Critical components driving finance transformation

Hear from FP&A leaders at Anheuser-Busch InBev and Genting about the remarkable impact Anaplan has had on their organizations, empowering them to make data-driven decisions, improve collaboration, and drive business growth.

Dennis Lemoine 0:00:05.2:

Hi, everyone. Thank you so much. Great to have you here. I feel like I’ve got to just say, thanks for being here in New York with us today, my favorite city in the world. Excited to be back. My name is Dennis Lemoine. I’m the director of customer engagement & experience, and my favorite part of the job is getting the chance to talk to amazing customers like we’ve got on stage today. So I’m going to try not to talk too much because, you know what, nobody really wants to hear from me. You want to hear from these three incredible gentlemen. So I would love for you guys to just introduce yourselves, tell us about your role, give us a little background. We’ll start with you, Bill.


Bill Singh 0:00:38.5:

Hello. My name is Bill Singh. I’m the vice president of financial planning & analysis for Genting Americas. We are a gaming/lodging operator. Think Vegas, if you’re ever in the mood to party, call me! We have all the bars and everything, so you’ll be fine, and a lot of booze that we buy from these guys!


Alex Jin 0:00:58.7:

Thank you, Bill. Yes, so I’m Alex Jin. I’m in Anheuser-Busch InBev. I’ve been in this company for 12 years, the largest brewery in the world. So actually, I was first six years in China, Shanghai, that’s the Asia-Pacific headquarters. So I moved to New York office in 2018. Most of my time in this company has been in the FP&A and very recently I moved to the [?MNA 0:01:22.7]. My journey with Anaplan continues. So I’m going to share more later on.


Dennis Lemoine 0:01:30.6:

Absolutely. Thanks, Alex.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:01:32.3:

All right. So nice to meet you. Very happy to be here. I am Ezequiel Escobar. As well I work in ABI. In my case, 15 years. I started back there down there in Argentina. I’m an Argentinian. I spent my whole career working in different financials in finance; about half of them in supply and procurement. We also have the pleasure to implement Anaplan as well there, and then the other half in finance itself in FP&A.


Dennis Lemoine 0:02:00.1:

Awesome, thank you. I think it’s no surprise that I got the real fun panel with the fun customers today, doing the things that I like, Vegas and drinking. So why don’t we just dive into a couple of questions, and we’re in 2024, so I’m just going to use my phone. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. Bill, why don’t I start with you. So based on your journey to date with Anaplan, could you talk about how you got to where you are today, and what challenges you were facing that led your team to realize you needed to make a change?


Bill Singh 0:02:28.6:

Well, I’ll make it simple. This was 2022, actually, about the middle. I’m getting ready for my budget season, and every employee quits in FP&A because the job is too damn hard. It’s always too difficult to do. Just, at the end of the day, we’re just trying to analyze our business, and it is just always too difficult to either have the data, believe in it, commit in it, and we had gone to this cycle many times over. I felt that there was a need for us to truly get the right technology in place, and then hire the talent for that technology, which will give us a leg up as far as analyzing our business, and truly making an impact. In the past, financial planning and analysis, and this is a case in a lot of cases, it becomes a bit of a bottleneck as far as information goes. We are taking in all the information, but we just don’t have the time and the energy to get the information out through to additional channels. So what Anaplan has allowed us to be able to do is, first, be a repository of the truth; and second, be able to access all the data that you need within a few clicks, so there’s some sanity to it. Really, lastly, when you’re trying to sell your analysis and your idea within the organization, you are doing it with conviction because you know that all of the data that you are looking for is available to you. You’ve looked at it. You just bring a lot of offence to the conversation, and it helps you sell your ideas with conviction.


Dennis Lemoine 0:03:58.4:

Absolutely. I appreciate that. Alex, I’d ask you the exact same question. I’d love to hear a little bit about what was that moment for you as well.


