Sky zooms into planning across the business
UK-based broadcaster eliminates data chores and errors while democratizing planning in finance, marketing, sales, supply chain
Sky, Europe’s largest media company and pay-TV broadcaster by revenue, “connects the work we do to the things that really matter for our customers.” That work includes planning in finance, and prior to implementing Anaplan, Sky did all of that planning manually, in spreadsheets. Then, the finance team manually created up to nine forecasts using spreadsheets for numerous partners across the business.
The process was cumbersome and counterproductive. “We didn’t think we were serving our internal customers or our external customers,” said Damian Scaccia, Head of Planning Engagement. That’s when they realized that they needed a different planning solution.
Sky’s new financial planning solution had to be quick to implement, easy to use, and intuitive for employees of all skill levels. Furthermore, Sky wanted to ensure that the finance team could operate the solution with only limited outside management after implementation. The team found all of this and more with the Anaplan platform.
Scaccia describes Anaplan as “a cure for all the issues that you get with [spreadsheets]: manual errors, reporting issues, all that kind of stuff.” Before Anaplan, Sky’s finance team spent roughly 90% of its time gathering data and validating that the information was accurate. With Anaplan, Sky has “real-time information to make real-time decisions,” Scaccia says.
Sky’s finance department loves the idea that, with Anaplan, everyone on the team can be a super user, and nobody has to rely on IT to do the work for them. That has enabled expansion of Anaplan into marketing, sales, and supply chain uses. “In a planning role, it’s difficult to make things sexy but I think Anaplan does that,” Scaccia concludes.
Hi, I’m Damian Scaccia. I’m the Head of Planning Engagement and I work for Sky. Basically, we were doing everything in [spreadsheets], so 100 percent [spreadsheet]-based planning. And when you’re trying to do seven, eight, nine different forecasts for many different business partners across the business, it can get quite cumbersome when it’s all done in Excel.
We spent roughly 90 percent of our time just going through the process. Taking the information from the business partners, turning the handle, going through the process, validating the information at the end, just to make sure it made sense-and then only probably 10 percent of the time going through and really challenging what was coming out of the models, and requiring evidence from our business partners for where the peaks and troughs were.
We didn’t think we were serving our internal customers or our external customers. Getting something in right away, as quickly as we could, was probably the big thing. It had to be easy to implement, easy to use, and everybody from a super-user to an executive, who’s just going to be looking at a dashboard, would find it very, very easy.
[The Anaplan platform] is up there with probably the fastest speed to market that I’ve seen. I’ve done two different technologies that were more process-based-workflow management, things like that-which all took a significant amount of time, were significantly more expensive, and were altogether a lot more difficult. What we want is for our own team to be super users, and we don’t want to have to rely on somebody else to do the work for us.
We’ve been using Bedford Consulting to help us with that. The key thing-what we wanted was to make sure that when our time with Bedford Consulting was done, we’d be able to fully operate the tool on our own and have only very limited interaction afterwards. Literally, the first day of getting people into it, they’re already able to see all the benefits that they’re going to get from it.
Not just the stuff that we’re telling them they’re going to get, but as they’re building stuff, as they’re doing the e-learnings and as they’re working through it, they can go, “Oh, I’ve never been able to do this in [spreadsheets,] and now I can do this in Anaplan.” In a planning role, it’s difficult to make things sexy, but I think Anaplan does that. And it’s a cure for all the issues that you get with [spreadsheets]: manual errors, reporting issues, all that kind of stuff.
I think the great thing about what Anaplan brings in, in its nimbleness and its adaptability, is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want—today, right now, push it through instantly—to give you real-time information to make real-time decisions.