Community Roundtable: State of Connected Planning, Part 2


Last week we spoke to four Community members to get their thoughts on the recent Anaplan State of Connected Planning report which uncovered leading planning trends in finance, supply chain, sales, marketing, human resources, operations, IT, and workforce functions. Today we’re publishing the second part of this installment. Be sure to comment below and let us know what trends stand out to you from the report or your own organization!

Kelly Phillips, Head of Advisory | Twelve Consulting Group | @KellyPhillips

Trend number one resonates with me. Companies that elevate planning activities to a priority level develop a planning culture that gives them a natural competitive advantage over their peers, especially when planning is enabled by consistent agile processes and technology. The more seamless the process is, the more successful the planning culture will become.  Roundup2-Social02.pngTrend four is a true catalyst for business performance. Companies that take planning to the next level by identifying actionable trends and insights can often achieve first-mover advantage by seizing new opportunities and navigating challenging times. 

We have the pleasure of working with many companies that are at different places in the planning maturity spectrum. Some are at the beginning of the journey and some have reached their connected planning vision. We are seeing more customers who are moving quickly toward connected use cases that tie key processes across revenue generation, cost management, and product supply. These leading organizations understand the value proposition of Connected Planning.

Sean Granfield, VP, Marketing | Akili | @Sean86

The State of Connected Planning report provided some really intriguing insights into the way functional, and business leaders, view planning within their respective organizations. While we at Akili have acquired a meaningful level of insight from our own clients and constantly seek further, it’s quite compelling to see the trends/statistics validated from such a broad group via Anaplan’s global reach.

That said, what stood out to me the most was a specific statistic within the first trend: “82 percent of aggressively growing companies incorporate market data into their plans within days or weeks.” This reflects a concept that we have felt, for some time, should be leveraged more broadly given the amount of external data that’s available from third parties, social media, etc. combined with the ease of data integration with Anaplan. Roundup2-Social03.pngA specific example of where we’ve done this within Akili’s current customers is within an Anaplan solution we implemented for a hyper-growth mobile gaming company on the west coast. Their marketing planning team scrapes data from external sources such as blogs, websites, and social media to discern customer sentiment around their game or specific elements (widgets, skins, etc.) which informs their promotional and marketing plan in real-time. An example of this scenario is bringing in customer sentiment data via the channels referenced above that help tell a story about a positive reaction to a feature in the game, where they can market to that specific element of the game (e.g., blog chatter indicating the popularity of a new in-game purchase). 

Given this experience, I anticipate far more conversations with our clients to specifically identify how market data or third-party data can be incorporated into the foundational architecture of their Anaplan solutions, along with key roadmap considerations that continue to leverage the concept.

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Satnam Singh, CEO| Touchstone | @satnam1979

We are delighted to see the report confirm that high growth companies place such importance on their planning activities. Our own experience in working with corporations echoes the trend that companies who understand the importance of implementing planning and forecasting data technology tools are better prepared to adapt and respond to their ever-changing markets. We see those organizations as being better equipped and informed to re-model their strategies in order to take advantage of anticipated future market opportunities, thus maximizing the value and benefits of how such tools contribute to their profitability.

Companies that embrace these software technologies will improve collaborative efforts and communicate clear objectives. Project adoption will be embraced faster as stakeholders understand expectations based on the dependencies such tools allow you to envision.

Inhibited by the lack of a robust planning solution, planning is commonly seen as a scheduled major event as opposed to a continuous process. Typically these planning cycles are manual, siloed, and resource-heavy, making it difficult to respond to changes in a timely fashion. At Touchstone, we are certain that the companies that adopt the concept of connected planning over their entire organizations will overcome these challenges and have the agility to differentiate themselves from the competition. 


Having the right technology with timely access to accurate and comprehensive data are universally accepted as critical enablers to successful planning. Having a planning and reporting system that already conforms and integrates information from disparate systems significantly improves confidence in information preparation. Yet without the right people, the impact of such tools and information being available is severely diminished. A clear and consistent process at the intersection of technology, data, and people will, therefore, yield many fruits, not least the ability to codify expert knowledge and speed up the decision-making process. Additionally, by automating many data processing processes, the people involved in planning can better utilize their time on analysis, interpretation, and decision making.

In terms of what we expect to see more of in the world of Connected Planning, we can see growth and interest increasing in both the short and long term. Businesses are collecting more data and better data.

In the UK, businesses are of course facing an unprecedented planning challenge following the decision to leave the EU made in the Referendum in 2016.

With a little over four months to go until Brexit Day on 29 March 2019, it is going to be fascinating to engage with UK businesses and discover how evolved their contingency plans are to protect themselves against such a dramatic period of uncertainty. 

We definitely see the future impact of AI on planning processes. The ability to combine past trends with live data and then factor in external inputs from social media, weather, political events, etc., to deliver accurate forecasts is very exciting. 

The challenges perhaps lie in uncovering how organizations can use this new world of connected planning to unlock cultural change, as well as adjusting to what becomes the new norm of rapid and agile decision making.

Touchstone is focused on showing clients how Anaplan's Connected Planning can enable them to reduce the distance between planning and real-time decision making to zero—an essential ingredient for any growing business, as clearly highlighted in the report.

Exciting times ahead.

We'd like to thank our participants for their valuable feedback. If you would like to take part in the next installment of a Community Roundtable, let us know at!