September 2023 Community Member Spotlight: Alejandro Gomez
Let's celebrate @AlejandroGomez as our featured Member Spotlight for September! He has been in the Anaplan ecosystem for nearly a decade, a Certified Master Anaplanner for five years, and recently appointed an Anaplan Community Boss! Read on to explore Alejandro's journey, expertise, and his meaningful contributions over the years!
We asked Alejandro about his background and history with Anaplan. Here’s what we learned!
Since starting my Anaplan journey back in December of 2014 — shortly after completing my studies in Business Management — I have worked for different leading Anaplan Partners in EMEA, implemented Anaplan (and in the early days a few other EPM solutions) in six different countries, across several industries and functions. Over the years I have had the opportunity to learn from truly remarkable professionals, work for leading companies and make a lot of good friends along the way. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Anaplan world!
We asked Alejandro a few questions to get to know him!
Please share an Anaplan success story you’re proud of.
It is challenging to pick just one or two stories, partly because nearly all of them contain outstanding elements, but also due to the confidentiality constraints! Rather than picking one story, I would like to highlight the consistent undelaying results achieved when implementing Anaplan across different customers.
While there are already a few publications discussing the improvements experienced by the companies using Anaplan, and I’m sure that many Community users have likely experienced similar benefits, I would still not overlook them.
I am a spreadsheet enthusiast and I often develop a kind of paternal pride with the models I build. This is why I empathize with planners who are reluctant to leave Excel behind. It might be an Excel h*ll but it is one they understand and find comfort in! When these folks give Anaplan a chance and experience the reduced turnover time in the planning process, the auditability, the collaboration, the version control or the integration of large data volumes (to name a few), while also keeping ownership of the solution thanks to Anaplan’s comprehensive enablement materials — that is a success story to me!
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity and make a quick mention of Logicor, whose CoE is led by Manuela Apostol, and with whom I have worked closely. They have made Anaplan the true calculation core of the organization, integrating it with their databases and BI tools in order to obtain a single version of the truth that unifies systems and teams. They align actuals, budgets, forecasts and what-if scenarios, and present all that data to their user base in an easy-to-digest way, whether as NUX pages or customized Excel reports through the add-in. Well done, guys!
Please share something you can teach about Anaplan - any tips and tricks you’d like to highlight?
Thanks to the efforts made by the Anaplan Community and Anaplan's Operational Excellence Group (@AnaplanOEG) among others, pretty much everything worth knowing is already available to all Anaplan users. It's not easy to think of a new idea.
I would like to mention a personal way of thinking — a tip I have given to some colleagues and customers — especially when delivering the Level 1 training with those starting their Anaplan journey: relax the constraints when struggling to design and build a new Anaplan solution, since perfection impedes action.
What I mean by that, is that sometimes it can be challenging coming up with an optimal solution in terms of calculation performance, data usage, scalability and user-friendliness, in addition to the inherent challenges of understanding the business process and modeling it in Anaplan. There are numerous constraints to keep an eye on. If you can manage them all on the go, good for you. However, if working with all of them is slowing you down, then ignore some of them to some extent.
Therefore, instead of wondering if it would be better to split the operations into multiple simpler line items (e.g. Anaplan’s 144 threads and parallel calculations are leveraged) or group operations together reducing the number of line items (saving space and completing calculations in fewer waves), focus on building something that simply works. Something that solves the user’s problem, and they can understand and use. Focus on building something that ticks the user stories’ requirements, regardless of the approach.
Once that has been achieved, we can look for more efficient ways of obtaining the same solution. In case of doubt, I always err on the side of usability, getting a solution in front of the user that provides what was asked for, regardless of the efficiency. Here are my reasons why:
- Once a first solution (MVP if you will) has been achieved, it can be optimized at a later stage.
- Once the user can interact with it, we will probably receive new feedback that will slightly change the design of the solution, thus impacting the space, performance, and scalability considerations.
- Finally, no matter how efficient a model is, if it does not solve a user’s problem or is too complex to be used or understood, it will not be adopted at all and users will not experience the speed of your calculations.
In order to illustrate some of the considerations mentioned above, I would like to bring back what I consider to be one of the most insightful pieces of information ever created on how the Anaplan engine works. This information is widely available in the Planual and Planual 2.0, but back when it was released it was priceless and I still enjoy the way Duncan introduces these topics.
What do you enjoy about the Anaplan Community?
I think the Community is a great place altogether: one can find virtually any Anaplan-related topic there, from the new “How I Built It” series, to all the platform and training-related questions, the Idea Exchange, or Groups… the variety and depth of content is priceless. Then there is the engagement and atmosphere: more than 75k registered users, many hundreds of them active on a daily basis, contributing to creating new content and helping each other selflessly.
There was an initiative a few years ago that I found especially interesting: a competition to see who can make the coolest management reporting. Hosting small games to see who finds the most ingenuous solution to a case, or something similar, could be interesting.
But something I particularly hold close to my heart is the Modellers Forum EMEA, and that is all thanks to @Paul and @CatherineH. They always make sure that there is an interesting agenda lined up for every event, in addition to a good turnout of Anaplan staff, customers, and partners. Then they wrap all that with a friendly and fun atmosphere, beer, and snacks. What else could I possibly ask for? I feel is about time for the next Modellers Forum @Paul…
What's one thing on your bucket list that you hope to accomplish in the next year?
At the moment, I don’t have a bucket list with specific boxes to check, but I do have a vision: to continue expanding and improving the use of Anaplan for Supply Chain planning and performance management, leveraging Anaplan’s capabilities such real time collaboration and calculations to model digital twins aimed at anticipating disruptions and making supply chains more resilient.
If a supply chain is a “network used to deliver products and services from raw materials to end customers through an engineered flow of information, physical goods, and cash” and supply chains are becoming “more fragmented and extended”, more complex and volatile — why continue planning and monitoring supply chains in isolation? With tools designed for smaller datasets and personal usage such spreadsheets that only contribute to delaying and siloing the decision making, while the amount of products, information and exigence is only increasing?
I truly believe that Anaplan is the perfect tool to not only overcome these common shortfalls, but to help planners pursue supply chain excellency, turning large volumes of data into insightful and actionable information to make right decisions and reduce lead times and wastage.…..
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Alejandro in this month’s Community Member Spotlight. Thank you, Alejandro, for being an outstanding Community contributor and advocate!
Alejandro's Community articles:
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