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## Best Practices for Module Design

Learn how to organize your model into logical parts to give you a  well-designed model that is easy to follow, understand and amend at a later date

## Dimension Order

Dimension Order affects Calculation Performance Ensuring consistency in the order of dimensions will help improve performance of your models. This consistency is relevant for modules and individual line items. Why does the order matter? Anaplan creates and uses indexes to perform calculations. Each cell in a module where dimensions intersect is given an index number. Here are two simple modules dimensioned by Customer and Product. In the first module, Product comes first and Customer second and in the second module, Customer is first and Product second. In this model, there is a third module that calculates revenue as Prices * Volumes. Anaplan assigns indexes to the intersections in the module. Here are the index values for the two modules. Note that some of the intersections are indexed the same for both modules: Customer 1 and Product 1, Customer 2 and Product 2 and Customer 3 and Product 3, and that the remainder of the cells have a different index number. Customer 1 and Product 2 is indexed with the value of 4 in the top module and the value of 2 in the bottom module. The calculation is Revenue = Price * Volume. To run the calculation, Anaplan performs the following operations by matching the index values from the two modules. Since the index values are not aligned the processor scans the index values to find a match before performing the calculation. When the dimensions in the module are reordered, these are the index values: The index values for each of the modules are now aligned. As the line-items of the same dimensional structure have an identical layout, the data is laid out linearly in memory. the calculation process accesses memory in a completely linear and predictable way. Anaplan’s microprocessors and memory sub-systems are optimized to recognise this pattern of access and to pre-emptively fetch the required data. How does the dimension order become different between modules?. When you build a module, Anaplan uses the order that you drag the lists onto the Create Module dialog The order is also dependent on where the lists are added. The lists that you add to the pages area are first, then the lists that you add to the rows area, and finally the lists added to the columns area. It is simple to re-order the lists and ensure consistency. Follow these steps: On the Modules pane, (Model Settings>Modules) look for lists that are out of order in the Applies To column. Click the Applies To row that you want to re-order, then click the ellipsis. In the Select Lists dialog, click OK. In the Confirm dialog, click OK. The lists will be in the order that they appear in General Lists. When you have completed checking the list order in the modules, click the Line Items tab and check the line items. Follow steps 1 through 3 to re-order the lists. Subsets and Line Item Subsets One word of caution about Subsets and Line Item subsets. In the example below, we have added a subset and a Line Item Subset to the module: The Applies To is as follows: Clicking on the ellipsis, the dimensions are re-ordered to: The general lists are listed in order first, followed by subsets and then line item subsets You still can re-order the dimensions by double clicking in the Applies to column and manually copying or typing the dimensions in the correct order. Other Dimensions The calculation performance relates to the common lists between the source(s) and the target. The order of separate lists in one or other doesn’t have any bearing on the calculation speed.

## Speeding Up Your Blueprint Configuration

As a model builder you have to define line items formats over and over. Using a text expander/snippet tool, you can speed up the configuration of modules. When you add a new Line Item, Anaplan sets it by default as a Number (Min Significant Digits : 4, Thousands Separator : Comma, Zero Format : Zero, etc.). You usually change it once and copy it over to other line items in the module. Snippet tools can store format definition of generic formats (numbers, text, boolean, or no data) and by a simple shortcut, paste it in the format of the desired line items.  Below is an example of a number format line item with no decimal and hyphens instead of zeros. On my Mac, I press Option + X, I type "Num..." and get a list of all Number formats I pre-defined. I press Enter to paste it. It also works if several line items were selected. The value stored for this Number format is : {"minimumSignificantDigits":-1,"decimalPlaces":0,"decimalSeparator":"FULL_STOP","groupingSeparator":"COMMA","negativeNumberNotation":"MINUS_SIGN","unitsType":"NONE","unitsDisplayType":"NONE","currencyCode":null,"customUnits":null,"zeroFormat":"HYPHEN","comparisonIncrease":"GOOD","dataType":"NUMBER"} Here is the result of a text format snippet. {"textType":"GENERAL","dataType":"TEXT"} Or a Heading line item (No Data, Style : Heading 1). ---- false {"dataType":"NONE"} - Year Model Calendar All false false {"summaryMethod":"NONE","timeSummaryMethod":"NONE","timeSummarySameAsMainSummary":true,"ratioNumeratorIdentifier":"","ratioDenominatorIdentifier":""} All Versions true false Heading1 - - - 0  This simple trick can save you a lot of clicks. While we are unable to recommend specific snippet tools, your PC or Mac may include one by default, while others are easy to locate for free or low-cost online.

