We're getting ready for our next Anaplan Live! event. As active Community members and model builders, your input is extremely valuable. Our mission is to bring you content to boost your model-building skills, no matter what level you're at today. Take this brief survey, and let us know what you want to learn more about.
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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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It was my pleasure to share @Romain_Colin!! I'm actually working right now to improve a model I built only last year and am amazed at the efficiencies I have been able to realize! Perhaps the most exciting thing is growing confidence with the use of formulas at increasing levels of complexity. Some that challenged me several months ago are now second nature, and the more difficult formulas I am working on now pose exciting new challenges. I love watching these processes and my level of understanding evolve!
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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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@HollyRieke Congratulations! This is truly amazing. I have to agree with @KBeltz. To be honest, the list of names from the Community Site that coached me through my training is staggering. For me, it would have been impossible for me to learn Anaplan without the Community Site. It's not just the best practice posts and the thoughtful answers in the platform discussions that make this such a great place to visit. The best part is the Anaplan values: Open, Authentic, Inclusive, Collaborative, Creative, Love. It's as if Anaplan extended its value system to the rest of the Community! Brilliant.
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Really like the #MarginalGain idea from Paul. Sometimes you don't need to restart or create a use case just improve something ever so slightly which really makes an impact to the end user.
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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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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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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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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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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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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 Six 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.
More Connected Planning:
Implementing Anaplan to Transform Commercial Planning
The Planual Rises
What Makes a Good Anaplanner
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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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.
More About Planning:
A Good Plan: Avoiding Scope Creep
Planning Careers You Didn't Know Existed
Goal-Based Strategic Planning 101
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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Have you seen the great David Smith video from the inaugural AMA? Feedback from the first session included comments like "great content" and "seriously good stuff," and we're looking forward to what's Up Next.
Join us for the next session, June 4 through June 7 — featuring Mark Shemaria answering questions about Center of Excellence best practices and Model Sparsity principles.
If you haven't already, join the AMA group in Community to participate in the discussion and get automatic updates about future AMAs. See first-hand what customers and partners are asking.
Add a reminder to your calendar, and join the conversation!
How it Works
You will find complete AMA details available in Community under the News & Networking category by May 21 . This will be a virtual session with two options to participate.
Post questions to the group topic anytime from Monday, June 4 through Wednesday, June 6.
Or, jump online from 9 - 10 am PDT Tuesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 7 to chat with Mark live!
In addition, members can give Kudos to questions that are important to them. The expert will answer as many questions as possible during his scheduled time during the week. The session will close at 10 am PDT on Thursday, June 7.
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