As the situation with COVID-19 evolved around the world, it became apparent that the Anaplan community wanted to help people on the frontlines respond to the crisis—and could do so using the Anaplan platform.
In the face of seemingly unlimited new problems that needed to be solved, we called upon our own community of experts who could quickly respond to the challenge: Certified Master Anaplanners. With less than one week’s notice, people from around the globe raised their hands to participate in a five-day virtual, global hackathon. They gave up precious work time, as well as evening and weekend hours, to work on ways to support the efforts to fight the pandemic crisis using the Anaplan platform.
We kicked off the event with a 26-hour open call that lasted from 9 am in Melbourne to 5 pm in San Francisco. This group of agile, independent thinkers organized themselves into groups— in some cases with people they didn't previously know—to form teams that spanned companies and locales. Anaplan employees from around the globe volunteered their time to ensure the call would stay open for the entire duration, staying on for shifts of up to four hours to advise participants.
Contributors were given the option of building out a use case that we provided or coming up with something on their own. Unsurprisingly, each group was inspired to tackle a problem close to their hearts, using the technology to create solutions for four lines of business across six industries. These include a freight calculator, a hospital staffing model, an inventory planning tool for food banks, and an emergency supply chain response tracker, among many others. One participant, a true follower of best practices, even created the framework for a COVID-19 Datahub that companies can populate with source data and use in conjunction with some of the other models.
The event concluded with 17 applications submitted by Master Anaplanner teams from six countries, representing each of the major regions. Customers, partners, and Anaplan employees banded together to make this vision a reality, and we’re proud to say that the models are now available to download on the Anaplan Helps page.
From supporting local volunteer efforts to creating planning solutions for government bodies, they did it all. Hear from eleven of the Certified Master Anaplanners themselves on why they got involved, and how their ready-made models will impact the world:
Diana Xu, Equifax (Hospital Staffing Model, USA)
"I am happy that Anaplan offered me and my team an opportunity to participate in helping people during this pandemic, as Anaplan's features allow models to easily be customizable, scalable, and easy to set up for organizations. My team wanted to give back to the healthcare industry, many of whose workers are near and dear to us and are currently risking their own lives to help others, so we decided to focus on a problem that would impact them."
Justin D’Onofrio, Platform Specialists (Restaurant Continuity Planning, USA)
“Our company office (and my hometown) is in Montclair, NJ. It’s a close-knit community of great people, mom-and-pop retail, and amazing restaurants. For the restaurants specifically, everyone local is doing their best to support them during this difficult time via takeout and gift card purchases. Leveraging Anaplan, I also wanted to think about how to help them (and restaurants in a similar position elsewhere) model out the uncertainty of that transition and how to keep some level of continuity and cash flow.”
Zaf Kamar, Lionpoint Group (COVID-19 Outbreak & Recovery Management, USA)
“First and foremost, thank you to all those working to deal with this crisis firsthand. As we watched the news unfold about the spread of COVID-19, we stood horrified at the ever-rising infection and death rates. We refreshed the Johns Hopkins dashboard several times per day, hoping to see some trace of the disease slowing its spread. We found ourselves wishing we could see what course the disease might take—and when Anaplan called and provided a platform through its Anaplan Helps initiative to do something about it, we jumped at the opportunity.
We created a model through the eyes of governmental and public health leaders. Show me the data, where is the disease, how is it progressing, how can we model what it will do, and what are the impacts of policies that we can enact? We realized that there could sadly be avoidable deaths if our healthcare systems become overburdened and healthcare professionals are forced to make impossible decisions due to scarcity of resources. But if we can predict disease rates early enough, maybe we can do something about it and minimize avoidable deaths.”
Jared Dolich, Columbus Consulting (ESCoRT Emergency Supply Chain Response Tracker, USA/Canada)
“The coronavirus is a global concern. The team at Anaplan responded quickly by setting up a special Anaplan tenant and challenged the Anaplan Community to build creative solutions to assist with the pandemic resolution. At the same time the hackathon challenge went out, Governors Phil Murphy (NJ) and Andrew Cuomo (NY) described their challenge to procure, set up, and distribute equipment, personnel, and beds to prepare for the apex of the COVID-19 impact on the citizens of their respective states. In three days, we met the governor’s challenge by creating a Connected Planning environment that combines scenario planning, top-down and bottoms-up planning, and a mechanism to manage the supply chain daily as the pandemic conditions change. Thank you Anaplan, Columbus Consulting, and David Edwards Consulting for all your support!”