## PLANS - This Is How We Model

PLANS is the new standard for Anaplan modelling; “the way we model”. This will cover more than just the formulas and will include and evolve existing best practices around user experience and data hubs. The initial focus is to develop a set of rules on the structure and detailed design of Anaplan models. This set of rules will provide both a clear route to good model design for the individual Anaplanner, and common guidance on which Anaplanners and reviewers can rely when passing models amongst themselves.  In defining the standard, everything we do will consider or be based around: Performance – Use the correct structures and formulae to optimize the Hyperblock Logical – Build the models and formulae more logically – See D.I.S.C.O below Auditable – Break up formulae for better understanding, performance and maintainability Necessary – Don’t duplicate expressions, store reference data and attributes once, no unnecessary calculations Sustainable – Build with the future in mind, think about process cycles and updates        The standards will be based around three axes: Performance - How do the structures and formulae impact the performance of the system? Usability/Auditability - Is the user able to understand how to interact with the functionality? Sustainability - Can the solution be easily maintained by model builders and support? We will define the techniques to use that balance the three areas to ensure the optimal design of Anaplan models and architecture       D.I.S.C.O As part of model and module design we recommend categorizing modules as follows: Data – Data hubs, transactional modules, source data; reference everywhere Inputs – Design for user entry, minimize the mix of calculations and output System – Time management, filters, mappings etc.; reference everywhere Calculations – Optimize for performance (turn summaries off, combine structures) Outputs -  Reporting modules, minimize data flows out Recommended Content: Performance Dimension Order Formula Optimization in Anaplan Formula Structure for Performance Logical Best Practices for Module Design Auditable Formula Structure for Performance Necessary Reduce Calculations for Better Performance Formula Optimization in Anaplan Sustainable Dynamic Cell Access Tips and Tricks Dynamic Cell Access - Learning App Personal Dashboards Tips and Tricks Time Range Application Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions

## How to Create a Time Filter Module

This article provides the steps needed to create a basic time filter module. This module can be used as a point of reference for time filters across all modules and dashboards within a given model. The benefits of a centralized Time Filter module include: One centralized governance of time filters. Optimization of workspace, since the filters do not need to be re-created for each view. Instead, use the Time Filter module.  Step 1: Create a new module with two dimensions—time and line items. The example below has simple examples for Weeks Only, Months Only, Quarters Only, and Years Only. Step 2: Line items should be Boolean formatted and the time scale should be set in accordance to the scale identified in the line item name. The example below also includes filters with and without summary methods, providing additional views depending on the level of aggregation desired. Once your preliminary filters are set, your module will look something like the screenshot below.  Step 3: Use the pre-set Time Filters across various modules and dashboards. Simply click on the filters icon in the tool bar, navigate to the time tab, select your Time Filter module from the module selection screen, and select the line item of your choosing. Use multiple line items at a time to filter your module or dashboard view.

## Revision Tag best practices

Little and often Would you spend weeks on your budget submission spreadsheet or your college thesis without once saving it? Probably not. The same should apply to making developments and setting revision tags. Anaplan recommends that during the development cycle, you set revision tags at least once per day. We also advise testing the revision tags against a dummy model if possible. The recommended procedure is as follows: After a successful sync to your production model, create a dummy model using the ‘Create from Revision’ feature. This will create a small test model with no production list items. At the end of each day (as a minimum), set a revision tag and attempt to synchronize the test model to this revision tag. The whole process should only take a couple of minutes. Repeat step 2 until you are ready to promote the changes to your production model. Why do we recommend this? There are a very small number of cases where combinations of structural changes cause a synchronization error (99 percent of synchronizations are successful). The Anaplan team is actively working to provide a resolution within the product, but in most cases, splitting changes between revision tags allows the synchronization to complete. In order to understand the issue when a synchronization fails, our support team needs to analyze the structural changes between the revisions. Setting revision tags frequently provides the following benefits: The number of changes between revisions is reduced, resulting in easier and faster issue diagnosis  It provides an early warning of any problems so that someone can investigate them before they become critical The last successful revision tag allows you to promote some, if not most, of the changes if appropriate In some cases, a synchronization may fail initially, but when applying the changes in sequence the synchronization completes. Using the example from above: Synchronizations to the test model for R1, R2 and R3 were all successful, but R3 fails when trying to synchronize to production. Since the test model successfully synchronized from R2 and then R3, you can repeat this process for the production model. The new comparison report provides clear visibility of the changes between revision tags.   Click here to watch a 7:00 video on this topic

