As a financial services business providing “short term loans,” Satsuma needed its financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team to have the right capabilities to understand business performance and drive investor value. However, executing forecasting and modeling activities within Excel® quickly reached a technical ceiling—limiting the flexibility, dimensionality, and granularity needed to drive performance and achieve financial objectives. This turned activities such as loan portfolio modeling and scenario modeling into a frustrating and time-consuming process.
Satsuma implemented Anaplan’s cloud-based platform for financial planning, loan performance management, and scenario modeling. After successfully building its new structure for financial modeling in just four months, the team also began to use the platform for its formal budget cycles and corporate reporting—and quickly rolled it out to other use cases in the organization.
Equipped with a high-performance planning platform, Satsuma now manages financial performance through detailed corporate reporting and regularly updated rolling forecasts. Improved scenario modeling helps support the business in understanding which investments drive the highest value and positively impact financial performance. This renewed confidence and access to transparent data has enabled the finance team to better advise the business with integrity and build trust with executive leadership.
The flexibility and capabilities of Anaplan’s cloud-native planning platform have allowed Satsuma to model scenarios quickly, perform complex loan performance management, and support granular data insight and performance management. The unconstrained, scalable platform allows the finance team to collaborate more efficiently—within the team and throughout the entire business.
Eleanor Thornhill, Head of Online Financial Strategy and Performance at Satsuma, discusses how implementing the Anaplan platform allowed her finance team to gain unprecedented level of data granularity when it comes to managing loans performance.
I’m Eleanor Thornhill. I’m head of online financial strategy and performance within Satsuma. Satsuma is part of the Provident Financial Group, that started in the 1800s and has a number of divisions. Satsuma, that was set up in 2013, was responding to the technological advancement in the market and increasing competition from the need to actually offer an online product to the nonstandard credit market.
To be able to model within financial services, you need to model loans through the lifecycle, and we have a number of drivers of performance that we need to include within our modeling. Initially, we were using Excel modeling for our forecasting, and we were able to model scenarios, but only at a high level. The level of granularity needed wasn’t possible within Excel, and we were finding that our Excel models were getting really big and lots of links within them, only one person could work on them at a time, and certainly exposed to error.
Anaplan presented a real opportunity to move our modeling into the cloud. We engaged with Anaplan, and we were actually able to go through with them a proof of concept, and that really very quickly showed us the benefits of the tool. Since then, we’ve been developing the model all the time. We’ve developed some of the ways that the assumptions are driven within the model, and more recently, we’ve been opening up the inputs to the business. We work much more collaboratively with the rest of the business.
At the end of last year, we reported our Satsuma financial results by calculating all of our actual performance through the Anaplan model. We now operate with our actual reporting, a rolling forecast, which we update regularly, and we can analyze this against our formal budget, so we can analyze at a granular level, so we’re really able to pinpoint the reason for variances and do very detailed variance analysis, which we can then feed back to the business on, and share with them what we’re seeing.
As a relatively new business, it’s really important for us to be investing and driving the business forwards. What we’re able to do is model scenarios to support the case for investment and understand that, what that will do to our financial performance.
The key benefits of using Anaplan, certainly for my team, has been that we’re able to model things really quickly. We’ve got the confidence to rely on the outputs, so we’re actually able to advise the business with real integrity and we’ve really built that trust within the senior management team in terms of the information that we can provide them and the input into decision-making.
We really find that it’s changed how we work, and we do often find ourselves saying, “Isn’t Anaplan brilliant?”