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What do Gartner, Forrester, and IDC have in common? They all named Anaplan a planning leader.
We’re able to link up different teams using the same data source … [so we can] make the best decisions.Andrew Dinwiddle
removed from FP&A process
workforce planning productivity improvement
RSA Group is one of the world’s longest standing general insurers, providing peace of mind to individuals and families, and protecting small businesses and large corporations from uncertainty for more than 300 years. The company constantly innovates and improves its offerings to serve its customers, and that innovation requires business agility.
Prior to implementing the Anaplan platform, planning at RSA Group was far from agile. The company had a tedious spreadsheet-based, nine-month financial planning cycle riddled with data quality issues, which was compounded by siloed, functional fragmentation across the company. As a result, the finance team was spending a significant amount of time cleaning data rather than analyzing it to provide insight to key stakeholders throughout the business.
After one particularly brutal planning season, RSA Group’s finance team realized that it needed a better solution for its financial planning needs. “We were really looking for a solution that could be implemented quickly but also add value,” explained the company’s head of performance management, who led the project.
Their search led them to the Anaplan platform, which quickly replaced their former spreadsheet-based processes for financial planning, expense planning, and workforce planning in contact centers. “Having separate modules that can be connected together is of huge value,” explained the project leader, because it enables people to spend less time gathering data and more time providing value-added analysis.
Using the Anaplan platform, RSA Group reduced its annual financial planning process from nine months to five months. The workforce planning team experienced a 50% improvement in productivity. The business can now own their connected plans, resulting in improved decision support to business users, as well as improved customer service and financial results.
The RSA Group asked potential solution providers three questions: How easy is the platform to use, how long would it take to implement it, and whether the finance team could own the system going forward. Only Connected Planning with Anaplan met all the criteria. “We’re able to link up different teams using the same data source so we can make the best decisions,” the project leader says. “And that’s the real value of the platform.”
My name is Andrew Dinwiddie. I’m the head of performance management at RSA Group, which is a 300-year-old international insurance company headquartered in London. We provide commercial and personal insurance to international customers. We’ve got three main regions: EMEA, Scandinavia, and Canada.
We started with Anaplan three years ago with financial planning and analysis. We had a history of large … spreadsheets, the process took far too long, and we were really looking for a solution which could be implemented quickly, but also add value. And that’s where we found the Anaplan platform, and it’s been transformational for our business. We were able to implement the Anaplan platform within a space of five weeks, which, when we looked at other rival products, was night-and-day different.
We’re able to develop the system ourselves, and that’s really enabled user adoption in terms of what it looks like and feels like our system. We’ve been able to cut down our process from being nine months long to being five months long, and we’re looking this year to move it to a three-month planning cycle, which will be revolutionary for our company.
Half our users are non-finance users now. We’ve given access to traders, underwriters, and managers who can contribute to the system through a front-end portal. And that’s been a watershed moment for us in the usage of the system. They’ve been able to see the power of the platform. They’ve been able to self-serve, and they’ve also seen that it can be used as a problem-solver in their own areas. And that’s enabled us to move into things such as workforce planning, sales performance management, ABC costing, and zero-based budgeting. So I think the possibilities are endless with the platform now.
The flexibility of having separate modules that can be connected together is of huge value. And the fact that they can all talk together and use the same information means that individuals can work on their own processes in isolation, but can bring all that together and have one source of the truth.
The biggest benefits from the platform, I would say, are twofold. Firstly, it just enables our finance function to add value. We asked our CEO, “What do you want from our finance function?” And he said, “I want insights and I want value-adding analysis.” And we’re able to do that on the platform. The second is workforce planning. We had a team of 50 involved in workforce plans initially, and they were spending far too much time in spreadsheets, and ultimately, when they went to the business with the answer, it was out of date.
From using the new platform, not only are less people involved in the actual planning process in terms of pulling the numbers, but more people are involved in the value-add. We’re able to link up different teams using the same data source, using the data hub so we can make the best decisions. And that’s the real value of the platform. We’re able to move people away from adding up the spreadsheets to being out with the business users, delivering the best services for our customers.