In the first part of “The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning” series, the Community team spoke with Chief Planning Officer Simon Tucker about the importance of the 'people' pillar of Connected Planning and the need for a cultural shift within an organization. In part two, we took a look at the 'data' pillar and what companies should consider when it comes to importing their data into the Anaplan platform. In part three, Simon discusses the importance of the 'plans' pillar of Connected Planning.
What is your definition of ‘plans’ when it comes to Connected Planning, and why is this pillar important?
Simon: "Plans are the execution of strategic objectives—it’s the plan you put in place. It’s distinct from a budget, which is static; plans are more dynamic. What people are actually doing is planning on a more frequent basis and using platforms like Anaplan to run the business.
It’s all about how you execute on a strategic objective, how you change and tweak the plan and how quickly you change and tweak that plan to execute on the strategic objectives, despite environmental conditions like macroeconomics and competitors. That’s why plans are very important within a Connected Planning context.
"In today’s planning and decision-making world, companies need to be far more agile and analyze what happened in the past, mix that with the present to then predict what will happen in the future, connecting all the critical areas of the business together to see, ahead of time, what the financial statements will look like and then as a result, what decision will be made. But more importantly, it’s taking action from those insights. Unlike a BI or reporting solution, good planning platforms allow companies to redirect actions taken by people in the business as a result of the insights they have made."
How is Connected Planning different from regular planning and how can it transform a company?
Simon: "The main difference between Connected Planning and regular planning is the connectivity between the business functions, and therefore, how the data flows from one function to another to affect the P&L cash flow and balance sheet. Either budgets or plans are done in most business functions, but they’re done in a silo. Connected Planning actually connects all the different plans across the organization. What flows between those plans is the data—that connective tissue. It’s basically drivers, inputs, and outputs. Therefore, it is a balancing act up and down the major functions to achieve the strategic goals of the company while efficiently using the resources a company has. As things change, the balance is disrupted, and tweaks have to be made to still achieve the goals of the company.
"An example of that would be output from sales that would drive a marketing plan. The plan says we need to generate $20 billion in revenue. Marketing then reverse engineers that and says, “In order to get enough leads to generate $20 billion, we have to do the following activities.” In essence, you translate financial goals into operational, tactical execution, such as the number of campaigns you’ll need to create, your average ACV, and how many opportunities you’ll need in order to generate $20 billion. Once you have that information, you extrapolate from there."
What impact does the Chief Planning Officer have on the ‘plans’ pillar of Connected Planning?
Simon: "The Chief Planning Officer (CPO) has a huge impact because the CPO is the person who is holistically and strategically across all plans of the organization. He or she is the person that facilitates the taking of the transaction systems, the data, the metadata—taking it into a central hub and then splitting that hub into the different use cases that are connected across the organization. They’re pivotal in the strategy and the execution of those plans across the organization. The CPO is the steward of critical business decisions and ensures the agility and flexibility needed for the entire organization to keep up with business change and yet still execute strategic goals."
How do you get a company and all its employees onboard with the plan that you’re trying to achieve with the Anaplan platform?
Simon: "The trick is you have to think with the end-user in mind if you’re going to push your plans out to the edge of the organization. Everybody plans every single day, but they use spreadsheets and goodness knows what else, disconnected from the main plan. If you’re going to push the central plan out to someone, make sure it’s actually doing good and it’s actually making their daily job easier, not harder. Cut down on the time it takes for people to actually do their plans and make decisions. That’s why you have to think about the end-user in mind first, otherwise, you won’t drive adoption in the organization. You have to empower them to see insights and take new actions."
What is a challenge that companies will face when it comes to Connected Planning?
Simon: "Change! Believe it or not, even if someone is using a very difficult process, it’s a process they know, and they don’t want to change that process. They feel bad about changing it. People inherently don’t like change, so you have to prove to people that you’re going to make their lives easier and they can make quicker, faster decisions and make their job better on a daily basis. That’s the biggest challenge."
More from Simon Tucker:
The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning: Part 1—People
The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning: Part 2—Data
Who and What is a Chief Planning Officer?
Connected Planning brings people together, promoting collaborative decision making, greater insight from collective intelligence, and rapid alignment to business changes. In part four of The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning series, we will discuss how the three pillars—people, data, and plans—work together in Connected Planning.
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Join us for our next Anaplan Live! Spotlight event on Thursday, July 9 at 10 am CDT. Solutions Consulting Manager Jen Wang (@jentwang) , Sr. Solutions Consultant Yelena Keselman ( @yelena_keselman) , and Centers of Excellence Leader Chris Weiss (@ChrisWeiss) will discuss the ins and outs of effective Anaplan demonstrations.
Ask your questions during the live event to get instant responses from our presenters! Head to this page, add the event to your calendar, and we'll see you at the live virtual event on July 9!
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This month we interviewed Certified Master Anaplanner Rachel Goering, who was recently named Center of Excellence Lead of the Year, about how her certification helps her guide her team of model builders. Rachel Goering is a finance manager at DaVita Kidney Care. She joined DaVita over three years ago after several years in investment management. As a Certified Master Anaplanner for the last year and CoE leader for over two years, Rachel has connected her business acumen to technical Anaplan configuration skills to lead a team in their mission of enabling users within departments to take responsibility for their own Anaplan solutions, following a common set of modeling standards and best practices.
