As the COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve, Anaplan leaders are here to support businesses through this new normal. Thoughtful planning and decision-making are even more critical for the long-term success of organizations everywhere. Today, we’re talking to more Anaplan leaders to share perspectives on navigating through today’s challenges for a more successful tomorrow.
Use Connected Planning to Prepare
Ana Pinczuk, our Chief Development Officer, says she cannot imagine trying to run a business right now without full visibility into data, plans, and people. Connected Planning allows organizations to do real-time decision making, showing the immediate impact of a decision made in one function or geography on everything else in the business. Recently, when a customer was suspending production at their facilities in Asia Pacific, they had to look at how it would affect resources, revenue, and their supply chain. They were then able to take the models and predictions of what happened in Asia and apply them to Europe.
“The customer was very excited to take the situation in one function and region of the world and, in real time, be able to gain insights that could apply to their European operations and across functions. The individual was saying, if I didn’t have Anaplan, I wouldn’t have a global view because the way that we do planning has tended to be very localized, not connected,” Ana said.
Stay Focused on Your Objectives
YY Lee, our Chief Strategy Office, said Connected Planning is just part of the story. Anaplan can help our customers drive and orchestrate operational execution based on core financial priorities. We do this by giving them the opportunity to:
Create maps that tie business operations directly to company-level outcomes.
Update those maps continually as drivers and fundamentals change.
Allow experts and owners across the company define their own structures and relationships in order to give power to the right people for the right decisions.
“Anaplan allows organizations to systematically represent, analyze, and then orchestrate operational execution in a way that ensures everyone is aligned around target outcomes,” she said.
Put People First
Anaplan has always taken a people-first approach, and it extends to the way we treat our customers, striving to build genuine connections in everything we do.
Kevin Booth is our Vice President of Anaplan Accelerate and runs a global team. He said the guiding principle of his team has been to think about, “How does this impact our customers? At the end of the day, our customers are people first. They’re feeling the pain at home; what we need to do right now is reach out to them on a human level.” We’re all in this together.
Take the Opportunity to Improve
Just as many of us are taking this forced time at home to organize closets long in need of attention or purge our wardrobes Marie Kondo-style, businesses can use the opportunity to figure out what will serve their employees and customers best moving forward.
Jason Ambrose, VP of Go-to-Market Strategy, says, “I think the biggest thing that we’ve started to hear from some customers is that if you accept that your business is going to be a bit slower, you have the opportunity to undertake some transformations that you never had the time to do before to prepare for when things pick back up. It’s a good time to use the analogy of, take the car into the pitstop and work on all the things that you needed to work on, so that when you come out of this, you’re in a better position. It’s a good chance to catch up on cleaning up things that are hard to do when you’re at full speed as a business.”
Goals could include becoming more agile in your business operations, looking for new ways to leverage your product and thinking through different business models. Now is a good time to be thoughtful about next steps.
We asked each of these executives one final question:
How do we help ease anxiety and come through this challenge stronger than ever?
Here is what they said:
Ana Pinczuk: “Over-communicate, plan, be willing to change your plans, and to recognize that this is not a short-term thing.”
YY Lee: “We have a strong role to play in terms of making sure that groups of people work effectively through this period, while we are helping many organizations and businesses to reduce risk and prepare themselves for opportunity.”
Kevin Booth: “By putting people first, we’re going to have more trusting relationships with our customers and our partners.”
Jason Ambrose: “We will try to make our offerings and content more relevant, but also respectful of the circumstances. We may or may not get that right, but we want to do our best to support our customers.”
Are we getting it right? That is our goal, but we want to hear from you. What other topics can we provide to help you navigate this time? Who else would you like to hear from? We invite you to share whatever is on your mind in the comments below.
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COVID-19 has forever changed the planning landscape for organizations. In this blog series, we're teaming up with Anaplan leaders to share their perspectives on the long-term impact and new normal of business today. In this installment, Anaplan's Chief Planning Officer Simon Tucker shares his guidance and thought leadership with the Community.
COVID-19 will likely have a long-term impact for many organizations. How does Connected Planning prepare companies for global events?
Massive and unprecedented change is here to stay. Before COVID-19, business leaders were looking at how they could digitize their companies and trying to cope with inevitable change. Even before COVID-19, different industries had been changed overnight. Amazon changed our expectations of retail. Apple changed the way we use the internet. Uber changed the way we get around. Airbnb changed the way we hotel. The list goes on.
The coronavirus has exposed the need for agility in decision-making. More than ever, businesses need forward-looking insights in order to make timely decisions given macro-economic conditions. Connected Planning helps by creating a platform where everybody in every function of the business can collaborate and see the net effect of changes, be it the go-to-market plan or the operational execution of strategic objectives. Leaders need a single set of data, with the business functions collaborating in real-time to make agile decisions and predict outcomes. The ability to model scenarios, predict an outcome, and then operationalize those decisions into actions has never been more critical for businesses.
The idea is to be agile enough that you can come up with different scenarios—for example, what does extending the ‘lock-down’ mean for your revenue, margin and operating expenses? What does that mean for your long-term profitability, margin and cash flow? What effect does that have on your inventory and supply? Companies need to be able to test these scenarios, and that's what Connected Planning does. It allows you to continually make changes as they occur and see their impact, especially to financial statements.
In challenge, there is opportunity. What opportunities do you see for businesses during challenging economic times?
These challenging times drive innovation. Companies are forced to re-think the way they are doing things and focus on outcomes. People have the opportunity to completely re-look at what they do and the way they do business. We’re seeing that from the airlines and retailers. We see it in company’s supply chains and underlying infrastructure. Some companies have to cope with increased demand: think Internet Service Providers supplying bandwidth. Think of providers of medical equipment such as masks. Other companies are coping with sharply reduced demand or other constraints on their business.
When forced to take a different look at your business, it translates to the economic impact on your company, your shareholders, and your investors. It all comes down to what economically makes the most sense for you, but also in times like these, trying to keep people employed. Social factors play a big part too, but all have a short, medium- and long-term impact – all of which need to be modeled.
The number one goal of many companies I’ve spoken with is trying to retain people. The human element of this situation means businesses need to take a fresh look at what employees are doing and how they can contribute to new ways of doing business and what they can do in a changed environment. They have been forced into new ways of working, which in turn forces innovation of business models.
But these changes can’t be made in silos. You're going to have to innovate together because you have to understand any changes that you make in the business have a financial impact across all functions.
Anaplan is here to support customers as they navigate their daily operations. How is Anaplan working to ensure there is no disruption to customers?
We're asking our leaders and our employees to really lean into our customers to help them look at different scenarios. There are a number of situations right now that I'm personally aware of and I've been personally driving, where we're helping our customers to do scenario modeling to see the effect of changes.
Many supply chains for example, are going, or had gone through China, and had to scramble quickly. We're making sure that the platform continues to be available 24/7 to our customers, and none of that has changed. We've told our employees to spend more time with our customers and to help them through this difficult situation, whether that’s helping them to do all the models or just listening and working things through.
Anxiety is a normal human response to times of uncertainty. What advice do you have for easing business anxiety when the future is unknown?
This is a global problem affecting nearly all companies and industries. Without being too lofty, as a human race, we have to fix it. Things are disrupted across the globe. So, everyone's in this situation. It's no longer isolated by geography.
I think the reassurance is: this is temporary. It will hurt, but together we can manage our way through if we have the information and options available to us to make decisions. I’d like to think we can help too, to help companies see beyond the immediate crisis and plan what moves they need to do next and what the likely impact of that will be.
What’s next? Is Anaplan making any changes in light of recent events?
It’s early days and no one really knows what the future will hold or how long this will go on. Some say 15 days, some say it could be 15 months. We just don't know. We're looking at our strategy and we're making sure that we educate and empower our employees on new ways of working and collaborating.
To be honest with you, we're in the same situation as a lot of companies, adjusting to a “new normal” of having to work at home and probably spending much more time with our families than we normally would in this situation. We’re trying to communicate more and learn and teaching our employees how to lead with empathy while maintaining business continuity and find a balance that works for them.
Are there any other thoughts you'd like to share?
Even taking Anaplan out of the equation, being able to collaborate, doing daily work and making decisions, being able to make those decisions on and do that with a common set of assumptions and a common platform in real-time, has never been more critical than it is today.
Thanks, Simon, for your thoughtful perspective! What is your organization doing to prepare for long-term success in uncertainty? Share in the comments below.
