Cloud identity platform leader Okta built finance and sales solutions with Anaplan that shortened finance processes by weeks and took the company from startup to IPO. Later, the environment was refreshed with additional automation and data integration capabilities and played a key role in supporting a successful multibillion-dollar acquisition. Today, the solution provides trustworthy financial information for day-to-day operations and accelerated decision-making.
Anaplan delivers a significant decrease in the time to close and a significant increase in the speed to decision-making.
Will Lederer, Director, Business Technology
Okta’s single sign-on and identity management services enable people and companies worldwide to use thousands of cloud applications – including Anaplan – with confidence. Since its founding in 2009, Okta’s customer base has grown to more than 16,000 organizations. And like many fast-growing cloud software startups, Okta had to build a high-performance finance organization rapidly, from scratch. That meant choosing applications that could scale, evolve, and perform as conditions changed.
Anaplan was among those chosen applications. Okta first implemented Anaplan for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) in 2015. That solution eliminated countless spreadsheets and reduced the time Okta needed to close its books by several weeks. It also supported Okta through years of remarkable growth, culminating in an initial public offering (IPO) in 2017.
That’s just part of the story. As Okta’s finance department embraced Anaplan, the company’s sales operations group simultaneously implemented Anaplan for sales capacity planning – that is, determining the number of account representatives Okta needed to meet its ambitious revenue growth targets – followed by sales territory and quota planning. About five years after the initial launch in finance, Okta refreshed its Anaplan environment and created automated integrations with NetSuite, Salesforce, Workday, RevPro, and Coupa, using a Snowflake data warehouse and Boomi as the integration platform.
Implementing Anaplan and adding automation and integration made the rapid financial close more granular and sustainable. “It went from about two weeks to eight days; that’s a significant decrease in the time to close and a significant increase in the speed to decision-making,” observes Will Lederer, Okta’s Director of Business Technology, who now manages the solution. Lederer has also integrated the Anaplan models in finance and sales with each other to improve information-sharing and reduce the risk of error from manual data entry.
Adding dimensions on demand
The revitalized Anaplan environment proved its value in 2021, when Okta acquired identity platform provider Auth0 for $6.5 billion. When the acquisition closed, Okta leaders told Lederer that Auth0’s financial data needed to be brought into Okta’s financial systems immediately for reporting.
With Anaplan, Lederer’s path was clear. “I went to our consolidated model and added in the business unit dimension to bring in Auth0’s financial numbers so that they could report on a consolidated basis for the May period – when the acquisition just happened in May,” he recalls, noting that the financial reports were delivered as promised. “I can’t really imagine how we would have done it otherwise.”
Cornerstone for success
As Okta’s business journey continues, the need for decision-makers to have confidence in their data only grows stronger. That’s where Anaplan comes in, Lederer says. “If I’m doing my job right, financial planning is not a problem for the company,” he says.
Okta’s business leaders “can count on the numbers,” Lederer continues. “They have them when they need them and the information they need to run the business. Anaplan is the cornerstone of providing that.”
Will Lederer, Director of Business Technology: Okta is a single sign-on solution for customer identity access management. If you use our product, you should be able to sign on to your computer, sign on to the Okta platform, and sign on to all the applications you want to use in the cloud without ever having to enter a password again.
Okta's journey in Anaplan was starting really as an early adopter — getting off spreadsheets, going public, and being able to provide the budget and forecast in a consolidated way.
Our initial implementation reduced our time to close significantly. It went from about two weeks to eight days or so. That's a significant decrease in the time to close, and a significant increase in the speed to decision-making.
In May of 2021, we had a major acquisition to our company. We acquired Auth0. And they said, we need to get Auth0’s numbers in our applications, and we need to do it fast. How are we going to do that?
And because Anaplan has the flexibility it does, I went to our consolidated model and added in the business unit dimension to bring in Auth0’s financial numbers so that they can report on a consolidated basis for the May period, when the acquisition just happened in May. I can't really imagine how we would have done it otherwise.
Our sales operations team also uses Anaplan to do their capacity planning — to determine the right number of account reps they need to meet our revenue targets. They've also used that to build into some territory and quota planning. And we have integrations between the finance side and the sales ops side to share the information that both sides need to complete their planning.
Anything that touches Anaplan I'm involved in, and as far as Okta's concerned, you know, I am Anaplan. If I’m doing my job right, financial planning is not a problem for the company. They can count on the numbers, they have them when they need them, and the information that they need to run the business.