Connected Planning Xperience (CPX) will be here before you know it, and we want to see you there! We're gearing up to bring you an AMA highlighting the benefits of the event and giving you the perfect opportunity to ask your questions—targeting the week of April 8th. Stay tuned here for updates.
In the meantime, check out our User Groups Live! event on March 21st. If you haven't experienced a User Group yet, this is the perfect opportunity to see what they're all about. This is a free, half-day virtual event, featuring presentations on the Anaplan platform and how to further Connected Planning at your company. Check it out!
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As a small business owner, you’re a member of a unique group of people that face a specific set of challenges when it comes to business planning. You’ve identified the right niche, hired a rock-star team, and are poised to conquer the business world! When the initial buzz wears off and you’re left to compete in an ever-changing marketplace, how will you succeed? What keeps you up at night? With statistics to show that only half of small businesses survive for five years, and only one-third after 10 years, longevity is likely top of mind. Strategic planning can help your company go the distance.
A small business is an independent business having fewer than 500 employees.
U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy
Strategic planning is not just for business giants, and it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or complex. A strategic plan defines a company’s purpose, sets goals and objectives, creates measurement for evaluation, and communicates to key stakeholders. A simple— but thoughtful— plan will help bring clarity to chaos and ensure your company not only survives, but also thrives amongst the competition.
Rest easy with these 6 strategic planning tips:
Begin at the Beginning: It’s difficult to move forward without identifying a starting point. Set your foundation by determining where you’re at today and where you’d like to be at the end of the year. Ask yourself these questions:
What’s my competitive advantage?
What drives my enterprise?
What are my company’s core values and culture?
What’s most important at this time?
What do we need to achieve?
Create a mission statement: After your initial evaluation is complete, you’re ready to define your vision. Create a clear and concise mission statement that reflects who you are and where you’re going. Let your mission statement be a compass to guide your decision making throughout the year.
S.W.O.T. it out: Evaluate internal and external influences with a formal or informal analysis of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and market threats. Utilizing this simple framework can help provide structure to thought processes and encourage strategic and creative thinking.
Measure your success: How do you know if you’re succeeding? Measure your success by defining a clear set of goals and desired results. Include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you monitor business health and program performance as you navigate your year. If you’re on track—great! Off track? It’s a good time to evaluate what’s not working well and adjust accordingly
Integrate teams: Bring your plans to life by engaging everyone involved. Take teams along the journey and get alignment on mission and goals. Human resources are pivotal to strategic planning success, especially in a small business where employee time can be stretched to maximum capacity.
Keep Planning: Planning is a verb that should be continuously in action. Don’t set it and forget it. Recognize and celebrate wins, while monitoring and correcting missteps. How often should you review your strategic plan? While it should be top of mind in daily activities, a formal quarterly review is a good place to start.
Strategic planning is a worthwhile endeavor. With the cards seemingly stacked against small businesses from the start, a good plan could be the key to long-term success. Beat the odds with big strategic planning ideas for your small business.
Small business owners—we want to hear from you! How do you manage strategic planning? Share your tips and tricks below.
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When it comes to achieving the best results, effective collaboration in an organization is not just nice to have; it’s a critical element for success. By definition, collaboration happens when people work together. Applied to organizational goals, and strategic planning strategies, effective collaboration can take this to the next level by ensuring teams are not only aligned on objectives and working cooperatively, but also emotionally invested in the successful outcome of each project.
Stephen Covey advises us to “ Begin with the end in mind." Taking the time up front to plan for ways in which teams can collaborate more effectively will establish a solid foundation for your project to build upon. Begin by planning—end with success!
Before you begin, here are five principles to help set you up for success.
Set the Stage
Setting the stage means that you’re establishing a foundation to create a desired outcome. Bringing your team together to establish a common goal is a great place to start. Depending on your project goals, a kickoff meeting can be the place where key contributors come together to understand the overall objectives, meet other team players, and start to mentally align with how their roles will contribute to the greater project outcome.
