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The components involved in a Center of Excellence 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 Center of Excellence: Skills and Expertise The Center of Excellence 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.     An Implementation Approach The Center of Excellence 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  Center of Excellence 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. Direction and governance The  Center of Excellence creates a governance framework that is used to steer and prioritize the Anaplan road map 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  Center of Excellence may also act as the project management office (PMO), which is attached to each release. Data Governance and Integration Establishing a  Center of Excellence helps to utilize the master data hub concept within an organization. The  Center of Excellence 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  Center of Excellence provides adherence to conventions, policies, and corporate definitions that are used with the Anaplan platform. Access to Knowledge and Best Practices The  Center of Excellence 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. An Anaplan "Savvy" The  Center of Excellence 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  Center of Excellence maintains a practical understanding of the Anaplan App Hub and how apps can be leveraged for rapid prototyping and deployment of releases. Access to Support The  Center of Excellence acts as a 24/7 customer support desk for the organization, and offers customized support when necessary. Change Management The  Center of Excellence 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. Return to: Why Do I Need a Center of Excellence? Jump to next: Selecting Center of Excellence Governance Structures
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At its core, a Center of Excellence is a central governing body dedicated to the successful implementation of Anaplan for Connected Planning. The makeup and structure of this group are dependent upon the culture of the company it serves, meaning no two Centers of Excellence are exactly alike. To define the appropriate governance structure, companies must identify the appropriate balance of centralization, define the location of the Center of Excellence team members, and set a regularly occurring cadence with standardized agendas. Below we've outlined the three steps you should take when working to build your center of excellence structure. Define the Appropriate Governance Structure Once a Center of Excellence charter is established, and team members identified, often the biggest challenge faced by the group is finding the correct governance structure or balance between centralized and federated responsibilities.  A fully centralized governance model is one where all decisions, discussions, and development involving Anaplan are funneled through one group of people, who the business end users come to any time they have questions or need support regarding Anaplan. This is similar to how most enterprise technologies are managed at scale, though not always the right approach to a flexible business-owned planning platform like Anaplan. On the other hand, a fully federated model is one where individual business teams have full freedom to do whatever they want without any internal approvals or coordination. Most companies land somewhere in the middle, with corporate culture dictating most of the decision process. This is very similar to how most business users plan today when Excel is the tool of choice. We recommend using he following framework to help find the best level of Center of Excellence centralization. The COE is a strategic partner with the business to ensure all planning related activities are meeting the highest expectations. To use this framework, first identify which benefits from the Centralization and Federation columns are most aligned to corporate culture and needs. Then, work through each Interaction listed in the diagram and identify if it needs to be Centralized, Federated, or both. Finally, the level of centralization of governance model should align to where the majority of Interactions and Benefits are even. Depending on your centralization blend, select the appropriate governance model. Identify the Location of the Key Participants A Center of Excellence is defined first and foremost by its people. Selecting the appropriate team and locating them in the correct part of the organization are paramount to achieving success. Core backbone roles of a stable Center of Excellence. The location of the Center of Excellence resources is dependent on the Center of Excellence’s level of centralization and governance blend. A strong Center of Excellence combines representation from the business, IT, and dedicated Anaplan resources. Each of the following roles should be identified and may exist somewhere along the spectrum of entirely separated or entirely unified in the Center of Excellence. This is an example of the breakdown of a Hybrid Center of Excellence model: Cross-departmental breakdowns of a Center of Excellence team. Schedule a Recurring Set of Checkpoints with Standardized Agendas The final remaining step is to schedule the Center of Excellence’s cadence. There should be a regularly recurring set of meetings scheduled far in advance, at different intervals for the different types of meetings. Members of the Center of Excellence and adjacent stakeholders should be able to anticipate these meetings long in advance and know exactly what to expect when they occur. Typical Center of Excellence cadence. This regularly defined cadence is key to ensuring a stable Center of Excellence where all stakeholders trust the competence of the team and believe in its ability to fulfill its purpose. In each meeting, a standard recurring agenda should be in place that is upheld by a lead member of the Center of Excellence. There should always be room for flexibility, but that flexibility needs to be built around a solid core agenda, which will provide comfort and certainty to all participants. The agenda of each meeting is highly dependent upon the corporate culture and specific mandate of the Center of Excellence. So, while the agendas may vary between companies, the core ideas and goals should remain similar. Standard recurring meeting agendas. Now that the governance model is defined, the people are identified, and the cadence is scheduled and planned, the core function of a Center of Excellence as a governing body should be fully operational. With a robust and intentional foundation in place, it should be easy to adjust and evolve the Center of Excellence as time goes by and the Anaplan footprint continues to grow. Once your team is up and running, begin planning for how to address the Production Support  needs of the organization. Follow these next steps to build your Center of Excellence. Return to: Benefits of Establishing a Center of Excellence Jump to next: Center of Excellence Roles and Responsibilities