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This month we sat down with Andrew Byers from Simon Property Group to learn more about how Anaplan supports the property management business. As a Master Anaplanner, Andrew knows the benefits of saving time in real-time planning. He's even created his own "Template" model to support his day-to-day planning. Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your insight with the Community!
Tell us about yourself. What is your current role, and how do you use Anaplan today? My current role at Simon Property Group is Manager – Financial Systems and Analysis. I have been in my current role for over four years now. My team and I are the Center of Excellence here at Simon dealing with the day-to-day administration and development of our budget and forecasting models. All budget and forecasting run through Anaplan. We have implemented a number of use cases including property-level forecasting, short-term leasing, operational capital, utilities, development capital, and more.
Challenges are inevitable. What challenges does your team typically face, and how does Anaplan help you overcome them? Initially, our challenge was to completely replace an outdated budget and forecasting system that provided zero transparency and visibility. In this system, the forecast for a given year would never change and match the budget for the first six months or so of the year. With the implementation of continuous forecasting with Anaplan, users are now forced to update their forecast. This was a cultural shock once everything went live in production. However, over time our users have become accustomed to the change, and as a result, our forecast from month to month is 100 times more accurate than it was before.
You’re a Certified Master Anaplanner—congratulations! What helped you to achieve this accomplishment, and how does it benefit you in your career? It was a complete surprise when I was first notified that I would be part of the first Master Anplananer class. At the time, I really did not know what that meant. Now, it is a community of power users that really drive the adoption and usage of a platform that is the most business user friendly I have ever come across. The most critical item that allowed me to gain Master Anaplanner status was mostly taking the platform and running with it. Simply put, I started modeling and designing anything and everything that I thought could help us with budget and forecasting (“If there was a button to push, it got pressed” philosophy). In that process, you become more and more knowledgeable and efficient with the platform. The most valuable benefit that comes with this title is the connection that you make with other Anaplan users and developers. I am able to talk with Anaplan product managers and provide feedback on items that have made it to production, as well as those that are still in development. The ability to shape the way Anaplan is developed is an awesome part of being a Master Anaplanner.
Let's talk about Best Practices. What works well for you?
A best practice that was developed here at Simon is something that I call the “Template” model. Many of our models share the same metadata integrations, etc. that are imported from a centralized data hub. The benefits of a data hub for creating the Center of Excellence here at Simon are too numerous to list (data governance, etc.). However, for each additional department that was brought into the Anaplan ecosystem for budgeting and forecasting, I found myself creating the same modules, actions, lists, etc. with every single model build. This was a time-consuming part of the model build that always added weeks to a project. I then got the idea to create a model that had all of this prebuilt. The model contains all of the lists (account and entity structures) and modules (actual data from our accounting system, etc.) that are needed to start a model (all of the associated actions that update the lists and data from the Data HUB are included as well). This template not only accelerates a project schedule by shortening the model build, but it also cuts down on the number of mistakes that may be made in recreating items in a model from scratch. An additional benefit is that you can also create a template Anaplan script using Anaplan Connect (i.e. overnight integrations).
Everyone loves a success story! Tell us about a success story at Simon.
Specialty Leasing is definitely the best success story here at Simon. Specialty Leasing is the arm of Simon that does all of our leasings for short-term tenants (carts, kiosks, temporary inline tenants, vending). Anaplan completely replaced a vast number of spreadsheets that took, on average, three weeks to roll up a forecast to the regional and platform levels. A model was built in Anaplan to allow them to forecast down to the individual space and tenant level. This instantly allowed executives to view the forecast in real-time. We have since made this process even better with the implementation of a Salesforce integration. Salesforce sends Anaplan the lease level details (lease start and end dates, SIC code, Unit #, etc.) and the entire rent table. If a leasing agent now does a deal in Salesforce, it will be part of the forecast in Anaplan after the overnight process is complete. The agents only have to manage speculative tenants in Anaplan, cutting down on the time they need to forecast (more time to lease). We are going a step further here in the near future to bring in lease level actuals from our accounting system to help perform budget-to-actual analysis at a lease level.
Andrew Byers, a manager in financial reporting at Simon Property Group, has been working with Simon for almost 9 years now. Starting in property management as a Mall Manager, he then migrated to the home office to implement an enterprise budget and forecasting solution. The solution was Anaplan and Andrew, a master Anaplanner, has been working with the tool for over 5 years now. He leads the center of excellence at Simon and has been part of every implementation of Anaplan at the company.
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International Women’s Day is a global celebration that champions women and provides a structure to amplify action all year long. This year’s theme of “Each for Equal” recognizes that an equal world enables us all to be our best, every day. Individually, we can fight against stereotypes, participate in open communication, celebrate successes, and continue the dialogue for gender equality. Collectively, we can impact change in a major way!
Did you know the first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911 and was supported by over one million people? We’ve come a long way since then—but there’s more work to be done. At Anaplan, we believe in #EachforEqual and strive every day to embody this in the work we do. Hear direct from the women of Anaplan as Chelsea Weintraub (chelsea_weintra), Danielle Dahlstrom (Danielle_D), and Monika Pham (monika.pham) share their thoughts about this year’s theme.
#EachforEqual begins with each of you. What are you doing to move the dial toward a gender equal world?
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Love is in the air—and we absolutely LOVE our Anaplan Community! Anaplanners give their best every day, paving the road for everyone to drive Connected Planning to the far corners of their business. Today is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate relationships and all that they bring to our lives, both personally and professionally. As we take time today to pause, admire, and appreciate those around us, here are just a few things we appreciate about all of you:
First-Time Contributors: We cannot hide our enthusiasm for newbies! There's a value in variety that's almost immeasurable, and the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement from first-time contributors truly shines through in their work. Recently, Certified Master Anaplanners have really stepped up to share expertise by contributing to the Community Blog and Best Practices. We asked, and they answered. From new blog author @abreardchen, to Ask Me Anything host @frank_calderoni—and many more—a special thanks goes out to all first-time contributors.
Going the Extra Mile: Community forums are a great place to post your questions and get answers, but where do those answers come from? They come from all of you. And we know you're going the extra mile because the number of accepted solutions and kudos in recent months has exploded—doubling from just December 2019 to January 2020. Not to mention our very first Community member to reach 1,000 kudos: Congratulations to Certified Master Anaplanner and Community Boss, @DavidSmith!
Shining Stars: Community Bosses are the stars of Community, demonstrating their expertise in driving knowledge sharing. This active and engaged group of 25 bosses continually add value by adding new topics, providing solutions, and sharing thought leadership. For all that you do for your Community, we thank you.
Creative Collaboration: We love the lively discussions taking place every day. From Best Practices to forums, and blog comments to Anaplan Live!—this Community shows up to collaborate and bring their A(naplan)-game. Multiple perspectives and creative solutions prevail in various sections of Community, all with a common goal of advancing Connected Planning.
Ideas and Innovation: The response to new and improved Anaplan training has been phenomenal. And the New UX continues to evolve and expand through your input. And let's not forgot all the ideas coming our way in the Idea Exchange. Community feedback and insight is pivotal in bringing you the best content, learning, and user experience overall. Keep it coming!
We know Anaplanners are a busy bunch, but today we invite you to take a few moments to share the love with those that support you in your daily Connected Planning activities. Is there someone you want to recognize in the Community? Share your ‘love note’ in the comments below.
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Calling all Anaplanners! Now’s your chance to give back to Community—and we’ve made it even easier to do it. As an active user of the Anaplan platform, you’ve likely learned a few tips and tricks on how best to use the platform. And as a passionate planner and Anaplan advocate, your thought leadership serves as a roadmap for the masses. Whether you have a detailed best practice to add to the repository or a story to tell about your Anaplan experiences, contributing content is simple.
Wondering if you should write a blog post or contribute a Best Practice? Both are great options! To help you decide, here's a quick guide to what makes them unique.
Blogs provide thought leadership, share use-case examples, and give the audience insight into an individual's perspective on the principles of Anaplan.
Best Practices provide detailed, often step-by-step, instructions on how to best use Anaplan to accomplish business goals.
What Should I Write About?
Great question! Getting started can be the hardest part. In the blog, you can't go wrong with seasonal topics. Think about things like 'spring cleaning your models' or 'planning for the new year.' Opinion posts are another way to go. Tell us what you like about the New UX, or share your key learnings from a recent User Group event. Thought leadership is always a value add. How has planning changed in your industry? What challenges has Anaplan helped you overcome? What recommendations do you have for others?
