Anaplan Implementation Requirement Gathering for Retail Sector
Hello RAG Members,
I hope everyone is doing well!
We might have an Anaplan Implementation project coming up in the retail space, and I was wondering if you can share any material on requirement gathering. I am mainly looking for sets of interview questions that can help to define dimensions and modules in Anaplan. My understanding is that the interview questions should help us draft the user-stories efficiently, which can later be reviewed by process owners.
The potential use cases we are looking at are Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), Project portfolio planning, property/real-estate planning, CAPEX and corporate marking planning.
Thank you @JaredDolich for creating this group and helping out the Anaplan community.
Great question - you've got a lot of work ahead of you.
First, the link @anirudh provided is a must watch video. Provides the foundation you really need to create the right environment for collecting the requirements.
With regard to retail specifically, there are several themes you're going to want to take as it relates to FP&A and pretty much all finance related applications in Anaplan. I'm not going to mention the questions to ask for a specific FP&A use case (like how to consolidate the GL, or generate financial documents like income, balance sheet, cash flow and shareholder equity - assuming you already know that) but rather the nuanced nature of retail that will enable the processes in Anaplan: Note: I'm going to avoid some of the real estate planning as that is pretty generic to the industry.
Calendars | Time
Inventory is the working capital for the retailer. While this theme can be lumped with Accounting there are some very specific questions related to inventory that need to be asked. You have to know which valuation method the retailer is using so you can utilize the historical transaction data. Typically, Finance will obtain forecasts from the merchandising team but the inventory valuations don't always align, nor do the calendars (discussed in another theme). To enable Anaplan, you have to make sure the inventory valuation is converted correctly in a common way.
Do you use cost averaging, standard costing, or retail inventory method to value your inventory? If LIFO is used how is this reconciled with all the other inventory planning?
How does the merchandising team value inventory?
How are you projecting the inventory receipts?
What are the conditions that move inventory from unowned to owned? (owned means the inventory is the retailer responsibility and is moved from an open order to the stock ledger).
Does the merchandising team provide Finance their projections using the same inventory accounting used by Finance?
What differences are there and how/where is this reconciliation managed? Spreadsheet, 3rd Party Tool?
Does the company utilize direct ship to stores or customers, or does all inventory get received in a distribution center?
Explain how the stock ledger is maintained, how often is it updated, and what line items are needed, and how are they defined? Typical line items: Receipts, In-Transit, Net Sales, Markdowns (if RIM is used), Sales Discounts (if cost averaging is used), Shrinkage, Ending Inventory, Gross Margin
Are imports utilized? How and where are all the cost components maintained?
How is the currency exchange managed? Is there any hedging and how does that factor into the use case?
What are all the sales channels used? Typical is wholesale, retail, and e-commerce but there's also leased departments (store in a store), concession, affiliate, outlet, close-out, franchise, and pop-ups. Are there any special accounting considerations needed? For example, the lease agreements with lessee's.
How are store opening and store closing costs accounted for? How are the accruals maintained? Accounting rules used? Sensitivity to the data - who is able to see it?
Do you need to consider comparable stores? Meaning a comparison between stores open last year that are open this year?
Explain the capital budgeting process?
Rules of thumb for projection horizons? (this is needed for NPV calculations)