proud of.
I actually have two that spring to mind. Firstly, I’m really proud of the Academic Workload Planning solution that I helped design last year for LaTrobe University in Melbourne, in collaboration with another Australian-based Anaplan partner. We had to come up with a simple and elegant process to make life easier for 500+ academic staff, and based on the rave reviews we got, I think we succeeded!
Secondly, we have a fantastic success story in the making at Timberlink — a company that produces timber from sustainable pine plantations. We’re starting with demand and supply planning, and then moving on to longer term planning — including integrating sustainability metrics. They are a ‘purpose-based’ business like us, and its really rewarding to be working with like-minded people.
Please share something you can teach about Anaplan - any tips and tricks you’d like to highlight?
I would say that the single most important success factor in any Anaplan project is the process design. Be relentless in asking “WHY?”, not just “HOW?” – and be as creative as you can. Not only does it make the project much more fun for everyone, but you’ll really be adding value and building trust. Aim for elegance (as few moving parts as possible) and be comfortable with the idea that ‘less is more’. You’ll get a lot of pushback initially, but if you show you can incorporate positive feedback and roll with the punches, you’ll get real user engagement. When key stakeholders start defending your design to the wider group, you know you’re on the right track. 😊
What do you enjoy about the Anaplan Community?
I’m a big fan of the collaborative approach to building best practice. Anaplan is such a flexible tool that there will very rarely be one single ‘right way’ to do things. Being able to search and interact with people who have different approaches and perspectives really helps me to validate my thinking when coming up with a design. It's also very satisfying to be able to contribute to this body of knowledge and know that my insights have been useful to someone else.
What's a hobby or interest of yours that most people might not know about?
I’ve always been a keen student of history, in particular the Classical Greek period (5th Century BC). I have a Bachelors in Classical Greek Language, for a which I did a thesis on Aristotelian ethics, and a Masters in Ancient History. Aristotle was a supreme system builder (contributing to logic, botany, zoology, literary criticism, politics, as well as all the various sub-disciplines of philosophy), and I think he would have made a great Certified Master Anaplanner! Realizing the connections between disparate systems and processes and drawing all these strands together were his unique genius, and we can all learn from it.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Steve in this month’s Community Member Spotlight. Thank you, Steve, for being an outstanding Community contributor and advocate!
Steve's ESG articles:
- Carbon footprinting: Building ESG metrics into your financial plans [Part 1]
- Carbon footprinting: Building ESG metrics into your financial plans [Part 2]
- Carbon footprinting: Building ESG metrics into your financial plans [Part 3]
- If the topic of ESG interests you, be sure to join our ESG-Sustainability Group that Steve leads!
Want to learn more about our Community Member Spotlight series? Check out this post.
Do you know someone in the Community who you think should be featured in a Community Member Spotlight? We want to hear about it — please nominate them here!