Best Practice accuracy is critical for success and the primary reason all submissions are reviewed and approved by internal experts, prior to publishing. Before you submit a topic, search the existing Best Practice topics to ensure your subject matter doesn't already exist. If not, we look forward to expanding this content with your expertise!
We've designated space in Community for new submissions—the Content Sandbox. Here you can develop copy, view how it'll appear in its final form, and request approval for publication. Here's what you do next.
Click the Contribute Content button to start a new article. Find a link below, or select the button directly from the Sandbox home page.
Begin by entering your article Title and Body Copy into the editing tool.
To avoid losing your content for any reason (ex. system timeout), consider writing your content in Word first and saving a local copy. You can copy/paste from Word into the editor or add it directly.
Use editing functions to customize your content. This familiar toolbar is available when authoring content on the Community.
When complete, select the button that best fits your desired next step.
Select Save to return to your article at a later time to continue editing. To continue editing saved content, navigate to the Options dropdown, select Knowledge Base Article Dashboard, select Drafts to expand the list, and select your article. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and select Edit article to continue editing.
Select Publish to publish your article to the Sandbox only. This is a good way to see how your article will appear when it's published to the live Best Practices section. (When final approvals are complete, a Content Manager will move your article to the Best Practices section on your behalf.)
Select Request Review when you're ready for an Anaplan subject matter expert to review your content. This will alert a Content Manager who will facilitate the review process.
That's it! After you've submitted your article for review, you will be contacted for clarification or edits. Please allow one week for initial contact. Remember, you can review edits anytime by clicking View article history on your article’s page.
Contributing content is a great way to give back to the Community! Get started today by visiting the sandbox and checking out the writing resources. How else can we help you? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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Anaplan's Community is the place to be for Connected Planning conversations, and 2019 was no exception. But don't take our word for it. The numbers speak for themselves! Supporting, inspiring, and connecting Anaplan's ecosystem of model builders and end users is our end game. Mission accomplished. Here's a look back at how we expanded and improved from 2018 to 2019.
Community grew by leaps and bounds last year, with 11,750 new members. Members were active and engaged, visiting Community more than 850,000 times and spending 2.8 million minutes online. A growing Community contributes to expanded conversations, providing a multitude of opportunities to collaborate, connect, and contribute.
Providing an optimal user experience means refining Community in big and small ways all year long. Efforts to provide members with the best way to find just what they needed in the most efficient way paid off with a 96 percent increase in page views and a 49 percent increase in unique page views. Members come to Community for a variety of reasons, stay to explore beyond their initial need, and come back for, in a word—value.
Community members were highly engaged last year, participating in lively forum discussions that led to an increase in accepted solutions—up 185 percent from 2018 . Solution views overall increased by 69 percent . Forums are consistently a top-ranked destination in Community, providing an easy and effective space to ask questions and get answers quickly.
Members come to Community to connect and collaborate. Forum discussions are happening every day, providing reliable answers to questions in a timely matter. In 2019, the time it took for members to get the first reply to a posted question decreased by 57 percent. That means members were able to overcome roadblocks and get back to business—fast.
The Community Boss program launched with 12 Community Bosses recognized for their advocacy and overall superior Community participation, both online and offline. Community Bosses excelled by demonstrating their expertise in driving knowledge sharing in Community last year. We just recently announced the newest Community Bosses. Will you be next?
45 User Group Meetup events happened across the globe with more than 800 attendees connecting on a multitude of Anaplan topics. 9 new User Groups were established last year bringing the total to 35 User Groups with more than 1,000 members. Anaplanners continue to rave about the benefits of connecting in person with Anaplanners everywhere.
User Groups Live! launched in the U.S. with four global events, 1,152 registrants, and 600+ attendees—a huge success! Attendees had the opportunity to hear from some of the best and brightest Anaplanners around the world, exceeding expectations and paving the way for more global events like this in 2020.
We want to thank the entire Anaplan Community for a phenomenal year. Your contributions are what make the Community a valuable resource in the Connected Planning journey. That's commendable!
2020 is off and running, and we hope you're enjoying the lastest updates to Community. Your feedback is key to where we go from here. Tell us how Community supported you in 2019, and let us know your thoughts on the current experience in the comments below.
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It's that time of year again—time to reflect, adjust, and plan! Does planning for the new year excite you and fill you with the art of the possible, or do you get a bit overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all? Don't fight your natural tendencies. No matter your style, success is possible with a thoughtful plan.
Anaplan partners are in full planning mode, preparing for business success in the new year—and prioritizing family during the holidays! Read on to learn more about their planning tips.
R.I.N.G. in the New Year With Better Planning
As the holiday season approaches and 2019 comes to a close, we always advise our clients to take a step back and determine how they can improve their planning processes in the coming year. R.I.N.G. in the new year by reflecting on four key components of a best-in-class forecast process and how you stack up in each:
Realistic: Is your planning process set up at a manageable level of detail and frequency that allows your budgeters to give the proper time and insight? Realistic expectations help to facilitate more ownership and accountability in projections.
Intelligent: Are you leveraging historical data, trends, and connected modeling as the foundation of your planning process? A best-in-class system, like Anaplan, can help to automate and calculate things that shouldn’t be left to guesswork or a bad Excel formula reference.
Nimble: How easily can you react and foresee business or industry changes as they arise? Building a nimble forecast that factors in what-if scenario modeling and real-time performance results can help to prepare an action plan for the unknowns.
Goal-Oriented: If you want to impact your financials, make sure you are clearly setting targets for what you would like to achieve. Without target setting, you can’t manage your business to align with desired financial results. You’ll also get that annual “use it or lose it” budgeting spend at the end of every year!
Here’s to better planning in 2020!
Justin D’Onofrio | Forecasting Practice Lead | Platform Specialists
Holiday Planning the Anaplan Agile Way
Pre-release (Work life organization): Develop a plan to find a stopping point on work. Organize a kickoff in 2020 for your next iteration of planning with Anaplan.
Foundations (Wish list acquisition): Listen to your spouse/kids/partner and understand what they are telling you. Make them the focus while you are on holiday break.
Implementation (Rest, relaxation, and execution): Go shopping, have family dinners, have drinks, visit friends, read a book. Your job is to reconnect and recharge.
Testing (How is your stress?): Are you with your friends and family? Is everyone smiling (or at least not fighting)? If not, go back to the Implementation phase and make some tweaks. If so, you are ready for deployment.
Deployment (You did it right!): You are rested and recovered. You have your kickoff meeting scheduled and are ready to start making Connected Planning dreams reality.
Keith Jackson | Director | Spaulding Ridge
What’s Your New Year ‘Plan-oloution’?
For me, a new year always brings a renewed focus and enthusiasm. It’s a great opportunity to take stock, re-load and go again.
With planning, as with most things in life, there are always improvements you can make. Take a moment at the start of next year to think about that. Your improvement could be something earth-shattering; such as a whole new use case, or simply a marginal gain that you’ve been pondering for a while.
Most of us will have more appetite for the marginal gains; World Cups have been won using this concept, so don’t underestimate their impacts.
My tip for a marginal gain—take one area of your planning process where users input data based on offline calculations and get those source calculations into your model. Keep chipping away at that through the year and you’ll be amazed at where you are in December 2020!
Remember, Anaplan is a journey, not a destination.
Paul Rawlinson | Customer Success Director | Bedford Consulting
The holidays and new year are great times to reset and recharge. How are you planning for personal and professional success in the new year? Tell us in the comments below. Remember to subscribe to the blog to get automatic updates!
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Certified Master Anaplanners are Connected Planning pioneers, building industry best practices and shaping the way Anaplanners everywhere utilize Connected Planning solutions every day. They understand the possible and are passionate about helping set the direction of the platform. Certified Master Anaplanner Sarah Roberts knows there's no competitor around that can match Anaplan's flexibility, versatility, or quality.
This month, we're sharing insights from Sarah to illustrate the power of Anaplan and the benefits of Connected Planning. Sarah is a Management Analyst in the City of Tallahassee’s Office of Resource Management with more than 10 years of experience in administration and finance. She's been with the City since 2012, is a leader in innovation and process improvement—and she's excited to share her Anaplan experience with the Community!
Sarah Roberts: Management Analyst, City of Tallahassee Tell us about yourself. What is your current role, and how does Anaplan support your decision making?