Alex Jin 0:04:06.2:

Yes. So usually the business cycle is not like the monthly routine. It’s a little bit like, yes, with some structure, but not so standardized, right? The pain point we were facing at the time, it was mainly very basic things. First, for us is to have a good modelling tool just to do the P&L, to do the cashflow modelling there. The second thing is, because I’m sitting at the global headquarters, I need to do a lot of consolidation. We do have six business zones, plus the global headquarters, and we also deal with the different functions, so we need to align with commercial, supply, all the key stakeholders there. So our very initial idea was, oh, let’s have a tool to help us to do all this very basic work. So we started building the first version of our Anaplan tool in 2019. Then the more we used it, the more we feel that, actually, we can use the tool to also manage the process, and to interact with the different stakeholders there but, actually, we faced a lot of challenge in the first version we built, because we didn’t put a lot of very sophisticated design on the structure of the model. At certain moments we see a limit for us to continue to expand the model. So end of 2021, we made a very important decision to partner with Deloitte, actually, to build – we called it the integrated business planning tool 2.0 version. So that actually was really the modern version of our business cycle tool there, and we built our one-year plan model in 2022. Then we used it for our global team.


Alex Jin 0:05:53.6:

Then last year, the first half of the year, it’s usually what we call the ten-year plan exercise. We do the long-term strategic planning. We expand our one-year plan tool to the ten-year plan tool there, and we also use it. Then second half of last year, we rolled out our global one-year plan model to Africa zone. We said, ‘Okay, we have a very good tool for ourselves. Why don’t we just do a pilot with one zone just to see if it also works for them?’ So we somehow found a very good cadence, how to build it up, and also to continue to enhance the model and to roll it out there. So now we are basically on this journey, and basically the GHQ financial exercise, including the one-year plan, the ten-year plan, are all on the Anaplan tool, and we are rolling out to two more zones this year. Actually, we tried to control the speed, because we have limited capacity in GHQ. All the zones are super-excited to adopt the tool, actually.


Dennis Lemoine 0:06:54.7:

Incredible, and I appreciate the word ‘journey’ too, by the way, because it is a journey. It’s a partnership, it’s a journey. We’re working through things. I really appreciate that. Additional points that you want to make? Talk to us a little bit. Yes.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:07:03.9:

Yes, so with cascading down, what Alex mentioned, the journey, as we’re going to use the same word, for the monthly cycle starts a bit earlier in time. So we started around 2018, because we found ourselves as well in some kind of similar problem, right? We were having meetings, and most of the time, the time we used to spend in the meetings was about checking the number, ‘This is my number, this is your number, but, no, you don’t have the latest one.’ Instead of using the meeting to create insights on this case of, ‘Well, what are we going to do?’ So we start thinking, all right, okay, what tool can we use from the different ones in the market that can solve this problem? We saw that one of our operations in Europe, they started with this thing of Anaplan, and then that opened our eyes, okay. Then I read more about that, and in Europe they started basically with the same, with the forecasting process, started to bring together different areas into one unique platform to [unclear word 0:08:01.4]. So we said, ‘Yes, okay, this is a cool idea. Let’s go be [unclear word 0:08:04.6], start doing that, but globally for the whole company.’ So we start more at regional level, and start integrating the different regions that we have, the different – we call it [?zones 0:08:18.2], to submit early, but that was the initial step, and then we went a bit farther again.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:08:24.9:

Now that we have all the sorts of meeting here, we want to talk better between the areas. So sales are adopting the same, the same with supply. So that started from breaking all the numbers, and at the moment that we had the meeting, we were like, all alignment [unclear word 0:08:39.6], because they were seeing exactly the same at the same time. So not only was that a lot of time that we were saving, but also we saw it improve the communication, because there was a lot of discussion already happening before, and I believe that was the most believable asset we saw after we implemented.


Dennis Lemoine 0:08:59.0:

Absolutely, and that brings me to my next question. We’ll go backwards here. What were those specific differentiators that with Anaplan led you to your decision to partner with us, and how are you finding that impactful? We heard a little bit about that, but I’d love you to just tap in a little bit more for us.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:09:16.6:

Yes. Shall I start?


