Anaplan: Driving a New Age of Connected Planning

Frank Calderoni, President & CEO A modest barn in the historic city of York in Northern England witnessed the founding of Anaplan, a startup that would replace the conventional ad-hoc systems for business planning with a new age performance management solution. At the helm of this initiative were Guy Haddleton and Michael Gould, who identified early-on that a combination of disconnected legacy applications and obsolete technologies fell short at adequately supporting the next generation of planning software. A technology veteran with over two decades of extensive experience in design and architecture in the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) realm, Gould steered the development of Anaplan’s cloud-based planning platform. The platform leverages the latest computing transformations such as in-memory computing, 64-bit multi core processing, database innovation and SaaS delivery, to enable dynamic interaction between customers, partners, and employees in an organization.

"I believe Anaplan will quickly emerge as one of the best-known names in business software, as there is tremendous growth potential in performance management platforms"

By merging three distinct architectural styles—cube, columnar database, and cell-based—Gould laid the foundation of a patented technology that enabled a unified modeling environment for the entire organization; christened as Hyperblock, the versatile modeling and data store calculation engine allows enterprises to recalculate humongous business data models at a spreadsheet-like pace. Powered by the underlying multi-tenant data architecture and in-memory computing ability of Hyperblock, the Anaplan planning platform supports the creation of elaborate planning models that empower real-time, dynamic business decisions. Also, businesses have the option of building plans down to any level of granularity with varied dimensions; coined as “high-fidelity planning” by the experts at Anaplan.

The San Francisco-headquartered company continues to refashion the conventional finance-centric EPM landscape with their flexible planning and modeling platform. Also, built from the ground up, Anaplan’s open data model enables business users to design, architect, maintain and manage their own planning applications in varying dimensions with zero coding or external IT support. Additionally, for businesses operating in marketplaces that are volatile and prone to continuous changes, the Anaplan platform offers a secure architecture that empowers agile business planning processes. “I believe Anaplan will quickly emerge as one of the best-known names in business software, as there is tremendous growth potential in performance management platforms,” asserts Frank Calderoni, a technology veteran and CEO of Anaplan.
A Connected Planning Framework

Anaplan’s planning platform has been brewed to perfection by concocting a mix of essential ingredients such as disruption, speed, accountability, and integrity. The platform facilitates an open integration approach that allows the business users to connect to a varied range of data sources, extract data, and introduce it into the planning model in a few clicks. It offers enterprise-grade security along with in-memory data management to model and run planning processes by connecting data, people, and plans across the enterprise and reinforcing collaborative decision-making and enhanced business performance. This connected planning approach by Anaplan allows organizations to have a close-knit plan that ensures optimized growth and profits without the need to rely on disparate point solutions for each function. Having achieved the distinction of being one of the most flexible and modular, collaborative cloud planning systems in the EPM space, Anaplan’s platform fosters end-to-end connection within an enterprise.


Connected planning is the creation of fundamental connections between data, people, and plans in an organization


The multi-dimensional planning models supported by the platform infuse enterprise-wide connectedness by bundling up financial planning, budgeting and forecasting, sales and operations planning (S&OP), supply chain planning (SCP), workforce planning, and inventory optimization in a single cloud-based planning platform. For instance, the platform proactively adapts to the needs of a constantly changing human resources domain by connecting operational and tactical plans to cater to the long-term skills requirements. Connecting across the HR, finance, and operational business plans, the platform plays a key role in mobilizing the talent required to drive the business forward. As Gould puts it into perspective, “Connected planning is the creation of fundamental connections between data, people, and plans in an organization. Anaplan’s highly scalable platform continues to become more open and collaborative, empowering people across the organization to make informed decisions that drive faster, more effective planning.”

Collaborative Workflows to Spearhead Performance

Designed to offer large-scale collaborative planning and decision-making across complex processes, Anaplan’s platform offers a potent mix of real-time integration and advanced analytics which allows businesses to augment their financial performance and create niche customer experiences. It provides metadata-level views of plans and the relationships between them and ensures that the impact of plan changes get instantly reflected across the entire organization. The collaborative workflow within the platform allows enterprise users to monitor status and approvals while streamlining top-down target allocation and consolidation of roll-ups from the field.
The adaptable role-based security levels in combination with an audit trail, model restore, and selective user access ensure unassailable and simultaneous planning in real time. A robust audit trail plays an instrumental role in providing the history of usage, changes, and roll back to earlier versions while keeping track of changes.

Furthermore, Anaplan’s powerful modeling and calculation engine allow enterprise users to draw an outline of the anticipated results from diverse decisions before implementing the final changes. Anaplan also offers options for API export/import along with prebuilt connectors to interface with platforms such as HyperConnect, Informatica, Dell, and SnapLogic. By combining the potency of software as a service (SaaS) model and a mix of real-time integration and advanced analytics, Anaplan's planning platform today allow businesses to augment their financial performance and create niche customer experiences. Also, the natively built-in compliance rules in the platform make it easy for businesses to maintain active user compliance. Anaplan’s unique compliance management feature encompasses an integrated process that entails selective access, hash algorithms, and data block storage; allowing users to perform their tasks while conforming to the regulations.

Flag-Bearers of Disruption

Anaplan’s platform transcends the limits set by traditional business intelligence and enterprise performance management systems to deliver the best data that drives informed decisions. The experts at Anaplan effectively combine the backward-looking and forward-looking data to glean the best data for decision-making. The presence of a data hub—Anaplan App Hub—within the Anaplan platform allows businesses to centralize their data and ensure its consistency across applications. The Anaplan App Hub serves as a dedicated application community for enterprise planning as it empowers the business users to quickly comprehend and formulate the functions used in high-end business planning applications. The App Hub plays an instrumental role in enabling Anaplan users to build, share, and deploy planning apps across a multitude of industries for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, trade and promotion planning, strategic financial planning, and more.

The firm also hosts annual global user conferences: Anaplan Hub, that help enterprises on the frontier of planning and decision-making to interface with business planning and modeling experts. Anaplan Hub serves as the perfect platform for the Anaplan’s customers, prospects, partners and employees to converge for productive training and breakout sessions. At the recently concluded Anaplan Hub conference—Anaplan Hub17—themed as “A New Age of Connected Planning,” the firm unveiled their plans to take their “connected planning” approach to the marketing budgeting and planning solutions space.

With a customer-first philosophy deeply ingrained in the work culture, Anaplan’s growth strategy revolves around the benefits of meeting their customers’ requirements and expectations. The firm upholds an unwavering spirit of vanguardism inspired by a community focused approach to foster a learning environment. Catering to the global demand for innovative enterprise performance management solutions, Anaplan is on the anvil of an extensive geographical expansion across countries like Japan to further their vision of purging the world of “uncommunicative spreadsheets.”

Company
Anaplan

Headquarters
San Francisco, CA

Management
Frank Calderoni, President & CEO

Description
Delivers a dedicated planning and modeling engine to enable cloudbased collaborative planning and decision-making across complex processes