Rachel Goering, Finance Manager, DaVita Kidney Care Tell us about yourself. What is your current role, and how do you personally use Anaplan?
Hi everyone! My name is Rachel Goering and I manage the Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE) at DaVita. I started my Anaplan journey as a model builder within the CoE and now lead a team of five model builders. Our CoE supports 5,000 users, ~90 model builders on other teams, and 80+ production models. One of our CoE’s main responsibilities is to proactively work with finance teams and field operators to identify their planning needs and develop Anaplan reports to satisfy their requirements.
Every department has challenges. What challenges does your team typically face, and how does Anaplan help you be successful in overcoming them?
Our biggest challenges with such a large user base are communication and training new users on the tools available to them in Anaplan. In 2019, we launched a weekly training program led by subject matter experts to guide field operators through the financial tools available to them, highlighting Anaplan tips and tricks along the way. The training program has been a great way for us to communicate new model enhancements to our end-users as well.
You’re a Certified Master Anaplanner—congratulations! What helped you to achieve this great accomplishment, and how does it benefit you in your career?
Since starting at DaVita, I have had the opportunity to work on a large variety of models with different use cases and different requirements. Whenever encountering something new, I leveraged the resources provided by Anaplan to learn from the experts. Anapedia does a fantastic job of diving deep into how calculations work and providing examples so that you can add new formulas to your toolkit. The Anaplan Community was incredibly helpful in understanding how others have executed certain requirements in their models and identifying workarounds for complex implementations.
The Master Anaplanner certification allows me to provide better oversight for the models built by my team. I am able to use my knowledge to guide my team on the best way to structure models and incorporate best practices such as our favorite: D.I.S.C.O.
The Community is a great place to collaborate and learn. Based on your experience, what advice would you offer to Community members?
One of the biggest lessons we learned when building out our Center of Excellence was the importance of governance and standardization. It is important to ensure users have a consistent experience across models so that they understand how to navigate the models and get to the information they need. A standard user at DaVita has access to approximately 20 models. We don’t want them to have to attend training for each model; it should instead be straightforward and intuitive enough for them to navigate each model without training. To ensure that consistent user experience, our team put together a document of best practices that details how to build a model aligned with DaVita’s standards. All workspace administrators are required to adhere to this best practices document.
Once we rolled out Anaplan, our team was bombarded with new development requests. At first, we built everything that came to us but quickly realized that this method was unsustainable for us, as well as our users. To alleviate this pain point, we created a governance committee consisting of end-users and subject matter experts to vet any new development requests. This allowed our team to focus on the reports that would provide the biggest impact to our end-users.
"It is important to ensure users have a consistent experience across models so that they understand how to navigate the models and get to the information they need."
More From Certified Master Anaplanners:
Certified Master Anaplanner David Elston Shares His Anaplan Tips for Success
Certified Master Anaplanner Sarah Roberts—Harnessing the Power of Anaplan
You have been named the CoE Lead of the Year! How do you feel about that? Tell us about what you do with your CoE.
I am thrilled to be named CoE Lead of the Year! DaVita has put a lot of intention behind the development of its Center of Excellence, and it’s exciting to see that recognized.
In my role leading the CoE, I oversee the development and maintenance of models, adherence to model building best practices, and training for model builders and end-users. My Master Anaplanner certification helps me do these tasks efficiently and effectively.
We want to thank Rachel for her CoE insights! Do you have any questions for our Certified Master Anaplanner? Post them in the comments below.
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Talent Builder is a great way to start your Certified Model Builder journey. But do you wonder what it's like to go through the learning process?
In our latest blog on the Community, hear from @davidmccarty and @gariewalsh about their experience as they entered the Anaplan ecosystem and began their training: Q&A: Launching Your Certified Model Builder Journey
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As more people outside of the Anaplan ecosystem hear about the power of our platform, they're asking, "How can I get involved?" We recently spoke to two such individuals who took an interest in Anaplan and paved their own way toward becoming a model builder.
Meet David McCarthy and Garie Walsh. Both individuals come from very different backgrounds but have one driving similarity: a passion for learning new technology mixed with a genuine curiosity about the Anaplan platform.
Tell us about your career journey and the role planning has played along the way.
David: "I spent over 25 years developing, consulting, and selling software and technology solutions to the consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) and retail industries. I’ve worked for a number of different-sized companies, from startups to big companies like IBM. Along the way, I’ve been involved in a number of different domains that are relevant to planning functions. For example, in CPG, there’s trade promotion management or trade promotion planning. I spent a lot of years building out those kinds of solutions, supply chain planning, demand planning, etc."
Garie: "I didn’t go to university. I came straight into the world of work as a trainee finance officer back in 1991. I worked with manual cash books, learning how debits and credits worked. I took on various bookkeeping roles—that was my training ground. I always managed to choose organizations that would embrace technology. I helped retail businesses acquire new businesses, set up new channels, new markets, and new geographical areas to work in. We did that through acquisition and organic growth, so I was building planning models that could cope with new acquisition scores and organic growth scores. That really has been the backbone to my success in finance—understanding technology as the enabler to efficiency, effectiveness, and insight. That took me to ultimately working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, where I was hired to regrow their finance consulting practice."
How did you hear about Anaplan, and how did you decide to pursue it as part of your career journey?