Dennis Lemoine 0:09:18.0:



Ezequiel Escobar 0:09:18.1:

Okay. No, well, at the beginning – I have to be honest – at the beginning it was a bit of top down, right? Every time you want to implement a new tool, especially if people are used more to Excel, and they have everything under the power of their hands, and say, ‘I know the Excel. I don’t want to change it, right? You are coming with this fancy tool.’ So there was a bit of push at the beginning, but the good thing is, when you have a good asset, a good product, and also good processes on the back of that, it’s easy then to start bringing people to your side. So we start hitting a lot, okay, now I could save a lot of time. It’s way easier and good to communicate. It was easy also to implement, so it’s something that we like a lot for the tool, is the flexibility. Of course you’re going to have the need of people to implement that, but then it’s very customizable, right? You can put your hands inside a model or video source. Not always are you going to require someone from IT of doing so, and at the point, right, that then do we start, the guys that are at the beginning was a bit receding on implementation, started seeing the benefit it was bringing, they start, ‘Oh, you know what? I have this other product that we’d like to also learn from what you did, or start implementing,’ and now today you’re going to see that it’s something that – it’s done on Euro or globally. It’s just spread across the whole organization, right?


Dennis Lemoine 0:10:44.0:

Really great point. Alex, I’d love to hear from your perspective on that, too. What were you thinking as well, yes?


Alex Jin 0:10:49.1:

Yes. Actually this is quite a common question that I have received from basically my peers in the industry there. Every time people ask me, ‘Oh, why did you guys choose Anaplan? What’s the best feature you were looking for?’ Actually, my answer to them is, ‘I don’t know if, to be honest, Anaplan is the best tool, but it depends on the value proposition you really want, right?’ So what does it mean because, as I mentioned, we call it the integrated business planning. So the key word is ‘integration’ there, which means that we need to find a tool that’s not just best for FP&A for us to do our financial modelling, but we need to have a tool so that we can connect with the other departments. That’s very, very important. By the time that we was still under the stage of selection, basically selecting the tool, we realized that, actually, there is some trend in our organization. For example, Europe zone was already doing their Anaplan tool there. We saw something also happen in the supply side there. We were thinking about, okay, if this is a tool that more and more people are on board, and if we want to connect all this information together later on, that’s probably a tool – we call it a platform that we should leverage there.


Alex Jin 0:12:13.9:

So I think the key things is, it’s not just, okay, we may find a very sophisticated financial modelling tool, but it might be only quite useful for the FP&A to do one specific task. For us, if we want to have a platform that can connect the dots across the functions and across the different locations, that’s where I think Anaplan really stands out when we were doing the research there.


Dennis Lemoine 0:12:41.7:

Absolutely. I appreciate that. Bill, I would ask the same question of you.


Bill Singh 0:12:44.8:

Let me just touch on integration a little bit.


Dennis Lemoine 0:12:48.6:

Yes, please.


Bill Singh 0:12:48.7:

So in my world, systems that we use aren’t really as integration-friendly. I could have a cruise that’s docking in the Bahamas and there’s a sensor that tracks how many people get off the ship. It’s a cloud-based system. My integration has all been through a sequel process, effectively. It’s a janky version, but Anaplan has not been able to get in the way of that, too. It’s very seamless. So the entire spectrum from what he’s talking about to what I’m talking about, where I’m like, Wile E. Coyote kind of manual systems! Still we are able to get the information into Anaplan that’s accurate, that’s timely. The other thing that I would just like to quickly mention is, the tool is very familiar, very user-leaning, as opposed to IT-leaning. So it has a lot of qualities of Excel. Once you go into modules, etc., you’ll find some ifs, endif statements, etc., that are very similar. So it draws in the engineering talent from the wider bracket, because a lot more people are familiar with the kind of technology that it uses. So relatively easily accessible and easy to handle back end of this tool, I would say.