Other helpful activities at this time can include defining a common language, gathering initial questions and concerns, and establishing a cadence and format for ongoing collaboration.
Strategic Planning Tips:
Goal-Based Strategic Planning 101
As much as we’d all like teams to operate similarly across an organization, it’s more likely that they’ve established their own methodologies for collaboration. Before getting too far down the project path, it’s a good idea to immerse yourself in the inner workings of how your project team works individually, then establish the foundation of how you’ll work collectively.
Do you need to grant access to systems, consider time zones, or account for language barriers? Is everyone in the same physical location, or do you need to invest in remote technology? Identify gaps now to save time later.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
- George Bernard Shaw
Develop a Communication Strategy
Effective communication is a key project success factor. Don’t assume everyone on the team has the same style of communication or philosophy on when or what to communicate. Establish ground rules for how you and your team will stay connected. Is email the best channel? How about daily stand-up meetings? Or does your team prefer another method via a collaborative software? Regardless of channel, it’s always best to write it down. Document your agreed-upon communication method and be sure to share it with your team when necessary.
Next, define your cadence. Sometimes weekly meetings are all you’ll need. Other times you may need daily check-ins or even updates throughout the day. Projects change, as do the needs for communication. Starting off on the right foot creates an environment of trust and helps teams pivot as needed.
Designate clear communication owners. Ambiguity leaves room for confusion. Effective collaboration relies on trusting fellow teammates, and this step supports that foundation of trust.
Foster a Collaborative Environment
True collaboration happens when people feel empowered to provide open and honest input in a safe space. Teams should trust each other, knowing that even during times of disagreement all players have a vested interest in the successful outcome of the project. Encourage one another to view challenges from all sides, understanding that others may face obstacles in their departments that are unique to them.
Agree up front that if a meeting or individual discussion takes a turn that might be perceived as negative or unproductive, all parties will pause—take a time out—to regroup and come back with a fresh perspective. Plan how you’ll foster a collaborative environment from the start to ensure a smooth and effective process through to project end.
Teams that work well together in a collaborative environment succeed together. Every role in the project is equally important in achieving the desired outcome. Plan to set this tone from the start to help shape your own collaborative environment. During regularly scheduled meetings, review progress and roadblocks together and help each other by brainstorming solutions. If the team feels a sense of collective responsibility for a project’s success, they are more likely to operate in a truly collaborative way.
Project success begins with a solid foundation, based on effective collaboration. Before you get started, plan for ways to promote and foster this within your team. And remember, a little planning goes a long way!
Share your collaboration tips and success stories in the comments below!
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Today's the day! Erin and Sam are ready to take your questions, starting at 11:00 am CST—just a few hours from now. If you can't join the live hour, post your questions now and check back for answers at a time that's convenient for you.
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The AMA is now open for questions. Post your model building questions any time today, through Wednesday. You can also join them for a live forum discussion this Thursday from 11:00 - 12:00 CST. Erin and Sam are talented Anaplan modelers, ready to share their expertise and discuss best practices with you!
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It's almost time for our next AMA! Erin and Sam are ready to help you problem solve your model building questions. Post your questions here, Monday - Wednesday of next week, or join the conversation live in the forum from 11-12 CST. Our expert planning pair is looking forward to sharing their knowledge with you in this interactive session!
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Tell us about your time at Anaplan. How long have you been here? What is your current role, and how do you help customers succeed?
(Erin) I have been at Anaplan since February 2018. I’m currently on the Global Presales Operations team supporting the Supply Chain LoB. I help customers succeed by building and demoing models to them that showcase the latest capabilities of the Anaplan platform and show them how they can expand their use of Anaplan.
(Sam) I’m a Presales Operations Consultant for the Global Presales Operations Team, specializing in Supply Chain. I’ve been here 9 months, and I help customers understand the power, speed, and flexibility of Anaplan through tailored proof of concept models, statistical forecasting applications, and Optimizer use cases and support.
