Most of us on the Community have experienced an Anaplan implementation. Everything is exciting! There's a vision, a plan, iterations of development, dashboards and visualizations coming to life, etc.; all headed towards a successful Go-Live of the model.
But what happens after go-live? How do you keep our model healthy and up-to-date? How do you ensure your end users are still engaged and happy? How do you instill a culture of continuous improvement in your Anaplan ecosystem?
While Anaplan is known to be a flexible platform that can change and adapt easily with the needs of the business, you'll need a way to keep track of those changes so that your new Anaplan model can remain valuable, actively used, and healthy.
At Impetus Consulting Group, we've put together our thoughts on how to create a more streamlined process to manage requests from end users for your ever growing Anaplan environment. The goal is to establish open communication and transparency with the stakeholders of your Anaplan models.
We've broken this down into four main activities for the model builder team to think about while supporting Anaplan models:
Set Priorities for Requests
Write Detailed Requests (by end users)
1. CATEGORIZE REQUESTS
First step is understanding the common Anaplan request types. You often hear the words defects and enhancements when it comes to supporting a model. But what is the difference? We tend to breakdown defects into two categories (functionality vs usability) and a third for enhancements.
2. SET PRIORITIES FOR REQUESTS
After categorizing the requests, how do you know what items to work on sooner rather than later? Typically, defects will take priority over enhancements, but not always. What are some ways you can track how important each request is? Below is our recommendation of setting a request priority, from most to least important. When setting these priorities, keep in mind how many users the request will ultimately impact.
Must be fixed ASAP, addressed within 1 day
Typically for Functional issues: workflow is interrupted or there are major downstream impacts
i.e. an action button is broken, formula is producing inaccurate results
Should be fixed or worked on soon, addressed within 5 days
Typically also for Functional issues: parts of workflow may be interrupted, but there may be a workaround
i.e. import action is broken but can copy numbers into Anaplan in the meantime, summary or aggregated reports may have inaccurate results but data can be found elsewhere in the model
Should be fixed or worked on in the near future, addressed within 2-3 weeks
Typically for Usability issues or business critical enhancements
i.e. Dashboard / Page layouts, conditional formatting is inaccurate, a new enhancement for applying seasonality at a lower level in the org hierarchy
Should be fixed or worked on when there is availability from model building team
Typically for Usability issues (cosmetic and aesthetic) or nice to have Enhancements (new reports, etc.)
i.e. changes to decimal places or column widths, a new report to slice data a certain way only used for a limited set of users
3. WRITE REQUESTS
Now equipped with the understanding of different types of Anaplan requests, how can you enable users to communicate their requests more effectively? Here is a sample template that every request should follow so your model building team can triage the requests and set the priorities effectively and efficiently with the least amount of back and forth discussions.
Title (keep short to 5 - 8 words)
User Submitting Request (author of submission, can also list impacted users)
Page / Dashboard Name (where was issue found or enhancement to be created)
Steps to Reproduce (usually only for functionality or usability issues)
Attach Screenshots if applicable
Add priority if urgent
The model building team can then use this information to set a correct category and priority to the submitted request.
4. MANAGE REQUESTS
We've discussed how end users would write and submit a request, but what tools can you as the model building team utilize to manage requests and keep your process streamlined? Here are our tips:
Set regular cadenced meetings to review your queue to address new and existing requests
This can vary depending on how many users your model(s) support, how many people are part of the support team, and how often your business changes
We recommend at least visiting the list of requests on a monthly basis at a minimum
Set a communication method to update users on requests that have been implemented
i.e. regular newsletter showcasing important updates, regular meetings with key stakeholders/end users to review completed requests and align on next priorities
Choose a tool for managing your request lists
Some cloud based tools we've seen the most often when managing Anaplan requests have been Jira and Trello. This allows for a one-stop shop for all information related to requests, which improves organization and transparency while eliminating back and forth email tracking/phone conversations of request updates.
We recommend discussing this process before end of the Development Phase of your Implementation (1-2 weeks before the final Sprint Review). This process can then be utilized for both UAT and Post Go-Live Support.