Dennis Lemoine 0:14:07.5:

I appreciate hearing that, and I guess my question, too, would be, then, are there specific planning efficiencies you’ve implemented that maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing with the audience?


Bill Singh 0:14:18.0:

Right now, so far what we’ve done is, we are a very labor-intensive business, so any time we hire people, we have to do that in a very judicious way. We also operate in some jurisdictions where it is difficult to manage labor once you hire it, and we want to be very strategic, and labor in our line of business is the biggest expense on the P&L. So as far as making decisions about the hiring process, what we’ve recently been toying with is to have a workflow inside the tool available, so that you have multiple participants. The operator goes, ‘I need to hire a bartender,’ and then their boss approves it, and there’s a lot of documentation as to why the bartender needs to be hired, etc. Along with that request, there’s analysis that goes from workflow to workflow that says then, you have three bartenders. You were budgeted for two bartenders, and you need to hire a fourth one, so there needs to be justification. When you think about your judiciousness in adding labor, anytime you have instances where you’re going above what you should be going and there needs to be a case made, you can effectively build a workflow that takes you from the operator, to the management, to the vice president of finance, to the property president, along with the data and the analysis that all of us need to make that decision.


Bill Singh 0:15:41.6:

So the analysis as well as the request go hand in hand. It just leads to better execution. There’s documentation as to why you approved an extra job over whatever was in the budget, and that lives on forever. Six months from now you can click on the job and see the detail behind it on this day, so and so forth requested this because of X, Y, Z reasons. Huge.


Dennis Lemoine 0:16:02.3:

Alex, I’d ask that question as well. I’d love to hear from your perspective, yes.


Alex Jin 0:16:04.3:

Yes. Sure. I think in most cases when we think about efficiency, we’re talking about, okay, how many hours we save, labor cost, all the things there. One thing I’d like to share with you is the real case, right? Actually, I think there’s a lot of the real benefits beyond the number itself that we captured from Anaplan, tool. Let me share with you that – it’s just one of the use cases we found, but I think it’s very powerful. Two years ago when I was doing the budget for the next year, so what the process we have there is, we just create a version, FP&A, create a version in Anaplan saying, okay, now this is one-year plan V1, let’s say. Then we ask the global commercial team to put their assumptions in terms of the volume, pricing, the commercial investments into the tool there, right? In the same time, the supply team also have access to that data, okay? In the old school, the process is what? It’s, okay, commercial team, they have their Excel file, then they share it with the FP&A team, and we consolidate. We always have to deal with the mapping things, because sometimes they use the different descriptions of the markets there. You deal with this master and then you share with the supply teams, in that, now you have the first input in terms of volume, then they do the supply chain planning. That’s the very linear, the classic way to do the planning.


Alex Jin 0:17:50.3:

Since we have this shared platform, so while the commercial team still play with the different assumptions there, it’s always visible to the supply team. At certain moments, before we say, this is the milestone version there, the supply team realize that based on the commercial inputs there, we are going to exceed some kind of the capacity in three markets there. What does it mean? It means that if you really wanted to sell that much volume, the supply side have to import the bottles, because there is not enough bottles from domestic supply there. Of course, when you import, you have extra cost there, and then it’s very interesting. Even before we step in, the supply team, they said, ‘We have the weekly call with supply, commercial, people altogether.’ Then in that meeting they said, ‘Guys, we do have some concern on your projection there, because in these three markets, if we use your volume, there will be a step up in the cost. I don’t know if you guys are aware of that.’


Alex Jin 0:19:09.3:

Then after that, they sat down together and they started to play with the different scenarios. ‘How about if I price it a little bit more?’ Which, of course, negatively affects the demand there, but you avoid extra cost from the imported bottles there. What’s going to be the net impact on my EBITDA there? They optimize among themselves the scenario, and they even bring these two, three scenarios to the CEO later on. They say that we work together on that. I think this is very interesting. I didn’t even anticipate this kind of dynamic there, but it’s super-cool. It’s like, how this visibility, this shared platform, created these collaborations across what’s there.