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The new year is the perfect time for reflection, evaluation, and planning for what you will accomplish in the next 365 days. Did you meet or exceed your sales goals, get in those steps every day, and remember to put down your phone more often? Did you take action to earn that promotion, join a volunteer organization, or finally go on that dream vacation?
Regardless of whether you’re contemplating professional goals or personal achievements, the secret to success is really not much of a secret at all. You’re going to need a plan! Whether you prefer Winston Churchill or Benjamin Franklin’s version of the famous planning quote, the sentiment still rings true: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Help ensure your success by starting this year with a solid plan. Here are five tips to jump-start your 2019 goal-planning session:
Define your goals: Set aside dedicated time to define exactly what it is you’d like to accomplish. Think about not only the “what” but also the “why” of your specific goal. Identifying why you want to achieve something can be a major factor in getting over hurdles throughout the year.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) can also be a helpful tool in your planning process.
Write it down: Putting pen to paper means there’s a greater likelihood of achieving your goal. Science says it’s so . Practically speaking, making a plan and writing it down brings it to life. It’s tangible, easily referenced, and provides a sense of accomplishment as you work through the plan. Take notes, make updates, and visit your plan often. Then experience the pure joy that comes with placing a checkmark in an open box or crossing an item off the list!
Plan for obstacles: Obstacles will happen. Identify potential obstacles and plan for how you might overcome them when they arise. You won’t be able to plan for all scenarios but having a plan for known challenges will help you overcome the discouragement that can happen when you get off track. Plan detours and revisions are to be expected. Quitting is not.
Revisit often: Planning is an active and ongoing effort; it is not a one-and-done activity. Keep your plan in an easily accessible place and review it often. Be an active participant in achieving your goals by looking at your plan and making adjustments as needed. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to review everything that happened to make you successful. Where did you start and end, and how will this impact future planning? Ongoing review of your plan will help to ensure you capture all the important details.
Celebrate success: Give credit where credit is due. Use positive reinforcement as a tool to keep moving forward while enjoying the process. You may not have met all of your goals, but be sure to acknowledge the progress you made.
Set yourself up for success in 2019 by starting with a good plan. How do you plan to be successful in the new year? What are your goals, and how will you achieve them?
Share your plans and tips in the comments below!
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Tell us about your background and your role here at Anaplan:
(Pierre) - For the past 4 years, I’ve been helping design, implement, and connect a number of internal use cases across multiple lines of business within Anaplan. Currently, I serve as the Senior Manager of Business Operations, where my primary responsibility is to lead the Anaplan on Anaplan team to create the best-in-class Connected Planning ecosystem. In addition to standing up the best in class connected planning framework, my team’s other primary responsibilities are to:
Enable and Empower the business to be more self service
Bring consistency, control and order to the Anaplan on Anaplan ecosystem
Ensure the timely, accurate, and measurable delivery of VSEM metrics to the ELT
(Jon) - In my four years here at Anaplan I’ve dipped my toes in a lot of different departments within the organization. I started my tenure off on the Apps team where I developed SPM, Supply Chain, HR, enablement, and integration models for the AppHub. From there, I did a stint on the Customer Success team actually implementing Anaplan at a customer. After that rotation, my goal was to evangelize those data and hierarchy management best practices and scalability to the broader PreSales org. I’ve also supported builds for our internal Anaplan on Anaplan team as well as internal initiatives like Value Insights. My current role is Global PreSales Operations Consultant. Our key charters are to support technical POC builds for our larger customers, run connected planning workshops to show prospects the “Art of the Possible” within Anaplan, and play a key role in enabling and selling new product functionality like Optimizer, Machine Learning, and our new UX.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Anaplan?
(Pierre) - The people! The collaboration, creativity, and willingness of everyone at Anaplan to GSD is incredibly inspiring. I’ve learned a tremendous amount by the extremely talented people around me!