David: "I left IBM last year to work for a small startup, and things just weren’t exactly working out. So, towards the end of the year, I decided to pursue other opportunities, and a really good friend of mine had landed a job at Anaplan. He was talking up Anaplan, so I started looking more at what they were doing. I got really excited about it because it seemed like a number of the challenges and gaps that I had seen over the years—especially in CPG and retail—were now being solved with this concept of Connected Planning. I was really intrigued by the concept. My friend connected me with some folks at Anaplan and I had my interview out at the corporate office toward the end of January or early February.
"At that very time, COVID came along and put the brakes on just about everything, so I decided to see what was available from a training perspective. The breadth and depth of the training and education materials are amazing. Then, I joined the Anaplan Community and participated in the Ask Me Anything session with Anaplan CEO Frank Calderoni. I asked him a question and he answered—it was really pretty cool. Finally, I saw Fran Murphy, Sr. Director of Community, talking about Talent Builder on Anaplan Live!, and thought: I’m not working and sequestered at home, so I’ll do this learning. I thought it can’t hurt to learn more about Anaplan, and maybe eventually I’ll get to work at Anaplan or work for a business partner.
"I started on the model-building journey and did the level-one model builder training. Then I worked on level two, which is a lot more challenging. Then recently I completed all the training needed to become an Anaplan Certified Model Builder. That’s how I got involved. I just jumped into the deep end of the pool. There are so many resources out there that it made it pretty easy for someone like myself to get help and to get educated. I have not found anything even close to what I consider the two pieces to the puzzle: it’s the training itself—that rich content, and the Community and ecosystem. When you bring those two things together, it is such a differentiator. I have not seen anything quite like it. Anaplan punches above their weight when it comes to a lot of capabilities."
There are so many resources out there that it made it pretty easy for someone like myself to get help and to get educated.
Garie: "About a year after joining PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), I met Michael Gould (the founder of Anaplan). He helped us build some OpEx, CapEx position models. Anaplan wasn’t enterprise-wide as a model at that time. That was my first experience with Anaplan. After PwC, I’ve been independent for the last four years. I’ve used all of that career experience in finance, plus the six years in consulting, to put together a service offering that covers financial planning and analysis. I’m more of an advisor than I am a financial accountant.
"I saw Anaplan as an analytics tool first. We weren’t really planning traditional forecast scenarios and budgets and things like that, so the technical finance planning wasn’t being done in the tool. But over a period of time, I could see how it was evolving from analytics to a tool that helps make decisions for the future.
"So far I’ve passed Level 1 Anaplan Model Building. Then I’ve launched out into LinkedIn, sharing my own materials on how to do finance transformation. Where I’m at with Anaplan is, when I get a job opportunity to advise somebody that has pain points in planning, I can talk to the product with hands-on experience. I can reference the Community and reference the advantages of Anaplan. Our finance community in the U.K. tends to think that unless you know the application, you can’t really help them with the solution, so sometimes there’s nothing more important for our client than to be able to show that I’ve rolled my sleeves up. The training itself was absolutely on point. The mixture of jumping into a presentation and testing of knowledge, and then building a model as you go through—there’s nothing like actually rolling your sleeves up and playing a bit."
More About Anaplan Careers:
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What advice would you have for others considering this path and how to best move forward?
David: "I think I’d give three pieces of advice. The first is, just do it. Don’t be worried about your technical background. Just start. There are so many tools and so many resources available to help you get started on the journey. Just get started and go at your own pace. The second: don’t get discouraged. I find that sometimes I’ll bump into a little bit of a wall. The trick is just to walk away and take a break and then come back to it. Finally, stay involved. It is a community, and the ecosystem is only as strong as people’s willingness to contribute. I was actually able to help answer a question someone had on the forum early in my journey, so there’s no reason why everyone can’t give back. We need to help each other out."
Just start. There are so many tools and so many resources available to help you get started on the journey. Just get started and go at your own pace.
Garie: "For those that have a genuine interest in pressing Alt/F11 in Excel, you’re basically creating the code of what Anaplan actually does. Why spend all your time creating something that’s already there in terms of the language of the program? Learn Anaplan and become a champion. Be an Anaplanner, in other words.
"Finance needs to be relevant, and the way to do that is to leverage these trainings to become a trusted business advisor in order to have a seat at the table with your finance team. Understand your business drivers, and understand the data and the tools that you can use to be that trusted advisor."
Are you interested in starting your Anaplan journey? Join the Anaplan Talent Builder program and get access to a 90-day free trial through Anaplan Access.
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Did you miss our first Anaplan Live! Spotlight event? The recording of the live discussion is posted here!
In the live event, our presenters discussed all things Anaplan Helps! Watch the video to l earn how the program is helping support customers during this challenging time and hear from MAs about the applications they created during our recent Hackathon. If you have questions, post them in the comments below the video!
Spotlight presenters include:
Pierre Kerkinni, Director of Anaplan on Anaplan, Anaplan (@pierre_kerkinni)
Sarah Roberts, Management Analyst, City of Tallahassee (@SRoberts)
Camille Maurice, Manager Data & Analytics, MeltOne Advisory (@cmaurice)
Joe McLoughlin, Consultant, Platform Specialists (@jmcloughlin)
Diana Xu, Sales Operations Consultant, Equifax (@daian)
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Did you know the Anaplan Community is on LinkedIn?
