Amazon Web Services: Consistent sales planning with local flexibility

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides on-demand cloud computing worldwide. AWS has consolidated its sales planning for thousands of sellers using Anaplan technology, running on the AWS Cloud. This flexible combination provides central data governance and consistency while enabling multiple different sales groups to modify their account segmentation and territory and quota plans based on specific business needs.

We continue to roll out new models, so we actually expand what we’re offering to the field.

Joe Lichtman, Product Management Leader

AWS provides cloud computing services as an on-demand utility. AWS sales grow every month through partner sales, self-service purchases, and thousands of sellers worldwide employed by AWS. The sellers working for AWS are organized into autonomous groups, each of which handles its own planning. Leadership at AWS decided to consolidate sales planning across AWS sellers, and sought a technology platform that would provide central governance while providing business units with flexibility and agility to make key decisions as close to the customer as possible.

AWS implemented Anaplan for Sales Planning, hosting Anaplan on its own AWS Cloud. The core Anaplan models are territory and quota modeling and account segmentation. Sales goals are established by senior management and cascaded down to the groups, each of which has leeway in setting up specific hierarchies, territories, and quotas based on business needs.

An Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE) manages the shared environment, including an Anaplan Data Hub, and supports group-based Anaplan model builders who create and operate Anaplan applications based on specific group needs.

With Anaplan on AWS, sellers have their territories and quotas in first month of fiscal year. “They know what’s expected of them, and they hit the ground running,” says Joe Lichtman, Product Management Leader at AWS. Initial forecasts, territory and quota definitions, customer groupings, and headcount assignments are generated in Anaplan using AWS machine learning technologies including SageMaker. This process saves time for sales leaders, but also gives them the option to override the recommendations based on business needs. In two years of use, Anaplan adoption doubled to 80%. Lichtman expects 100% adoption soon.

AWS sales leaders chose Anaplan technology, running on the AWS Cloud, to consolidate sales planning for thousands of AWS sellers in multiple groups. Anaplan provides central data governance and control while enabling business unit flexibility and agility to make key decisions close to the customer. The combination of Anaplan on AWS delivers several compelling benefits:

  • Empowerment. Executive sales leaders can provide top-down plans and forecasts while empowering individual teams to modify them to suit real-world business needs. “It’s not about actually forecasting the number,” explains Lichtman. “It’s about allocating the number that has been cascaded down in the most efficient way.”
  • Integration with AI/ML. Hosting Anaplan on AWS enables streamlined integration with a variety of AWS machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. This allows different AWS sales groups to choose an approach and algorithm that meets their specific sales planning needs.
  • Flexibility. The Anaplan platform’s ability to handle multiple planning tasks within sales, as well as non-sales planning needs in finance and marketing, make Anaplan an ideal technology for a fast-growing and changing company like AWS.

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