Starting in the City of Tallahassee’s Utility Accounting department in 2012, I transferred to the then-named Office of Budget and Policy in early 2016 to assist in the planning and implementation of a large-scale, citywide reorganization. As part of this reorganization, the scope and responsibilities of my department expanded beyond what is typically expected from a “budget” office, and we were aptly renamed the Office of Resource Management. We quickly identified the need for a sophisticated and adaptable software tool to use for budget planning, forecasting, and other planning processes. Anaplan was chosen to integrate with our financial system, PeopleSoft, allowing for the creation of modules and dashboards with the flexibility to expand for various needs in the future.
Initial configuration was completed in house with support from our Technology & Innovation department and the substantial online training and resources available from the Anaplan Academy and the Anaplan Community. The flexibility and development control provided through the Anaplan platform substantially reduced the cost and time typically required to implement software, and in only three months, a functional budget planning model was built and used for the full development of our FY17-18 operating budget pro formas. Since then we have added additional functionality including workforce planning, monthly and quarterly reporting and forecasting, and the five-year capital improvement plan.
With a degree and background in accounting, I found Anaplan to be incredibly intuitive and adaptable. The first major section I developed was a series of modules and dashboards to calculate and allocate the full $200 million cost of the City’s 13 internal service fund departments including Human Resources, Technology & Innovations, Fleet, and Wholesale Energy Services (approximately 20 modules viewed across six dashboards).
During this build, I quickly realized Anaplan’s potential. In the following months, I developed multiple accounting reconciliation processes into four dedicated models. Anaplan’s strength with integrating disparate data sets revolutionized these once highly-manual Excel processes—saving a significant amount of time, recognizing departmental efficiencies, increasing accuracy, and consolidating repetitive processes. The manual processes have been reduced by 50-90 percent, and all remaining manual processing is now dedicated to the actual practice of reconciling.
"Manual processes have been reduced by 50-90 percent..."
I cannot express to you the power of a platform that is designed to be fully developed and implemented by the people that do the work. No one understands my processes like I do, and having the capability to completely design a system that meets my needs has provided unparalleled success.
Challenges are inevitable. What challenges does your team typically encounter, and how do you overcome them with the help of Anaplan?
The City of Tallahassee provides a broad range of services through its 14 operating funds, and each area provides its own unique set of needs and challenges. My department strives to provide full transparency in the budget process by providing quarterly updates to the public and city commission, receiving feedback and guidance as we navigate the current year and plan for the next.
The versioning ability of Anaplan allows us to save snapshots of the budget throughout the current and planning years, and the adaptability of the system allows us to easily adjust our course, tracking current expenditures and forecasting year-end results. As new issues arise, we can easily redirect resources to meet the City’s needs within the finite revenue available. With Anaplan, our innovative “hold the line” budget approach allows for key needs to rise to the top so departments can focus on the delivery of quality service without being weighed down by a cumbersome budget process. Anaplan uniquely meets the requirements of Resource Management in line with the City Manager and Commissioners’ goals of consolidation, transparency, and cost savings through improved efficiencies and does not have a competitor that can match its flexibility, versatility, quality, and implementation efficiency.
Not only is the effort to provide transparency to the public made easy with Anaplan, but a new level of transparency and efficiency has been provided to our internal customers, the departments. As the current year is tracked and adjusted and the new year is planned, users in the departments can follow our progress providing feedback and insight. The internal cost allocation process has been opened wide, allowing departments to view, understand, and interpret these costs and their allocation basis. Previously, the process of monitoring and interpretation of results was very siloed, and the Connected Planning made possible through Anaplan is breaking down those siloes every day.
An unexpected result of automating so many budgetary and accounting processes has been the breadth of efficiencies realized. Old repetitive processes are no longer needed, current processes are more effective, and some processes have even been found to not be needed at all! By breaking these down for development in Anaplan, each process is looked at from a new perspective. I’ve found that so many things are done because “that’s how we’ve always done it”, and this is a challenge of inefficiency that Anaplan is helping my Center of Excellence and I overcome every day.
An unexpected result of automating so many budgetary and accounting processes has been the breadth of efficiencies realized.
You’re a Certified Master Anaplanner—congratulations! How did you accomplish this, and how does it benefit you in your career?
The short answer is easy—I got in there! I was not afraid to dive in and build models. After earning the Beginner Model Builder Certification, I thought about how my current processes were mapped (mostly in Excel), and I recreated them in Anaplan.
To build the internal cost allocation plan, I copied our Annual Budget Model and literally played around. I tried one approach that didn’t quite work, so I backed up and started again. By the end of only a few weeks, I had a successful series of modules that produced accurate, easy to interpret results from complex data.
Since then, I’ve continued my training in the Anaplan Academy, earning my Certified Master Anaplanner Certification in June of 2019. My first attempts at model building, though accurate, were not the most efficient. As I’ve learned more about Model Building Best Practices and D.I.S.C.O., and as I’ve understood new formulas, I’ve gone back through the modules and made improvements. The resources available in the online Community, the examples available in the App Hub, and one-on-one time with other model builders have helped me to grow this far, and though I have achieved Certified Master Anaplanner status, it is thrilling that there is still so much learn.
The Community is a great place to collaborate and learn. Please share your insights on model building best practices!
Model Design Process
Preparation is everything! It doesn’t matter if you are building a model for a client or if you are building your own model for a process that you know intimately well. Taking the time to plan your build will help you understand the big picture and anticipate issues before you begin.
During this time, I scrutinize my business process and determine which dimensions will be required. What relates? What can be nested in a parent/child relationship, and what can be identified as a subset? Failure to plan this part properly can result in a gross waste of space or ineffective relationships that will need to be reworked.
Also during this time, with the help of IT, I scrutinize my source data and the tables they are queried from in our human resources and financial systems. Not surprisingly, this is the part where a good deal of inefficiencies and inconsistencies are identified. For example, one process I’m currently building used to involve running three separate system queries that actually pulled from the exact same table! Now, with the correct lists and subsets, only one query is pulled, and the rest is handled through subsets and modules. Another model I’m working on has identified problems with the source data itself that would otherwise have continued to go undiscovered and is now being corrected.
Proper planning, dimensionality, and complete data lead directly to the next and equally important model building best practice:
Designing with Future Development in Mind
My organization’s first model, built internally with IT resources, was solidly designed with future development in mind. However, when I first developed the internal cost allocation modules inside of that model, I made some mistakes that required reworking later. I daisy-chained, I inconsistently applied version dimensions, and I made less than ideal list, subset, and naming convention choices. I ran into circular references and design failures that needed to be completely redone. Fortunately, I was able to export my data and re-upload it once my modules were rebuilt, but a lot of time and effort could have been saved had I heeded the teachings of D.I.S.C.O.
"A lot of time and effort could have been saved had I heeded the teachings of D.I.S.C.O.
As my Center of Excellence and I work to build additional processes, we are learning that many relate at deeper levels than initially understood. In some cases, what was originally planned as several individual models are now being combined into existing models. Luckily the origin models were designed with strong, consistent foundations, so incorporation of additional processes has thus far proven to be quite painless. I am currently working to integrate the city electric utility’s wholesale energy trading process into the fuel inventory reconciliation model, additional accounting reconciliations into the utility revenue reconciliation model, and capital project planning into the capital improvement budget model, with countless more ideas brewing on the horizon.
More From Certified Master Anaplanners:
Certified Master Anaplanner, David Elston, Shares His Anaplan Tips for Success
A big thank you goes out to Certified Master Anaplanner Sarah Roberts for her valuable insights. Tell us what you think about the interview in the comments below. Remember to subscribe—on the blog homepage—for real-time notifications of valuable content like this and more!
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We get it. You’re busy! You don't always have time to read everything that comes your way. That’s why this week we’re bringing you a highlight-reel of the latest happenings in Community. Got a few extra minutes? Click the links below to get the full story.
Level 2 Model Building training program is here! Designed like a real-world implementation, this training builds off of basic skills learned in Level 1 Model Building and expands with guided activities in working with a data hub, using model-to-model imports, setting up processes, and creating formulas.
Have you seen the latest Ask Me Anything (AMA)? Senior Director of Product Management Simon Ritchie talked about Anaplan's New User Experience (New UX). But that's not all! The AMA section has been revamped to bring you an improved way to easily find relevant topics and answers.