Dennis Lemoine 0:19:50.5:

Hundred per cent. Great point. Did you want to add on to that?


Ezequiel Escobar 0:19:52.7:

No, yes…


Dennis Lemoine 0:19:53.3:

Let’s hear from you, Ezequiel, yes.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:19:53.2:

Again, exactly the point I made at the beginning of this discussion. It happened before. So Alex, myself, we are making that happen on the annual cycle, on the monthly cycle, and then this zone. So I started to see the benefit. That’s why I said, ‘Now they are asking to implement the same, because they want to have this same type of solution locally, and avoid all this type of going back and forth with a set of different opinions,’ right?


Dennis Lemoine 0:20:24.0:

Huge. So I’ve asked all three of you a bunch of questions, but I want to drill in a little bit specifically. So, Bill, I’d like to start with you, and talk a little bit about the impact of this journey on the lives of the people who are working with this process daily, you, your team, the company. Talk to us a little bit about how that’s felt. Give me whatever you’ve got, yes!


Bill Singh 0:20:46.9:

I’ll be honest with you. I think our strategy meetings are a lot more interesting. A lot of the times, the way it works is that you’ll basically have all the executives in a room, and you’ll be someone like me who’s sitting there with my laptop, and I’m connected to a screen like this. They’ll ask me rapid-fire. If we’re trying to make a decision, you have a bunch of people in the room. They’re in the mood to make a decision, and there is an hour that they need to spend time to make the decision. You really need somebody in FP&A who can deliver numbers rapid-fire, because it’s almost like a canvas and a brush. You can’t run out of paint, kind of thing! So we have had one meeting. It was in the Bahamas, actually, Bimini, where I never get in the ocean. I just keep working!


Dennis Lemoine 0:21:33.6:

I appreciate that’s twice we’ve heard about the Bahamas, too. I really appreciate you dropping that fact in!


Bill Singh 0:21:36.6:

We went back and forth. This is a resort, and the question, really, for the meeting was – we have a casino there, and table games is central to a casino – and we were questioning the profitability of table games. Whether we should just take the table games out and replace them with slots, basically. A big decision, because it takes away the cachet of the resort with a casino in it, and for gaming folks, it’s a really important decision because there’s a lot of revenue that’s tied to it if you get it wrong. So we went through an hour, two hours of truly really looking at our volatility in table games, how much we’re winning, what kind of games, getting to the most granular level. At the end of the day I texted my boss. I said, ‘I’ve worked for Genting for 11 years. This is the best strategy meeting I’ve ever had,’ and this was three or four months ago, because everybody felt that we had all the numbers we needed to make a decision that we could put our reputation behind. Then that led to a follow-up analysis where we needed to run four or five scenarios that I was asked to run, and I can tell you that that was one of the best analyses that I’ve ever done, because I had access to all the information.


Bill Singh 0:22:53.1:

Usually when we work in an industry, we develop this sixth sense as to maybe this is the right decision but, believe it or not, so much of wrong decisions are made, not because you don’t have the data but because you have the data you can access, right? So if you actually have a BI tool that is receptive to all the information, and you put the energy in the first six months or year to get that information, then build the flows in, build the dashboards and the UX, you’ll just enjoy your job a lot more, and you’ll just have more impact. You’ll have fun and have impact. It’s the best outcome.


Dennis Lemoine 0:23:29.4:

I love that, yes. Bill, I would want to know, too, what it was like working with that implementation team? What was the process like for you all at Genting, then?


Bill Singh 0:23:39.0:

Yes, so the implementation team is, I would say, equally important, or even more important than the tool that you’re using. It’s because you’re buying a tool that is middle of the road, and you could be a gaming/lodging operator, or sell a lot of beer, or a hospital, or whatever. At the end of the day, you have to curtail this tool to meet your needs, and even within an industry, the needs are different. So our implementation team, the name of the consulting firm is Alytics Consulting [sic]. So, [?Drew], why don’t you raise your hand and show yourself?


