Success story in Asia: post-pandemic business transformation


Evan Quasney

VP of Global Supply Chain Solutions

Two asian businesswomen dressed in casual attire collaborating on a laptop

As economies and businesses emerge from the pandemic, regrowth at any cost is no longer the only goal. Businesses are being reimagined in light of the impact of such events, and now at the forefront of strategy for many organizations is that there is more disruption to come (think: crippling inflation, and that potential global recession). These changes in the market are impossible to control all at one time, but we can prepare for them. 

Recently, I was fortunate to spend time with our customers and partners in Asia Pacific for the first time since the pandemic began, and I was inspired by our conversations. It was clear that, through tough times, our customers, suppliers, and vendors have responded with agility to win their survival, and, ultimately, success.

This visit reinforced my long-standing belief that enterprises must be equipped with the right tools and technologies to integrate real-time planning across the entire business, which ultimately leads to a state of complete awareness well ahead of unexpected situations.

Different stages of re-emergence from lockdowns

When visiting APAC, it felt like I was stepping into a different world when it came to COVID-19 measures, such as wearing masks. This is by no means an indicator of success when it comes to pandemic recovery, but instead shows how different countries responded to the pandemic despite being from the same region.

Apart from the obvious issues caused by the pandemic, in all parts of the world many businesses took a huge hit financially, being forced to shut down operations or vastly change their business models. From massive revenue loss to supply chain management issues, it was not an easy road to recovery for businesses that survived.

Despite these issues, businesses that embraced the opportunity for transformation emerged stronger. One such example is our aviation customer based in the Philippines, Cebu Pacific, which proudly re-emerged from the unexpected and has won several industry awards, including the Anaplan Impact Award. This award recognizes organizations that drive significant positive business value through digital transformation, adopting a truly successful connected planning journey by linking people, processes, and technology in a collaborative and innovative way. This mentality is what enabled Cebu Pacific to weather the storm.

The aviation industry has taken a historic hit because of travel and border restrictions. Total revenue in 2020 was $328 billion, a 60% drop from the previous year, making 2020 one of the worst years ever in the aviation industry.

Like nearly all airlines, Cebu Pacific felt this impact, especially at the start of the pandemic when the airline had to navigate the sudden change in regulations while considering different travel restrictions and lockdowns. Cebu Pacific needed to respond quickly.

Using a co-build approach, Cebu Pacific and Anaplan started to design, test and implement a new budgeting tool, including an efficient, user-friendly application on the Anaplan platform.

By using our platform, Cebu Pacific was able to generate monthly financial forecasts based on key drivers, such as flight routes, aircraft availability and maintenance schedules. With Anaplan deployed across more than 20 departments at Cebu Pacific, the airline staff can now create and update budgets faster.

Andrew Huang, CCO and Senior Advisor to CFO at Cebu Pacific, who was one of our spokespeople at Anaplan Connect in Manila, said the airline now has much better visibility of up-to-date financial data from across the organisation, enabling them to have a 1.5% faster data processing and spend 24% less time on budgeting.

With these improvements, Cebu Pacific will be able to tackle similar events at a much faster pace, completely owning the unexpected.

‘A pair of specs’

All businesses are constantly undergoing some form of change, whether big or small. All short and long-term trends both guide and dictate business performance, so it’s important to be able to tackle these events at a much faster pace.

One of our food corporation customers described our platform as “a pair of specs,” allowing them to see further, navigate better and omit obstacles in their operations.

Timothy Ho, Executive Director Finance Transformation at Deloitte attested to this comparison, saying the concept of connected planning works its way into all aspects of the organization, especially for financial institutions. “It’s all about having multiple scenarios on how the business is going to look and bringing all data together in one place,” he said.

We thank all participants and our sponsors at Anaplan Connect Manila, which would not have been possible without their work and efforts.