We are nearly 3,300 members strong and growing daily! Join the group to connect and learn from like-minded individuals in the Anaplan ecosystem. In the group, you can stay up to date on what's happening on the Community, including events, new content, and trending forum discussions. You can also connect with new and experienced model builders, as well as companies looking to hire!
Join today, browse the latest posts, and introduce yourself to the group!
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Do you want to know more about how predictive analytics can make Connected Planning easier? Our latest Ask Me Anything session with Deloitte's Nick Vandesype is NOW open! Post your questions!
Anaplan is a perfect enabler to make predictive analytics digestible and consumable. The real value of predictive analytics comes when you can integrate it with a planning solution. Hear more from Nick (@nickvandesype), Lead Predictive & Algorithmic Forecasting in Switzerland, on how predictive analytics can make Connected Planning easier.
How to participate in the Ask Me Anything segment:
1. Watch Nick's Ask Me Anything video on predictive analytics (video goes LIVE on Monday, April 27 at 8 a.m. SCT).
3. Post your questions in the comment section below the video.
4. Nick will be checking the page all week and answering your questions! The AMA will close at the end of the week on Friday, May 1 at 5 p.m. CST.
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In the first part of “The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning” series, the Community team spoke with Chief Planning Officer Simon Tucker about the importance of the “people” pillar of Connected Planning and the need for a cultural shift within an organization . In part two, we take a look at the “data” pillar and what companies should consider when it comes to importing their data into the Anaplan platform.
What is your definition of “data” when it comes to Connected Planning, and why is this pillar important?
Simon: "There are two aspects of data when it comes to Connected Planning. The first is that data really is that flow of the drivers that go across the different use cases that really make up Connected Planning. So, data, in terms of drivers, outputs, and inputs from different use cases, is important for Connected Planning. All of those hit the P&L cash flow and balance sheets; that’s the first type of data that’s important. The second type of data that’s important that feeds the flow that goes across the Connected Planning for all the different use cases is the data and the metadata–the things that we record, the transactions that we record in the business."
What should companies that are transitioning to Connected Planning consider when it comes to their data?
Simon: "Companies have to realize that no company’s data is perfect, and they can’t wait for it to be perfect. Anaplan as a platform gives lots of different ways that you can spit data out of different transaction systems in a very simple way, all the way up to a very sophisticated way to get data into the Anaplan solution.
"Fast start with the Anaplan platform is to literally go from all the basics—from just a text file out an ERP system—all the way to getting an API to an ERP system into the Anaplan system. It’s a journey, but you can get going very quickly with the tools and technologies that we’ve got on the platform.
"But what they should consider is actually creating a central hub. It doesn’t matter whether that’s an enterprise data warehouse in EDW or whether it’s an Anaplan hub. You’ve got to get from your transaction systems a central location that merges all that different data and metadata across all the different transaction systems into one hub that can be then used for the different use cases across Anaplan—that’s the biggest consideration."
What is one of the most challenging aspects of the “data” pillar, and what can companies do to overcome that challenge?
Simon: "The most challenging is data accuracy and data cleanliness. A really basic example of that is customer lists. Amazingly enough, a lot of customers struggle with actually getting a single list of all their customers. They may have multiple ERPs. One will say IBM, the other one will say International Business Machines, but they’re the same customer. So that’s one of the challenges: multiple data sources and actually merging all those data sources together.
"The other challenge companies have is thinking that they need to perfect their data before they start the process of planning. In actual fact, that process of data cleanliness is an ongoing journey that they have to take."
Q: Do you have any examples of how customers have gone about cleaning up their data?
Simon: "I’ll give you one example. What one customer does is every single year for four months, they get a team of people to literally clean the data. Other times what people will do is actually use Anaplan as a reference point, meaning they’ll clean the data, put it into Anaplan, and Anaplan becomes the source of records."
What impact does the Chief Planning Officer have on the “data” pillar of Connected Planning?
Simon: "The CPO has a huge impact because data really drives the planning and decision-making process. The Chief Planning Officer is the person who needs to understand from the data architects in the organization, ‘Where do I need to take data from, what data source, what frequency?’ They are going to set the cadence, set the plumbing, as it were, and get IT to actually plumb those connections from those data sources into the Anaplan system."
What is a mistake that customers sometimes make when it comes to data?
Simon: One of the biggest mistakes that customers make is they don’t think about data upfront. They’re very obsessed with building the models and figuring out the business process. They get halfway through that and figure out that the data is bad, and no one has even started looking at it. Data is one of the fundamental pillars in the Anaplan Way that we publish, so you’ve got to start thinking about data right upfront. Get someone to start looking at it."
More from Simon Tucker:
The 3 Pillars of Connected Planning: Part 1—People
Who and What is a Chief Planning Officer?
Simon Tucker Says: Be Agile With Your Plans
Connected Planning brings people together, promoting collaborative decision making, greater insight from collective intelligence, and rapid alignment to business changes. In part three of our Connected Planning pillars series, we will talk to Simon about the “plans” pillar and how Connected Planning can transform a company.
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This AMA is now closed. Thanks for your participation! Scroll down to read the questions and answers posted during our live week-long event. Want to continue the conversation? Head over to the Centers of Excellence discussion board!
