Last month I was invited to speak at HackSoc, the University of York’s computer science society. An ambitious group of students, they were keen to understand not only the technology behind the Anaplan platform but also how we’ve been able to extend the concept to create a complete business solution.
“Barn and bred” in Yorkshire
It certainly surprised the audience to hear that the first four years of the Anaplan story took place in a barn only a few miles away from their university. While the company is now headquartered in San Francisco, we have stayed true to our roots, retaining the organisation’s Research and Development function in Yorkshire.
We also spent some time discussing the Anaplan journey: from the development of our patented HyperBlock™ Architecture, a blazing fast, in-memory data calculation engine, to the venture capital funding rounds. I talked about some of the challenges we’ve overcome in demonstrating exactly where the platform sits in the market (business planning), the benefits it could offer organisations, as well as its potential for further development – something that is becoming crystal clear eight years later with the launch of the App Hub.
Building the business
Of course, the students had their own questions, asking about my current involvement in product development (strictly strategic – sadly I rarely get my hands dirty with code!) and my decision to build the platform on Java (no great secret, I have a background in the language). They were also curious as to how we are able to ensure mission critical information is kept confidential, discussing the security implications for our data centres.
Overall, the key message I wanted to get across was that building a successful technology business is tied up in more than just coding or choosing the perfect back-end platform. Anaplan’s success is not solely built on the development of HyperBlock but comes from the way we apply that technology to solve specific business issues. The Anaplan platform has been tailored as a strategic enhancement tool for the business and its end users, which is why we form such close alliances with our customers. This is probably the most important lesson that budding entrepreneurs can learn.
Interested in discovering more about how you can get more involved with our HyperBlock architecture or the Anaplan platform? Check out our careers page.