Audience 0:24:13.2:

[Inaudible 0:24:13.2].


Dennis Lemoine 0:24:14.4:

Hi, Drew!


Bill Singh 0:24:16.7:

They never say no. I’ll just put it that way. They never say no. I have asked them to bend the physics of this tool to get them to customize solutions for us. I’ll give you an example. So I had my boss, who was the acting CFO for about a year or so, and we were into Anaplan about a year-and-a-half, so I basically sat down with them. We drew up the structure of how we wanted it to look at our income statement. So he gave me some direction. I did that, and then we hire a CFO who was his boss [chuckles]. He comes in, he was like, ‘I don’t like it.’ [Chuckles] So now he was, like, ‘I really need to understand the parts of our business that are not doing so well, but I don’t want to look at the P&L the way it’s built, but it needs to be built differently.’ So what we came up with was a custom solution where we built another full P&L based on the hierarchy off to the side, like in a lab within Anaplan, because every single day people are still accessing the traditional reporting but, at the same time, we needed to build this new reporting in a lab environment. We couldn’t do it in a spreadsheet because that’s way too much data, so we wanted to leverage the fact that it’s a BI tool. We’re building it within a BI tool, but not affecting the main artery of it.


Bill Singh 0:25:34.3:

So that required a lot of creativity and moving of data and lots of engineering, and these guys are the best in the industry for doing that. Now that we were able to get the buy-off on that new format, and all I have to do is tell Alytics to just build that in the main artery, because all of the engineering was done inside of a BI tool, so they know all the pipes that basically go to it, I would say at the end of the day, your implementation team, it brings engineers, it brings creativity. You really need a team that pushes as hard as they can and bend the rules of engineering, and I think Alytics is one of them.


Dennis Lemoine 0:26:14.1:

Nice, and nice shout out to them. Thank you for that. Alex, I want to tap in a little bit around integration, and it seems like that’s been one of the specific benefits for you from Anaplan. Can you talk more about those problems that you were having, and how this solved for that?


Alex Jin 0:26:29.2:

Yes, sure. So I think the easy way to explain that, probably, I will give you two numbers. The first number I will give you is the 66.8. Let me explain a little bit. That was 2018 when I just moved to the US to the global headquarters, actually. It was the first year I was doing the business cycle for the entire global group there. So we were building the budget for 2019, right? We were using Excel files. The commercial team has their own, so we have ours. There is a stage in our one-year plan. We call it the global guidance cascade to the zones, which is one of the most important milestones we have to reach in GHQ there. So that year we get the 66.8 version, MyExcel version there, that’s the one. Why I have such a good memory on that is because in China, a lot of people believe there’s lucky numbers there, right? So the six is pronounced like happiness, and a lot of people also like eight because it sounds like ‘rich’! Actually, when I got a V66, I was so tired. I was like, that must be the final version. Probably you guys have the same experience. Then someone comes with, ‘Oh, I need to make one small tweak there.’ Then I’m like, no, I’m not going to go with 67, 68, because this is my lucky number! Okay, so I’m like, ‘I will go with 66.1, 66.2,’ but still staying with the 66, until I got the 66.8. Finally that’s the version we were using to give the guidance to the zones.


Alex Jin 0:28:13.6:

So now let me share with you the second number. Last year we cascaded. We reached the similar milestones. So we cascaded the guidance for budget ’24, actually a very recent one, to the zones with no Excel files, of course, only the version in Anaplan. That version is V8 only. Literally V8, and keep in mind that it’s not V8 for FP&A, because there’s no more Excel model on the commercial side particularly. Imagine that when the finance team in the middle will reach almost 70 versions there, how many versions the commercial team had. Probably 100 versions at least there. So this is basically how we evolve our business cycle. Probably you are thinking about, oh, it’s about ten times, like, productivity there, but I think we need to go a little bit deeper to think about the root cause of that. It’s not because, oh, we are running the different versions faster or something. It’s because of the integration. Because we bring the visibility to both the commercial and supply team there, so before we somehow get, oh, you send to me – I consolidate. I got a V1. Then I say, ‘It doesn’t work. I have a one billion gap in my EBITDA, so go back to review the entire work.’ I got all these kind of inefficiencies in the process there, and now the dynamic is very interesting.


