The approach to Connected Planning we take at Profit& is a collaborative one. We work with our clients to implement Connected Planning through an interactive, adaptable implementation process that can be configured to suit the needs of any business.
Here’s an overview of our Anaplan implementation process.
- Our Proven Process
- The First Step: Project Setup
- Setting The Foundations
- Beginning Implementation in Earnest
- Iterative Deployment
OUR Proven Process
Our experienced team of consultants works in partnership with you to set up your bespoke Anaplan planning solution, that meets your needs exactly. With many successful implementations behind us, we're an accredited Anaplan Partner that employs best practice in the 'Anaplan Way'.
We use the following four cornerstones to make sure an Anaplan implementation is efficient, cost-effective and accessible.
- Process: To get the most value and cost-saving from Anaplan, it’s wise to modify the process. For example, preparing and approving the annual operating plan. We don't just replicate your existing planning process, we re-invent and improve it.
- Data: Anaplan will need data from systems, such as financial ledgers or CRM, so it's important to design the way data is sourced, transformed and loaded into Anaplan..
- Model: Collaborative ownership of the model design. Your resources, our expertise.
- Deployment: Never an afterthought - deployment only works when end-user input is considered from the beginning.
The First StEP: Project Setup
The very first thing we do at Profit& is to produce a ‘rough cut’ - an initial estimate of cost and timeline. The details are outlined in a ‘statement of work’ (SOW). The project setup phase manages these three tasks:
- Determining high-level objectives.
- Agreeing on the right mix of resources and timelines.
- Culminating in an agreed SOW, including high-level model design and to-be business process overview.
SETTING The Foundations
Anaplan shouldn’t be used to automate and analyse everything. It’s not a platform for every business need. The key foundations need to be based on what Anaplan can solve and the areas it should remain apart from:
- Document the business process that Anaplan will address.
- Identify the parts of your process the Anaplan model will include.
- Determine how non-Anaplan areas of the process will interact with the platform.
- Align shared dimensions, data sources and destinations, calculations and the expected number of users.
Beginning Implementation In Earnest
Data, Project Methodology, Test Planning and Deployment
This phase revolves around the build - but it’s not simply a ‘build’ - it’s the development of an architectural ecosystem. This is done by focusing on quick releases that deliver rapid value, achieved by using an agile project methodology known as ‘sprints’. Typically, a few user stories or user requirements will be logically grouped and delivered in a sprint.
In our long experience of enterprise performance planning-type implementations, three things stand out as vital to manage carefully: data, project methodology/management, and test planning and deployment. Let’s explore what they mean.
The way data is fed into the system can have a major impact on a successful implementation. Considering the relative cost versus benefit of each data-loading method is highly important.
The data needed at this point includes actual, budget, forecast and key dimensions like time, products, clients and other contexts. Data can be collected in five ways:
- Manual data entry: Executives often wince at the thought of keying data in, but there’s a place for this. For instance, where ratios or factors are low volume and change rarely - annual inflation, standard exchange rate or sales conversion factors for example.
- Semi-automated using Anaplan Connect: This is one of the most common methods. Data is extracted to CSV format for example, from a source system; then some transformation such as mapping or aggregation can take place in Anaplan. Then data is loaded to the target Anaplan models.
- Fully-automated using Anaplan Connect & API.
- ETL vendor integration: Using Anaplan Informatica connectors for example.
- Third-party data integration.
Agile Project Methodology
Sprints are the manifestation of an agile implementation methodology, creating collaboration, iteration and faster return on investment.
Sprints begin to take form very early on, which benefits all parties as it allows for constant refinement. Sprints only work because we hold regular meetings and reviews so they stay on track, delivering the outcomes you wanted. These sprints are highly collaborative in nature which is a quality we pride ourselves on. These sprints are built as such:
- End-users are involved in the first sprint to achieve the buy-in needed for a successful release.
- The second sprint allows the model to find more form and for the customer to imagine future Anaplan possibilities.
- The third and fourth sprints involve data integration.
- A retrospective on all sprints.
Each sprint delivers some user stories. Normally, there are two to three sprint cycles for each sprint.
Test design, planning, and organisation are incredibly crucial. We believe that unit testing and systems integration testing is a project team responsibility as they should deliver a plan for the client-side user acceptance testing (UAT) team.
Here’s a top tip: it’s a best practice to appoint a Test Manager during the foundation stage which is a very important client-side role. This person will ensure the test programme is rational and the resources for the UAT team are properly secured.
The Project team must not be both "poacher and gamekeeper" by managing UAT of their own build. To cut a long story short, effective testing is a prerequisite to a successful go-live.
During deployment, we also offer the opportunity to train the end-users of the Anaplan platform. At the same time, communications are planned and change management processes come into effect.
At this stage, go-live support and monitoring also begin. As a collaborative unit, we work together to develop further upon what we have created.
If you’re interested in what the implementation process can result in, scroll down to explore our Anaplan case studies from successful implementations.
See Implementation in Action in Our Case Studies
To see what our team at Profit& look like in action, read through our case studies portfolio. You can see how we take clients through the journey and deliver on our promises, helping to create more proactive, iterative and agile businesses in the process.
Click the link below to see just what we’re good at.