(Jon) - The people. Everyone truly cares. Everyone is on the same team. I have never been discouraged from going down a new path here. It’s always been “what can we do to help you get there.” We have a lot of smart, hard working, passionate people here. They push you, they encourage you, they help you, they go to bat for you day in and day out. Everyone is in this together and wants everyone else to succeed here and it’s awesome.
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In April of this year, the Community officially launched Anaplan Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions featuring a sampling of Anaplan experts on a variety of popular planning topics. AMAs provide the Community with a unique opportunity to connect directly with Anaplan experts who are ready and willing to engage in a variety of formats to best support their topic and accommodate a global audience.
We know you’re busy. That’s why AMA sessions are available any time for Community members to view for the first time or to revisit a topic of interest. If you haven’t visited one of the valuable sessions yet this year, now is a great time to check one out! We’re confident you’ll learn something new.
Check out Model Building Excellence and Application Lifecycle Management with expert model builder, David Smith. David’s energy for Anaplan is contagious, and you won’t want to miss his D.I.S.C.O. video bonus question!
Mark Shemaria is part of the fabric of Anaplan and shared his expertise with the Community on the topics of Model Sparsity Principles & Center of Excellence Best Practices in a live virtual session. Take a look at his responses to questions on these popular topics.
Then, listen to our VP of Product, Sampath Gomatam, talk about the future of Anaplan in his inspiring Product Roadmap and Innovation video. Did you know he’s an award-winning plum winemaker?
Chris Weiss, a former Anaplan partner, shares his model building expertise and what it’s like to be an Anaplan partner in his Partner Perspective session.
And just this week, Duncan Pearson, Anaplan’s Chief Architect, shared his wisdom with the Community in the recently published videos on Designing for Performance and Scale. We also learned about his brush with fame; check out his bio to learn more.
Not yet convinced that you should check these out? See what other Community members are saying in their AMA surveys below!
“This is seriously good stuff–just started watching it and learned something new from the first question.”
“I loved the session. It was very informative and chock-full of great tips!”
"Ask Me Anything is great…Great content and expert delivery.”
Your next chance to engage with an expert is just around the corner. We’re looking forward to bringing you a session on the popular topic of Workflow, featuring Anaplan’s own Will Sippl, in December.
If you have yet to participate, these sessions are a great opportunity to get involved and engage with an expert. Remember to join the group to receive automatic updates on future AMAs.
Have you benefited from an AMA? Do you have a topic or an expert that you’d like to see featured? Share your feedback in the comments below and influence the future of Anaplan AMAs!
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Duncan's video is now live! Watch the entire video from start to finish, or select the question topic you're most interested in from the drop down menu to begin there. Check back anytime to listen to the complete session.
Thank you for your participation in the AMA! Watch for updates on the next session, featuring Will Sippl answering your questions on Workflow.
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Today is the last day to get your questions in for Duncan's AMA. Check out the questions that have already been posted, give a Kudo to those you like, and then add your question here. Ask Duncan Anything!
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The AMA is now open. Select the Reply button to post your questions today through Wednesday. If you haven't participated here before, now is your chance to connect directly with our Chief Architect. Duncan is looking forward to your questions!
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We're looking forward to next week when Chief Architect, Duncan Pearson, joins us to host the next AMA. Get your questions ready and post them here beginning Monday through Wednesday. If you think the Chief Architect is all work and no play, be sure to read Duncan's bio to learn more about his brush with fame!
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If you experience any issues when viewing the video, please try refreshing your page or viewing in an alternate browser.
Here is the link to the complete YouTube video that Duncan referenced. Check it out!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy9ZykyVTus&feature=youtu.be.
Duncan Pearson, Anaplan's Chief Architect, joins us for this session of AMA. From planning to problem solving, Duncan's a key player in the Anaplan ecosystem. Get to know him a little better below. Don't miss his celebrity fun fact!
Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been at Anaplan?
