Box builds a collaborative financial planning process with the Anaplan platform

Software

Industry

41 million users at 74,000 businesses

Fact

Finance

Use case

Challenge

Before Anaplan, Box used an antiquated Excel® model for their financial planning and forecasting. The model was massive and took several minutes to even open the file. They had several hundred different versions of the model spread across the company, turning what should have been a unified process into a monstrous challenge.

Solution

The team at Box implemented Anaplan for financial planning within a month. The Anaplan team worked side-by-side with the Box team in a joint implementation that ensured a thoughtful approach and boosted buy-in from across the company. To sustain this approach, they built training materials, hosted Q&A sessions, and kept an open-door policy for questions. In the Box team’s own words, they found that “adoption drove itself.”

Results

With Anaplan, Box has consolidated its financial forecasting and shaved days off of financial planning. Alignment between its finance and accounting teams has increased dramatically. Company leaders also found that users are excited about the Anaplan platform and are asking to use it for additional use cases across the business.

Why Anaplan

As Box evaluated planning platforms, one of the key differentiators that set Anaplan apart from competitors was its in-memory computing and multidimensionality. An additional key requirement was to ensure planners could work on the same version of a financial plan—and Anaplan met that need by providing the finance team with the ability to collaborate in real time, as well as improved visibility into data.

With Anaplan, Box’s finance and accounting teams freed themselves from a spreadsheet nightmare and enabled a collaborative, real-time financial planning process.

I am Andrew Chapello. I am a Product Manager of Business Applications with Box. Box is a content collaboration software platform. I product manage all of our financial applications. I have ownership over process improvements that we need to make within our financial and operations functions and the day-to-day maintenance of the applications.

We had an ancient Excel® financial model that was sort of like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It was very large, took a few minutes to open. There were a couple hundred different versions sitting all over the place. One of our objectives was to eliminate the usage of that massive Excel file from our day-to-day business operations.

We first needed a cloud-based tool. Being able to get all users to collaborate in one version of a plan, at once, was really important. Then, as we were going through evaluating providers, one of the key differentiators for Anaplan was its in-memory computing.

We were able to do the implementation within about a month. We brought along Anaplanners in the entire implementation so they were building alongside everyone else. That joint implementations process where everyone understood what was going on—we were being thoughtful about what we were building and how we are building it—was really important.

And then for all the other users who maybe were not a part of the build in the beginning, we made sure to develop training materials, have a Q&A, have an open-door policy around being able to ask questions around things, but really, we found that adoption drove itself.

On a month-to-month basis, we are saving days and being able to consolidate our financial forecasting compared with their actuals. So there is an operational improvement there. Also, the alignment between our finance and accounting teams has been astronomical.

The most surprising thing that happened to me post-implementation was I had users coming to me and asking, “Can I use Anaplan for other things? I have this use case that I think would fit in with the tool, is that something that we can roll out?” That was something that you don’t see a whole lot in other tools. Having a product that users are excited about and want to be more integrated into their day-to-day jobs was really exciting.

We are going to look at two major areas for growth. One is growth and one is depth. In terms of growth horizontally, I think we are going to move into more sales planning and being able to link that with finance. And then in terms of depth, we would really like to get into deeper FP&A use cases to be able to model some of the more predictable cost.

My name is Andrew Chapello. Box is powered by Anaplan.

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