A career as a model builder in Anaplan has two avenues: industry and consulting. In over three years of model building, I worked in two distinct industry jobs. In September 2019, I moved into the consulting avenue when I joined Spaulding Ridge, 2020 AMER Partner of the Year. In this blog, I will address the different career options available in these two avenues.
Why a career in Anaplan?
A career in Anaplan will excel your business acumen, data foundation, and communication skills. From the start, brilliant people who make and execute decisions to fix or improve business processes will surround and guide you. You will see a 10,000-foot view of a business process from the executive level and get to zoom into the weeds like a business analyst. Additionally, you get to estimate task or project time, effort, and risks and are responsible for making deadlines. On the data side, you can’t build in Anaplan without understanding and using data. To quote Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, “Data is the 21st century’s oil.” This base knowledge is crucial in today’s business landscape. Lastly, on the communication side, you will write and speak to people at all levels of the organization. By talking with users, writing business requirements and test scripts, and taking notes, you will develop invaluable communication skills crucial for this job. Mastering these skills is critical for your team’s success.
Industry model builder summary
As an industry Anaplanner, it’s possible to become the Anaplan subject matter expert (SME) in your company. As a new and young employee, this exposure is excellent. Anaplan teams are generally small, so the company will lean on you for Anaplan knowledge, including upcoming enhancements and best practices. Acquiring this knowledge will take time. You may find yourself screaming bloody murder on building what appears to be obscure requirements, but do not worry! As you gain skills through trial and error, you will know the model like the back of your hand. Before leaving my industry jobs, I knew the purpose of each module, dashboard, and how the data flowed through the entire ecosystem of models. I knew the company’s specific business process inside of Anaplan tremendously well. You will see your work improve your company’s process, which can be a great feeling.
Consultant model builder summary
As a partner, you will receive formal Anaplan training. You’ll start a project in the first few months, and your client will expect you to know everything about Anaplan, but you will not. After three and a half years, I still learn new functions, tips, and tricks every week. The expectations can be intimidating, but these expectations will accelerate your learning curve with Anaplan development. In a few months, you will build models and have a general understanding of the business process you created. As you start and finish more projects, you will have exposure to more development styles as you work with different people. This will help you connect the dots with model building and process flow among business functions. Additionally, the broad business acumen you learn is exciting. You may have projects in sales performance management, finance, supply chain, or in a multitude of different industries. However, you will not work with the model or end users long-term, therefore, you will not experience first-hand how the model is improving their business and jobs. Your reward is the happy phone calls and messages you receive from happy clients.
Compare and contrast: business requirements
In industry work, primarily if the technology department owns Anaplan, someone will give you a business’s requirement without further discussion. You may not have a clear picture of the business’s broader goals, which can make execution tricky. Additionally, the business side can prohibit your desire to explore new development like creating different dashboards or running a process to align with Anaplan’s best practices.
As a partner, you have discussions for each requirement. You have input on what works best, on industry best practices, and on ways to help transform a business process. The conversation is balanced. The client relies on you to provide input.
Compare and contrast: idea generation and problem-solving
In industry work, you take Anaplan’s blank slate, and you may not know where to run with it. With the exceptions of models available on the App Hub, you can’t generate ideas of how other companies are building lists, modules, and dashboards like you can as a partner. Additionally, you may spend days developing a requirement and getting nowhere. The only resource you have at your disposal is the Anaplan Community by searching through best practices or posting questions in the forum. The Community has improved greatly since 2016, so this process is much easier.
As a partner, you have exposure to POCs and demonstrations in your firm’s workspace. You can look at these models to generate dashboard ideas, workflow, and existing calculations. Additionally, a network of expert colleagues who have solved similar problems is available on your company’s messaging channel. Troubleshooting formulas and data sets and reviewing models happen frequently.
Anaplan is a fun and exciting technology to work with, and each avenue has opportunities to accelerate your career. Additionally, new features on the platform are released continuously, which gives you further opportunities to learn, explore, and help companies around the world make better-connected business decisions. Either way, embrace the challenge. Welcome to the community!
Founded in 2018, Spaulding Ridge is a top management consulting firm, dedicated to client success and helping organizations implement and adopt best-in-cloud technology to solve their most pressing challenges. We provide the office of the CFO financial clarity to Sales and Operational complexity by integrating financial and sales SaaS Platforms.
Finance gain control – Increasing financial effectiveness, insight and impact
Sales increase Productivity – Hitting quota more quickly, consistently and efficiently
Operations increase Competitiveness – Through productivity rates, customer service outcomes, and efficiency
Kevin Beltz is an Anaplan architect with experience in Supply Chain, Finance, and Sales Performance Management. Deep knowledge of the Anaplan platform gained from 3+ years working for Boston Scientific, Nike, and Spaulding Ridge. Kevin brings a unique combination of working for companies with live Anaplan solutions and expert model building to develop solutions with long-term sustainability in focus.