6 min read

Getting personal at Anaplan Hub 2018

Fred Sandsmark

Customer Marketing Editor

Between future-oriented demonstrations, fast-paced discussion panels, awards presentations, and an incredible closing party, the third day of Anaplan Hub 2018 was big, sometimes noisy, and occasionally flashy for the 1,400 people who were in Las Vegas. But for me—and, I suspect, many others in attendance—the most inspiring and resonant moment came in a simple conversation between two people on Wednesday afternoon.

The two people were Frank Calderoni, Anaplan’s President and CEO, who has guided the company for the last year; and Michael Gould, the company’s brilliant yet humble founder who literally started the company in a barn in York. Frank summed up Michael’s importance this way: “We would not be sitting on this stage, and having everyone in this room today, without what you did.”

Michael travels the world visiting customers who want to meet the man who invented the core Anaplan modeling engine. Those meetings aren’t simple meet-and-greet events; Michael loves to dig into the technology and describe the thinking behind it. He also loves to listen, and on the Hub stage, he shared four things that customers say repeatedly:

  • How can we best move forward? Companies often know that they are just scratching the surface of the Anaplan platform’s capabilities, and are hungry for advice and guidance on how to tap into that deeper power.
  • We need to involve more people. Customers realize that the more people who participate in planning, the more useful and powerful the planning process can be. Michael said that innovations like Anaplan’s new Workflow capability and user interface improvements will help to democratize planning.
  • How can we address complexity? Large organizations have tremendously diverse planning processes that require governance and flexibility depending on unique circumstances. “There’s a lot of complex logic in there,” Michael noted. “The great news is that they have a tool that is designed to deal with complex logic.”
  • Can we move faster? From backstage, Michael heard a customer boast about loading 3.7 million transactions into Anaplan in seven minutes. The audience applauded, but when Michael got on stage he wondered aloud why it took so long. He then described the work being done by Anaplan’s engineering and product groups to improve performance and scalability of the core modeling engine, noting that those teams will triple in size over two years.

The conversation moved from interesting to truly inspiring when Michael shared some personal news: He and his wife Emily have begun opening their home and their hearts to many refugees and trafficked children in the UK. Always one to find humor in a situation, Michael said a neighbor recently asked him and Emily how many children were in their home. They answered with two different numbers. “A single version of the truth,” Michael said with a laugh as he told Frank the story. “That’s what we all want to get to.” Be sure to watch the replay of their conversation above.

More breakouts

Our marketing team attended dozens of breakout sessions held on Wednesday (as they also did on Tuesday) and came away with insights into the questions asked, issues raised, and the ways companies use the Anaplan platform.

Finance: The closing session of Anaplan Hub centered around the art of possibility, a topic not only at the heart of connected planning, but one that resonates deeply with finance leaders as well. Throughout the finance track, the notion of possibility—a blank canvas inviting innovation, flexibility, and creativity—emerged from session after session as inspiration for achieving true financial transformation. Speakers from Beam Suntory, Micro Focus International, American Tire Distributors, Cerner Corporation, Zalora, Fresenius Medical Care, and Israel Chemical Limited enthusiastically shared FP&A best practices and project roadmaps, valuable insight and lessons learned, and an outlook of what the future has in store, describing possibilities and achievements that were once unobtainable but are now a reality with the Anaplan platform. — Anna Miller

Sales: The second day of breakout sessions kept its focus on how companies are taking a streamlined and centralized approach to their incentive compensation management (ICM) processes. We heard even more about the cultural changes these transformations produce: TELUS described how their new compensation system encourages call center employees to act as “dolphins” (collaborative and friendly) rather than “sharks” (individualistic and aggressive), Criteo explained how reps in different regions feel connected to the company’s mission, and Travelex showed how Anaplan helped the company implement gamification globally. Rebecca Riley, Head of Reward, Payroll, and Human Resources Technology at Travelex, said sales reps can “log in, see how they’re doing, and lay down that smack-talk.” It’s noteworthy that that companies reap a host of soft benefits that improve morale when they adopt Anaplan for ICM or sales forecasting. By doing a better job of managing compensation plans, companies make their employees happier, more engaged, and more committed to the companies’ goals. — Ben Lempert

Supply chain: Wednesday’s sessions explored the themes of saving time, increasing efficiency, and looking to the future. We heard the story of how Coca-Cola once had to wrangle multiple, 600-tab spreadsheets to manage a complex innovation forecasting process, according to Sara Park, Director of the company’s Forecasting Center of Excellence. No more, now that she and her team are managing the process with Anaplan, which they implemented in only 12 weeks. Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights, encouraged attendees to propel their supply chain planning into a future shaped by predictive, prescriptive, and eventually cognitive insights. — Jeremiah Barba

Connected planning: Day three of Anaplan Hub reinforced the importance of agility and reducing latency between planning and execution. As companies face tighter margins and higher stakes in execution, agility will be the key to success, according to Ara Gopal, Senior Director of Sales Strategy at Anaplan. In one session, Rommel T. Samson, AVP of Corporate Financial Planning and Systems at Unilab told the story of how a team led by the CFO and head of FP&A chose Anaplan as the company’s core “planning platform of choice” to bring clarity and transparency to the financial forecasting and integrated operational planning activities across supply chain, HR, IT, and marketing. In Anaplan-led sessions, attendees learned how to leverage the connected planning landscape, leading practices around Anaplan user adoption, and how a dynamic, collaborative, and intelligent connected planning platform can deliver real business value. — Cameron Soojian

Recordings of most Hub general sessions are available now for replay. Many breakout session recordings will be available soon on the same site, so bookmark it and check back.

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