Before the Anaplan platform, Tableau used a time-consuming, spreadsheet-based solution for workforce planning that required 30+ hours per week to consolidate headcount and sales data from across disparate systems. The teams responsible for each part of the planning process were continuously being chased down in order for stakeholders to understand the data. After finding little success with other solutions, the business operations team realized it needed a more agile workforce and sales planning tool.
After finding success using Anaplan as its platform for sales planning three years prior, Tableau then saw an opportunity to extend the use of Anaplan across its workforce planning strategy. Within four weeks, Tableau quickly replaced manual spreadsheet-based workforce planning and gained the agility it needed to plan effectively.
Leveraging the Anaplan platform, Tableau has reduced the weekly hours spent managing the workforce planning process from 30+ to less than 10, freeing up time for value-added processes instead of consolidations. Cloud-based access to the same set of data enables easier collaboration across the business and simplifies the task of making real-time configuration changes. Planning teams in both sales and workforce can now modify a formula or create an additional attribute without any system downtime.
Tableau chose the Anaplan platform for its self-reliance, flexibility, and customization features. Not only did the platform make it quick and easy to integrate Anaplan and Tableau, but also external systems, such as HR and recruiting tools. Additionally, the ability to edit, forecast, and interpret data without having to question its accuracy made Anaplan a clear frontrunner compared to competitors.
Wyatt Albertson, Senior Manager of Sales Strategy and Planning, shares how Tableau was able to eliminate hundreds of spreadsheets and deliver efficient sales planning with Anaplan.
Erin Hoff, Business Analyst, shares how Anaplan is used across Tableau for workforce planning, sales planning, and FP&A.
My name is Wyatt Albertson. I am the Senior Manager of Sales Strategy and Planning at Tableau. Tableau empowers business users to better understand their business in a lot of ways like Anaplan empowers its business users to plan their business. My role is to plan the headcount and sales growth at Tableau.
I was living in spreadsheet hell, more or less. One critical criteria when we were looking for a planning solution was that my team and the business retain control over the solution.
We were looking for a tool that would allow us to connect other applications, data, and kind of unify it in a way that will allow us to keep all of our systems that are used for analytics and execution.
Our first rollout of Anaplan was for sales planning, headcount planning, quota, and territory assignment. We were able to do our own implementation in 35 business days and maintaining our old plan in parallel to prove out that what we were building was correct. So it was mind blowing how fast we were able to get up and running.
We have a lot of different market segments, so we are dealing with a lot of sales people and overlapping geography covering different types of consumers, so there are a lot of complexities there to manage. We were looking for a tool that allows us to manage all of those complex mappings and in a way that ultimately would allow us to kind of set it and forget it.
The most powerful element of Anaplan is that our sales plan is no longer a black box. Our sales organization will have real-time access to their sales plan. Before that, every time there was a question, there was a call or an email.
I don’t know if I could survive more than a couple of planning cycles without it, so it’s a friend. It gives me longevity in my role.
Tableau is a data analytics software. It was originally founded by our three founders, and they melded this really awesome technology that really was graphic design oriented because they wanted to find a way that people could see and understand their data, but in a really appealing way.
We use Anaplan for headcount. We also use it for sales, and we are implementing right now our FP&A model as well, so we are using it for budgeting all of our expenses across the company. Headcount expenses are our base expense, our employees are assets, there are opportunities and there is innovation, so we need to make sure that we are forecasting so that not only our teams can be successful, but it’s very important from a budget perspective as well. Our old solution was such a manual process that if we added a new field, it could take us a week. So we were looking for something that could not only give us accurate data, but also timely data and something that our end users would adopt and use on a regular frequency.
The scope of our headcount can be a complicated matter, and every department plans headcount differently and on a different cadence. So our sales department really puts focus on quota attainment, quota planning, and coverage territories whereas our dev department will focus more on the correct number of employees working on the correct projects. Each planning team really needs to own their own data and be able to manage it, create it, play with it, and inside of each sub model we give each team their own opportunity to plan their headcount.
We want to be able to connect with not only other Anaplan models and Tableau but also external systems-for example, Workday for our HR systems or recruiting system so our recruiters can update fields in there, and we can directly see it in our headcount data. Additionally, self-service is a huge part of Tableau’s message, and we really try to utilize that in all of our internal group as much as we can. We want people to self-serve with their data, we want people to rely on their data.
Anaplan allows us to really edit our data-we are able to forecast, we are able to interpret it, but we weren’t always able to rely if the data was accurate. So now we have the opportunity to actually get into a model and change data, and then we can report on data that all of our leaders can rely on is accurate.