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Every Center of Excellence is unique in its function and composition. To help standardize Centers of Excellence across the ecosystem, and provide a strong starting point for the development of new Centers of Excellence, this article will provide guidance for the high-level team structure of a typical Anaplan Center of Excellence, as well as detailed descriptions of the suggested members within it. Connected people are the backbone of successful Centers of Excellence. At its core, a Center of Excellence needs to have Executive Sponsorship at the highest level of the organization, and a technical expert with a deep understanding of how the platform works. These are your Chief Planning Officer and Master Anaplanner , respectively. In addition to those core foundational members, Centers of Excellence will have additional team members depending on the size and scale of the Center of Excellence related to the size of the current Anaplan footprint within the company. These additional roles typically include: A Center of Excellence leader who organizes the team. A group of dedicated model builders or Anaplanner council. Project management representation to coordinate ongoing implementations and efforts. Business subject matter experts (SMEs) to represent the needs of business functions to the Anaplan team. Quality assurance or production support representation to fulfill customer service functions for production models. Everybody plays a role in ensuring successful Connected Planning. Depending on the corporate culture and the charter of the Anaplan Center of Excellence, these resources may be located in several different parts of the organization. There is no one correct location for these resources, but the most successful Centers of Excellence have been those that are physically and organizationally located as close to the business planning users as possible. Most importantly, the team will be successful as long as its members share a common commitment to ensuring successful utilization of Anaplan and Connected Planning, and have a regular cadence to come together to work towards that common goal. Depending on your governance model , these resources may be located entirely on a central dedicated Anaplan Center of Excellence team, entirely federated within different existing business functions, or some balance of the two. Cross-departmental breakdowns of a Center of Excellence team. Roles and Responsibilities Use the interactive menu below to review the roles and responsibilities of resources in a Center of Excellence. While each Center of Excellence is different, this structure and list of suggested Center of Excellence team members should provide a useful starting point to building a strong foundation for a solid Anaplan Center of Excellence. Please join the discussion in the Center of Excellence Discussion to share your organizational structure and recommendations, or ask questions about how to implement this specifically for your company. Return to: Selecting Center of Excellence Governance Structures Jump to next: Center of Excellence Production Support
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Connected Planning doesn’t happen overnight. Onboarding and connecting disparate teams and business functions must be an intentional and organized effort, coordinated through a central ownership group or a Center of Excellence. The Center of Excellence is responsible for maintaining stable enterprise-grade production models and a strategic and scalable roadmap, while also sharing lessons learned across the organization. In this article, we'll dive into the production support (often called Business As Usual, or BAU) a Center of Excellence is responsible for. Centers of Excellence enable cross-functional Connected Planning. Once a few use cases are deployed, the Center of Excellence is responsible for everything from customer service to Connected Planning expansion and value realization. While every individual Center of Excellence has a unique charter and set of outcomes by which to measure success, a commonality among all Centers of Excellence is an emphasis on supporting the business and unlocking the true potential and benefits of Connected Planning. Hierarchy of Center of Excellence production support functions. The Center of Excellence needs to define which elements of this framework fall within its responsibility, and which are owned elsewhere in the organization. It is common for companies to have separate support organizations in place that may overlap with any of these functions (often in an IT department), and it isn’t necessary for an Anaplan Center of Excellence to duplicate services provided elsewhere. In these cases, the Center of Excellence’s priority is ensuring that these objectives are being met somewhere and that the business is not prevented from realizing the value of Connected Planning. Core responsibilities of maintaining and expanding an Anaplan footprint. At the foundation of the framework is customer support or production defect management. If the Center of Excellence is the primary point of contact for Anaplan defect intake, the team should be prepared for the common types of support issues that end users may raise. These will vary significantly across deployments, use cases, and companies, so the Center of Excellence is responsible for asking for any potential issues during the implementation and before each model is deployed to production. Examples of common support issues, and the responsible support owner. The Center of Excellence is responsible for having a formal structure in place to receive, respond to, and resolve defects raised by the business. Most companies have a framework in place to deal with a platform-agnostic incident resolution, and the process itself is less important than ensuring that the process is thoroughly-defined, consistently-executed, and well-communicated to stakeholders. One customer’s support ticket process. Expectations should also be clearly communicated to all stakeholders. