How your business can accelerate zero-based budgeting

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This is the first in a series of blog posts that focus on how Anaplan’s platform for Connected Planning can help businesses accelerate zero-based budgeting initiatives.

Last spring, my wife and I decided it was finally time to clean out our garage. Our family had grown over the years, and with it our garage space grew increasingly tighter—we were in a recurring pattern of accumulating “stuff.”

Years of collecting various objects meant that we had a big project ahead of us and an efficient strategy would be essential to reach our goal of removing clutter. We categorized our items into stay, go, and debate piles before further negotiating every single item up for debate. It took a few tough decisions, but we ultimately got rid of many unnecessary items and freed up the space we needed.

In many ways, zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is akin to this kind of cleaning-out methodology. After years of accumulating operating expenses and all the “stuff” that goes along with it, many companies are instead opting to start fresh with an empty budget that allows them to thoroughly review and negotiate which expenses to keep and which to eliminate.

This blog series focuses on how Anaplan’s platform can be a critical accelerator for ZBB deployments, and outlines notable success factors that we see in our customers’ experience with ZBB deployments.

Not all ZBB approaches are created equal

It’s no secret that the topic of ZBB has commanded a lot of attention over the past few years. While its methodology has been around for decades, its adoption has recently returned to spread like wildfire across finance functions in Fortune 2000 companies. Yet, despite its growing popularity and appeal, successful ZBB deployments can prove challenging for many organizations.

ZBB, in more cases than not, is a stark departure from existing budgeting methodologies and, when done right, it requires significant effort and some difficult decisions. If the right tools and communications are not in place, the deployment of ZBB can create challenges such as results tracking, data consolidation, and process scalability that can overwhelm finance teams.

In other words, not all ZBB deployments are created equal and its results can vary greatly based on the tools, resources, and processes an organization uses to deploy it.

From the trenches: Lessons learned with the Anaplan platform

The Anaplan platform is used globally as a sustainable deployment tool for ZBB. As a cost discipline that can help reduce expense and improve margins, the results of a ZBB approach will depend on how successfully the methodology is deployed. By selecting Anaplan’s platform, a company can help mitigate the risks and enable its resources to maximize its ZBB experience.

Outside of its technological architecture, one of the reasons the Anaplan platform has proved so sustainable is due to the support of Anaplan’s expansive partner network. Several of our industry partners have created ZBB templates for our platform for customers to leverage and accelerate ZBB deployment and adoption—unlocking impressive results.

As this blog series unfolds, we will highlight a customer example of the ZBB deployment process and share best practices and lessons learned within the platform. Further, readers will better understand the critical role of working with a strategic partner throughout the ZBB deployment process and some of the questions we recommend asking in the selection process.

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