Put the fun back in planning


Anaplan is in the business of innovation, which means that we announce improvements and new features on our planning cloud platform about five times a year. The fourth platform release of 2015 was announced this week and includes enhancements that help users and customers—Anaplanners—plan better and faster and keep their data more secure. On top of this, we like to think that we are putting the fun back in planning!

Shouldn’t planning be fun?

Do you spend a few hours per week or month entering, analyzing, or signing off plans and constantly collaborating with your colleagues? You’ve been there right? What’s more annoying than having to review the latest training materials, email your administrator or your office neighbor (again) and ask: “how do we do this planning thing again … where’s the start button? Where do I approve what’s been submitted to me? Why isn’t the report reflecting my changes … heeeeelp!” For most, planning is a dreaded, inefficient task that takes way too much time.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Planning should be fun! But, in order to be fun, planning tools have to be fast and have a short learning curve … especially if you use them in your job often. Don’t despair. We have something for you! And it’s not just an e-tissue to dry your tears.

Never get lost

In the latest Anaplan platform release, users and customers are discovering an even clearer path through the planning process.

The new Anaplan navigation panel enables a step-by-step navigation path, allows users to check where they are in the process, and the ability to collapse the panel when desired for a wider view of the dashboard. Here’s the point: never get lost, always know what to do next, and contemplate what you’ve done.

image 1
French or Italian?

This is an important question. But what does French or Italian have to do with Anaplan’s new navigation panel? It’s all about getting the best, customized fit.

The new navigation panel can be tailored to individual needs, roles, and unique tasks. There is a consistent user experience across all Anaplan applications, whether they are used for Finance, Sales, or Supply Chain planning. But regardless of how one uses Anaplan, the guide can be outfitted to show only the dashboards that are relevant to a specific role. Not more, not less. Just like a fancy custom Italian or French suit that can be tailored to an individual. Which one do you prefer? French of course.

Straight to the point

We already know that in order for planning to be fun, it has to be fast and easy. What else? It also has to be right, valid, correct, and true.

For example, no one wants to be told by their boss that their plans are inaccurate because they used the wrong compensation plan for the new sales hires or because an asset they are planning was entered in the wrong category. You don’t even want to have to think about this, right? Let me pass you another e-tissue.

You want to be guided by a smart system, one that will prevent you from making mistakes and will save you a ton of time by only showing you relevant options that apply to your planning.

Instead, imagine this experience: Pick a value in one drop down (such as “sales role” as seen in the image below), and in the next drop down, you can see the comp plans valid for the sales role you just picked. It’s fast and it’s accurate. And slim chance of getting this one wrong—it’s designed to reduce mistakes.

In the image above, see how the AE and VP roles coincide with different compensation plans

Can I have my Sunday evening back? Please?

PowerPoint®. We all love it because it helps us explain our plans to our audience. But when that means tinkering with data-heavy presentations every Sunday evening to prepare for Monday morning meetings (instead of watching your preferred TV series or reviewing the kids’ homework), we quickly come to despise the mind-numbing nature of data entry.

Imagine this scenario instead: Take last week’s slide deck, click “refresh,” and instantly have in front of you a report with updated data grids, charts, and numbers. All you have left to do is actually use your brain—meaning review the conclusions. Wouldn’t that be great?

In Anaplan’s latest platform release, this is all possible with the new PowerPoint add-in. This is what it can do for you: get the latest Anaplan data into PowerPoint as tables, text, or charts with a dynamic link, thanks to the “save-my-Sunday-evening-refresh” button.

If you are home on your couch reading this, close your laptop and check your TV. There are more important things happening in the world. I heard something happened to Dr. Shepherd (also known as McDreamy) in season 11, episode 21 of Grey’s Anatomy. My teenage daughter has been crying for a solid week.

Did you need one (or more) of my e-tissues to get through this blog? Share your stories in the comments section below!

To learn more about how Anaplan’s latest platform release is delivering enhanced navigation and tools for faster planning and performance optimization, click here.

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