It's all in the name when it comes to Best Practices—designed to provide Anaplanners with the best way to use the platform. We're always adding new articles to ensure you have the information you need to master the art of model building. Check out the latest additions:
The Power of Dynamic Cell Access
To Version or Not to Version
Pre-allocation in Lists (and Impacts to Model Performance)
As the Community grows, so does our team! We're here to here to support you, help you get engaged, and provide you with valuable content in all phases of your Connected Planning journey. Introducing:
Yelena Kibasova, Community Content Associate. Yelena has an impressive background in creating engaging content and overall content strategy. She can also teach a mean Zumba class and plays hockey.
Hannah Tammen, User Groups Program Coordinator. Hannah is a natural connector and is excited to bring her customer-first approach to the popular User Groups program. She's going places—currently training for her first half marathon.
Jamieson Copeland, Associate Community Video and Content Producer. Jamieson is a storyteller and excels at creating engaging videos. As the newest team member, he's jumped in with both feet. He's currently on his first big Anaplan adventure, helping to bring User Groups Live! to Singapore.
We continually strive to bring the Community valuable content and an optimal experience. Here's a sneak peek at what we're working on now.
Community newsletter: Registered Community members can stay up to date on the latest happenings through a quarterly newsletter delivered right to their inbox.
Community redesign: Your Community experience today is good. The future will be even better!
Program updates: We're designing even more ways to engage and get recognized. Friendly competition, anyone?
We love to hear from you—tell us what you think. How do you use Community today? What else would you like to see? Share your feedback in the comments below.
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Intern graduation ceremony
The Minneapolis summer internship program was an astounding success. Thirty-three interns collaborated with a variety of departments to learn about the business and the product, resulting in 30 new Anaplan on Anaplan (AoA) models—all in just 11 short weeks.
Working side-by-side with technical experts and mentors—and supporting each other—this talented group of individuals produced top-notch new Anaplan models. Their work was inspiring and set the bar high with new use cases that clearly demonstrate the value of Connected Planning. With such impressive new talent expanding the Anaplan ecosystem, the office is already looking forward to next year’s intern program.
Wondering how this experience impacted the participants? Here’s just a sample of what the group had to say:
Federico Taboada: Johnson School of Management, Cornell University. What area of Anaplan did you focus on this summer?
My project consisted of developing a comprehensive leasing model for the accounting and finance departments. The main objectives were to consolidate the information of both the operating and financial leases that currently exist under the old and new U.S. tax code lease classifications, automate the calculation of important metrics, speed up the creation of information related to leases that need to be disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and give the end user the possibility of doing scenario analysis to see how the addition of a new lease would impact some of the metrics mentioned above.
How will you incorporate Anaplan in your near future?
This past week I learned that the interns will be able to access Anaplan during our second year to potentially use it for class projects and showcase its power. More into the future, I am expecting to continue using it directly or indirectly through implementation advisory.
Kay Kuang: Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota What area of Anaplan did you focus on this summer?
I worked with the human resources (HR) compensation team to develop a model which analyzes market data and generates salary range guidelines used by hiring managers. Working as a model builder in this project, the key learning for me was The Anaplan Way methodology. It was a very new and exciting experience for me to run the project in an agile way. It was a very efficient, fast-paced, and powerful process to get things done especially when working as a model builder who needed to frequently incorporate the user’s feedback into the model.
How will you incorporate Anaplan in your near future?
I am a member of a technology club at school, and Anaplan has the University Connect program. This will be a great connection for other MBAs at Carlson. I would love to share what I learned being a model builder during the summer when I go back to school.
Lance Laongkote: UCLA Anderson What area of Anaplan did you focus on this summer?
I worked on a model that will help the IT security and compliance team better assess risk and forecast financial impacts. This project helped me apply the Anaplan training concepts I’ve learned, as well as increase my appreciation for the awesomeness of the Anaplan software.
How will you incorporate Anaplan in your near future?
I want to work for an Anaplan partner and help implement Anaplan software with customers. I believe this will not only allow me to further develop my technical skills but also my soft skills when dealing with clients.
Sonika Vadhera: Carnegie Mellon University What area of Anaplan did you focus on this summer?
I worked on the corporate planning model that aimed to create a single platform for the real-time planning and budgeting of employee compensation and benefits, thereby enhancing the collaboration process between the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and HR departments, showcasing Anaplan as a strong use case for Connected Planning. The model provided FP&A the ability to track expenses on a country, cost-center, and executive leadership level and has a potential for reconciling budget with actuals. It helped HR understand the available funding to propose new strategies and meet the competitive landscape. It also helped them study trends and record on-target earnings from an annual perspective.
How will you incorporate Anaplan in your near future?
I would totally love to be a part of the Anaplan ecosystem. I will talk about my summer experience with the current first-year students in my business school to make them aware of Anaplan and contribute to the next year’s summer internship program.
Anees Sayed: Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota What area of Anaplan did you focus on this summer?
My project involved bringing visibility on the software spend at Anaplan to allow better budgeting and planning of these expenses. As Anaplan is a growing firm, with a focus on revenue growth, it is crucial that operating expenses (such as software expenses) are better managed to ensure the bottom line is growing too. This model provided the metrics around software spend to facilitate cost visibility, cost governance, and cost accountability across Anaplan. Additionally, this information could be used by the procurement department to make sure Anaplan is getting the best deals on future software spend.
How will you incorporate Anaplan in your near future?
I want to continue learning about the features of Anaplan when I go back to the 2nd year of my MBA program. After that, I want to stay in the Anaplan ecosystem and work on identifying new use cases for the platform. I also want to get better at model building and work towards becoming a Master Anaplanner.
More Connected Planning Examples:
Transforming IT Project Planning for CIOs
Implementing Anaplan to Transform Commercial Planning
Data-Driven Forecasting for the Holidays
Thanks for a great summer, and best of luck in your future Anaplan journey! Do you have any words of wisdom for the interns as they move forward? Share them below.
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Master Anaplanners are Connected Planning pioneers, building industry best practices and shaping the way Anaplanners everywhere utilize Connected Planning solutions every day. They understand the possible and are passionate about helping set the direction of the platform. This month, we talked to Master Anaplanner and Community Boss, David Elston, about his experience with Anaplan.
David is a Business Systems Developer & Product Manager at Chevron, holds degrees in mechanical engineering and business, and has been working with different technologies in the oil and gas industry for more than 13 years. He is passionate about product design and user experience. David often takes an intrapreneurial approach to develop his ideas—taking them from end-to-end by building prototypes, pitching them, and driving them to delivery, all while remaining focused on the end user's experience.
Check out his sage advice about using Anaplan resources such as the D.I.S.C.O. method, Community, Idea Exchange—and more. Then, apply his principles to your own projects for continued success!
David Elston: Business Systems Developer & Product Manager Tell us about yourself. What is your current role, and how do you personally utilize Anaplan today?
With the help of our partners at Akili, we recently launched our third major release of our Enterprise Business Information System. The model has approximately 700 users split between 10 roles and spans roughly 250 dashboards, 800 modules, and 1,800 actions to manage. My current role is a bit of a hybrid between technical model-building development, model support, and bigger picture product management of the overall product.
I’ve had my hand in building portions of it in all three releases, mostly in the areas of project and program management. I created and implemented the UI/UX standards and user flow for the system and also developed the role security for all eight roles in the system. As a side project I have written some Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code that uses Anaplan exports to create something similar to the model map, but instead creates a dashboard map showing how they’re all connected. The output is both an Excel table of dashboard connectivity and an associated Visio file. The Visio part isn’t done yet, but the table has already paid dividends.
Now that the system is stabilizing, my focus is shifting to developing the plan for how and when to convert the model from Classic Anaplan over to the New UX. Users are my primary focus in anything I do, so making it a seamless transition and actually enhancing the user’s experience is my absolute top priority.
Challenges are inevitable. What challenges do you typically face, and how does Anaplan help you successfully overcome them?
Prior to using Anaplan, we had loads of fragmentation between tools and “shadow systems” that people had developed to help them get things done quicker and easier. I, in fact, was a developer of one of those tools. Before Anaplan, I developed an idea in Excel VBA which streamlined a project management process by automating the generation of a couple of complex PowerPoint presentations. The system gave users a graphic user interface to work with instead of a 55-tab spreadsheet, which was, in itself, a big win. Unfortunately, the various projects weren’t connected and still required emailing files, and compiling data to get the bigger picture.
Our Anaplan model was built to combine functionalities of that and eight other similar homebrewed tools. With all of them previously being operated in isolation of each other, having the data “talk” between tools was a game-changer. Through some crafty integrations work, my PowerPoint generation code from the tool I developed still lives on in our Anaplan model today.
