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I recently joined Anaplan from one of its larger software customers. I was a 2-year veteran of the Anaplan software when I came on board, having led the implementation of Anaplan at the customer.
In the 2 years with my prior company, I worked with a highly productive, self-sufficient team. I helped champion the development of an unofficial Center of Excellence (COE) organization that served as the focal point for all things Anaplan. All model building, internal support, and process design was focused within our small COE team.
We did, however, hire a Partner to implement one of our (more technical) use cases. It was at a time when our team was over-subscribed, and the growing interest in Anaplan had bubbled over, requiring that we bring in additional help to deliver on the simultaneous use cases that were being implemented.
Enter: Anaplan Partner
We had not worked with a Partner before, and had never been in a situation where we were trusting someone else to build on our behalf. We were accustomed to using our internal COE team, and with several use cases under our belts, we knew how to work well together.
We expected working with another team was going to be a learning experience.
And it sure was.
These are the Lessons (We) Learned about Working with a Partner.
- View your Partners as business advisors – most have deep industry experience, having worked with Finance and Sales organizations for several years. They will know best practices about your type of use case. While as a customer it may seem that every problem is unique to an organization, chances are it is something that the partner has seen before.
- Your Partners are software experts – Not only do they work with us because they are exceptional at implementing Anaplan, almost every single one of them has several years' experience with IBM, Oracle, and many other software providers.
- Anaplan’s Customer Success Business Partners and the Services Partners are on the same team – They should be viewed collectively as your Partner team. Both are not only motivated to help you through a successful implementation, they are firmly interested in making your extended journey with Anaplan a success. A rising tide lifts all boats – If your implementation is successful, and users are adopting your models, then everybody wins.
- Fight the temptation to “Lift and Shift” your models from Excel to Anaplan – Anaplan’s multi-dimensional capabilities, robust list management, and dashboarding features provide ways to re-shape existing business processes.
- If the age-old adage is “cannot fit a square peg into a round hole” – in this case can be applied to “do not try to shape the square peg to fit into a round hole”. Because it will fit. You can Lift and Shift, and to strong results. But if you want to unlock the value of Anaplan and build a high-performing, flexible solution, leverage the intel of your Partner and your Anaplan Customer Success team. They have seen it all, they have done it all.
- Expect to learn "The Anaplan Way" – Anaplan works with our Partners to ensure they are leveraging The Anaplan Way (TAW) best practices. TAW is based on agile, an industry leading standard for software implementation, and is crafted perfectly for customizable platforms such as Anaplan. You will learn about the rules of engagement, communication practices, and project management tools that will help make your implementation a success.
- Set clear expectations with both your internal team and your Partner
- Designate a central point of contact that will be accountable for updating on the Partner’s progress
- Stay close with the process to understand the nuances of the model design
- Mandate clear documentation – ensure they are documenting as they go along