Top five most useful recent updates and features
Author: Kathleen Sullivan, Certified Master Anaplanner, Solution Architect, and Manager at Cervello.
Anaplan is constantly releasing new features to the modeling experience and to the user experience. These spark so much excitement for all Anaplan users because it increases usability for everyone, administrators, model builders, and end users! Here are a few of my recent favorites:
- Synchronized scrolling
This is a game changer for end users which provides the ability to navigate multiple grids simultaneously without having to scroll to the same list item or time period separately in each grid.
Page builders can create up to four different groups per page, with each group containing up to four grids. Each group can be configured to synchronize scrolling vertically, horizontally, or both.
For my clients, the most common use case is to have a group that is set up for horizontal synchronized scrolling to account for multiple grids having different dimensions in the rows but all having time in the columns. Then as an end user scrolls across time in one grid, all of the grids update to show the same time periods.
- Dependent drop downs in forms
Forms now support dependent dropdowns! When using a form in the UX to create list members, if a dependent dropdown is set up in the module, that is now carrying through to the UX.
Prior to this enhancement, leveraging a dependent dropdown as part of creating a new list member required two steps. First, the list member would have to be created with no inputs as part of the form. Secondly, the properties would be input as part of a grid card on the page which would follow the dependent dropdown rule set up in the module.
This is a huge improvement and is very exciting to see the capabilities increase in forms. There is still a downside that the dependent dropdown in the form only works when the line item the dependent dropdown is based on is also an input in the form. This does not work if the line item is a calculated ITEM() or LOOKUP function. Overall, based on this initial improvement I am excited for more updates to come within forms!
- Ability to edit grid formatting
Allowing clients to change the grid theme and colors makes each user experience feel more customized to the client! These types of requests are extremely common. Almost all clients request to be able to bold totals, change the colors of quarter and year summaries, add coloring to the column and row headers, etc.
There are now so many different options that can be adjusted for each client need. There is the ability to use pre-set templates, or page builders can make this completely custom. Similar to other color formatting options (such as in charts and graphs), the specific client color hex code can be entered.
- Page details included within the model
The new “Pages” section within the model has been extremely useful. This holds necessary information that page builders have been looking for in the past. For each page, an admin is able to see which modules and which saved views are published, additionally this shows the number of cards that each module or saved view is connected to.
Below are some of the key attributes of each page that I use the most frequently.
- Updated: This column tells the model builder the last time each page was updated, this can be extremely useful when syncing from a Dev model to QA / Prod (if there are different applications for each model). If the date was updated after the previous sync, then the model builder knows to look at that specific page and copy it to the QA / Prod application.
- Modules: This is the long awaited for details on which modules are present on each page. This tab can be selected at the top after clicking on a given page, the default tab that opens is the “General” tab.
- Module Name: This displays the module name with additional details that can be expanded.
- Saved View Name: After expanding the module name, this displays all of the different saved views being used on that page within the selected module.
- Information Icon: This provides some additional details of each saved view and displays the number of cards / grids that are using the specific view.
- Default number formatted line item summary method
The default summary method for a number formatted line item has been updated from SUM (aggregation up hierarchies and across time) to NONE. This has taken me personally some time to get used to, but now I think that this is a great approach. This ensures that each summary method set up for any number formatted line item is considered before being applied.
Instead of automatically setting the method to SUM and receiving feedback to update this to the appropriate summary methodology, the model builder will have to consider the appropriate aggregation for each line item, or if aggregation is needed at all.
This will also reduce the size of models. Rather than review each line item in the model to turn summaries off where not necessary, summaries should not have even been turned on to begin with.
These are my favorite recent features — what are yours?