Aside from technical challenges, I find that the oil and gas industry can be cautious about embracing changes. Presenting users with a new tool can be a tough sell when they’re used to doing things their way in Excel, despite how complex it may be. However, our team put in a significant change management and support effort to help soften the blow caused by changing their tool. As of now, it seems most users are realizing the benefits of the connected system over the old way.
"Our Anaplan model was built to combine functionalities of that [spreadsheet] and eight other similar homebrewed tools. With all of them previously being operated in isolation of each other, having the data “talk” between tools was a game-changer."
You’re a Certified Master Anaplanner—congratulations! What helped you to achieve this great accomplishment, and how does it benefit you in your career?
Becoming proficient in Anaplan has had an interesting learning curve for me. In some ways, Anaplan makes things simpler, more powerful and flexible than getting lost in endless spreadsheet tabs. In other ways I find myself wondering “why can’t I just…?” when trying to do something in Anaplan.
Despite being a certified Master Anaplanner (since June 2019), I recognize that I still have plenty to learn in Anaplan. At times, I tend to struggle to think multi-dimensionally in the way Anaplan modeling requires, but even so, I manage to get things done. I’m a big believer of supporting each other with our strengths as we all have our areas of strength and weakness. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some other very talented model builders from Anaplan and various partners—all of which have taught me basically everything I know as a model builder. You know who you are, so thank you!
"I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some other very talented model builders from Anaplan and various partners—all of which have taught me basically everything I know as a model builder."
The Community is a great place to collaborate and learn! Help fellow Anaplanners by telling us what you’ve learned in Community.
Model building best practices:
D.I.S.C.O.; D.I.S.C.O.; D.I.S.C.O.
D.I.S.C.O. is commonly known as a best practice for Anaplan, but when I only found out about it, we were already six months into our initial build. Oops. Looking at the size of our model now, its complexity and some of the struggles that come along with that, it occurs to me how much cleaner things could have been had we built it similar to what D.I.S.C.O. recommends. Simply put, follow D.I.S.C.O. in your model builds.
"Simply put, follow D.I.S.C.O. in your model builds."
Building relationships with other model builders and tapping into their various areas of expertise is a must. In Anaplan, I find that figuring out how to formulate the right question to ask is half the battle. When faced with something that I don’t understand (which happens often), I usually start with a quick search of Anapedia, or the Community Forums, to see if someone else has had a similar question. If I can’t find help there, I may attempt to make a small prototype to try to see if I can simplify things, but at times, nothing can beat the help gained by reaching out to other model builders for a nudge in the right direction.
I tend to think in a “it would be great if” mentality by default and believe that a group of small quality-of-life improvements in a system can make as much impact as one big feature when looked at from a day-to-day, total-use perspective. For example, here are two ideas that I suggested that have since been delivered:
Ability to open a module directly from drill-down dialog .
Add a "Close all Other Tabs" option to the right-click menu .
Anaplan is unique in that it has end-users that are model builders and users that are the model builder’s end users. In my opinion, providing the easiest, most streamlined, experience for the model builders will ultimately result in them being able to deliver the best user experience possible to their users. Everyone wins.
With that, I can commonly be found contributing my ideas on Anaplan’s Idea Exchange. Currently, I have amassed a feature request list of over 50 ideas ranging from small tweaks to big changes. I also hold one of only a few Community Boss statuses for my contributions and am ranked one of the highest upvoted contributors overall.
With that, my advice is that as an idea of how Anaplan could be made better crosses your mind, big or small, consider taking a moment to add it to the Idea Exchange before it’s gone. It is almost certain that someone else has had the same thought but never bothered to write it down. Be sure to peruse some of the other ideas and give an upvote to those that make sense to you. Delivery of even some of the smallest things can make a big impact on your daily workflow and your users.
"With that, my advice is that as an idea of how Anaplan could be made better crosses your mind, big or small, consider taking a moment to add it to the Idea Exchange before it’s gone."
We want to thank David for his many contributions to the Community! Do you have any questions for our Master Anaplanner and Community Boss? Post them in the comments below.
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Community Says is an ongoing series spotlighting some of the insights, advice, and information posted by our Community members.
This week, we're spotlighting the Accepted Solution functionality in Community Forums. Forums are one of the most popular sections of Community, providing a place for members to post and answer questions, collaborate, and share best practices. Covering everything from platform discussions to known issues and workarounds to academy courses and training, you’re sure to find an active and engaging discussion!
More from Community Says:
Community Says: Formula Debugging
Community Says: Simplifying the Complex
Community Says: Error in Importing
Within the Forums, you may have noticed a blue and white triangle (with a checkmark) to the right of a post, or perhaps you’ve seen the blue SOLVED indicator on the board or within your search results. Both of these represent answers to a posted question that have helped resolve a problem, and they’re a great way to quickly find and navigate to an answer that may also help you! Members with a similar question can quickly search, scan, and get support without posting a duplicate question.
Did you post a question and receive an answer that helped you? When you receive an answer that solves your issue, you can support the entire Community by clicking the button that marks that answer as an Accepted Solution.
An Accepted Solution is a way for you to choose the reply that best answers a question that you've posted. When you accept a solution, both the question and the solution get special icons and links that take you directly from the question to the answer.
Learn more about Accepted Solutions and join the discussion by visiting the original post: Accepted Solutions Guidelines in Community Forums.
Have you benefited from an Accepted Solution? Do you want to highlight that information to help the Community? Share that information in the comments below.
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It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is officially half over. You’re probably asking yourself, where did the time go? With many of us heavily into summer activities, enjoying the long days with family and friends, we want to take this time to pause and say thank you for your Community contributions and readership. Our goal is to bring you relevant, timely, and engaging content—whether that’s hard-hitting model-building content or lighthearted planning fun. We’re here for you, the Anaplan Community!
We hope you’re enjoying all that Community has to offer. We think it’s pretty great, but there’s always room for improvement. This week we’re asking for your feedback. Let us know what you reference most often, what format you prefer, and what you find most valuable. That’s it—just four, short questions. Take the survey and then go relax. You’ve earned it. Then, keep an eye out for more great content coming soon!
We've successfully reached our goal of responses for this survey. Thank you for your responses!
Top Content in 2019:
International Women's Day Roundtable: Career Advice From The Women of Anaplan
The Truth About Sparsity: Part 1
Anaplan's New UX is in Open Early Access
Did we miss anything in the survey? Is there something else you'd like us to know? We welcome your feedback. Share your comments below.
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Welcome to part seven of the 'Get to Know the Community Team' series. If you have any questions you'd like to ask the team, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Today we're highlighting Associate Community Technology Program Manager Miran Saric !
What do you do at Anaplan?
My role on the Community team is Associate Community Technology Program Manager. I manage and respond to daily Community requests and assist users with access, navigation, their Community profiles, and general Community usage questions and concerns. I also manage the Community metrics in an effort to better understand what it is our users value and how we can best provide it.
What is your planning style?
I always like to plan my tasks in ascending order from easiest, or quickest to resolve, to the most challenging tasks. I feel like if I can get on a roll and knock out the simple stuff first, I’ll be in a good headspace when I reach the really challenging stuff. Even if I don’t get to the heavy lifting, I like knowing that I at least accomplished something, thanks to a well-thought-out plan.
Do you have any favorite planning tips?
Know when to pivot. It’s always easy to put together a comprehensive plan, but in many cases, unseen challenges are bound to come up and you’ll have to adjust on the fly. There’s no shame in reevaluating your timeline or the requirements needed in order to pull off the task at hand.
More from Community:
Get to Know the Community Team: Francis Murphy
Get to Know the Community Team: Emily Dunn
Get to Know the Community Team: Kayne Schwarz
Get to Know the Community Team: Stan Gromer
Get to Know the Community Team: Holly Rieke
Get to Know the Community Team: Aaron White
Favorite aspect of working at Anaplan and your job:
I love how quickly this company moves and how no one here settles for average or good enough, especially on the Community team where we’re always striving to provide the best possible experience for our visitors and Anaplan users.
What does Community mean to you?
To me, Community means a melting pot of ideas. We all come from different backgrounds with varying skill sets and yet we’re all able to provide our own unique value and expertise when it comes to the world of Connected Planning.
What should users expect from the Anaplan Community?
They should expect that the Community team is always working hard to address their needs and provide them with the quick solutions they need, along with their planning experience. We’re always looking for suggestions for improvement and no idea will go unrecognized!