Camille Maurice, MeltOne Advisory (COVID-19 - Employee Risk Tracking, France)
“We chose to join the initiative because as all companies we are affected by the pandemic and needed to quickly build an app to gather and analyze data in a quick and simple way. We would have chosen Anaplan regardless, because it’s a tool we like and use to follow our activity on a daily basis. The hackathon was just a good opportunity to share it with the world.”
Espen Grepperud, Bluesprint (Freight Calculator, Norway)
“I think it was a good initiative from Anaplan and thought I should contribute. It is a simple model, but it solves challenges calculating cost of freight per SKU, from different places at ZIP-code level based on pallets and containers. It takes care of minimum and maximum pallets per container, which varies from place to place of origin and this is always a hassle to solve. The calculator allows several users to calculate different products simultaneously. The model is based on a similar model made for a customer of ours who operates within the logistics industry. The base register has to be updated with the local rates.”
Korey Cheung, Weston Foods (Inventory Planning - Food Bank, Canada)
“I decided to join this hackathon because I was inspired by a message sent out to my company from Galen Weston about how a customer thought that the staff in the grocery stores were considered heroes. As someone working in the food industry, I thought that it would be appropriate for me to contribute by creating an Anaplan solution to assist food banks that are struggling to meet the needs of the people during this pandemic.”
Tristan Colgate, Fidenda (COVID-19 Volunteer Matching, UK)
“One of the most frustrating things about the COVID-19 situation is the knowledge that there are heroes in our health and public services working flat out, whilst I am in the comfort of my home not being able to contribute. So, I decided to do something, and you can help. Here in the UK, over 500k people signed up to be volunteers to help support our 1.2m vulnerable people. It is a mammoth task to assign volunteers to help the most vulnerable people. I have almost completed developing an application that performs this matching automatically, using linear optimization to ensure the closest volunteer to a vulnerable person is assigned (based on publicly available postcode data). It respects constraints like the maximum number of assignees a volunteer can have. I'm doing this in conjunction with Anaplan who has set up a hackathon for fellow Master Anaplanners like myself to contribute with applications that can help combat COVID-19.”
Jason Blinn, Twelve Consulting Group (Inventory Shortage Planning, USA)
"At Twelve Consulting Group, we’re committed to giving back to the community and this was an opportunity to utilize our unique skill-sets to help organizations at the frontline of this crisis. Our goal was to create a flexible and easy-to-use tool that organizations could quickly adopt to plan their supply from donations and purchases under one platform to help meet the ever-changing demand of critical items."
Steve Bows, Cornerstone Performance Management (Hospital Resource Planning, Australia)
“For those of us in Australia, where we’ve been lucky enough to keep the spread contained (for now), we still have time to work out how to cope with it when it arrives. So, when the call went out for Master Anaplanners to help plan the potential impact of COVID-19 in all sectors of the economy, I knew that a model to predict the number of hospital beds (and other resources) required would be the most useful thing I could contribute.
My enthusiastic colleagues at Cornerstone–Brent Gorham, Paolo Malafaia, and Reza Makouei–had exactly the right skills to help me get this model built in the six days we were allowed. I’d like to thank all of them for their help, and also James Wakefield from Servian and Jan Sypkens from Anaplan, who provided me with the daily feed of WHO case data from their COVID-19 Data Hub – a great example of cross-partner collaboration.
As it happens, we already have interest from a public health body here in Australia who are looking at a rapid deployment of the model, so I already feel that we’ve achieved something useful!”
Sarah Roberts, City of Tallahassee (Expense Tracking for FEMA Reimbursement, USA)
“When I learned about the global Master Anaplanner initiative to assist organizations in dealing with the impact of COVID-19, joining in was a no-brainer. I work for city government and one of our biggest challenges during declared emergencies is to correctly track event-related expenditures for FEMA reimbursement. Anaplan’s agility, accessibility and flexibility make it the best platform for a model that allows all users across the organization to document and monitor those expenses and I hope this model helps many other governmental, tribal and non-profit agencies.”
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