With today’s rapid growth in data and technology, the only thing consistent in business is change. The majority of customer-facing departments, such as Sales, Service, and Marketing, have evolved their strategies and tools to meet expectations in today’s digital economy. But Finance, the backbone of the business, has lacked innovation and struggles to keep pace.
Finance can no longer play catch-up to the business’ needs and expectations. Relying on legacy systems and working with many, many spreadsheets are no longer scalable. Leading companies are realizing this and looking for a better solution. At our recent event, Anaplan Hub 2015, DocuSign’s Director of Strategic Planning, Dennis Sevilla, shared how DocuSign’s investment in Anaplan has transformed the way Finance interacts, collaborates, and brings value to the business.
As an innovative and rapidly growing company, DocuSign could not afford unproductive planning cycles. Sevilla recalls, “I think we knew after the last planning cycle that our existing tool really wouldn’t scale to where we needed it to be. Once we saw Anaplan, we realized that it could not only fix our current challenges, but also would improve our collaboration with other teams like sales ops, HR, and recruiting.”
An experienced finance professional and one of Finance’s own, Dennis shared the following sage advice and lessons learned for those facing the need to bring their planning processes up to speed in today’s faster paced and growing business too.
Sage advice and lessons learned for planning innovation – Dennis Sevilla of DocuSign
- Clean data and hierarchies. Don’t ignore the topic of data. Your data doesn’t have to be perfect and frankly never will be, but strive to get it to a decent state. Spend time cleaning it up and understand what type of data you have versus what data you will need when deploying Anaplan. As you implement a tool like Anaplan, it will force you to continuously clean your data and enforce good data hygiene across the enterprise. Be sure to hold all users responsible for improving your data quality.
- Choose your own adventure. Anaplan has great flexibility in the ways you can implement the tool and endless use cases you can tackle. Each implementation is unique, and your strategy is dependent upon the resources, support, and sponsorship within the business. Usually, organizations pick a single use case and strive to prove the ROI of that specific use case first to win over continued businesses’ support and sponsorship. DocuSign’s all-in-one approach is a less-common strategy but perfect for their hyper-growth and rapidly changing business.
- Avoid analysis paralysis. Don’t boil the ocean when developing use cases for Anaplan. Understand your goals and scope out what you need. Anaplan can give you endless possibilities into what you can do and new ways to look at the business but don’t go overboard. Stay focused and build with reason. A backlog of use case ideas will come once users get a hold of the tool and realize its possibilities. Prioritize them with reason and relate each of them back to the overall corporate objectives to ensure you will prove the ROI of the tool.
With these strategies in mind, Sevilla’s team has significantly enhanced business collaboration and visibility with the implementation of Anaplan. With a simultaneous investment in sales planning and financial planning, DocuSign has been able to drive a single view of the business through one source of data.
“Anaplan is the catalyst for change,” said Sevilla. “The true north for us is to have everyone in some way, shape, or form in Anaplan. That goes from workforce planning, Finance, HR, and Recruiting working together as true business partners.”
DocuSign’s vision with Anaplan includes (but is not limited to):
|Sales Workstream||Finance Workstream|
|Sales Forecasting & Reporting||FP&A Operational Planning & Reporting|
|Quota & Capacity Planning||Workforce Planning|
|Territory Planning||Long-Range Planning|
And while you’re considering the above three implementation best practices, also check out Deloitte’s advice on implementing a financial planning technology.