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After a long winter season, there’s nothing like the energy and excitement of a Minnesota summer to lift your spirits. This year, Anaplan is stepping up its summer game with the introduction of the Connected Planning Internship program. This 11-week program is designed to help build the next generation of talented model builders by providing a unique opportunity for interns to immerse themselves in the culture and community of Anaplan. Program goals include converting interns to full-time employees at Anaplan, partners, or customers, and having interns return to campus as Anaplan and program ambassadors.
The competition was fierce, attracting diverse candidates from prestigious MBA programs across the U.S. In the end, 32 interns were selected from a candidate pool of 275 applicants, representing 11 universities. This summer, the group will have an opportunity to work side-by-side with technical experts, as well as mentors, to gain a broad perspective of the Anaplan ecosystem and culture.
Minneapolis is excited to welcome this select group of students to the office! We’ll hear more from the group as the summer continues. With just a couple short weeks of Anaplan experience so far, we asked the interns what attracted them most to this opportunity. Here’s what we heard:
"What attracts me most is the Anaplan Connected Planning tool. I have a huge passion and drive doing data analytics in my future career. I was very curious about Anaplan software. Now I believe I made the right decision." Mao Mao (Chengdu, China) Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
"I wanted to be part of a fast-growing tech company and wanted to work on a project that will have a lasting impact after I finish." Lance Loangkote (Monterey Park, CA) UCLA Anderson
"Anaplan is not only a product I believe in, but it is the leading company pioneering the new era of connected planning. I think there is a lot of opportunity in this space, and experience in connected planning – Anaplan specifically - will be a desired skill in the future. I believe in the company’s mission and vision and want to learn the platform, methodology, and be part of the journey." Joe Tjaden (Minneapolis, MN) Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas
"Anaplan is a powerful company that enhances an organization’s decision-making process. It’s my honor to be part of it." Jamie Tsai (Taiwan) University of Southern California
"Anaplan is a tech company that, through a very powerful software platform, addresses a very important business issue across all industries and organizations without having to necessarily create its own demand, because companies have currently precarious planning platforms. Consequently, I am very bullish on the company’s future prospects because of its uniqueness and competitive advantages, and also because I see that its management is very competent: the company is acting its stage in the business cycle and it uses a very successful strategy (“land-and-expand”) that gives the customer the flexibility to try the platform in a specific business line to later decide if it is going to implement/expand it or not." Federico Ramos Taboada (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Johnson School of Management, Cornell University.
"I was very curious to learn more about the Tech industry. When I learn more about what Anaplan does, I felt compelled with its vision and how is transforming business intelligence. My previous experience involved a lot of planning and reporting and felt related with Anaplan’s software. I also loved the culture; it seemed a great fit for me." Claudia Barrero (Chocabmamb, Bolivia) Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
"When I started my career in 2002 mobile technology was still in a nascent stage in India and as I looked at the technology, I could see the potential. This was the reason I chose to major in Telecommunications engineering and subsequently worked for about ten years in the industry. Now when I was in a way looking to re-invent myself and looking for a fresh challenge I came across Anaplan, which is again just starting out, creating a category which did not exist. That is what excites me about my Internship, I am not doing something that was done years ago. I am a part of something that will redefine the future." Rahul Raina (New Delhi, India) University of Notre Dame
"Anaplan is disruptive in the market place in its own way and it grows so fast. I feel very excited to be part of this high-growth technology company and experience shaping the future of how people work." Jiaying(Kay) Kuang (Nanchang, China) Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
"The role of solutions consultant attracts me because as a marketer who worked for traditional marketing and digital marketing, I am very interested in the analytical part of the business and would like to solve complex business challenges with advanced technology. The role provides me the ideal opportunity to do it in the summer. In addition, I haven’t ever been to Minneapolis and it’s a good chance for me to travel around the US if it counts." Cong (Jessie) Zhao (Changzhou, China) UCLA Anderson
"What attracted me most to the pilot internship program is the ability to learn and have hands-on experience with the Anaplan software and have ownership of a project that would actually impact the company." Bianca Paris (Manila, Philippines) Cornell University
"Before application, I did some research and I really impressed by the fast growth, the great performance, and the dynamic business of Anaplan. From many customer story videos, I saw how Anaplan help multi-national companies simplify spreadsheets, streamline the process, facilitate planning, and make their transformation more easily. I was curious and interested in why Anaplan is so powerful that can help the company manage its complex business efficiently. This the main reason I decide to participate in the intern program." Jiamin Gao (Yunnan, China) University of Notre Dame
"Anaplan has attracted me with its business model and vision since its vision is to provide organizations to make quick and accurate informed decision by connecting people, plan and data. I really wanted to be the part of Anaplan internship program so that I will be able to develop analytical and planning model and help end users understand the strength of the Anaplan platform." Gulomjon (Jon) Kosimjonov (Andijan, Uzbekistan) Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame
I saw the posting on my job portal and reached out to a Tepper alum (Barry Schaeffer) on LinkedIn. After a long discussion and learning about the Anaplan culture, I wanted to immediately be a part of the connected planning ecosystem. This opportunity not only leverages my business education and previous work experience but also adds a skill in my hat that will take me a long way in my corporate career. Having completed two weeks, I look forward to an exciting summer ahead of me. Sonika Vadhera (New Delhi, India) Carnegie Mellon University
"The internship at Anaplan stood out for me as there was a tangible model building certification we would walk away with apart from working with an internal customer to build and implement a solution. I was optimistic that this experience would bode well for me in the long run. Besides that, Anaplan has been a disruptor in the connected planning space. The rapid rate at which the firm had been growing shows the power of the platform and how customers are deriving value from the product. Hence, I wanted to get onto the connected planning bandwagon and make my mark in this space." Anees Sayed (India) Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
"Anaplan is a fast-growing and dynamic community. I feel so welcomed during the interview and the first two weeks here." Yijie Lin (Shanghai, China) University of Notre Dame
"For me, its borders on two things. Firstly, the opportunity to work with a firm that is at the forefront of changing the way businesses are utilizing connected planning software solutions to derive meaningful insights into their operations for better and fast decision making. Secondly, I choose this program because of the opportunity to work on challenging projects over the summer which will eventually be used by Anaplan or its partner to solve business problems." Eric Sesu (Lagos, Nigeria) Mays Business School, Texas A&M University
"The opportunity to work in a fast-paced, hyper-growth environment, on a cutting edge platform, for a category-creating company, and to develop a rare, high demand set of skills. As an added benefit, I love Minneapolis and was specifically looking for an opportunity in the city." Jacob Sheehan (Catharines, Ontario, Canada) University of Notre Dame
What a diverse and talented group of individuals! We're excited to have you in Minneapolis and looking forward to following your journey. Do you have any words of wisdom for our interns? Share them below.
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Sampath Gomatam, Senior Vice President, Product, and YY Lee, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer—in the Platform Innovation Powering Connected Planning keynote.
The Connected Planning Xperience (CPX) continued with day two activities. The team was back at it, connecting with customers, learning more about members of the User Groups program, and spending time with partners and Master Anaplanners. Everyone also enjoyed the lively and informative keynotes of the day. Here's a look at all the Community fun of day two!
Check out Community Experience Manager, Emily Dunn (left), and Community Content Manager, Kayne Schwarz (right)—all ready for day two. Emily and Kayne are two of the most tenured members of the Community team, excited to connect with customers, partners, and prospects at CPX this week!
The User Groups board exploded on day two, representing User Group attendees both from the U.S. and internationally. User Groups are a great way to connect with fellow Anaplanners to learn about the latest platform functions and features, collaborate on common topics and challenges of interest, and network in general. We were excited to see so many User Group members stop by the Community booth this week.
The action continued back at Anaplan headquarters, not far from the CPX location on San Francisco's Embarcadaro, where Kayne Schwarz took time out to connect with Anaplan partners and Master Anaplanners. Master Anaplanners help take Anaplan to new heights and continue to challenge us to do better. This week, they were recognized with the special accommodations in the Master Anaplanner lounge at the event space.
Near the end of the activities on day two, Master Anaplanners were celebrated by Chris Weiss, Leader, Centers of Excellence and Master Anaplanner, as well as Anaplan's executive leadership team. Master Anaplanners were personally thanked by CEO Frank Calderoni and reminded of the importance of their roles as Master Anaplanners by Chief Planning Officer, Simon Tucker.
