Pandora transforms financial planning and improves collaboration with Anaplan

Drive efficiency Forecast with accuracy

Streaming music pioneer Pandora wanted to bring structure, infrastructure, and analysis to its finance operations, while retaining the ability to scale with the business and keep pace with rapid change. They built a cloud-based FP&A solution that incorporated long-range planning, monthly reporting, financial reports, and workforce planning on a single Anaplan platform. True data transparency, deeper collaboration, and increased speed have contributed to collective understanding of the company’s financial position.

My team continues to push more data and models into Anaplan. That's really great as it's usually a struggle to move off of Excel.
Jared Waterman, VP of FP&A


With rapid growth, one of the biggest challenges Pandora’s team faced was bringing structure, infrastructure, and analysis to critical areas of the business. Pandora’s key challenge was to find a system that helped them today but also could scale with them into the future. This meant it was especially important to choose a flexible planning platform capable of keeping pace with the rapid change.


Pandora chose to create a business application landscape based entirely in the cloud and set out to find a new financial planning system that was easy to use, flexible, cloud-based, and open to exchanging data with other cloud solutions. This FP&A solution had to include long-range planning, monthly reporting, financial reports, and workforce planning all in one integrated workspace. The team ultimately selected the Anaplan platform and implementation was completed in just three months.


With the Anaplan platform, Pandora now has collaboration on a single platform, enabling a new and more productive way to build models. True data transparency now exists at Pandora so everyone can see what others are doing and what their assumptions are. Deeper levels of cross-departmental collaboration have increased the speed at which models are developed and lead to a collective understanding of a model, rather than siloed knowledge.

Why Anaplan

From the very first demo of Anaplan, the team was impressed with the platform’s ease of use, flexibility, and Excel-like familiarity. The team was also keen on the level of support provided, including live support where any team member can call, email, or make use of the live chat functionality to receive immediate assistance. Lastly, Pandora truly believed that Anaplan understood the challenges it was facing and could marry them to the technology to deliver a best-in-class solution.

My name is Jared Waterman, Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis at Pandora Media.

From the outset, it was clear that Pandora was on a steep growth trajectory. I’m really grateful that we choose Anaplan early on, because Anaplan, the platform, and our use of the platform can grow with the company. The planning process at Pandora before Anaplan was primarily in Excel.

I think our challenges are common among many companies that have outgrown their traditional planning solution or Excel. Analysis was not real-time, there are issues with collaboration across the organization in the team; data was not transparent across companies.

For us, the choice was pretty clearly in the cloud, and then within the cloud, there are many different solutions. We found Anaplan to be the most intuitive, the most powerful; and we also really liked the organization.

Anaplan has enabled us to be a strategic partner to the business in many ways. First and foremost, with accuracy and the breadth of our forecasting and insights into the business.

Our use cases for Anaplan run the gamut from recruiting to pricing analysis, to sales capacity planning, to tax and treasury. So, we use Anaplan in nearly all the facets of our financial forecasting.

The implementation with Anaplan was really easy. The platform is intuitive, which I think is the most important. Analysts and users of Anaplan pick it up pretty quickly. But also, the community and staff at Anaplan were really there to help us each step of the way.

One of the advantages of Anaplan is that it can ingest large amounts of information; we can digest that information and analyze it and turn it into actionable recommendations and accurate forecasts. I think that is really important for us at Pandora, because we are a company that is growing really quickly, and we produce a lot of data. And the more data that we can consume, and the more data that we analyze, the more accurate our forecast of the future will be.

Anaplan is so deeply embedded in the organization that it’s streamlining processes and making processes more accurate across the organization. At its best, FP&A is a partner to the company to helps you around quarters, help add strategic value, and really help form the future of an organization. But sometimes technology inhibits that and gets in the way and FP&A organizations can end up being more about reporting and less about their true value-added, which is analysis. And what Anaplan does is allow my organization to be all about analysis and not worry about pulling reporting or tying out numbers from disparate systems or finding data. It’s really all about analysis, which is FP&A at its best, and Anaplan enables that.

I am Jared Waterman, Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis at Pandora and my team is powered by Anaplan.