Meet Rachel LaRue — Finance Manager and Center of Excellence Leader at DaVita Kidney Care. In addition to leading her organization’s CoE, Rachel’s work focuses on model building, including building new projects, enhancements to old deployments, as well as bug fixes and any proactive improvements.
We asked Rachel to share her thoughts on her journey with Anaplan, including becoming a CoE Leader, perspective on what she has learned, and the benefits of having a CoE in an organization.
“As a member of a CoE, I've definitely seen the presence of a CoE be really critical within an organization. We end up becoming the source of that knowledge throughout our whole ecosystem.” – Rachel LaRue
Tune in to see how Rachel has grown in the Anaplan ecosystem and brings value to her team, or check out the transcript below.
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Rachel: My pathway within the Anaplan ecosystem has actually been very natural and gradual growth which has been really amazing for me. I started off about four years ago not knowing anything, not having heard of Anaplan before and coming into an unplanned customer who had an existing deployment of a new plan, getting to train up, become a certified model builder at the analyst level within my organization. I also then got to switch into that manager level and start to really advise other people going through that same process as I did originally to help them grow and become model builders in the first place, assist in their training and start to help them think about how do I get to that next level and think about versus just the technical physical side of that build.
Interviewer: What made you want to be a Center of Excellence Leader?
Rachel: I think some of the unique things about being a CoE leader and the opportunities that it has brought me — that I find the most fulfilling at least — is getting to grow my CoE and actually grow other people in the Anaplan ecosystem. I know how exciting it was for me to see the Anaplan platform, to find a language that felt very learnable and implementable to me, as like not really a heavy coding background person — and so being able to become the leader of a CoE and make it my main purpose to really grow others in the same way that I have gotten to grow is the opportunity that I have valued the most. And it has really been fulfilling to me, as I got into the Anaplan space.
Interviewer: What is the most valuable skill you learned along that journey?
Rachel: I think one of the most critical things that I have learned is that there is not one way to do anything in Anaplan or there is not just one way. I have found that I can really apply some of my own kind of techniques or flavor as I go along with things and that a lot of times with building, it's not always about building it right or building it perfectly or by the book, but it's about future-proofing and making sure that the model builder that comes after you is going to be able to see your train of thought or an end user trying to understand how you reached a value is able to drill in and see those calculations and have them make sense to them so that they can actually follow that trail and not necessarily have to come to the builder every time they have a question about a data point.
Interviewer: What are some of the benefits of having a CoE in an organization?
Rachel: As a member of a CoE I've definitely seen the presence of a CoE be really critical within an organization and so we end up becoming the source of that knowledge throughout our whole ecosystem. So even if I am not touching every model or my team is not touching every model throughout our organization, we are able to still siphon out those recommendations and updates and let everyone know — here's a universal change. We all need to adjust this year or provide tips and tricks and say here's something really exciting, we learned how to do in an Anaplan, come and learn about it for a little bit and be able to then apply that in your specific suite of models as well.
Interviewer: Are there benefits to having a direct connection with Anaplan as a CoE Leader?
Rachel: I think what we have found with having someone fully dedicated to Anaplan and that being their entire job is they're able to train up on the tool faster and they're also able to start to understand multiple applications of the same universal Anaplan platform in all of our different lanes. When someone is only dedicating a small amount of their time to an Anaplan, they just don't get that consistent exposure. They don't get used to the platform in the same way it maybe takes two or three times as long to make an adjustment or to fix a bug as someone who is fully dedicating their time to an open.
My name is Rachel LaRue and I am a manager over a customer's CoE. I manage one of three lanes that we have in our CoE. My lane is focused on model building which means all things new: builds, new projects, enhancements to old deployments, as well as bug fixes and any proactive improvements that we can make time for.