## Filter Best Practice

Filters can be very useful in model building and are widely used, but they can come at the expense of performance; often very visible to users through their use on dashboards. Performance can also hit imports and exports, which in turn may lead to the blocking of other activity, causing a poor perception of the model. There are some very simple guidelines to designing well performing filters: Using a single Boolean filter on a line item that does not have time or versions applied and does not have a summary is fastest. Try to create a Boolean line item that incorporates all the filter criteria you want to apply. This allows you to re-use the line item and combine a series of Boolean line items into a single Boolean for use in the filter. For example, you may want to filter on three data points: Volume, Product Category, and Active Status. Volume is numeric, Product Category is a list formatted line item matching a user selection, and Active Status is a Boolean. Create a line item called Filter with the following formula: Volume > Min Vol AND Product Cat = User Selection.Category AND Active Status Here’s a very simple example module to demonstrate this… A Filter line item is added to represent all the filters we need on the view. Only the Filter line needs to be dimensioned by Users. A User Selection module dimension only by Users is created to capture user-specific filter choices: Here’s the data before we apply the filter: With the filter applied: A best practice suggestion would be to create a filter module and line items for each filter part. You may want other filters and you can then combine each filter as needed from this system module. This should reduce repetition and give you control over the filters to ensure they can all be Boolean. What can make a filter slow? The biggest performance hit for filters are when nesting dimensions on rows. The performance loss is significantly increased by the number of nested dimensions and the number of levels they contain. With a flat list versus nested dimensions (filtering on the same number of items) the nested filter will be slower. This was tested with a 10,000,000 list versus 2 lists of 10 and 1,000,000 items as nested rows; the nested dimension filter was 40% slower. Filtering on line items with a line item summary will be slow. A numeric filter on 10,000,000 items can take less than a second, but with a summary will take at least 5 seconds. Multiple filters will increase time This is especially significant if any of the preceding filters do not lower the load, because they will take additional time to evaluate. If you do use multiple filter conditions, try to order them so the most effective filters are first. If a filter doesn’t often match on anything, evaluate whether it's even needed. Hidden levels act as a filter If you hide levels on a composite list, this acts like a filter before any other filter is applied. The hiding does take time to process and will impact more depending on the number of levels and the size of the list. How to avoid nested rows for export views Using nested rows can be a useful way to filter a complex set of data for export but, as discussed above, the filter performance here can be poor. The best way around this is to pivot the dimensions so there is only one dimension on rows and use the Tabular Multi Column export option with a Filter Row based on Boolean option. Some extra filter tips… Filter duration will affect saved views used in imports, so check the saved view open time to see the impact. This view open time will be on every use of the view, including imports or exports. If you need to filter on a specific list, create a subset of those items and create a new module dimensioned by the subset to view that data.

## Save Incomplete Changes when Synchronizing in ALM

“Back to the Future” Imagine this scenario: You are in the middle of making changes in your development model and have been doing so for the last few weeks. The changes are not complete and are not ready to synchronize. However, you just received a request for an urgent fix from the user community that is critical for the forthcoming monthly submission. What do you do? What you don’t want to do is take the model out of deployed mode! You also don’t want to lose all the development work you have been doing.  Don’t worry. Following the procedure below will ensure you can apply the hotfix quickly and keep your development work. The following diagram illustrates the procedure: It’s a two-stage process: Stage 1: Roll the development model back to a version that doesn’t contain any changes (is the same as production) and apply the hotfix to that version. Add a new revision tag to the development model as a temporary placeholder. (Note the History ID of the last structural change, you'll need it later.) On the development model, use History to restore to a point where development and production were identical (before any changes were made in development). Apply the hotfix. Save a new revision of the development model. Sync the development model with the production model. Production now has its hotfix. Stage 2: Restore the changes to development and apply the hotfix. On the development model, use the History ID from Stage 1 – Step 1 to restore to the version containing all of the development work (minus the hotfix). Reapply the hotfix to this version of development. Create a new revision of the development model. Development is now back to where it was, now with the hotfix applied. When your development work is complete, you can promote the new version to production using ALM best practice.   The procedure is documented here: https://community.anaplan.com/t5/Anapedia-Model-Building/Fixing-Production-Issues/ta-p/4839
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