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November 19, 2020

Connected Planning Using Anaplan

Connected Planning Using Anaplan

Many organizations today are facing challenges of having planners from multiple locations working in silos with no cross-enterprise collaboration. In most cases, these planners use spreadsheet to perform their planning activities. Spreadsheet has its own advantages & disadvantages. The major disadvantages of using spreadsheets is that spreadsheets are always single user driven whereas enterprise planning, forecasting & budgeting requires multiple concurrent user & flexible modelling capabilities. This makes Anaplan a perfect candidate for a tailor-fit planning solution for any kind of use cases.

Using Connected Planning, complex models can be managed & edited by concurrent planners in real-time. Changes made by the planners in real time will reflect in the business environment simultaneously to help the decision makers to make the correct decisions quickly and confidently.

Organizations ventures into Anaplan ecosystem either through Financial Planning, Demand & Capacity planning, Merchandise planning or Territory & Quota Planning etc. Over time, organizations expand their planning requirements once they have more exposure into the benefits of connected planning. Connected Planning enables collaboration, predictive, self-learning capabilities required for strategic decision-making.

What is the purpose of Connected Planning?

The main purpose of Anaplan's Connected Planning to have one reliable source of information - 'one version of the truth'.  It's important for the decision-making team to understand what's happening in their business unit and how certain changes coming from other areas have impacted the outcome.


Key Benefits of Connected Planning

  • Single Source of Truth - With Connected Planning, all relevant data across different business units are stored in one place, which can be used to create various spoke models

  • Robust Decisions - With Connected Planning, the planners can leverage more data in different formats for more detailed modelling scenarios 

  • Modify Plans - Connected Planning allows the planners to adjust plans on a real time basis and identify the performance drivers of the business. Planners can also perform a retrospective review to establish why the performance varied in view of the original plan

  • Define Future Performance - Planners tends to waste a lot of time during planning cycles consolidating historic data to predict future performance.  This is an extremely time consuming & inefficient process of predicting future performance. Hence, with Connected Planning, planners can shift their focus from data consolidation to analyzing risks and opportunities to ensure the best possible outcomes 

  • Adjustment - It is imperative for any organization to ensure that their planning models are flexible enough to handle any kind of adverse market conditions. With Connected Planning, the same can be achieved even during the most unpredictable and uncertain times. Planners from different teams can collaborate in real-time & ensure immediate adjustments are executed considering the market conditions

  • Predictive Scenario - Predictive modelling allows the planners to test an alternative plan using what-if scenarios to arrive at the most optimal solution. Using Anaplan latest technology, vast amounts of data can be recalculated very quickly. It is also capable of modelling actual outcomes alongside with future predictions, such as seasonal trends. Anaplan helps the business to take more accurate decisions considering the future projections with greater confidence

Things to consider - Connected Planning

  • Data Hub Creation - Either the plan is to deploy one model or develop a larger connected environment, it is always recommended to start with a Data Hub model. It's performs as a central data repository for all the spoke models, while it also ensures that all data in the spoke models are consistent with the data stored in the data hub. Additionally, data hubs can be used to export only specific data to specific spoke model & ensures that the performance of the spoke models does not decreased due to unnecessary data

data hub1.JPG

  • Honeycomb Approach - After the first planning solution is implemented, the business will start to think on how the tool can be utilized further to bring other planning teams into the Anaplan's connected environment. To help with this requirement, Anaplan has created a project scoping method called "Honeycomb". It uses the first implementation use case at the center, then it places other use cases in the adjacent honeycomb spaces which are related to the first implementation

  • Bridge Connections Between Teams - Without connected planning, teams work in silos which creates a lack of collaboration within the organization. With Connect Planning, we can build bridges between these teams & work for more accurate forecasting by eliminating common communication problems. 

For example, we can create a unique user roles and security settings to ensure that multiple teams can work in the same model at the same time without any disturbances. As Anaplan calculates data in real time, the users will have the most up to date set of numbers every time the users log in to Anaplan. Additionally, it is possible to import data from one model to another in Anaplan or setup an automated feed, even if the models are in different workspaces.


Several Integration options -

  • Manual data Import-Export
  • Mulesoft
  • Informatica - Anaplan HyperConnect
  • Anaplan Connect
  • Dell Boomi
  • SnapLogic

Anaplan can host and connect with all kinds of operational plans across the organization, thereby creating single version of truth.




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