Having attending the last two Hub conferences, Bhavik Vashi, a Senior Manager on Anaplan’s Customer Success team, is an expert on everything Hub—from how best to utilize the Guru Zone to making the most of your breakout schedule. He sat down with us to share some advice on what you should do to make the most out of your Hub16 experience.
Why should business planners and executives attend Hub16?
Bhavik: Well, there’s the free food and drinks! But seriously, I think that a lot of the people attending the conference face some very difficult decisions on a daily basis. Many times, these decisions are difficult because they lack the real-time visibility into data and/or the modeling capabilities to produce reliable metrics to answer critical questions about the health of their business. These are the problems within their business that Anaplan can help solve! By attending Hub, they can hear from over 90 industry experts from global enterprises to learn how their peers have solved complex planning, budgeting, and forecasting challenges for their businesses, and find out what role Anaplan played in that. Additionally, for the technical geeks like me, Hub is the best opportunity to hear about the new Anaplan features and functionalities coming in the product roadmap.
This year, we have over 75 sessions spanning a variety of industries and business units. What advice would you give attendees on how to navigate the sessions and Hub in general?
Bhavik: Our agenda has certainly grown more robust in the past couple of years in terms of the number of categories and sessions that we have, so it can be a little overwhelming for a first-timer. I think the best way to approach Hub is to plan ahead—take a look at the agenda, which is updated almost daily, so you can pick and choose what you want to attend.
I do, however, recommend that everyone attends at least one of the integrated business planning track sessions, along with the Anaplan platform vision and index roadmap session in which Simon Tucker, our Chief Product Officer, will be presenting.
Finally, since my area of specialty is Finance (shameless plug here), I would also recommend folks attend a couple of these sessions—I’m looking forward to talking about some of the best practices in headcount planning, driver-based expense planning, rolling forecasts, and variance reporting.
How can attendees get the most out of the conference?
Bhavik: Hub is the one event where hundreds of business strategists, planners, analysts, and Excel gurus sharing the same challenge around a disconnected and siloed planning process all come together. Based on past experience, I would recommend that attendees talk to as many people as possible—an industry peer has as much value to share as Anaplan’s own industry experts. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from your peers at other companies, like how they have leveraged Anaplan to plan at a granularity that was previously impossible or how they discovered and/or developed a new use case for Anaplan you hadn’t yet considered.
One last tactical tip?
Bhavik: How about three or four?
Wear your nametag. If you take my advice, you will meet hundreds of people, and it’s going to difficult to match faces to names, so nametags will be critical.
Keep a bottle of water with you as well; though snacks and refreshments are provided during breaks, you may find that you want to use those breaks to network.
And don’t forget the business cards! There are times when you can simply add someone on LinkedIn, but you will likely end up collecting 20-30 business cards and spend the weekend reconnecting with everyone you met during the week.
Last, but not least, try to look at Hub as a kind of break from your everyday routine. I know many people will have to rearrange their schedule to attend Hub, so I suggest taking advantage of that and just fully immerse yourself in the experience. Keep laptop use to a minimum and reply to emails only when you really have to. Make the most out of this fantastic event. I’ve gotten the most value out of Hub doing just these things, so I highly recommend them for others as well.