Before implementing the Anaplan platform, it took Super Retail Group’s finance team months to consolidate planning and budgeting data for its three divisions across more than 600 retail stores. The team struggled with version control issues among spreadsheets. To add even more complexity, hundreds of people were involved in the budgeting and planning process, and it took a week to ensure data accuracy across spreadsheets.
After years of dealing with spreadsheet challenges, Super Retail Group realized that it needed a more structured approach to budgeting and planning. The goal was to strategically align the finance and operations teams on a single platform so each department could be accountable for their numbers. With hundreds of stores across Australia, Super Retail Group needed a solution that could be deployed quickly across many geographical locations, and Anaplan’s cloud-based system paved the way.
Using the Anaplan platform, Super Retail group streamlined its budgeting and processes, shortened the cycle, and improved the quality of the budgeting issues it found along the way. The time it takes to do planning and budgeting has been reduced by more than a month, and calculation speed has increased. With enhanced visibility, the team can now collaborate far more effectively, and data is now available in one unified place, eliminating version control issues and confusion.
Super Retail Group selected the Anaplan platform because its features fulfilled the company’s vision of a truly integrated planning platform. And, unlike a large and rigid ERP implementation requiring heavy consultant involvement, the finance team knew that Anaplan could be rapidly deployed. Additionally, Anaplan’s flexibility and customizability was also ideal for the finance team, who saw great value in the ability to build “what if” scenarios and learn from them.
Brett Gibson shares how Super Retail Group was able to streamline the budgeting process across more than 600 stores spread across New Zealand, Australia, and China with the help of Anaplan.
My name is Brett Gibson from the Super Retail Group. I am the Planning and Reporting Manager responsible for the budgeting and forecasting processes within the group.
I think the challenge with planning is that the collaborative side of it is really important and for us, it is about having those operational departments use the platform and own their numbers rather than the process being done by the finance team, where they basically advocated responsibility to a certain degree. It was important to have them strategically aligned and to really have that ownership and that commitment to delivering those financial resources and delivering those numbers, and I think that it was probably the strategic imperative that started our journey to Anaplan.
Clearly now as Anaplan-the platform-has developed, we can see more of a vision around it. The integrated planning cycle has started a little bit of momentum and we have started to connect more of the departments and use more of that flow.
The Anaplan platform is different primarily because we didn’t need a lot of consulting support. We didn’t need to do a lot of design. It’s very flexible and customizable. You can try a few ideas in a few scenarios and then build from that stage. So it wasn’t like a large ERP implementation where you needed to have a massive round of consultants and you needed to do it in a particular way. With the Anaplan platform, you can make an error and change it or correct and refine as you go. It wasn’t a forced structure. Clearly to get the most out it, you need a guideline to know where you are going with it, but you probably just need to have the end in mind and some steps on how you are going to get there, and just work your way through it. It was relatively easy to code and implement the platform.
One of the advantages has been deploying the product via the browser. For us, that was really important. We have 600 stores located all over the very large country of Australia. The ability to go and install an application within a store system is quite a challenge for us, so the ability to deliver the technology via a browser was really a key reason for why we made the decision. The other big advantage is that we could then deliver some training via email, including some screenshots and text, training those people to get the hang of it.
We now have a streamlined budgeting process that is faster. Our time to plan and do budgeting was reduced, probably by at least a month, and it’s all about the speed of calculations and collaboration, visibility, and transparency. All of those are relevant for us because in 2014, we turned over roughly $2.2 billion. We have a number of values that go through there, so the ability to have that information refreshed very quickly is quite useful.
It’s also having one unified place for data, so you never have to worry about what version people are working on. If you want to know what the budget was, you go into the Anaplan model and you see it instantly-it’s static, it’s still there, and there is a single version. The difference now is that we can look at the content rather than the mechanics of bringing it together. That’s been very helpful and enabled us to (a) shorten the cycle but also (b) improve the quality of budgeting and other issues that we find straight away.
What we are finding is that people are getting passionate about the platform, and they are now coming back to us. We can use this platform to solve some of our other areas, and some of the end users are quite actively trying to move the application on and assist us with it, so that’s been a really pleasant journey. People have started to understand the power of the Anaplan platform and how it has helped us, and want to extend it, to make it more integrated within each business unit. They are now taking ownership of the models that we are developing, which is fantastic.
Anaplan has been a really good partnership for us. They have your success at the heart of their business. If you have a problem with anything, you write an email or you pick up the phone. They are always trying to find the solution and fix it. They are very responsive in making sure that they are able to provide a solution that works for your organization.