Alex Jin 0:29:45.4:

The commercial team, when they finished their scenarios there, they said, ‘Hey, I already put everything in the system. I think you can review my assumptions there. By the way, I checked the EBITDA. This seems what you want.’ That’s what literally they told me. So what I learned from this journey, it’s like, actually, in many cases, people are willing to help, but they don’t have the visibility. They don’t have the ability to help you, so that they can only optimize the volume, or optimize the revenue, even though they are willing, because other people have the ownership to create the value for the entire company there, but they do not have the visibility there. As long as you bring them the visibility, they align their interest with you, so there is no conflict of interest. That’s what we really killed. You just make this process super-smooth and super-constructive.


Dennis Lemoine 0:30:46.1:

I appreciate that. I’d love to hear from your lens, that last question as well, yes.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:30:51.1:

Yes, so it’s pretty similar. In the month-by-month, we cannot have the lucky number, because it’s going to land forever, right?! So a bit of what we did was, some similarities, we saw that there was a big problem of the information flying from one place to the other. For basic things like, I don’t know, what fixed rate they’re going to use. So there were, like, even in the same country, different assumptions. So we started – as Alex said – trying to listen the root cause, and then see how the tool can basically help us on that journey. So, okay, if X rises, there’s a problem, so let’s try to stay off, like, 100 flyers flying around. Let’s try to put everything in the same place, so that helped on the conversation. Misalignment’s probably the more typical one, were the one in between supplier and sales, because of this, you know, also Alex was mentioning, like different assumptions of volumes, impacts on the other side that they never [?sort that out 0:31:59.6], and then requires to go back and forth. So, again, we started basically doing some focus groups. So in the place we have the biggest problems, like microeconomics in between areas, so they have basically time difference, and also at the time we are working, they were not, and they were not sure if the information, we are seeing the same.


Ezequiel Escobar 0:32:22.1:

So we tried to understand the root causes, and then use the tools to solve the others. They were like, ‘Okay, let’s go for a tool and implement, because that is not going to take us anywhere.’ So that’s a bit of learning as well. We fell, and there was a lot of things that we had to go back and check. Something you’re going to see as well, if you check the models that we have, even if it’s a monthly cycle, but soon are going to be completely different, because it’s not that we’d be like, okay, this is a model that you have to copy and paste. No, because every country has a reality, and that’s also why, then, we decided for Anaplan. Other tools are much more rigid. This is the solution, go and implement, but it doesn’t work everywhere. We have more than 50 countries. Everywhere you have different realities; countries who have inflation, countries with no inflation, countries with different currencies. So you have to adapt a bit of how they work, but then make sure that then, also, they consolidate back in a way that – the same language that everyone talks, right? So that’s really what we learnt, or how we were implementing.


Dennis Lemoine 0:33:25.5:

That’s great. We’ve had a pretty robust conversation so far – well, not ‘conversation’, these gentlemen are having the conversation. We only have a few moments, so I wanted to ask one final question, and then leave it open in case we can do a couple Q&As as well. Anheuser-Busch InBev, what’s next on the roadmap for you all? What problems are you looking to solve next?


Ezequiel Escobar 0:33:47.4:

All right. So what we are looking at, since we have a very [unclear word 0:33:51.2] option list here, we don’t have the solution everywhere, so we are focusing right now on expanding, especially the integration. So in many places we are going to have the FP&A, but we still have to work more with people, with the commercials, so we are in the expansion phase, I would say. The second one is, we are starting using it a lot more for scenario planning, right? So, basically, how different business decisions can impact in our financials, and Anaplan, there is a great tool to basically, using the past, plus how inside you’re going to build, how to basically simulate different scenarios. That’s going to give us more speediness at the time of the decision, so that’s on the roadmap for the first year globally, and then at the start also seeing how we can work in different zones.


