Anaplan training resources and tips from a Certified Master Anaplanner
Author: Hem Maan is a Certified Master Anaplanner and Director at Bolt Consulting Group.
Anaplan is a fantastic platform that not only allows businesses to achieve their objectives, but also the flexibility it offers also allows model builders to fully utilize creative problem-solving skills. It’s important to be on top of our skills and the latest Anaplan news, and what better way to do that than TRAINING! This blog will cover ideas and tips to make the best of the Anaplan ecosystem so you can create a thriving career and generate results for your organization.
Anaplan is a blank canvas, ready for skilled Anaplanners to create their masterpiece that will add value to their organization and provide them with insightful output. How can we maximize the opportunity to build great models?
I started my career in spreadsheet-led organizations, and I quickly found myself tinkering away — either trying to maximize the user experience of our spreadsheets to create beautiful reports, or leveraging the power of VBA and macro scripting to automate common business tasks.
I found that quite cathartic — solving real problems in a way that was logical, visually appealing, and took users on a journey. It might sound odd, but it not only satisfied my craving for logic, but it also allowed me to exercise my creative muscles!
In order to get the best out of my spreadsheets, I had to go on a journey of discovery — in order to be equipped with the tools in my belt that enabled me to build good models. That meant training…
Anaplan is no different, and with so many possibilities of how and what you can build, from UX page development, model development and integration development, training is the single biggest lever for users within businesses and model builders across the world to equip themselves with the techniques and tools needed to really create awesome Anaplan apps!
Let's explore some of the training resources available within the Anaplan ecosystem.
- The Academy
Anaplan has dedicated a great deal of effort into creating what I believe is a truly world-class Academy program. Model builders can sequentially get familiar with aspects of the Anaplan platform by completing the training exercises.
You can get started with the on-demand video courses at learning.anaplan.com and complete them at your own pace.
- A strong Community
It can sometimes feel lonely tackling a tricky problem on your own, but you’re never alone! The Anaplan Community is an awesome collection of expert Anaplanners and others also seeking advice. It is a friendly forum where you can gain access to others experiencing similar problems and search for answers to your questions.
While the content can sometimes be challenging, the reward at the end of perseverance is getting certified. It is a great way to level up your career, unlock new opportunities in your career, and identify opportunities to expand the Anaplan footprint at your organisation.
By having the backing of your certifications, you can immediately show customers (internal and external) that you know what you are talking about. I was lucky enough to have obtained and maintained my Certified Master Anaplanner status for four years running, and I am very proud of that achievement and to be part of a growing collection of Anaplanners.
If you haven't checked it out yet, do it now. Bookmark it, as you will find that in your early days and as you encounter more complex challenges, you will regularly rely on the comprehensive documentation available for each and every Anaplan function and feature available. I always have at least one Anapedia tab open during a working day!
I am very grateful to the Anaplan team for putting together such a high-quality area of well-organized information. Without it, I would not have obtained the knowledge on Anaplan that I have needed over the years to overcome complex business challenges.
If you ever find yourself having to build custom APIs for integration purposes, there is comprehensive documentation available at the Anaplan API Apiary, which is a vital tool for those who need it.
In addition to the fantastic resources that Anaplan has made available, here are a few additional pieces of advice that I would give to anyone new to the Anaplan world:
- Gain functional experience. Knowing Anaplan is a great head start to building awesome Anaplan apps, but supplementing that knowledge with functional expertise is also worthwhile. Being able to understand and translate complex business processes into workable Anaplan models is important, as it means you can become an effective business partner to your organization.
- Follow best practices. This one is all about doing things the right way. Building logical models using Anaplan best practices (which are also covered in training) means you can create an Anaplan ecosystem that really thrives.
This enables scalability, longevity in your builds, and secures real long-term value for your business. Something as small and simple as following naming conventions or adding functional areas means that others who join the business or need to work on the model can follow a logical process flow, which means the ecosystem has continuity.
- Learn about your users’ psychology. Our users are our customers, and understanding their wants and needs and the questions they need answers to is such a great way of giving you the insight needed to build apps. Understanding this puts you at a real advantage when it comes to successfully bringing users on the Anaplan journey with you.
- Don’t forget about making it pretty! Anaplan has such a wide range of features in the form of highly customizable UX pages, excellent Management Reporting capabilities, and an ability to organize apps into logical user flows. There’s really no excuse for poor looking reports and pages! Bringing in color and imagery — charts and visualization all help to tell the story and help to bring user engagement into our models. All this while giving those of us with a creative streak a sometimes much needed outlet in the world of data!
- It takes time. As I say, Anaplan can be complex when coming from a non-multi-dimensional modeling background, and this can take time to understand. However, once you do, it becomes a natural way of operating and seeing your business. Time also brings the benefit of layering up key knowledge and expanding on it over time. Small chunks of knowledge accumulated add up over time.
Don't be afraid to trust the process, learn as much as you can along the way, and persevere towards your goal. Upskilling does take time, but like any skill, if it's easy, it's not worth doing!
Upskilling myself in Anaplan is one of the best decisions I ever made, which has enabled me to add value to organizations in the form of high-quality Anaplan models, and also given me the opportunity to satisfy my creative side. That’s all thanks to equipping myself with the tools and techniques to build high quality Anaplan models.
If you’re interested in talking more about the benefits of training, where to start, or even looking to get structured training for you or your users, leave a comment!