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Check out the questions and answers from our latest Ask Me Anything session. Chris Weiss, who runs our global strategy for customer Centers of Excellence, along with other CoE experts, answered questions all throughout last week.
Over 200 of our customers have built an Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE). Help to jump-start your journey to launching your own CoE by checking out the video and questions and answers in the comments.
*This AMA is now closed. Scroll down to read the questions and answers posted during our live week-long event. Want to continue the conversation? Head over to the Centers of Excellence discussion board!
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In our latest Ask Me Anything session, Anaplan CEO Frank Calderoni talked about the future of the Anaplan platform and answered your questions in an exclusive week-long event. Frank shared his excitement about the new user experience and mobile interface, platform connectors, and AI and predictive planning capabilities.
**Our live Q&A window is now closed. Please see @frank_calderoni's answers in the comments below.
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We're excited to announce this year's Community Bosses. The Community Boss program aims to recognize customers, partners, and employees who go out of their way to encourage, advise, and share knowledge with their fellow Anaplan Community members. This select group of Community influencers frequently shares their expertise and best practices, offering a strong voice of knowledge.
Meet the Winners
Check out the list of the 2020 Community Bosses below. Community Bosses, we thank you for your ongoing contributions. Your expertise and input contribute to the success of the Anaplan ecosystem. Keep up the great work!
Want to learn more about how you can work toward becoming the next Community Boss? Check out the Community Boss page to see our selection criteria and the rewards and benefits of becoming a Community Boss.
Are you attending CPX? Be sure to congratulate a newly appointed Community Boss for their engagement and collaboration!
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Notice something new? Welcome to the new and improved Anaplan Community! Designed to deliver a best-in-class experience, it's everything you know and love—and more. New features make it easier to connect and improved search options make finding solutions simple. Let's take a look at what else has changed. Honeycomb banner
Ask the Community menu Enhanced navigation delivers a one-click experience for popular sections like Best Practice and Idea Exchange.
A new look and feel make your entire experience more intuitive.
Search just got easier with an “Ask the Community” button, bringing you the content you want—quickly.
An eye-catching honeycomb banner provides a streamlined way to reach connection points.
Improved ways to filter content generate the results you’re seeking even faster.
A new user directory takes connecting with fellow Anaplanners to a whole new level.
Mobile-friendly, responsive design allows you to take the Community with you everywhere!
Got questions? Check out the Community Release Blog for complete details of everything's that's changed.
We’re Just Getting Started!
There's a lot happening, but it's just the beginning. Stay tuned for more features—Community Boss leaderboard, live chat support, and gamification—coming soon!
We’re also launching our first edition of Community Connect, a newsletter designed with you in mind. We’re helping you stay on top of the latest content and discussions in the Community, delivered straight to your inbox.
Take some time to explore the site and let us know what you like most about the redesign! Then, don’t miss a thing when you subscribe to the Community blog.
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The Anaplan Community is gearing up for an impressive change! We know you want even more valuable content and better ways to connect with Anaplanners around the world, so we've created just that. When you log in during the evening of November 21, you'll experience a new Anaplan Community! Don't worry, all the things you loved about the old design—such as Best Practices, Forums, and the Idea Exchange—will still be there...but in an easier-to-navigate way.
New and Improved Navigation
The Community site will have an enhanced design layout that will provide a better user experience. Top-level navigation—such as Best Practices and Idea Exchange—will be easier to find, and overall navigation will be more intuitive. You'll also find it easier to create your content and connect with Community members!
Streamlined Ideas Exchange Experience
The Idea Exchange has always been the place to share your ideas and rate other Anaplanners' ideas. These ideas are monitored and may eventually be implemented to improve the Anaplan platform or Community. The new page allows you to easily filter ideas by labels (such as modeling, training, and data integrations) as well as statuses (such as new idea, needs support, and under investigation), and see if others have suggested your idea.
Mobile-Friendly and Responsive Design
You've asked and we listened! The new Community design will be mobile-friendly as well as responsive. This means easier navigation on any type of computer screen as well as easy access from your mobile device.
Introducing the User Directory
Our members want to connect, and we've made it easier to do so! You will be able to visit the user directory to easily connect with individuals in the Anaplan Community. You can search for individuals by name, user name, location, rank, and role.
'Ask the Community' Widget
In the spirit of Connected Planning, we want you to easily stay connected to all things Anaplan. A new 'Ask the Community' drop down menu will provide one-click navigation to popular Community stops. You can easily Ask the Community a question, start a discussion in the platform forum, suggest an idea, and get help with training.
These are just some of the new features you'll notice in the Community. With nearly 50,000 members—and growing—the Community is here to empower you as you navigate your Connected Planning journey!
Are you excited about the redesign? Leave us a comment, and let us know what you think.
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Planning was scary for Karen, a supply chain manager for an international supplier of monster goods. That is... until she learned about how Anaplan can help her accelerate decision-making.
Be more like these monsters and learn how you can accelerate your decision-making: navigator.anaplan.com
Thank you to everyone who made this video possible!
@KayneSchwarz and @JamiesonC for direction, screenplay, and cinematography.
@noelle_murphy as Karen, the vampire.
@YelenaKibasova as the zombie, and for makeup and set decorations.
@willians.s as Frankenstein's monster.
@paul.huston as the mummy.
@Miran, @HannahT, @penny.springer, and @eryn.pluim as office monsters.
