What drives the need for a Center of Excellence (CoE)? The need for a CoE comes after businesses have successfully implemented Anaplan into their organization, and are ready to become self-sufficient in ongoing Anaplan development and support. Organizations will establish a CoE to proactively handle the increase in use cases that the company can expect in the near future. Once established, the CoE can provide the following benefits to the organization: 1. Maintain Control Many organizations will significantly grow within Anaplan after their first release. As such, they will want to maintain control of the product with the introduction of more use cases and departments in Anaplan. Creating a CoE will help organizations to maintain control of Anaplan, including the implementation of new releases and training of new users, from a centralized, internal group or team. 2. Consistency Establishing a CoE early will help organizations to drive consistency across Anaplan. As more data, models, and modules are created within Anaplan, it’s important to ensure that everything stays consistent across the application. Doing this will help to ensure that four key elements stay consistent in Anaplan: Data and Metadata The CoE will help drive consistency in data and metadata by eliminating duplicate data and avoiding shadow integration processes. Model Design The CoE will help drive consistency in model design by providing best practices in both model architecture, calculation, performance optimization and usability across the different Anaplan models deployed in the organization. Processes The CoE promotes the consistent execution of business processes and methodologies. User Experience The CoE drives consistency across the application for all users involved. This means that users new to Anaplan can expect nearly the same experience across each model and dashboard they interact with as they have all been developed and deployed using the same process and guidelines. 3. Knowledge Sharing Creating a CoE promotes knowledge sharing within an organization. The CoE may ultimately be responsible for the initial and on-going training of end users in the Anaplan platform. Additionally, the CoE may also be responsible for maintaining the processes, procedures, and best practices that the organization uses within Anaplan, which may be provided directly through the platform. 4. Upstream/Downstream Development Creating and maintaining a CoE within an organization will also empower the business to develop more upstream and/or downstream processes within the Anaplan platform. For example, an organization may first deploy a T&Q model, and then decide to develop an upstream HR-based model that contains employee details and compensation data to manage their sales team. The potential to expand upstream and downstream from an initial model in Anaplan is endless. 5. Efficiency The CoE creates a ‘service’ for the business to become more efficient in developing, releasing, and maintaining models within Anaplan, supporting a business group to build and own its own model. This means that an organization may rely on an internal CoE as a single source to implement new applications, promote platform use, share Anaplan best practices, and handle all training needs. 6. Efficiency Finally, a CoE provides a central point of governance for the Anaplan projects across the organization. In a centralized mode, the CoE is responsible for maintaining the platform, as well as all other necessary elements involved with the creation and maintenance of an organization’s Anaplan products. The CoE will have the final say in platform updates and developments, which further drives consistency and efficiency in Anaplan. In a federated mode, the CoE will assists local teams in their implementation and application rollout efforts, as needed. In both cases, the CoE will communicate the progress, update and value of the Anaplan applications to executive sponsors across the organization, and highlight the value of the Anaplan investment.
The components involved in a Center of Excellence (CoE) combine to promote self-sufficiency within a business. This may start as early as a business’ first release, and can continue on throughout each new release. There are eight key components that each business should expect to benefit from with the establishment of a CoE: 1. Skills and Expertise The CoE provides an entire organization with the skills and expertise needed to develop the Anaplan platform within the business and provide training to the team. It creates functional Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), provides solution design, architecting, and technical model building skills, and offers project management capabilities. Furthermore, it provides ongoing training for an organization, including instructor lead (classroom) training and on-demand eLearning courses. 2. An Implementation Approach The CoE creates a known and understood approach to delivering and evolving solutions within Anaplan for an organization. Utilizing the benefits of the Anaplan Way Agile methodology, a CoE encourages collaboration between all parties involved with the Anaplan platform, successful iterations of new and updated releases, and accurate visualization of each project and release. 3. Direction and Governance The CoE creates a governance framework that is used to steer and prioritize the Anaplan roadmap within an organization and drive the ROI of each release. This includes identifying an organization’s steering committee, executive sponsors, and the sign-off/approval approach and process. The CoE may also act as the project management office (PMO), which is attached to each release. 4. Data Governance and Integration Establishing a CoE helps to utilize the Master Data Hub concept within an organization. The CoE will generally be responsible for the Master Data Hub, which will feed into most, if not all, models within the organization. Doing this creates a single point of data reference within the organization for all departments and regions to refer to. Also, the CoE provides adherence to conventions, policies, and corporate definitions that are used with the Anaplan platform. 5. Access to Knowledge and Best Practices The CoE is responsible for providing a knowledge base and internal community to support an organization’s efforts in Anaplan. These internal resources should provide functional use case and technical model building best practices, as well as a shared practical knowledge surrounding the platform and the organization’s specific use within. 6. An Anaplan 'Savvy' The CoE constantly holds an awareness of the ‘power of the platform’. This awareness includes what the platform is currently doing for the organization and what it could be used for in the future with platform updates and improvements in mind. Additionally, the CoE maintains a practical understanding of the Anaplan App Hub and how Apps can be leveraged for rapid prototyping and deployment of releases. 7. Access to Support The CoE acts as a 24/7 customer support desk for the organization, and offers customized support when necessary. 8. Change Management The CoE provides a support system to handle all change management surrounding the Anaplan platform. This includes clear and appropriate communications to drive and support user adoption, and alignment of upstream and downstream business processes.
