Community Roundtable: State of Connected Planning, Part 1


We spoke to a number of Community members about the recent Anaplan State of Connected Planning report in which a survey of over 1,000 planning professionals across all business functions in 45 countries and 18 industries uncovered leading planning trends in finance, supply chain, sales, marketing, human resources, operations, IT, and workforce functions.

We asked our respondents on their thoughts on what key trends they identified in the report, as well what which trends they're anticipating within their organizations. Check out their answers below!

Ian Stone, CEO | Vuelta | @IJSTONE

This report rings true with what we are seeing in the market—fast growth businesses and enterprises alike are starting to realize the importance and value of Connected Planning. But, despite this, few are delivering on its full potential. Given the maturity curve in cloud innovation and scalability, the worlds of finance, sales, and supply chain are going through a rapid and turbulent technology transformation. True Connected Planning has never been more important to survival.

Anaplan’s State of Connected Planning report demonstrates this importance on a global scale. But what’s really interesting is the tangible link it highlights between growth and better planning—combining people, processes, and technology to deliver real actionable insight. With the right global consultancy in place, businesses can make the most of this technology and realize the true power of Connected Planning.

Cathal Doyle, Chief Customer Officer | Bedford Consulting | @cdoyle 

We’ve all seen it with dinosaur vendors: businesses will shoot for the stars and sign up for one, two, or even three-year implementations with the expectation of that final “ta-da” moment which invariably disappoints. For me, that is not Connected Planning. Connected Planning is not some overarching solution which tries and fails to cover all business processes in one single swoop. It is many smaller attainable wins which ultimately amount to, and deliver on, meaningful benefits to the key processes across a business in a unified manner.SoCP-Roundup1.png

These legacy strategies are naturally counterproductive, adding complexity, latency, and duplication of data across the process and therefore contributing to inaccurate planning outcomes that result in lost revenues, market share, or unavailability of goods or services. Anaplan allows you to do the simple things right by empowering the business with a single unified platform, integrated planning across all use cases, real-time access to data, scalability, ease of a spreadsheet, real-time “what if” scenarios, and audit control.

The right decisions combine people, processes, and technology. Anaplan is challenging all and any siloed operations across the business, which traditionally may have stitched together disconnected point solutions with spreadsheets from every department.

We have been lucky enough to work closely with both hypergrowth companies and well-established companies with lower growth rates over the years. From my experience, the companies going through a fast rate of growth tend to plan more regularly, but also call out their true business drivers to make meaningful decisions from those plans rather than spend their time collating offline data sets from different stakeholders which allows little time for decision making.

For prospective suitors who aspire to the business benefits of Connected Planning, my advice would be to land Anaplan into your business with a quick and attainable win. Deliver something tangible early on and grow momentum around that real-life benefit. Gone are the days of dinosaur vendors and never-ending waterfall projects. Advanced analytics yield the insights for competitive advantage. Do it quicker, do it simpler, do it smarter.

Connected Planning is the journey of unifying the business processes across your organization with Anaplan and enjoying it! 

Alia Barbouche, Data & Analytics Practice Lead | Slalom | @alia_barbouche

Connected Planning strengthens the corporate connective tissue between business decisions, financial responsibility, data security, and infrastructure flexibility to ensure business alignment to where the organization is going. But the connective tissue doesn't stop at the enterprise walls; Connected Planning empowers collaboration across the value chain from brokers and distributors to the front lines of the consumer experience, ensuring all touchpoints are in harmony for execution. With next generation Connected Planning technology, we don't have to imagine anymore; we can actually see dreams come to life and watch competitive advantages unfold.  

Sam Kubek, Manager | Spaulding Ridge | @skubek22 | (Master Anaplanner)

The combination of the trends hits the sweet spot when beginning your Connected Planning journey. Historically, and largely due to challenges associated with fragmented systems, companies realized the need to plan across the enterprise but putting an actual framework in place to do so was difficult, if not impossible. Systems weren’t flexible enough to accommodate intricate planning processes across departments of an organization, so most companies defaulted to using Excel or one-off solutions to solve ad hoc problems. With a platform like Anaplan, companies can meet the custom needs of many departments and functions across the organization. They get the best of both worlds: the ability to support unique processes that exist at a more detailed level while bringing all data together in a central location for management to understand the larger picture.

With a platform that can accommodate all planning needs, the focus can (and should) shift to the people and planning processes that Anaplan’s supporting. Many companies try and build out legacy planning processes in a new tool and expect different, more agile results. While this can sometimes be the case, Spaulding Ridge believes best practice is to concentrate on the insights and answers you’re striving for. This starts by adopting simplified processes to answer those high priority questions, achieving value quickly, and then expanding from there. By approaching planning this way, companies will follow through on more of their plans and keep their processes agile enough to change as rapidly their questions do. 

We'd like to thank our participants for their excellent feedback. Stay tuned for part two of this Roundtable which will be posted on December 21. Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments area below!