The process of designing a model will help you:
This process includes the following steps:
Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps, why it is important to the overall process, and the results of completing each step.
Note: This document uses the terminology end-user experience, pages, and boards when referring to dashboards.
For more information, check out Training on the New UX.
Purpose: To solve a problem, you must completely understand the current situation. Performing this step provides this information and the first steps toward the solution.
Process: When you begin a project, you gather information and requirements using tools that include:
Purpose: This is an important step in the model design process. Ultimately, the information or data that the end-user needs to make a good business decision is what drives the entire structure of the model.
Process: On some projects, you may be working with a project manager or a business consultant to flesh out the business process for the user. You may have user stories, or it may be that you are working on design a bit earlier in the process and the user stories haven’t been written. In any case, identify the user roles, the business process that will be completed in Anaplan, and create a high-level design of the user experience. Verify the design with the users to ensure that you have the correct starting point for the next step.
Front to back design has been identified as the preferred method for model design. This approach puts the focus on the end-user experience. We want that experience to align with the process, so users can easily adapt to the model. During this step, focus on:
Purpose: Think D.I.S.C.O. The Output modules are needed to support the end-user experience or export to another system. This is what should guide your design – all the Input modules and Calculation modules are added with the purpose of providing these output modules with the information needed for the pages and boards or export.
Process: Some questions to help you think through the definition of your Output modules:
Purpose: Identify what data the model requires and where it is held. Determine the hierarchies or structures needed in the model.
Process: Organize the data using Data modules, using each module to hold similar types of data, for example, employee, product, or sales data.
Purpose: Planners want to be able to see how changes will affect overall results. By entering new data, planners can try different scenarios and make decisions based on data. What if manufacturing costs go up? What effect do higher shipping costs have on the bottom line?
Process: Look at the end-user experience designs from step 2 and identify the data types that end-users will be able to add or change.
Purpose: Transform data from the Data and Input modules to the data needed for Output modules, using business rules, logic, and formulas.
Process: Some questions to use to think through what calculations are needed:
Use Anapedia to locate functions. The reverse lookup page provides a list of behaviors and descriptions in plain language of many Anaplan functions. You can also use the search function in Community.
As you are thinking about the calculations needed, pay attention to functions that are used in multiple calculations. Examples might include calculations for pulling data from the current period, the parent in a product hierarchy, or pulling data from a forecast version. These can be included in Systems modules and entered once and referenced many times. Systems modules can also hold lists and list item attributes.
Also, think about how to organize the calculations into Calculation modules. Keep in mind the different types of data (for example, Revenue, Employee, Other Costs) used in the model and keep the calculations for each type together.
Purpose: Provides a graphic representation of the model design that is used for communicating with the model-building team. The model schema is required documentation for the project.
Process: Designing your model using a schema means that you must think through all the information you have about the current situation, how it all ties together, and how the model provides what is needed to meet the needs of the end-users. Begin by sketching your ideas on a whiteboard. Whiteboards are excellent collaboration tools and model design is a collaborative process. Be sure to:
Purpose: A final check of your model to ensure that it is well-designed. We recommend that you have a peer check over your model and provide feedback. It is easy to fall into using the functions you are familiar with, which may or may not be the best solution. You will build your model design skills by participating in a Model Design Check-in, which allows you to talk through the tougher parts of the design with a peer. This check-in is included as part of The Anaplan Way process.
How-to: When your schema is complete, give it a final check to ensure: