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Dive into model building and learn how to create Anaplan models

When one starts learning Anaplan, we should be familiar with the basic terminology to build good foundation with Anaplan. We often hear some basic words, and which will be throughout your Anaplan journey (APPHUB, WORKSPACE, MODELS, DIMENSIONS, LISTS, MODULES, LINEITEMS, DATA IMPORTS/EXPORTS, DASHBOARDS). There are many functions and resources in Anaplan which will help build models and start working with various types of data. To learn Anaplan, we will have to explore modelling and model building articles.

A separate workspace is given to each company and may contain its own users and any number of models. The basic structure of an Anaplan model is built by Lists, Line items and Modules which represents each aspect of a business. Dimensions in Anaplan can be linked and updated with data from another model whereas models are independent. A group of related items are called Lists e.g., ppl in a department, products, regions, or entities. These are the basic elements in Anaplan, as they define the structure and content of a model. A dimension is one which measures or defines the characteristic of your data. It can be calculated or changed to help answer business, observe market trends, or assess various situations for planning purposes. Modules are one of the components of Anaplan model and comprised of lists, pages, line-items, and timescales.

End users' primary interface is called as 'Dashboard'. A dashboard consists of grids and charts published from modules in a model. There is no limit for grids and charts in a dashboard you can have as many as you like, and these elements can be published from different modules. A separate view is created in a module to publish it to dashboard. Versions dimension enables you to compare actuals and forecast data. Charts will add good visual impact to your data and help us to spot areas of improvement and successes. Different kinds of charts are provided based on the data that we are working (Column charts, Bar charts, Pie charts, Line charts, waterfall charts, combination charts, Timeline charts, funnel charts). Based on the data that we have we can choose appropriate charts to create different kinds of reports.

There are two types of approaches while building the models, top-down or bottom-up. Either it is top-down or bottom-up approach, need to identify the business functionality. The basic lists that makeup the organization are regions, products, and ppl. Later you can keep on adding dimensions to the data to enable us to see the organization in various ways. List hierarchy helps to support model structure and workflow.

Users in a workspace might be common to all the models in that workspace, components that belong to the model such as dimensions are local to that model, but these components can be linked and update with data from other model. Model recalculates automatically when some change is made to the data. Data to the model is entered manually or using import actions or derived from other line items within the model using calculations. Data imports within models happen using command or import actions between models. Within the model based on the functional area, modules are grouped together to identify them easily.

In Anaplan one should follow certain best practices while creating lists, modules, and formulae. While building the logic, one should not use SUM and LOOKUP in the same formula as it hits the performance of the model. Minimum properties should be created in the lists or instead we can create separate modules for replacing those properties. Within the modules, try to use TEXT format for very less number of line items. In summary tab, using SUM will also impact the performance of the model. Using TIME RANGE and SUBSETS will help in increasing the model performance. Break the very big formulae into smaller by creating multiple line items thereby increasing the performance of the model. So, these are some of the optimizing technics in Anaplan.

Now, new UX has come up with few new additional features for the users. There is a provision to access multiple models and create a dashboard as per business requirement. Updates are reflected in new UX dashboard immediately as you update the views in the model that are initially used to build the dashboards. We will look forward to get new updates from Anaplan going forward.

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