[Start Here] CloudWorks—This is How We Use It, Part 1: The Basics
Welcome to this three-part, best practice series: CloudWorks—This is How We Use It. Here we will help you understand why and how to use CloudWorks, covering the basics, setup, and APIs.
Let's begin with Part 1: The Basics
What is CloudWorks?
CloudWorks simplifies the data integration process, allowing end users to easily access the data they need within the Anaplan platform. It can be described by it's three key benefits:
CloudWorks is interoperable. It allows you to seamlessly integrate data with multiple cloud systems, such as AWS S3. Users can set up integrations using pre-built connectors and RESTful APIs to combine intelligence capabilities from third-party platforms and services with Anaplan. CloudWorks also boosts efficiency and productivity with improved data flows.
CloudWorks is intuitive. It empowers business users to easily run integrations, greatly simplifying configuration and management. You can eliminate heavy reliance on technical expertise to get up and running, ultimately speeding time to value. It is also transparent, maintaining an audit trail of integrations for consistent reporting.
CloudWorks is automated. Schedule and automate integrations with CloudWorks. It can also automate tasks, as well as external data imports and exports, allowing teams to conduct more in-depth data analysis. Future capabilities will support integrations with AI and ML, optimization, and natural language processing tools to solve complex business problems.
What Does CloudWorks Do?
CloudWorks makes Connected Planning intelligent and agile by orchestrating integrations with external sources such as cloud-based data and service providers, as well as with internal sources such as Anaplan models, using an application user interface. Currently, CloudWorks supports 3 providers:
Azure Blob Storage
Google Big Query
Integration administrators can import and export model data to/from one of those sources and leverage the automation capabilities via scheduling. CloudWorks has a low-code approach to bring data into Anaplan. It allows integration users to setup integrations quickly without requiring them to download data and upload it with Anaplan Connect.
In the schema above, you can see how CloudWorks can make the integration smoother compared with the other integration possibilities.
Note: CloudWorks is not a replacement for some of the most important ETL capabilities like data transformation.
Who Are the CloudWorks Users?
Typically, Integrations Administrators are ideal CloudWorks users. They can use it to easily bring in data from multiple sources and can leverage the scheduling capability to keep Anaplan models up-to-date with minimal effort.
Business Analysts can also leverage the integration-automation capabilities of CloudWorks to make their tasks more efficient with the automated integrations. This allows them to easily build scenarios and perform what-if analysis with the latest data, analyze a greater set of historical and forecast data to pinpoint new trends, and quickly reflect any changes within Anaplan for highly accurate planning.
How can you use CloudWorks?
In addition to integrating Anaplan with cloud-based sources, you can use CloudWorks to setup processes and model-to-model imports in Anaplan. As a native data integration, CloudWorks makes it easy to schedule and automate processes in the platform. Configuring actions and scheduling processes, which are sequences of actions, can be done in just a few clicks.
Using model-to-model import in CloudWorks also makes moving data between models in the Anaplan platform faster and easier. Not only can you schedule these imports on a specific schedule of your choosing, but it doesn’t require any additional technical resources to do so.
When are we using CloudWorks?
Users across all use cases can use CloudWorks to access the information they need without compromising data integrity. Below are some common use cases we've seen in the field.
How you might use model-to-model import in CloudWorks throughout your day-to-day:
You may have a finance forecasting environment separate from your AOP model—depending on level of detail and stakeholders and planners involved—and you want to update and analyze the AOP model as forecast data is updated.
More detailed sales forecast data, such as customer-level, product-level, and opportunity-level data, can be imported to a revenue model to analyze progress to targets and address gaps.
An HR model with sensitive employee data could be used to update an OPEX model for a more comprehensive, holistic view.
How you can use CloudWorks to automate data integrations with cloud storage solutions and within Anaplan:
Financial planning: you can use CloudWorks to automate data refreshes and syncs with third-party cloud storage solutions to keep data and financial planning up to date and accurate.
Workforce planning: large volumes of complex data can make workforce planning difficult. CloudWorks lets you schedule data flows from multiple data sources, keeping people, skills, work shifts, channels, and geographies aligned and in sync.
Demand planning: demand shifts constantly across channels, geographies, and SKUs. CloudWorks can help you reduce long planning cycles that come from manual data entry by automating demand planning at more granular levels.
Sales quota planning: combining disparate sources is challenging for lots of organizations, but you don’t need any formal technical knowledge to automate integrations in CloudWorks. For Sales teams, it’s an easy way to pull data from different sources while focusing on understanding and achieving their quotas.
The content in this article has not been evaluated for all Anaplan implementations and may not be recommended for your specific situation.
Please consult your internal administrators prior to applying any of the ideas or steps in this article.