@AaronW as narrator.
@F.Murphy as Executive Producer.
Special thanks to @daniel.louie , @Craig_Williams, @linda_lee_1, and @andrew_harris_1.
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Chief Planning Officer Simon Tucker speaking at CPX 2019.
As you’ve surely heard by now, Anaplan is the pioneer of Connected Planning—an approach that uses next-generation technology to connect people, data, and plans across the enterprise to combine strategic insight with business foresight. Ultimately, this allows decision-makers and entire organizations to plan and pivot around changes in their organization, industry, or even the global economy at a moment’s notice.
Although we understand the basics of the methodology, we wanted to take a deeper look into the three pillars that make up Connected Planning: people, data, and plans. Recently, the Anaplan Community team spoke with Chief Planning Officer Simon Tucker about the importance of these three elements in the Connected Planning methodology.
In the first part of our three-part series on the pillars of Connected Planning, Simon answered our questions about the “people” pillar and the need for a cultural shift within an organization.
What is your definition of “people” when it comes to Connected Planning?
Simon: “People are everything. It’s anyone who is in the decision-making process—it’s the people all the way from the top (strategic) to the bottom (operational). That’s why we have the expression ‘all planning for all people.’ Everyone needs to plan and be connected in that process to balance priorities and financial investments and outcomes for the business. The problem comes when people don’t, or won’t, collaborate. All the different areas of the business are impacted by a single action by someone and therefore a reaction by someone else. These changes, however small, can have huge impacts across the organization, so maintaining that connection and using an enterprise planning platform to cope with the ultimate change and ebb and flow of business is critical.”
What is one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a fully integrated, connected company, and what can companies do to overcome that challenge?
Simon: “Years ago, the technology depicted—some would even say forced—how a company did planning, analysis, and decision making. There was little flexibility. The ‘people’ aspect really didn't come into it. They just had to follow the way planning was done. Processes became very skewed, elongated, and convoluted, simply because the technology basically deemed it so. As a result, planning and decision making were slow. People navigated back to spreadsheets and existed in their own isolated world. Enterprise solutions have become bloated, complex and slow to incorporate changes in a world that was becoming more global, competitive, volatile and highly changeable.
"In the last few years, there’s been a revolution, and we like to think we're leading that revolution. We have a platform that has taken all the flexibility and modeling capabilities of a spreadsheet and the sophistication of an OLAP engine, and then added the scalability of an ERP. Business analysts and decision-makers from the business can now model any different business process and scenario that they desire, mirroring the business process that is needed.
"What we are seeing and being told by our customers is that people have to change their behavior and collaborate with far more transparency. There’s a lot less ability to hide and cover things up. You've now got a platform where everyone's collaborating on the same set of data, with the same assumptions, and with full visibility all the way through the decision-making process. The technology can now flex and do whatever you need it to do. As a result, people have to learn how to collaborate and deal with transparency more effectively.
"Traditionally, units were fairly autonomous—some might say siloed. Today they are involving themselves in processes they wouldn't typically get involved in, particularly cross-functionally, and having conversations they wouldn't typically have. Ultimately, businesses are now asking themselves, ‘Is my organization geared up to change in such a volatile business and economic world or are we too comfortable and static with what we do today?’ The world and market are not static, therefore your plans and the platform you use should be agile and dynamic, able to cope with changes easily and quickly.
"Change management—how people adapt to new ways and techniques in an organization—is coming to the forefront, too. Change is inevitable and the business environment is changing on a dime. As a result, people have to change the way they do things on a dime. “
What should companies that are transitioning to Connected Planning look for in new employees?
Simon: “Connected Planning is a process that brings people together to collaborate and make decisions over a common set of goals, assumptions, drivers, and information. It’s also an everchanging process that has to ebb and flow with the market and other conditions. Therefore, you need people that understand the power of collective decision making based on facts and analysis. The people who say, ‘we’ve always done it like this, so we will continue’ need not apply.”
What's the best approach when changing the conversation to focus on Connected Planning versus traditional planning within a company?
Simon: “The first thing you have to do is to show people how collaborating and having a connected decision-making platform changes the way you do business and makes it more efficient for everyone. You have to show people in the organization the value of using Connected Planning, but more importantly, you have to make their lives easier—show them something that they could not see before. Give them insight into what drives the business, what stalls the business, and the results of their actions if they make a different decision. The ability to help people make quicker, more accurate, more informed, and more collaborative decisions is the value you're trying to sell them on. At the end of the day, no one really wants to be head down in a spreadsheet every single day, footing and tying data. They'd rather be making business decisions and executing plans on a solid factual foundation. Knowledge is power.
"Connected Planning is, of course, inherently the most logical way for a company to make decisions. It connects people, plans, and data across the enterprise, pushing decision making to the outer edges of the business where the magic happens. But execution and making decisions on business insights is the important and hardest thing to achieve.
"Companies are realizing that they need to start acting like startups or, at the very least, foster a culture of entrepreneurial attitudes and actions—in other words, the ability to change and pivot when needed, but at scale. The only way you can do that is to have a platform that can ebb and flow with a large organization and can allow people to tweak and make decisions and change business models on the fly but at huge scale.”
What impact does the Chief Planning Officer have on the “people” pillar of Connected Planning?