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) should be defined and agreed upon up front, and then tracked and measured against at regularly scheduled intervals. Support Service Level Agreements Severity Definition Response Time Min. Resolution Time Max Resolution Time Critical (1) Critical production issue that severely impacts your use of the service. The situation halts your business operations and no procedural workaround exists. 30 Mins 2 Hours 4 Hours Major (2) Major functionality is impacted or significant performance degradation is experienced. The situation is causing a high impact to portions of your business operations and no reasonable workaround exists. 2 Hours 4 Hours 12 Hours Minor (3) There is a partial, non-critical loss of use of the service with a medium-to-low impact on your business, but your business continues to function. Short-term workaround is available, but not scalable. 8 Hours 12 Hours 24 Hours Cosmetic (4) Inquiry regarding a routine technical issue; information requested on application capabilities, navigation, installation or configuration; bug affecting a small number of users. Acceptable workaround available. 12 Hours 24 Hours 40 Hours Moving to the top end of the value spectrum of the Center of Excellence framework, Centers of Excellence should be prepared for a steadily increasing rate of enhancement and new use case requests from the business. This is to be expected as the business becomes more comfortable with Anaplan and becomes increasingly excited about leveraging the technology to advance their planning sophistication. The Center of Excellence’s job at this point is to act as a multiplier, not a bottleneck, to this business expansion. Receiving and prioritizing enhancement and expansion requests. Similarly to defect resolution, the Center of Excellence should outline a precise process through which the business can raise enhancement and new use case requests. The process should be as transparent as possible, and as with defects, it is critical that the process is clear and consistent. One customer’s change request process. Expectations around handling new requests should be established with the same rigor as defect resolutions and should be equally measured and reported consistently. Change Request Service Level Agreements Category Level of Effort New Contract Required SLA Response Time Min. Resolution Time Max Resolution Time Sample Requests Small 1-3 WD No 1-2 WD 1 WD 3 WD Rename the Module, Line Items Add a line item to capture comments Medium 4-10 WD No 2-3 WD 4 WD 10 WD Add new list item (this could increase the size) Large 11-15 WD Yes 3-5 WD 10 WD 15 WD Add new dimension for example: Geography to Cost Center Details New New Request No 5-10 WD TBD TBD Headcount Planning A Center of Excellence should hold itself accountable for supporting the business in its use of Anaplan to enable Connected Planning. By following the production support framework, the Center of Excellence can play a critical role in assisting the business to realize the unique value and ensuring that the Center of Excellence continues to receive the care and resources needed to support continued future evolution. Follow these next steps to build your Center of Excellence. Return to: Center of Excellence Roles and Responsibilities Jump to next: Alternative Names for an Anaplan Center of Excellence
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We all know what we mean when we talk about an Anaplan Center of Excellence, (if not, first review our Introduction to a Center of Excellence). However, like most things, there are as many variations of Anaplan Centers of Excellence as there are Anaplan customers. And among the many elements of a Center of Excellence that may vary from customer to customer, the name itself is often a significant sticking point. One of the primary benefits of the Anaplan platform is that it can be entirely owned by the business users that depend on it without dependencies on an IT team for support, like most other enterprise platforms. That said, a Center of Excellence may be too reminiscent of these historical IT-owned applications; therefore cultural sensitivity is needed when naming your dedicated Anaplan team. Sensitivity in naming helps to ensure there is no confusion and that the group is owned and operated by the correct business function. What follows is a brief sample of alternative names for your Center of Excellence that may assist you in determining that appropriate name for your dedicated group of Anaplan governance professionals. Name Pros Cons Shared Services Center Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Very commonly used in Public Sector. Implies tactical focus, lessens focus on governance/strategic planning. Not well-known outside Public Sector. Captive Center Aligns with centralized model. Typically associated with offshore capabilities and commodity services/cost-reduction. Provide limited goals or value propositions. Global Business Services /  Multifunctional Shared Services Strong associations to and recognition within Finance and HR functions. Includes emphasis on business outcomes. Limited association with something owned by IT. May not alleviate sense of complexity typically associated with CoE. Global Insourced Center / Global Shared Services Organization Represents a more mature version of a Captive Center, including emphasis on strategic planning. Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Most commonly known in the IT space. Associated with cost-reduction activities. Global Competency Center Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Emphasis on non-commodity capabilities. May not alleviate sense of complexity typically associated with CoE. Traditionally associated with outsourcing ops. Additional Names Planning Command Center Shared Business Operations Business Operations Optimization Central Planning Team Planning/Anaplan Committee Business Enablement Team Community of Practice Decision Acceleration Group Return to: Center of Excellence Production Support Jump to next: Center of Excellence Resources
