Organizations today rely on market research and honest customer feedback to drive strategic decision making. As one of the world’s leading providers of customer experience management and research solutions, Momentive gives companies the data and insight they need to evolve their businesses. In 2021, SurveyMonkey rebranded as Momentive to leverage its years of knowledge in customer service, experience, and research to further its offering to enterprise customers through an AI-powered experience management platform.
“More businesses are turning to their employees, customers, and market experts to gain fresh insights that can help to sharpen strategic decision-making,” says Betty Xu, Momentive’s Director of Corporate Strategic Finance. “We’re uniquely positioned to have a breadth of insights about our customers, and we see the desire among enterprises for better tools to facilitate quick, data-based decisions.” Because of this business evolution—and because the company strives for sustainable 20%+ growth—Momentive’s finance team needed a more scalable, manageable planning solution. They found this solution in Anaplan, which Xu calls a “financial backbone” that can grow with more hierarchies, mappings, users, and planning use cases than Momentive’s former solution.
Embracing more flexible planning
Momentive first deployed Anaplan for expense planning for headcount (the largest share of its costs), operating income, and free cash flow. The Momentive team also created a process whereby changes made in NetSuite, the company’s general ledger (GL) system, flowed directly into Anaplan. With this new foundation for all its planning operations, Momentive then expanded the Anaplan solution to support scenario, revenue, and bookings planning, as well as reporting and long-range planning.
Anaplan partner Keyrus has supported the Momentive team on its journey. “The Momentive team continues to expand their understanding of Anaplan’s capabilities,” says Philip Kao, Delivery Lead at Keyrus. “They have evolved their use of Anaplan to solve a wider range of business challenges in an incremental fashion. This phased approach has shortened their time to value.”
Sitting at the nerve center of Momentive’s Strategic Planning & Analysis (SP&A) function, Anaplan consolidates multiple sources of data, creating a single resource for SP&A across the company. In addition to NetSuite, data from Workday and other systems flows into Anaplan using simple MuleSoft connections. Those data integrations ensure that the Anaplan solution aligns with changes in the business, including M&A activities. “The Anaplan team went above and beyond to help us configure the solution to our unique needs,” Xu says. “Once we went live with Anaplan, we instantly saw the benefit of having all core business performance data in a single easy-to-use system. At any point in time, we can have a pulse check of how we’re looking as a company and identify the conversations and decisions that need to happen.”
Ready to face the challenges of tomorrow
With Anaplan underpinning SP&A, Momentive now dives deep into its core business performance data and formulates detailed short- and long-term forecasts to help support growth.
“Anaplan brings our planning to new levels,” Xu says. “For example, we built a new forward-looking module we call ‘Houston, do we have a problem (HDWHAP)?’ that helps us see how our business will perform under multiple conditions.” This new module integrates financial performance data, headcount, vendor planning, and more to enable scenario testing. Another Anaplan output, called “Bridge to Plan,” facilitates annual planning by layering planned and anticipated expenses on top of the current year’s forecast to build an adjusted baseline for creating the next annual plan.
“Anaplan has truly transformed our financial planning processes,” says Justin Coulombe, Momentive’s Chief Financial Officer. “Using Anaplan, we’ve reduced the time taken to create annual forecasts from two months to about two weeks, with greater accuracy and more granularity. Anaplan also gives us much greater flexibility when we need to adjust our forecasts.”
Anaplan-based SP&A at Momentive has also helped to democratize planning within the company. “We have many different business partners in SP&A,” Xu explains, “and a big plus with Anaplan is the ability to assign different levels of access to them.” Momentive’s former solution took an “all or nothing” approach to system access, but with Anaplan, the SP&A team can provide more partners and collaborators with access to key financial information while maintaining critical data security.
With Anaplan as the backbone for strategic decision-making, Momentive can navigate the post-pandemic global economy while expanding its business with enterprise customers. “We’re only at the start of our journey with Anaplan,” Xu concludes. “We look forward to exploring new ways Anaplan can enable us to improve the way we adapt to challenges that lie ahead.”