Blueprint analysis: Model analysis techniques using Excel
A model analysis technique using metadata from your Anaplan model imported in to Excel, utilizing purpose-built formulas to identify line items of interest
We do this so that we have some extra information with which to arm ourselves when trying to optimize a model. It lets us look at every line item, apply the same rules to each, and highlight any line items that breach certain rules. We can then filter the worksheet and look at which line items we consider worth investigating first; for example, those we have highlighted as most likely to cause performance issues.
Begin by exporting line item "blueprint" from the third tab in Modules (found on the settings menu). Export as CSV (Grid.csv)
Import this in to Excel:
Now we can begin to format the columns, hide those we are not interested in, and add columns for the analysis we want to accomplish.
As an example, we've added a formula length column with the formula: =LEN(C2) C2 is the formula column we have imported from the blueprint.
Some of the columns we've added speak for themselves; for example, formula length and text format. The FINDITEM, CODE, etc. are all the same formula, but use different search terms. Note the use of an open parenthesis in the search term to look for the start of a function. Duplication looks for that formula (row) in all the other rows, and shows how many times that exact formula is repeated in the model. Duplication (formulas) is a similar search but uses a wild card to look for that text within the other rows. The example is looking for BLANK, and shows how many line items use BLANK in a formula. The formula for '& count' shows how many instances of that character appear in the formula and will show any & in names as well. It may be better to search for " & " (with spaces). The 'IF count' formula is similar to '& count', but we need to add /LEN("IF ") to account for more than one character in the substitute. Make sure the search term text is the same in both parts.
In this image, you can see the formula CODE(ITEM(sf_nbr_Opportunity)) is duplicated 18 times and then used a further 3 times in other line items (21 minus 18). This formula only applies to the list sf_nbr_Opportunity, so it should be put in to a list properties module (system module) dimensioned by only that dimension. Then this formula is calculated at the correct dimension in a module that other line items can reference when needed. The cell count of this line item is 35,103; so we're reducing the cells calculated for this from 631,854 (18 * 35103) to 35,103, a 94% reduction. Do we need all those other line items now though? Can they be removed and any references to those be changed to our new properties module?
I'm sure many of you are doing this already. If so then please share details on how you do it and what you look for. Once you have a format, you'll find you can quickly apply this to new model blueprints. You could even drive the analysis page from a second sheet to make importing new blueprints easier.
You may even want to incorporate the results of a model open analysis file into this, looking up a line item and module name so that you can sort the blueprint by the performance data and match up the analysis timings to the formulas.
Please use this when trying to optimize performance. Even looking for duplicated formulas is a great start.
Share your blueprint analysis formulas in the comments and we can grow this into something really useful!
The content in this article has not been evaluated for all Anaplan implementations and may not be recommended for your specific situation.
Please consult your internal administrators prior to applying any of the ideas or steps in this article.