Groupon has the ticket to agility in a changing environment
Mature, thoughtful approach to Connected Planning delivers automation and standardization for fast-moving business
Ongoingalignment between finance and corporate goals
Since its founding in 2008, Groupon has steadily grown and evolved to meet the needs of its customers and merchants. Anaplan has been in use at Groupon since 2013 and has been proud to play a supporting role in its growth. “We were pioneers,” says Groupon’s Finance Manager Megan Carrozza. “We were one of the first Anaplan customers in the Chicago area.”
As a result, Groupon has developed a mature, thoughtful approach to Connected Planning that provides inspiration and examples for companies everywhere along the Anaplan journey.
“The 20+ use cases in the Anaplan environment at Groupon are organized into three groups,” says Carrozza, a Master Anaplanner and leader of the company’s Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE).
- Financial consolidations provide the primary source of truth for key financial documents such as Groupon’s income statement and balance sheet.
- Financial forecasting and modeling use cases support financial outlooks and analytics, and include revenue and gross profit planning, workforce planning, CapEx planning, and vendor-level planning.
- Center of Excellence (CoE) models support, and are shared by, the other use cases. For example, an innovative Master Data Management (MDM) model helps align key data across disparate systems: employee information from Workday, general ledger figures from NetSuite, vendor data from Coupa, and Anaplan itself, using SnapLogic for extract-transform-load (ETL) tasks.
The Anaplan models are run by the Center of Excellence (CoE) team, who are finance team members. Anaplan users work in many different finance functions. “A majority of team members who report up to our CFO uses Anaplan,” Carrozza explains.
The four-member CoE, along with model builders in specific finance functions, oversees the entire environment. (This is called a Centralized/Federated hybrid approach.) The CoE annually reviews projects for alignment with company strategy, develops and maintains standards for all Anaplan models at Groupon, and runs a rigorous, customized internal enablement program that trains more model builders in the organization. These efforts have also helped make about half of Groupon’s 150+ Anaplan users into power users.
Carrozza says the resulting automation and standardization benefit the entire company. Automation cuts down mundane tasks and makes them more accurate, which delivers substantial time-savings; and standardization removes complexity and enables people to move easily between projects. Automation and standardization also help with process improvement, she adds: “We never lift and shift a process when moving it to Anaplan. We make sure it’s done in the way that makes the most sense.”
And that yields the most important business benefit of all: Agility in a changing business environment. Carrozza sums it up this way: “The power of Anaplan to apply automation and standardization to a fast-moving company like Groupon is really powerful.”