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A year on from Hub15 London: the stubborn presence of Excel

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It seems like only yesterday I was at Hub15 and accepting the award for Anaplan UK and Ireland Regional Partner of the Year. But time does fly and Hub16 in London is quickly approaching. I’m looking forward to attending the conference once again, and have had a chance to reflect on Anaplan and what I’ve noticed at other events that I’ve taken part in over the last year. One event that stands out was a Dublin-based Anaplan event at the world-famous Guinness Storehouse.

The one thing I never cease to be surprised by is the stubborn presence of Excel as a corporate planning tool. From Supply Chain and Sales Performance Management right through to Executive Management and Statutory Reporting, Excel is amazingly prevalent in large-scale organisations. Unsurprisingly, this was a common theme among the attendees at the event. Huge Irish and multinational companies are still struggling with Excel and its limitations. Anaplan sits perfectly to help those companies stuck on the Excel merry-go-round. Its agile nature, coupled with an extremely robust calculation engine means that Anaplan resolves many of those very basic limitations of Excel with ease.

Ireland has a vibrant business community, and I was delighted to see the enthusiasm with which Anaplan was met with. Undoubtedly, when people see a solution like Anaplan and its wide and varying application possibilities, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. But throughout the session and the conversations I had at and following the event, I was struck by the eagerness to adopt a new-age platform like Anaplan. Perhaps it’s due to the years struggling with Excel, but I’d rather think it’s a more forward-looking viewpoint—anticipating the reality that, in order to have a strong robust planning cycle, companies must adopt a platform like Anaplan to give them a clear view of the planning and performance management needed to navigate winding paths. To allow them to do the “what-if” analysis and see forward with clear eyes, without losing track of what’s happened in the past.

And finally, the number-one thing that I learnt (or that I already knew but had forgotten), was that we as Irish people want our pound of flesh. In other words, how will Anaplan help my bottom line? What are the real outcomes of a project and how can I relate that directly to my EBITDA? I love questions like that, and I don’t believe there is a technology out there that can match Anaplan ability to answer those questions. Rapid implementations with swift ROI, reduced time spent on data collation and preparation, more time on analysis and decision-making, clear and visible numbers, driving increased productivity and profitability, and a deep understanding of the numbers underpinning any business process—all are invaluable assets to any company that Anaplan can provide—and I’m sure Irish companies will continue their prosperity well into the future, underpinned by the Anaplan platform.

Bedford Consulting are a Gold sponsor at the forthcoming Anaplan Hub 16 conference in London, November 9th. For more information, and to register, visit anaplan.com/hub16/london

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