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What drives the need for a Center of Excellence? The need for a Center of Excellence 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 Center of Excellence to proactively handle the increase in use cases that the company can expect in the near future. Once established, the Center of Excellence can provide the following benefits to the organization: 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 Center of Excellence 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. Consistency Establishing a Center of Excellence 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 Center of Excellence will help drive consistency in data and metadata by eliminating duplicate data and avoiding shadow integration processes.  Model design The Center of Excellence will help drive consistency in model design by providing best practices in model architecture, calculation, performance optimization, and usability across the different Anaplan models deployed in the organization.  Processes The Center of Excellence promotes the consistent execution of business processes and methodologies. User experience The Center of Excellence 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. Knowledge Sharing Creating a Center of Excellence promotes knowledge sharing within an organization. The Center of Excellence may ultimately be responsible for the initial and ongoing training of end users in the Anaplan platform. Additionally, the Center of Excellence 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. Upstream / Downstream Development Creating and maintaining a Center of Excellence 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. Efficiency The Center of Excellence 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  Center of Excellence as a single source to implement new applications, promote platform use, share Anaplan best practices, and handle all training needs.  Governance Finally, a  Center of Excellence provides a central point of governance for the Anaplan projects across the organization. In a centralized mode, the  Center of Excellence 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  Center of Excellence will have the final say in platform updates and developments, which further drives consistency and efficiency in Anaplan. In a federated mode, the  Center of Excellence will assist local teams in their implementation and application roll out efforts as needed. In both cases, the  Center of Excellence 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. Return to: Introduction to Centers of Excellence Jump to next: Benefits of Establishing a Center of Excellence
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We all know what we mean when we talk about an Anaplan Center of Excellence, (if not, first review our Introduction to a Center of Excellence). However, like most things, there are as many variations of Anaplan Centers of Excellence as there are Anaplan customers. And among the many elements of a Center of Excellence that may vary from customer to customer, the name itself is often a significant sticking point. One of the primary benefits of the Anaplan platform is that it can be entirely owned by the business users that depend on it without dependencies on an IT team for support, like most other enterprise platforms. That said, a Center of Excellence may be too reminiscent of these historical IT-owned applications; therefore cultural sensitivity is needed when naming your dedicated Anaplan team. Sensitivity in naming helps to ensure there is no confusion and that the group is owned and operated by the correct business function. What follows is a brief sample of alternative names for your Center of Excellence that may assist you in determining that appropriate name for your dedicated group of Anaplan governance professionals. Name Pros Cons Shared Services Center Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Very commonly used in Public Sector. Implies tactical focus, lessens focus on governance/strategic planning. Not well-known outside Public Sector. Captive Center Aligns with centralized model. Typically associated with offshore capabilities and commodity services/cost-reduction. Provide limited goals or value propositions. Global Business Services /  Multifunctional Shared Services Strong associations to and recognition within Finance and HR functions. Includes emphasis on business outcomes. Limited association with something owned by IT. May not alleviate sense of complexity typically associated with CoE. Global Insourced Center / Global Shared Services Organization Represents a more mature version of a Captive Center, including emphasis on strategic planning. Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Most commonly known in the IT space. Associated with cost-reduction activities. Global Competency Center Aligns with centralized model focused on providing high-valued trained resources. Emphasis on non-commodity capabilities. May not alleviate sense of complexity typically associated with CoE. Traditionally associated with outsourcing ops. Additional Names Planning Command Center Shared Business Operations Business Operations Optimization Central Planning Team Planning/Anaplan Committee Business Enablement Team Community of Practice Decision Acceleration Group Return to: Center of Excellence Production Support Jump to next: Center of Excellence Resources
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