An Anaplan Customer’s Journey The diagram below displays a real world example of an Anaplan customer’s journey. As you can see, the customer’s journey begins with the implementation and deployment of one app in the Anaplan platform, and only two resources involved. Soon after, the organization develops and deploys more apps and includes more resources with each release. Simultaneously, the organization realizes that Anaplan is the platform solution they’ve required and they begin supporting the platform with governance, processes, training, and more through a Center of Excellence (CoE) to ensure its success. The three Phases of Developing a Center of Excellence To get each organization to this point, a Center of Excellence should be established with three phases of deployment: Phase 1: Foundations Phase 2: Centralize Phase 3: Scale The following sections provide the steps that are necessary to complete each Phase of developing a CoE: Phase 1: Foundations Deploy the First Project Successfully Phase 1 of deploying a CoE starts with successfully deploying the first project/release in the Anaplan platform. Doing this established the foundation needed to start building the CoE. Establish the Governing Body Next, it’s important to establish the governing body, or steering committee within the organization. This initial team should feature three key members: Executive or Project Sponsor This role must be a neutral party that is invested in the success of Anaplan, but not aligned with a specific use case. This person will ultimately have the final approval in prioritizing sprints and releases for the business. Anaplan Architect The Anaplan Architect speaks for the Anaplan administrative team and demonstrates new model changes upon release. Additionally, this role advises on new modeling time requests and project planning when necessary. Center of Excellence Lead The CoE Lead oversees the CoE and organizes the monthly CoE update. Establish your Governance Once the Governing Body of the CoE has been selected, the Monthly CoE Update and Quarterly Strategy Update meetings must be established: Monhtly CoE Update: This meeting is organized by the CoE Lead Attendance includes: Executive Sponsors Product Owners Project Architects CoE Lead, Architect and Advisor Business Transformation Leads (Optional) Meeting minutes and follow up are to be documented and delivered by the CoE Lead Once complete, the meeting minutes and action items with responsible parties should be posted for the team by the CoE Lead Quarterly Strategy Update The Quarterly Strategy Update should occur on the same day and at the same location as the applicable Monthly CoE Update meeting Again, this meeting is organized by the CoE Lead Attendance includes: Executive Sponsors Product Owners Project Architects CoE Lead, Architect and Advisor Business Transformation Leads Meeting minutes and follow up are to be documented and delivered by the CoE Lead The content of this meeting should include: Strategy updates by the Executive Sponsors Roadmap updates Key demonstration/s Once complete, the meeting minutes and action items with responsible parties should be posted for the team by the CoE Lead Designate/Hire the Delivery Team Next, the organization should designate and/or hire the delivery team, which is initially comprised of the following members: Soultions Architect (SA) This role is an experienced Anaplan Architect that is responsible for guiding the delivery team using design and data management best practices. Model Builders Model Builders are responsible for producing new builds within planned timelines. The number of Model Builders may vary depending on the release demands. Establish the Sprint Cadence The final step of Phase 1 is to establish the cadence of sprints for future releases in the organization. To do this, institute the following: Daily standup meetings Two week sprint cycles Sprint review with the Governing Body – one hour every two weeks During this review, the most recent functionality built should be reviewed (15m-30m), as well as a sprint retrospective that covers “What went well?” and “What didn’t go so well?” Sprint Planning – one hour every two weeks During this meeting, all user stories from the backlog are reviewed and allocated into the next sprints based on priority and group agreement (45m) Phase 2: Centralize Phase 2 begins when the CoE enters into the following: Multi use case configuration with integration points between processes within Anaplan The business wants a model delivery service as they cannot own model development The business wants to own model delivery and needs to be ramped up Many departments within the business want to leverage the Anaplan platform, and a consistency & standardization is as important as agility and flexibility for business Data Governance becomes critical Establish Data Governance The first step of Phase 2 starts with establishing governance in the CoE. This includes: Electing an official Core IT point of contact for all planning processes Building the Master Data Hub Setting the data refresh frequency Hierarchy and Data Validation Centralizing User Provisioning Managing Admin licenses Establish Functional Representatives in Business Represent their functional areas for new project requests Provide feedback on recently completed model Designate a Central Solutions Architect Once designated, the Central Solutions Architect will be in charge of: All central maintenance Providing status updates to Executive/Project Sponsors Managing new model requests Communicating changes to the master model to the broader community Reviewing all citizen built models once per month and advising on best practices Ensuring all citizen developers have taking Anaplan training prior to developing Create a team of model builders - Options Junior resources out of college – trained and ramped up Outsourced to an Anaplan partner Taken from IT resources, if available Reports to the Central Architect If there is a need of a ”Business Service” central entity for Anaplan Establish a Process for Creating a New Model The business team submits the request with business justification to central the CoE Prioritization and validation: Is it part of corporate strategy? Global (IT) or Specific (Business) Scoping agreement on both Data Hub and Model Model Sizing Use Existing Workspace / Get a new Workspace Project resource requirement and alignments Can it be delivered as federated team? Can it be delivered by the central team? Execution governance Include the new project to the daily/monthly/quarterly governance Phase 3: Scale Once the CoE is established in Phases 1 and 2, it may then be scaled to gain more attention within the business, and enable new users to work and build inside of the Anaplan platform. Phase 3 begins when the CoE enters into the following: 5+ planning use cases built on Anaplan, integrated or not Anaplan has been communicated internally by the Global CIO, as the Platform to use for any planning application. High visibility of Planning apps execution management teams Need to hire more resources internally or externally in COE team or in Business federated teams Attract Increase internal PR Provide frequent communication & evangelism of the Anaplan platform Produce newsletters and regular executive communications Demonstrate alignment to corporate strategy Have leadership publically celebrate small wins Define internal career paths Highlight growing external marketplace Enable Enable new users to utilize the Anaplan platform by providing the following: Leverage Anaplan training using classroom and on-demand resources Train during implementation and continue to offer training on an ongoing basis Develop internal materials specific to business outcomes & implementation Stay current on new functionality through an Early Adopter program Refresh the team’s knowledge through regularly updated Anaplan Enablement courses