SUSE is a leading global independent open-source provider of software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions. The company was created following a de-merger from Micro Focus in 2019, and since May 2021 is a publicly listed company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
As a high-growth company facing change and the constant need to adapt, SUSE began its journey with Anaplan in 2020. Having just completed the divestiture from Micro Focus, SUSE needed to produce better plans faster and enable collaboration between Sales and Finance to give the investor community clear visibility of future business performance.
Planning is not sequential, but iterative. Finance and Sales exchange plans in several iterations and managing this process in spreadsheets was inefficient. Prior to Anaplan, there was a disconnect between Sales and Finance, especially for revenue and personnel planning, and Suse needed more detailed planning that was practical using spreadsheets. In summary, SUSE needed to have the corporate financial plan connected to sales forecasting and sales operations planning – all on one platform to manage performance and report to investors.
Profit& assisted the SUSE Finance team in implementing strategic business planning on the Anaplan platform. This was implemented in just 6 weeks, delivering a rich engine for top-line calculation, including revenue recognition logic, driver-based personnel, and operating expenses. The Finance team was able to update key values and see instant results in order to produce P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow, all connected in one model.
Next SUSE addressed its sales forecasting requirements. This process had been executed using spreadsheet reports based on Salesforece.com extracts. The Anaplan solution now has hourly data feeds from CRM that facilitate the weekly booking forecast process for Sales Management, at the same time as providing Finance with monthly revenue forecasts.
In parallel to this, Finance replaced the spreadsheet-based process for annual planning and forecasting, with a more detailed annual model, taking data directly from ERP and HR Systems. With people being the biggest cost, Finance Controllers now have a state-of-the-art engine that enables them to plan accurately based on the very latest data.
Having experienced the speed and agility of Anaplan, the next step was to expand the application of Anaplan further to Sales Performance Management. SUSE began with sales forecasting, followed by the migration of territory and quota planning, and finally incentive and compensation management. All are now connected with Finance, sharing key data on sales targets and personnel data, with complete alignment across planning applications.
Prior to divestiture territory and quota management had been managed in a Microfocus Anaplan model. Profit& recommended that SUSE don’t simply replicate this, but take the opportunity to improve the process. One of the step change improvements was connecting Anaplan to Docusign. This made a fundamental change to the way SUSE distributes and gathers signatures from the sales force, and tracks the progress of each letter. Previously this was a manual process using e-mail and word.
Incentive and compensation management replaced the legacy commission tool, as it made natural sense to connect this model to territory and quota management on the Anaplan platform, where all sales targets and commission plans are set. With both processes on the same platform, SUSE has a seamless flow of targets, plans, and people data.
The Anaplan platform has been fully integrated into SUSE IT infrastructure, having single sign-on integration for access management, and fully automated data integration with multiple data sources - data warehouse, ERP, CRM, and HR systems.
Replacing legacy solutions and multiple spreadsheets with the Anaplan platform across Sales and Finance has provided immense improvements to planning speed, accuracy, and alignment on key business drivers.
Sales forecasting is linked to finance strategic planning to set future sales targets. Top-down sales targets are fed into territory and quota management for sales quota setting, which feeds incentive compensation management for commission calculation. In addition, the personnel planning model receives a daily refresh of data from the HR system. With all of these processes and data connected on the same platform management have access to the latest, accurate view data to collaborate and align planning effectively.
Because the long-term plan is driver-based, it can be refreshed easily to give a new view based on the latest forecast and performance data. Automated data feeds into Anaplan from operational systems has significantly improved forecast process efficiency and accuracy.
Improved transparency into more detailed operational plans enables drill-down to individual sales opportunities, for example, giving deeper insights that support decisions at SUSE.
“Previously relevant teams at SUSE spent a fair about of time chasing data updates and consolidating data from different sources. Now we use the latest data in Anaplan and have clear rules on who needs to provide inputs and when. There’ll always be change, but we’re now much more agile to respond to a constantly changing landscape without losing control.”Sri Rasiah VP Finance
“We value Anaplan’s flexibility, allowing us to be more agile in how we plan and forecast performance. Anaplan is now accepted as our core decision support system and we are excited about the journey ahead. Sri Rasiah”Sri Rasiah VP Finance