At HP we have a very large sales organization, about 20,000 strong. And when you think about the simple tasks of getting ready for a new year, and you have got to make sure that you are using every dollar of your field-selling cost most effectively. For us, that’s a pretty big challenge, how do you-in 170 countries-make sure that your sales design is optimized before somebody presses Go on the start of a new year. Because once you press Go, it is very difficult in an operation of this size to ever turn back.
Before Anaplan, we were always looking at what actually got deployed in a rearview mirror that was usually 90 to 120 days later. And that’s because it was completely manual. This was a spreadsheet-run exercise, and by the time that all got rolled back up, and people corrected minor errors along the way, we were usually at the beginning of Q2.
In order to understand the context around Anaplan, it might be interesting to understand the transformation journey that HP is on. We are transforming the company, and one of the ways in which we are doing that is by transforming the applications, the services, and the infrastructure that drive HP.
For us, that involved a very big consolidation project. We went from 7,500 corporate applications down to significantly less than 750. And in the process, we went to the best-in-class, next-generation version of every category.
For us, it was incredibly exciting but also a really big deal to be able to step into what we consider to be the best-in-class quota and territory management application out there.
As we took a step back and said, “Why jump into a system like Anaplan,” it really fell into three fundamental buckets for us. The first is the one we had already talked about. When you start the year, you have got to make sure that you are interlocked around both your design and the way that design is deployed as well as your number and the way that your quota is deployed across all the roles in your model. So interlock and starting the year faster and knowing what’s getting deployed before you deploy it was really the first critical value proposition that we were attracted to in Anaplan.
The second is execution. Once you start the year, things change. Starting on day two, things change. Salespeople come and go; quotas get adjusted. Sometimes the company adjusts the number because of currency fluctuations. A whole host of things change the second the year starts, and those things in Anaplan are eminently easier to manage and control, just like starting the year and executing the first interlock around deployment was easier.
I would say that shiny light for us was really the third area, which is optimizing. What we saw was that once these all got into Anaplan, the analytics capability that Anaplan brought to the table would allow us to all of a sudden get insight from our model from the data that sat in Anaplan and tell us things about what was working. Probably even more interesting: seeing what was not working in our model and would not allow us to make changes that we never would have discovered or uncovered without the insights that we can get from the Anaplan engine.
This cycle went very quickly for a project of this magnitude. And I think when you look at it, there were a couple of reasons for that, and it was really built around ecosystems of stakeholders. In order to get to initial deployment, our IT team, our sales ops team, and the Anaplan team worked incredibly well together and probably did a project of this size faster than it’s ever been done. And we owe a lot to those three constituent groups for the work they did.
We have deployed our first year in Anaplan, and it went great, and it went better. I have been at HP eight years, and I have never seen a start to the year like we had this year, thanks to Anaplan.
We are now in the phase of optimizing what we think we want to deploy and interlock around next year. So at some point, this is just a cycle that starts over every year. And for us, we are really living the Anaplan lifecycle.
I am Sue Barsamian, senior vice president of Indirect Sales at HP, and my sales plan is powered by Anaplan.