Dennis Lemoine 0:34:47.3:

Nice. Alex, anything else you wanted to add on there?


Alex Jin 0:34:49.5:

Yes, just like what is the convention, right? So basically, it’s a journey for us. It’s super-important. When we launched the IBP 2.0 project in 2022, actually, the first thing we did was – before we zoom into these technical details there – the first thing we did is, we interviewed all the key global functions, like commercial supply people. Like how they plan to do it in the next few years, what they think the ideal kind of planning cycle should be. We also interviewed all the six business zones, the FP&A counterparts we have there, and then we grabbed all these demands from them. Some of that was more clear. Some of that is very high level, just directionally, but that’s very important we use that. So we build a multi-year roadmap. When I say ‘multi-year’, because something could be easier for us to achieve. When we do that, we realize there’s a lot of complexity we have to deal with, but one thing we know is, we have a roadmap and we know how we are going to do it, what’s the vision we want to accomplish in the long run there. So, basically, currently we are at the stage of the execution part, but execution doesn’t mean that, oh, this is the tool we already developed, and you just copy it to the different places there.


Alex Jin 0:36:16.8:

Actually we have mainly two parts we are doing. One is the enhancement in GHQ. So just to build on the example I just gave to you, okay, today the commercial team, the supply team, they have the visibility all the way to the EBITDA. So they were solving the EBITDA for me when they were doing the budget. What if I give them the visibility to the free cashflow? They would be – even go down. Think about when I do the different channel, because of this different receivable term. We may give to our clients there; there will be a different cash generation capability for the company. They will be solving even deeper problem for us. We have our ten-year plan, and you know the classic valuation model is do a ten-year discounted cashflow, put a limit to the terminal value. That’s the valuation. Why we cannot just turn this ten-year plan to be a valuation for each market to see how we can optimize the company’s value overall there. This is exactly what we are working on. That’s one area. So, basically, GHQ becomes kind of the lab for us to test these new ideas, but we have basically everyone, like, commercial supply, for us to really work together on that. In parallel, we are rolling out the two that we already proved to be working, because we, as GHQ team, we use it in our one-year plan processing, our ten-year plan process there.


Alex Jin 0:37:52.5:

The second year, we just throw it out to the zones there. So it creates this cycle. Yes, you do a lot of this new idea testing in GHQ. In the same time, you basically share the proven concept with the zones, and we do the customizations for them as well to really localize it. So it’s a journey, and it’s interesting, a lot of this new demand, the new capability, actually, we found it when we really use it, even though it’s something that’s already beyond our original roadmap that we built at the time.


Dennis Leoine 0:38:26.9:

I appreciate that. Bill, we’ve only got a couple of minutes left. I just want to give you the final thought. Give us the final thought, yes.


Bill Singh 0:38:32.5:

Yes, the final thought is that for us, what the next stage is for us to get to a decision point. I can tell you, on the first day, I had this much labor. Sorry, I harp on labor because labor’s very expensive! We need to get to a point where we are looking down hour by hour, shift by shift, trying to figure out how much labor do we have at any – so that’s where the staffing happens. Our next step is really to get from reporting all the way down to granular level of detail where we can make decisions as to move the business. That’d be it.


Dennis Leoine 0:39:04.8:

Great. That was perfect. Thank you, three. I know we’re almost at time. If you’ve any follow-up questions, please, our speakers will be right outside. Grab a cup of coffee, say hello. I want to say thank you again. We’ve got a lot of great sessions coming up. So huge round of applause for the three gentlemen here. Thank you. Thanks so much.


Ezequiel Escobar, Global FP&A Director, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Alex Jin, Global Finance Director, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Bill Singh, Vice President of FP&A, Genting

Dennis Lemoine, Director, Customer Engagement & Experience, Anaplan