A growing company, ForeScout found its compensation and financial planning processes mired in inflexible Excel spreadsheets. Commission payments were often incorrect; worse, three or four quarters would often go by before the compensation team noticed errors, requiring them to correct large amounts of data to compensate. From a financial planning perspective, existing models were unable to scale as the young company grew, especially as ForeScout started incorporating new financial products and multiple currencies.
Kevin Cerutti, Senior Finance Director at Forescout, decided to adopt Anaplan as the solution in two separate arenas: commission management and financial planning. The commission component implemented quickly, in about a month, but ended up inspiring so many new ideas that the team needed three months to implement the financial planning component—long enough to ensure the new ideas could all be built in.
On the sales team, reps and leaders can see their sales data in real time, and check in daily on quotas and commissions. The speed and ease with which Cerutti’s team can run long-term financial planning and short-term detailed budgeting have increased dramatically. Commissions are far more accurate; Cerutti says that the money he saves not paying out improper commissions is by itself almost worth the cost of the product.
Anaplan distinguished itself by supplying solutions to two very different problems, commission management and financial planning, in a single platform. The flexibility of both solutions—their ability to be modified and updated to improve reporting and handle changes to the data—was also a huge asset. Finally, Cerutti loved that the Anaplan platform could grow with ForeScout, allowing the company to easily integrate new entities into its financial planning.
Kevin Cerutti, Senior Director of Finance at ForeScout Technologies discusses how Anaplan enables sales operations and compensation leaders to calculate accurate commission plans and improve their financial planning with real-time data.
My name is Kevin Cerutti. I am the Senior Finance Director for ForeScout Technologies.
Initial planning process prior to Anaplan was all Excel based. We have multiple entities; multiple currencies, and obviously added a lot of complexities trying to manage that all in Excel is limited number of users that can provide.
Like so many companies, our plan was all in Excel, financial planning forecasting, budgeting is done in Excel. We also did all of our quota management and commission payments in Excel as well.
On the commission side, we had issues where we were finding where employees’ commission’s calculations were incorrect. And sometimes we weren’t finding these for three or four quarters after. So, obviously you are going in, and you are changing the data. You are having to modify formulas based on new requirements for the commission plans, and without really managing that closely, and with the complexity of so many employees, it was difficult and it did cause a lot of errors and problems.
On the financial planning side, we were just a pretty young company on the financial planning. So, our models were pretty basic. And we had difficulty trying to expand that to our multiple entities, multiple currency situations that we had as we were growing.
You know, we were looking for two different types of solutions. So, one was for financial planning and at the same time we have the need to try to find something to deal with our commission and quota planning.
But after being introduced to Anaplan, and really been able to see the flexibility of the product, it was actually a pretty easy decision to move forward with Anaplan, knowing that we would be able to do both of those needs, to satisfy both of those needs with a single product.
We actually started with the commission component first. And I think we started design in July and we implemented it in August. So, it took about a month to do that initial design.
Once you roll it out, then you come up with new ideas, new approaches, obviously commissions, things change all the time. So, the flexibility to continue to modify and update and improve the reporting, the information was great. So, and then we went down the road of the financial planning, and that took about three months to implement.
The data is immediate, it’s available real-time. Our sales teams have the ability to go on a daily basis and see where they at on there, you know, commissions for the month, from a financial it’s easier to do scenarios. We do long-term planning as well as bottoms-up short-term detail budgeting. So, it’s easier to run long-term scenarios just using financial metrics and drivers.
It’s much, much more dynamic and inclusive.
So, we really utilize the HUB concept. So, most of our data goes into a single repository, you know, an entity or model. And then from now we are able to feed all of the other models.
We had a big issue with commissions being incorrectly calculated. And, so, that was a big red flag for us, and we had some real issues with that. So, just the simple return on that of having a system that is much, much more accurate that easy for sales reps to review their own data, more timely. Just that benefit alone, you know, almost makes it worth it. From an intrinsic value, it’s definitely had a great return.
Well our ability to manage real-time to run scenarios, you can go to a meeting and, you know, sit with the CFO or CEO and they can talk about, you know, “what if we do this?”, “what if we do that?” Being able to run those scenarios real-time, is much different than getting the information, taking a note, walking out of the meeting, coming back a week later and presenting the data. So, having the real-time ability has — it’s probably been the biggest value.
One thing we are not doing yet is full quota management and quota territory assignments. So, that’s one of the next big steps I’d like to take.
My name is Kevin Cerutti. I am Senior Director of Finance for ForeScout Technologies, and we use Anaplan for sales planning, commissions, budgeting and forecasting.