Without you even knowing, creating this process is actually one way to start building a Center of Excellence at your organization to help manage a sustainable Anaplan ecosystem. We've found this structure to be extremely helpful when setting up a plan after each new model launch.
By setting a culture of continuous improvement to your existing Anaplan environment and active engagement with end users that their requests are being acknowledged, you'll have a much happier user base for your Anaplan platform, leading to a more robust roadmap. The small wins now can inspire ideas for new models and expand the connected planning journey. In a future blog post, we’ll discuss how your company’s long-term business roadmap and large Anaplan enhancements ideas can spark ideas for how your Anaplan ecosystem can evolve.
We look forward to hearing other's thoughts on this topic.
If you are interested in more COE topics or educational series, please reach out to us at email@example.com or check out our other blog posts on Community.
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Each year the Master Anaplanner Program recognizes a customer who exemplifies the qualities of an ideal Certified Master Anaplanner — including technical Anaplan ability, contributions within the broader Anaplan ecosystem, and a dedication to enabling Connected Planning within their company.
We turned to the community of Certified Master Anaplanners to decide which of their peers performed the best in 2019. We’re proud to announce who they chose: the winner of the 2020 Master Anaplanner of the Year award is Serena Zhang, Sales Operations Manager at Splunk.
Serena is an exceptional Certified Master Anaplanner who has been at the forefront of many of Anaplan’s initiatives over the past five years. In addition to maintaining her role as the lead Solution Architect of Splunk’s Center of Excellence, she spent 2019 making use of the thousands of additional licenses she secured, dedicating extra time to accommodating product testing and further demonstrating her willingness to help the broader ecosystem.
With her mastery in Anaplan, Serena has built very effective and scalable solutions for her team. These solutions have allowed her team to optimize their business planning — and, thanks to her architecture, one person can now manage the plan for 2/3 of the company headcount!
Her expertise has also led to the development of several exciting new product features: dynamic chart, customized sorting, and process builder. Serena identified ways to further enhance dynamic charts and collaborated with our product team to help with the roll-out. In 2019, she designed a customized sorting feature that helped optimize the user experience; the users are now able to sort people through the reporting hierarchy to do better and faster planning. This custom feature also caught the attention of an Anaplan partner who quickly adopted it for future use.
Splunk was involved in an early user research and testing project, and Serena went above and beyond in how she followed through with the implementation, giving Anaplan rich insights into the tested features and providing guidance that will improve future platform capabilities. The insights she helped uncover are being used to further develop the Anaplan user experience. Due to her key involvement with the product team, Serena presented at CPX on Anaplan’s platform enhancement and process management and participated in several User Groups to share best practices.
On top of all of this, she enthusiastically engaged with other customers as a reference on many occasions and completed additional customer surveys. She never hesitates to make time for those who need additional help on model building and is responsible for enabling over 20 Anaplan users over the course of her career — 5 of whom were mentored directly by her last year.
The Master Anaplanner Program has high expectations for the recipient of this award, and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize Serena as she embodies all the qualities of an ideal Certified Master Anaplanner. A huge thank you to the Splunk account team as well for enabling and supporting Serena on her journey.
Selecting this award winner has become an incredibly competitive process, and we had five highly-qualified finalists in consideration. We would also like to recognize these finalists for their remarkable accomplishments over the past year. We are thankful for their continued commitment and contributions and are sure they will continue to make their mark on the Anaplan ecosystem.
Please don’t hesitate to extend your congratulations to Serena (@SerenaZ) on this achievement!
Next up: The University Connect Program will announce the Student Anaplanner of the Year. Don’t forget to check back in June to find out who won this recognition.
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Over 200 of our customers have established an Anaplan Center of Excellence as it is fundamental in ensuring a solid foundation to enable true Connected Planning, as well as maximizing investment in the Anaplan platform.
Though every CoE is unique, we realized that all our customers followed very similar paths regardless of their industry, size, location, and Anaplan footprint. The maturity curve of a CoE can be simplified into 9 critical developmental stages:
A Center of Excellence Charter Template is available to help guide you on your CoE journey. This template outlines all 9 developmental stages your CoE should follow as it looks to further develops and matures along its way.
