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We are very excited to be guiding you in your Anaplan journey! Even if you have been through a software implementation before, we want to ensure you have the tools to be successful with Anaplan. This is why we have documented The Anaplan Way. At this stage, you have already completed the Pre-Release phase and are moving into the Foundation phase.
In the Foundation phase, we will:
- Prepare and complete the project kick off
- Gather and document requirements through user stories
- Determine the level of effort to obtain the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- Create a project plan, including the appropriate resources
We appreciate the information you have been able to provide us so far regarding what you are looking to achieve in Anaplan, as it serves as a foundation for us to go the next level deeper. In anticipation for kick off, there are a few pieces of information we ask that you prepare to share with us:
- Your process
- Your data
- Your resources
During the Foundation phase, one of the first steps is walking through your business process as it stands today. We typically see this shared through PowerPoint, flow charts, or a whiteboarding exercise. The process should include what data needs to be pulled together in Anaplan (imports), what happens with the data once it is in Anaplan (calculations, planning, updates), and where the new information needs to go after (exports). This provides a baseline for what the process is today.
To build on the current process, we need to understand any anticipated changes. We recommend budgeting time during the requirements gathering process to analyze the current process and complete an analysis on where you are and where you want to be. This could lead to changes to the process itself based on potential business growth or organizational change. It is critical you are transparent about this in the beginning; As we design the model, we need to make it flexible enough for you to use into the future while taking into consideration performance, scalability, and usability.
Lastly, it is best to keep your first release simple and iterate as you become comfortable and confident in the tool. For this reason, we also need to understand what Anaplan’s part of the process will be today and in the future.
After we have these three parts (current process, known changes, Anaplan’s part in the process), we can better lead you through the user story writing process.
Is your data Anaplan-ready? More often than not, it will not be 100% Anaplan-ready. Frequently, we see the need for formatting changes, manual tweaks, ragged hierarchies, or a lack of key identifiers. This does not mean the data is unusable, but it might require additional work from either your IT team or the implementation team. In order to quickly identify how to get it to 100%, there are a few data preparation steps we ask you to follow:
- Identify the data source. The three most common are: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Human Resource Information System (HRIS)
- Have an example file available from each source system. If it is not a production example, be prepared for questions around structural differences, production data volume differences, and when the implementation team can expect the production file.
- Understand the purpose of the data. The purpose is four-fold: 1) what part of the process is dependent on the data, 2) who uses it, 3) how often, and 4) when does the end user need it?
Now that you have made the decision to implement Anaplan, you need to finalize the resources who will participate in the project itself. In order to finalize this, you should think about what the expectations will be for this resource; i.e. responsibility, level of time commitment, and number of people playing each role.
During milestone meetings–such as kick off, sprint reviews, and testing–you will tend to have an expanded group including all end users, business owners, and others impacted or interested in Anaplan. During more frequent meetings such as scrum meetings and working sessions, you will tend to have only the core group participating. This core group will include Model Builders, Business Owners, and Project Managers.
The commitment is typically low (1-15 hours per week), medium (15-25 hours per week), or high (25-35 hours per week). Hours and commitment tend to fluctuate throughout the project, depending on your role. Generally, executive sponsors, end users, and data experts or IT tend to be high in the beginning, low or medium throughout implementation, and high during User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and go-live. To better understand expectations and availability of resources, discuss with your implementation team leader (Business Partner or Solution Implementation Manager) so they can best guide you.
To help you finalize the resources, review this reference list with the details outlined above:
|Type of Person||Responsibilities||Time Commitment||Quantity (typically)|
|Executive Sponsor||Champion, escalation point, owns the vision||Low||1 person on the team|
|Business Owner||Defines goals, roles and responsibilities of the team, knows the process||Medium - high||1 person on the team|
|Model Builder||Builds and manages model and carries out maintenance ongoing||High||1-3 people on the team|
|Project Manager||Tracks completion of tasks assigned to customer team, could lead calls, scheduling, and logistics OR support the implementation Project Manager with those tasks||Medium||1 person on the team|
|Process Expert||Expert on the current process and any upcoming changes to the process||Medium||2-5 people on the team, with varying responsibilities regarding the process execution|
|IT/Data Expert||Expert on the data sources and available tools (e.g. ETL, BI)||Medium||1-2 people on the team|