Simon: “When companies start their Connected Planning journey, they will have multiple business functions that are connected within themselves but struggling to connect across business function lines or silos as they currently exist. You need a senior leader, with a seat at the executive table, who can take a holistic view across the entire organization. Someone who understands the strategic objectives of a company and translates those objectives into tasks, goals, and actions that can be executed in the operational areas of the business.
"The reason startups are so lean and agile is because all of their business functions are usually in one room—they’re collaborating in real-time. They are changing things on the fly and ebbing and flowing with the business process. When you become a bigger organization, the ability to naturally collaborate and execute starts to wane because people start going into silos. Things become complex and dispersed, making that natural collaboration less natural. As a result, you have to have an executive that recognizes that the flow of data, decisions, and collaboration needs to happen across business functions. That individual needs to be able to bring those silos together and keep them together by using a platform that fosters that needed collaboration. Unless you have a single steward that can do that in the context of decision making, you’re going to struggle.
"What we see today, talking with our customers and senior executives in organizations, is that the need to be agile, act like a startup, bend with change, and speed up the process of analyzing data, modeling scenarios, and making decisions, is more strategic and important than ever. In fact, it’s mission-critical now. As a result, the emergence of the Chief Planning Officer has become a topic of conversation in many board rooms. That individual needs to set up the central function that can start to bring people together and use the same plans/decisions across the organization—that’s our dream for our customers. It’s getting the mechanics of making the decision out of the way and freeing up your workforce to do what they were meant to do—make decisions.”
More from Simon Tucker:
Who and What is a Chief Planning Officer?
Simon Tucker Says: Be Agile With Your Plans
What is business planning?
Connected Planning brings people together, promoting collaborative decision making, greater insight from collective intelligence, and rapid alignment to business changes. In part two of our Connected Planning pillars series, we will talk to Simon about the “data” pillar and how a single, secure source of information promotes deeper collaboration and faster decision making.
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Simon Ritchie, Anaplan's Sr. Director of Product Management, answers popular questions about Anaplan's new user experience. Read the comments below the video to see the questions and answers submitted during our live Q&A session. Click here to watch the video.
Note: The live Q&A session is now closed.
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Simon Ritchie, Anaplan's Sr. Director of Product Management, answers popular questions about Anaplan's new user experience. Read the comments below the video to see the questions and answers submitted during our live Q&A session.
Note: The live Q&A session is now closed.
Thanks for watching! Comment with your questions below!
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If you’re a lover of wet noses and sloppy kisses, today is your day. Happy International Dog Day! Anaplan is a huge fan of all things pups! There’s proof in our policies, or more specifically, “paw-licy.”
According to our “paw-licy,” if our building lease allows it, you can bring your dog to work. Currently, dogs are allowed in our York, Maidenhead, and London (WeWork) offices. Service dogs are allowed in all other offices.
Obviously, if you want to bring your dog into the office, there are specific requirements that need to be followed, such as providing the appropriate documentation and getting approval. The health and safety of our employees and visitors is our first priority, so we have strict guidelines when it comes to bringing furry friends into the workplace.
Ernest, a 1-year-old miniature dachshund.
Employees in our York office say they love it when Ernest (or Ernie, for short), a 1-year-old miniature dachshund, visits the office. Design System Lead Mark Boyes-Smith, his proud owner, says he's a hit in the office. "Whenever I'm on a conference call, he likes to jump up to the webcam, typically derailing the meeting and taking center stage," Mark says. Ernie is super loveable, cheeky, and curious. According to Mark, he loves to chew things, "especially anything of an expensive or electronic nature." He also loves hiding in blankets, lying in the sun, and chasing pigeons.
If you want to learn more about Ernie's adventures, you can follow his Instagram account.
If you're looking for fun ways to celebrate the day, here are a few ideas:
Donate to your local shelter or even adopt a dog.
Do a safety check of your home to make sure it's safe for pets.
Plan a doggy photoshoot for your pup.
Take your pup to a dog-friendly cafe.
We hope you use today to enjoy some time with your dog (or a friend's dog). After all, studies have shown that playing with a pet can increase levels of oxytocin, the stress-reducing hormone, and decrease the production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Are you a dog lover? Comment below and tell us about your favorite pup! Add a photo, too!
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During CPX 2019, Supply Chain Lead Jordan Hardy and Principal Solutions Architect John Dorma from Twelve Consulting Group, sat down with Ryan Meehan, Director of Finance & Strategy at Prestige Beverage Group, to discuss how Anaplan has transformed the way the beverage company does commercial planning. Today, we're revisiting the path that Prestige Beverage Group took to successfully overcome challenges around data, process, and resources.
Prestige Beverage Group had a very “old school environment.” Their senior sales leadership team needed to look at the cost of goods increases for the coming year, but they didn’t have a system to do it. They tried to do it manually in Excel and ended up breaking it due to the volume of data. The company has close to 2,000 SKUs, a number of different deal levels across all 50 markets, and in some cases, a number of different distributors in each market. They also work with different currencies because they are a beverage importer. “The model we built out in Excel was too big and too complex, which didn’t allow us to get the visibility we needed,” Ryan explained. They wanted to be able to make tweaks at a very granular level and roll that up into a complete picture.
