One Slice or Two?

It’s a cheesy title, (excuse the pun) I know, but it got you to read this far.

It’s time to sing about some of the great Anaplan features. This one in particular is something  I hear a lot about and get a lot of great comments on.

I wanted to discuss the value of being able to ‘slice’ data, as we at Anaplan call it. If you use Microsoft Excel or some other spreadsheet, you may know it as ‘pivot tables’. But the Anaplan ‘Slicer’ isn’t really a pivot table.

Pivot tables are what you give someone when they’ve become bored and/or frustrated with their rubiks cube, (remember those), and they want another complex, challenging and mind-blowingly frustrating experience that will keep them occupied for hours.

No, the Anaplan Slicer is not that. It’s a built-in, already there, no fuss, right there in the toolbar function that let’s you see your data in a way, (I just bet), you’ve not seen it before. It’s looking at data at different angles and from different perspectives to see insights. And before you say, ‘oh, that’s just Business Intelligence’, please, just stop. It’s much more than BI.

Slicing with BI just let’s you see a result and not do anything about it, (i.e. write as well as read data – Anaplan let’s you interact with the data, (in the ‘slice’) and ‘what-if’ a different result. In other words, answer a question like, ‘what if I moved that opportunity from that quarter to this quarter? What would that look like?

So, what does the Anaplan Slicer look like?

Anaplan Slicer Explained

Three easy steps in any Anaplan module gets a new perspective of your data. Step 1 in the illustration shows the 3 dimensions of a simple module. ‘Measures’ in rows, ‘Regions’ in pages and ‘Months/Qtrs’ in columns. (You see the expanded view of the ‘Regions’ to the right).

From this you can see an individual ‘region’ or ‘city’ as a page and the ‘measures’ such as ‘Sales Forecast’ over time, (columns). Great, but what if I wanted to see all the ‘Regions’ down the side, (Rows) looking at a particular ‘Measure’, say ‘Sales Forecast’ to compare side by side by ‘Region’? Easy. Step 2 shows that a simple click of the ‘Slicer’ button re-orientates that view to the result you see instep 3.

And remember, this is all done on the web from the cloud. Any browser, any operating system, anyone, anywhere. All built in.

Is this a big deal? Sure it is. In Excel, pivot tables have to be based off of straight tables made up of columns with ‘fields’. And of course we all create spreadsheets like that don’t we? Of course we don’t.  You have to build them. So you have to duplicate the data and transform it into another format. Yuck.

Creating pivot tables are not for the faint-hearted and I honestly don’t know too many people that use them on a consistent basis. Rather they create another sheet, same data, different orientation to cope with the view they want.

With Anaplan ‘Slicer’ things are different. Let’s all move on and get modeling and forecasting in the Anaplan cloud.

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