I’ve worked in the planning/operational research space for 30 years, working for BA and Nestlé before setting up a small consultancy and then spending a number of years working with our founder Michael Gould at Adaytum and Cognos before he set off on his own to found Anaplan. I actually joined Anaplan just over 4½ years ago working in York on the core engine and then moved into my current role two years ago.
As Anaplan’s Chief Architect, what are some activities you might do in a typical day?
I don’t really have a “typical” day, but one thing I am never short of is meetings. I try to keep up with all the major development projects, which means working some Pacific time, giving guidance particularly on the impact different projects have on each other. I also spend time working with the more customer facing parts of the organization, such as support and the OEG, to keep abreast of any challenges our customers might be facing.
What’s your favorite thing about Anaplan?
So there are two things really and I can’t decide which is the best.
On the one hand it’s the people I work with. I have more good friends within Anaplan than I have ever had at work before; and everyone I work with is so committed to Anaplan, and particularly to its customers’ success. It’s great.
The other thing is Anaplan itself. I love using the platform to solve problems and to build things. It is something I don’t get to do enough of in my daily work but every time I do it lifts me up.
Give us one fun fact about yourself!
I once tried to teach Michael J Fox to row. I was working as an extra in a feature length episode of Family Ties, called “Family Ties Vacation”, and as part of the story he had to win a race in the crew that I was part of. He was a great guy and really friendly.
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Remember to join us on Monday for the next AMA! Post your questions here throughout the week for our first partner and Master Anaplanner host, Chris Weiss. Not sure what to ask? Here's a few ideas to get you started: - Model building challenges and opportunities - Exploring the Partner role in a customer's connected planning journey - Partner perspective - What's it like to be an Anaplan Partner - Partner career benefits of being a Master Anaplanner
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We're excited to welcome Chris Weiss to this session of Ask Me Anything! Chris is a Lead Solution Architect, Sales Strategy & Planning at Anaplan Partner, Accenture.
How long have you been an Anaplan partner? I’ve been working with Anaplan since early 2016.
Tell me about your journey thus far. What did you do prior to being an Anaplan partner? How has that shaped your current role? Before joining the Anaplan ecosystem I was a Salesforce consultant and solution architect specializing in the Customer Relationship Management space (Sales Cloud). In my work on CRM implementations, there was a clear disconnect between Front End Sales departments and Sales Operations planning departments. Our technology solutions in Salesforce always empowered Front End Sales, but did little to assist Sales Operations groups with their planning and enablement functions. Our practice at Accenture focuses on bridging that gap between Sales and Sales Operations, and by far the best technology enabler we’ve found that provides the systems needed to empower this connection is Anaplan.
How do you interact with Anaplan and customers in a typical day? A typical day might start with a workshop to understand a company’s current state business processes and defining optimized future state workflows. Then I might head to a side-by-side build session, which is a joint working session between our Accenture build time and the customer’s model builders, where we discuss business processes, high-level solution approaches, and assign build tasks to anybody in the room while providing guidance on configuration leading practices. Then I might take some time to myself to design any of the more complex Anaplan functionalities, including documenting the design and sending it to our build team. Then I would likely test and validate any of the previous work of our build team to ensure the functionality meets the need of the customer’s business process, and follow that up with a demo of the functionality back to the client to collect feedback and continuously improve the solution (and on a good day, might get sign-off on a completed dashboard, which means we get to celebrate that evening!).
What is your area of expertise? My area of expertise is in Sales and Sales Operations business functions, ranging from optimizing business processes to providing technology enablers. I always enjoy helping the community around questions on how Anaplan can enable Sales functions and planning, as well as technology best practices. I also spend a decent amount of time focusing on expanding our internal Anaplan capability, so more than happy to discuss ways to stand up and build an Anaplan function or COE within an organization.
Favorite thing about working with Anaplan: That it puts the power of technology and advanced planning in the hands of the business. Anaplan enables flexible scalable solutions that can be fully owned by Sales Operations, no need for IT involvement or developer/coding skills, which unlocks the full potential and creativity of Sales Operations (and the ability to follow the whims of sales organizations in general), all built on top of the stability and governance of an enterprise platform that can integrate to the rest of their enterprise platforms, often for the first time in a sales organization’s history.