Weak Data Structure
Prestige also struggled with data. They did not have a very strong data structure, Ryan explained. They are not actively working to clean up the data and create data governance processes. While they understood it may never be perfect, they wanted to create a minimum viable product and get something out there. “Putting in some processes and some checks in our Anaplan model has been helpful,” Ryan said. “We really took that agile Anaplan way of moving forward.” The company leveraged the roadmapping sessions they had with Twelve in order to plan for long-term success.
"We really took that agile Anaplan way of moving forward."
Successful Proof of Concept
Prestige Beverage Group did a proof of concept with Twelve and figured out how it would look from a pricing perspective. They took the cost of goods increases and modeled the data out, looking at what the commercial pricing impact would be. They wanted to know what actions they could take with a very complex supply chain in the beverage industry. Their industry has three tiers: supplier, distributor, and retailer. Prestige has to work with all three and consider the downstream implications. The proof of concept really helped them leverage what Anaplan could do for their company and show them the speed at which they could do it. As they built out this proof of concept, they got a lot of buy-in from the executive team. They were able to sign on Anaplan’s IPO day, going live with pricing as their initial use case. “We were very excited to pull our sales team in and discuss what we will do with them in the future,” Ryan said.
Implementation was a really great process. “We didn’t really have great processes,” Ryan said. “Anaplan has really been the foundation to set a lot of those processes as we move into more of a Connected Planning solution. Twelve has done a great job at bringing prior experience and really helping us think through some of those things that we may not have had fully fleshed out.” The company wanted to build a new process, so there was a lot to learn during implementation. “Twelve did a great job of helping us think through some of that and then provided us with what the impact of that would be,” Ryan said. “We were really able to leverage implementation to learn a ton and we were really able to develop the process that worked the best.” The process helped them understand what the future should look like.
"Anaplan has really been the foundation to set a lot of those processes as we move into more of a Connected Planning solution."
Anaplan Saves Time
One of the successes the company has seen has been from a time perspective. “Going through an annual planning process through Excel before this became very time-consuming. A lot of time was spent on reconciling which version everyone was working on,” Ryan said. “We’ve been able to cut down our planning cycle by about half this year.” The company is excited about using Anaplan for depletion planning—they hope to shorten that cycle as well.
"We’ve been able to cut down our planning cycle by about half this year."
Anaplan Increases Visibility
Another great benefit has been increased visibility into their data. Previously, all of their pricing and sales decisions were made on a market-by-market level without a lot of input from finance or other areas of the organization. “We didn’t really know the implications of those decisions,” Ryan said. Now they’ve gained a lot of that visibility into how they can make decisions, set thresholds and guardrails, keep that information centralized, and provide guidance to the sales team.
More About CPX 2019:
User Groups Live! and CPX: The Benefits of Both
University Connect at CPX
Connected Planning Xperience 2019 Highlights
Future Uses of Anaplan
The company’s initial use case was pricing. They knew from their current data structure that a lot of their different functions operated in silos. The hope was that they could use Anaplan for things like depletion planning, marketing and trade spend in the future. “We wanted to know how we could leverage the data structure that we have in place,” Ryan said. “There is a lot of internal and external data that we have to leverage. How do we structure our data set in a way that we will be able to grow and scale and have this connected ecosystem […] and really be the linchpin in finance that pulls all of our different functions together so that we have a very cohesive financial plan?” Prestige is continuing to explore expanding Anaplan into other areas of the business so that everyone can achieve the benefits of their initial use case.
If you’d like to hear Twelve's perspective on how they handled the challenges of data, process and people/resources, watch the video to hear from John, who worked with Ryan through their implementation process.
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It's hard to believe we're already halfway through summer. We hope you're taking advantage of the extended daylight hours and packing your weekends with outdoor activities. If you need an excuse to indulge in some sweets this weekend, stop by your local ice cream shop on Sunday to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.
We celebrate this day every July thanks to President Ronald Reagan, who designated it so back in 1984, asking people to observe the day with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” So, let’s do it! If you’ve been updating your data and spearheading connected planning all week, it’s time to connect with your inner sweet tooth.
Check your favorite local ice cream shop or stop into a national chain—many have special deals to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Some of the most popular include:
Baskin Robbins: Get two pre-packed quarts of ice cream for $7.99 all day long.
Dippin’ Dots: Get a free mini cup of Dippin’ Dots during a two-hour window.
Want to carry the fun into the workplace? July is National Ice Cream Month—it’s a great opportunity to bring your employees together. Last month we did just that, treating our interns in the Minneapolis office to some ice cream on their first day at Anaplan.
Anaplan interns enjoy a sweet treat from Wonders Ice Cream. Our interns enjoying ice cream on their first day.
More Holiday Fun:
Happy National Doughnut Day!
National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day
Want to bring your employees together and give them a much-needed break? Plan an ice cream social and throw in a little ice cream trivia. Here are some fun facts about ice cream, according to IceCream.com:
New Zealand is the top consumer of ice cream in the world.
Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the United States.
87% of Americans have ice cream in their homes at any given time.
On average, an American eats 48 pints of ice cream each year.
California makes the most ice cream in America.
“Brain freeze” happens when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth.
One in five people shares their ice cream with their pet.
It takes about 50 licks to finish one scoop of ice cream.
We hope you take time to enjoy National Ice Cream Day with your family, friends, and coworkers. Happy scooping!
Leave us a comment! We'd love to hear about your favorite ice cream shop.
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