No conference would be complete without good eats. This year, attendees were treated to a diverse selection of food from 15 food trucks. Check out the picturesque view—a perfect backdrop for new connections and ongoing conversations alike.
The team wrapped up the day's events making more connections and creating moments that matter for Community enthusiasts. There's nothing better than having the opportunity to share our passion for Community with all of you!
Senior Director of the Anaplan Community, Fran Murphy (right) recapped the first annual CPX event with the following:
"It's always such a great experience connecting in-person with our customers and partners at our Anaplan events. We're thrilled to be able to introduce new customers to the Community and all of the resources available to them along their Connected Planning journey, as well as discuss feedback, ideas, and insights from our nearly 20,000 Community members. Even better, we were able to spread the word about the success of our Anaplan User Groups and enroll even more customers into the program—providing them the opportunity to continue their Connected Planning experience with other customers using Anaplan, customers in their lines of business, and even customers in their specific industries. We'll be looking forward to connecting with even more Community members at our upcoming international events, too! Until then, see you in the Community."
More About CPX:
Community at CPX: Behind the Scenes
2019 CPX Hackathon: What You Need to Know
CPX in San Francisco may be over for this year, but the energy and excitement continue here in the Community every day. If you attended CPX and had an opportunity to stop by the Community display, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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Connected Planning Xperience (CPX) has descended upon San Francisco this week, and the team has been hard at work, bringing the best of Community to attendees. After months of prepping and planning, the best part is finally here—connecting with customers and partners, in person, for three whole days! Check out this behind the scenes view of what we’ve been up to.
Who doesn't love a good giveaway after taking in all the knowledge provided at the displays on the conference room floor? Attendees can enjoy a classic when they stop by the Community booth and leave with trading cards and chewing gum. If you weren't able to attend the event in person, just take a look at the smile on Community team member Emily Dunn's face as she diligently preps the takeaways. CPX is high-energy fun from beginning to end.
I f you've ever worked at or attended a conference, you know it takes a village to bring the entire event to life. Our Community "village people" were so excited to have such a great opportunity to connect with attendees. Community Senior Director Francis Murphy and Community Experience Manager Emily Dunn spent the day meeting a full house of attendees, educating them on the many benefits of Community.
User Groups are a great way for Anaplanners to connect all year long. This year we launched the inaugural User Groups Live! event, and this week we emphasized the benefits of User Groups and answered all your questions. Visitors were also able to share their locations with other attendees by pinning them to the map. Check out the map so far—and it's just getting started!
CPX wouldn't be complete without words of wisdom from our very own Chief Planning Officer, Simon Tucker. A packed room enjoyed hearing insights on "empowerment culture" from the ever-engaging and energetic Simon. Fun fact: Simon Tucker is Anaplan's employee #5.
The experience hall was buzzing with activity, and the Community booth was no exception. Check out our friends from the HyperCare team in the background, talking about the benefits of our premium support program. It was a busy day for the team, but there was no better place to be than with this highly-engaged group of people, excited and passionate about Anaplan. Even the unseasonable San Francisco heat couldn't slow them down!
The team will be back in action tomorrow, ready for more fun at CPX. Do you have a standout moment that mattered during the day's events? We want to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.
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Announcing the Community Boss program! The Anaplan Community is thriving due to the thoughtful contributions of its members. This year, we’re recognizing customers, partners, and employees who go out of their way to encourage, advise, and share knowledge with their fellow Anaplan Community members. Officially launching this week at CPX, the program aims to recognize Anaplan advocates and their levels of participation—all of which make up this vibrant community, both online and offline.
This select group of Community influencers frequently shares their expertise and best practices, offering a strong voice of knowledge. They will be recognized annually as top advocates who have demonstrated their expertise in driving knowledge-sharing in the Community. Additional criteria include the following:
Candidates must be an Anaplan customer, partner, or employee to participate and/or be considered.
Community Bosses are selected annually, based on their previous year's engagement—through Kudos, Forum topics, replies, accepted solutions, and publication of knowledge base articles.
All members will need to re-qualify annually.
Rewards and Benefits
What does it mean to be a Community Boss? In addition to gratitude from the entire Anaplan Community, Community Bosses will receive the following:
Opportunity to speak at conferences, as well as local and online events.
Discounts on events.
Recognition blog post on Community.
Unique badge and identifier for easy recognition within the Community and additional weighting of Kudos.
Sweet, sweet swag!
Meet the Winners
Check out the list of the inaugural Community Bosses below. Click anywhere to visit the program page for complete details and ongoing updates.
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!
Are you attending CPX? Be sure to congratulate a newly appointed Community Boss for their engagement and collaboration!
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Are you focused, organized, and able to stay calm under pressure? Can you see the big picture, while paying attention to the details? Do you have a natural ability to listen and understand others? Planning might just be the career path for you.
With so many jobs that align well with the tendencies of a natural-born planner, you might find yourself asking which path is best for you. To help you get started, we’ll explore some traditional planning jobs, and then introduce you to some you may have never considered before.
Financial Planner: If you haven’t met with one yet, you’re likely to at some point in the future. Financial planners are qualified investment professionals that work with clients and corporations to achieve their personal financial goals. Some may specialize in things like tax planning, retirement, or asset allocation. Financial planners are qualified professionals, with specific designations, such as certified financial planner (CFP).
City Planner: Sometimes known as an urban planner or regional planner, these individuals are the brains behind the towns and cities you live in. Physical planning jobs like these include responsibilities such as planning housing facilities, public transportation, city expansions, parks, and recreation, as well as resource allocation.
Event Planner: Think about the last wedding you attended, a recent work conference, a fancy charity event you went to, or that fabulous holiday party last year. It’s likely an event planner was behind the magic. Event coordinators and planners work with their clients to produce successful events. From managing the budget to securing a location, arranging food to booking entertainment, event planners do all this—and more!
Brand Planner: You’ve probably heard the old adage “the customer is always right.” Brand planners are essentially the voice of the customer, focused on strategic campaign planning based on key data points. They figure out the right message to communicate, to the right audience, at the right time.
Amusement Park Planning & Design: It’s like a dream come true; spend your days at an amusement park and get paid for it! While not always an easy job to come by, you could spend your days exploring the competition (even more theme parks!), planning overall themes and special requirements, and blending creativity with innovative technological advancements. Before you get too excited, it’s important to know that the average job in this field lasts just 18 months.
Virtual Assistant: If you’re a natural planner with a desire for a remote work environment, then read on. Virtual assistants can work from anywhere, helping their clients with tasks that an office manager might—such as administrative support, sales, marketing, accounting, writing, editing, proofreading, graphic design, and much more. You can thank the internet and advancements in technology for this unique opportunity to blend your love for planning, a steady income stream, and the comforts of your own home.
Professional Organizer: Who couldn’t use a little help getting organized? Whether it’s an unorganized office, messy closet, overflowing garage, or chaotic kitchen, professional organizers are there to assist you with a plan to get you back on track—and stay that way. If this sounds appealing to you, consider a membership in a professional group, such as the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).
Facilities Planner: Hospitals, universities, office buildings, and more rely on facilities planners to do things like help resolve space planning issues, department moves, employee workspaces, and even furniture location. They might even get involved in real estate contracts and building compliance standards. While not always top-of-mind, facilities planners are a critical part of the successful flow of a building.
What comes to mind when you think of planning jobs? Do you have a traditional or out of the ordinary career that centers around planning? Share your planning career experiences in the comments below.
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This AMA is now closed, but you can still watch the video on CPX at any time. If you haven’t already, check out what the panel had to say about this year’s event.
Congratulations to the winners of FREE passes to CPX—Community members Tiffany.Rice and AmyX! Thanks for your great questions in the AMA. Additional details will be sent to your Community inbox.
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The AMA is now open —Watch the video to learn more about CPX and what's in store this year. Then, post your questions here for a chance to win a *FREE pass to CPX! Remember to use the @mention functionality to send a question directly to one of our panelists.
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It's almost time! Remember to log in Monday morning to learn more about what's in store at CPX this year for customers, partners, and employees alike. Watch a brief video of our panelists to hear what they're excited about this year—then, post your questions through Thursday afternoon. Two lucky participants will win *FREE CPX passes! Just post your question to the forum for a chance to win. Check out complete terms and conditions on the main AMA introduction page.
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The AMA has now ended. We hope you enjoyed the live session. If you have additional questions, please consider posting your questions in the forums section where the Community will be happy to help!
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