One fun fact about you: I have 2 miniature long-haired dachshunds named Penny and Olive, and even though they’re only 8 pounds each have huge personalities and love long walks in Central Park.
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Sampath's video is ready for viewing! Check out what he had to say about all the great questions that were submitted, and watch until the end to listen to his bonus content. Help us continue to bring you valuable content by taking a brief survey to let us know what you thought.
We're busy planning the next AMA session now. Stay tuned for what's up next!
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Thanks for all the great questions this week! We'll be sharing Sampath's video replies by Monday of next week here in Community, as well as some valuable bonus content that you won't want to miss. After you check out the video, please take our brief survey and let us know what you thought. Your feedback is valuable and will help us plan future AMAs!
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AMA Day #2 is underway. Be sure to check out Sampath's 'Fun Fact' today in the updated Bio section, found here at the top of the page! Then, check out the questions posted so far, vote for the ones you like, or add your own. Ask Sampath Anything!
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Anaplan is excited to bring you the July Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, featuring Sampath Gomatam, Vice President of Product! Mark your calendar for July 23rd to participate.
Join the AMA group in the Community to post your questions and drive the discussion. Don't miss this opportunity to engage directly with the Anaplan executive that fuels the heart of the platform. Get started today by listening to Sampath's latest product roadmap keynote from Hub.
How does it work? You will find complete AMA details available in Community under the News & Networking category. Members can post as many questions as they'd like from Monday, July 23 rd through Wednesday, July 25 th . See a question you like? Kudos tell us it's important to our members. Sampath will answer as many questions as possible during a recorded session later that week, and the video reply will be posted to the Community. We invite you to check back and watch it at your convenience. Watch in its entirety, or select a specific question to view.
Need a reminder?
Add a reminder to your calendar, and join the conversation!
Don't miss this amazing opportunity to ask your product roadmap questions! We look forward to your participation in the AMA.
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Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been at Anaplan?
I’ve been at Anaplan for a year and a half. It has been a blur, but I also feel like I’ve been here for a lot longer. Everyone at Anaplan feels this way!
Tell me about your journey here. What areas have you worked in?
I came into to Anaplan to lead the Product Management, UX and Technology partnership teams. During the first half of 2017, we decided to re-emphasize our focus on LOBs and build out our expertise in Finance, Sales, and Supply Chain. As part of that re-organization, the LOB team which include product marketing, platform product marketing, and strategic pricing also moved under product.
It has been an amazing journey and it is truly humbling to be part of a fantastic team.
What is your area of expertise and why?
I like the challenge of product strategy, product management and bringing a great experience to users. I believe my strength is the combination of technical understanding combined with customer management and product understanding.
Favorite thing about Anaplan:
The product, of course! And the amazing, talented people I work with every day.
One fun fact about you:
We have a plum tree in our backyard, so I started experimenting with making small batches of plum wine. One of our friends took a bottle to a local home-made wine tasting and got placed. So technically I am a maker of award-winning plum wine!
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Remember to take the AMA survey, if you haven't already. This is your opportunity to let us know what you liked, what you didn't like, and what you'd like to see in future sessions. The survey for last session will be available for a couple more weeks. We value your feedback!
Join is the week of July 23rd for a unique opportunity to ask Anaplan's VP Product, Sampath Gomatam, all your product roadmap questions!
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Thanks to all who participated in this week's AMA! We want to hear from you. Whether you asked a question or simply followed along with the discussion, we invite you take our survey to let us know what you thought.
Next up: Sampath Gomatam will answer your questions on the Product Roadmap and Innovation in July. Similar to our first AMA style, you'll have the opportunity to post your questions in Community and watch Sampath's reply on video. Wondering about the product roadmap? Join us for the next AMA!
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