Screenshots of the Template
This charter will provide details of your Anaplan CoE’s mission and established processes that are best suited for your company. Please leverage this template to document your CoE’s current state and share with us the details so we can provide personalized support and share any lessons learned with the broader community.
Please submit your CoE Charter to Beauram Hur (firstname.lastname@example.org) for feedback and additional guidance.
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A recent study on a wide range of our customer CoEs has helped identify the shift in responsibilities for our most successful CoE Leads (quickly reference CoE Lead role and responsibilities). Our strongest CoE Leads have evolved into transformational leaders who focus on a new set of priorities for the success of their CoE.
In addition to managing the CoE’s operations and standardizations, the CoE Lead establishes relationships with those who not yet use Anaplan to showcase the value that it can bring to the overall business.
CoE Leads are driving transformation and acting as visionary leaders by “resetting processes, reconnecting the business, establishing requirements, and orchestrating the execution”. They are exemplary of true connected people as they work cross-functionally to push things forward to drive Connected Planning.
The emergence and distinction of this new CoE Lead role is a global phenomenon and has happened across 9 different industries with Consumer Products and Financial Services leading charge. Though 42% of our proclaimed CoE leads are also Certified Master Anaplanners, technical expertise is not required to be effective in this role.
Are you on a CoE and looking to get more involved? This is your chance to step up and be the CoE Lead who can take your CoE to a whole new level.
If you already are a CoE lead, please submit your CoE Charter so we can look to better support you.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the evolving role of the CoE Lead. What are your thoughts on this recent finding? We would like to hear from you.
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The Master Anaplanner Program issues personalized, verifiable credentials for every Certified Master Anaplanner.
An individual’s status as a Certified Master Anaplanner can only be validated by a combination of their name and their unique credential ID, both of which appear on their certificate. You can find their credential ID number in the top right corner of their certificate.
(Left: Digital certificate with unique QR code on top right corner; Right: Badge)
The Master Anaplanner Program does not use any other system to issue and verify Master Anaplanner credentials. Please do not accept any forms of verification that cannot be validated by the following method.
How to Validate a Master Anaplanner Credential
The certificate details are unique to each Certified Master Anaplanner. You can verify their status by sending your Anaplan representative a copy of the certificate or the individual’s first name, last name, and credential ID number. They will cross-reference these details with our internal records to confirm the individual’s status. Once verified, your representative can share more details on the credential such as issued and expiration dates.
How to Access a Verified Credential
Once you become certified as a Master Anaplanner, you will receive an email from MasterAnaplanners@Anaplan.com with your digital Master Anaplanner certificate and badge. A Certified Master Anaplanner may present a PDF or digital certificate as validation; either version will include a verifiable credential ID.
As this certification becomes increasingly recognized and coveted in the ecosystem, we want to reassure the broader ecosystem that maintaining the high standards for this certification and providing an easy, consistent method for all to verify the validity of this credential remain among our highest priorities.
Updated on July 29 th , 2020
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COVID-19: How the Master Anaplanner Community is supporting our Ecosystem & Beyond
As we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation with COVID-19, we know that the Master Anaplanner Community is uniquely qualified to be part of the solution. Every Certified Master Anaplanner goes through a competitive qualification process that proves their ability to build the best what-if solutions to any business problems. As the top 1% of our ecosystem and planning experts, they can take Anaplan to its fullest potential and develop creative solutions for complex challenges.
Therefore, we are hosting a Global Master Anaplanner virtual hackathon this Thursday (3/26) for Certified Master Anaplanners to build high impact models with out-of-the-box solutions to support current Anaplan customers, public departments, and nonprofits as they respond to the front lines of the global pandemic.
We are thankful to our Certified Master Anaplanners for being such an important part of the Anaplan ecosystem and for their willingness to dive in to use their skills for good to support our community, businesses and the world in response to the novel coronavirus. We will be sure to share the successful outcomes of this hackathon with the Community, and ensure credit is given where due!
While there’s still a lot of uncertainty with COVID-19, it’s going to take all of us working together – employees, customers, partners, and communities – to find a way forward and keep our eyes on the future.
Thank you and hope you are all staying safe.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the “Master Anaplanner Home” model? This model is your central control tower for your life as a Certified Master Anaplanner, including all of your rewards, information, and certification maintenance tasks (formally launching January 2020). You will be able to directly update your work and contact information for us, review and opt-in to participate in engagement activities as they come up throughout the year and track your status towards completing your annual certification maintenance requirements.
How do I access the “Master Anaplanner Home” model? This model is located in the Anaplan Centers of Excellence workspace within the Anaplan Centers of Excellence tenant, and all Certified Master Anaplanners are immediately added to the model upon becoming certified.
I use SSO/can’t see the model/get an error message when I go to MA Home. How do I get in? In a new incognito window (CTRL + SHIFT + N) or alternate browser (eg. If you use Chrome, try Firefox), go to Anaplan.com to log in via the Frontdoor. Click on ‘Forget password’ and you’ll receive an E-Mail from email@example.com , where you’ll be able to set a password to use. From there, you should be able to log in via the Frontdoor and access the Anaplan Centers of Excellence workspace. If it doesn’t work the first time, we suggest you try the alternative option from step 1 before contacting our team for support.
Where can I find more details on each engagement opportunity? Descriptions of each engagement opportunities will be stored in the Master Anaplanner Home model. They will include information such as a detailed definition of the engagement opportunity and what its participation entails, how many points you will accrue, and exactly how we track and award credit for participation.
How do I sign up for these engagement opportunities? Certain engagement opportunities, such as Community blog posts and public speaking opportunities, require advance scheduling and have limited availabilities. They will become available in the Master Anaplanner Home model where you can sign up for the opportunities that you’re interested in. We recommend checking in regularly to find new engagement opportunities throughout the year. Once you show interest, we will follow up with the next steps and get you started.
How are you tracking all of this? Tracking your efforts involves a two-prong approach. In an effort to be as automated as possible, we will pull all data that is readily available (i.e. # of Community forum replies). For opportunities that aren’t directly tied to a data source, we will know of your contributions based on what you register for in the Master Anaplanner Home model. We will verify that you’ve completed the tasks you signed up for throughout the year.
What is the time commitment? It’ll take roughly ~15 hours throughout the year to maintain your certification. We understand that some engagement opportunities will take more time and we encourage you to stay engaged with what you’re comfortable with.
What are the mandatory core trainings? For this year, Certified Master Anaplanners are required to complete the new Level 1 and Level 2 Model Builder trainings and any additional core Academy trainings that are launched before June 30 th , 2020, such as the anticipated launch of L3 (plus additional requirements where communicated separately for Partners). We will share the finalized list of required core trainings after June 30th.
How long will the mandatory training requirements take? While we encourage you to take the full training courses for personal development and to best enable your teams, we expect that you can test out of both L1 and L2 which should take approximately 6 hours to complete. Expected timings for future trainings will launch shortly after the release of those new certifications.
I want to get credit for something that’s not listed as an engagement opportunity. How can I see if it qualifies and for how many points? The Master Anaplanner Home model will have the ability for you to suggest new engagement opportunities that you’re passionate about. We will then evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and determine if it qualifies for this year’s maintenance requirements and its point value.
What else should I look out for?
December 10, 2019: Beta version of the Master Anaplanner Home model is ready
December 13, 2019: Live Q&A Session (recording available to Certified Master Anaplanners by request)
January 2020: Maintenance requirements and full Master Anaplanner Home model go live!
Throughout the Year: You will receive regular updates and reminders on your status
December 2020: Final review of maintenance requirements for 2021 Certified Master Anaplanners
January 2021: Certified Master Anaplanners are notified
I want to opt-out of the maintenance requirements and therefore the Master Anaplanner Certification. What’s the process? Though we really don’t want to see you go, we understand if you wish to phase out of this certification. There’s no action required on your part and you will maintain your Master Anaplanner Certification until the end of 2020. We will look to provide a transparent and graceful way for you to exit the program.
Last updated on 03/30/2020.
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