Connected Planning helps Unum discover the power of acting as one

Insurance provider describes how the Anaplan platform helps to break down walls across finance operations, unleashing efficiencies and supporting real-time, holistic decision-making

The C-Suite viewConnected Planning in action

Unum, an industry-leading provider of disability, life, and other insurance, is always looking for ways to be more competitive and to provide value to its 36 million customers. By consolidating its tools and investing in Anaplan, Unum’s finance team is more efficient and can spend its time discovering new connections, formulating responses, and preparing for the future, say CFOs Jack McGarry and Steve Mitchell.

Increasingly, value isn’t driven by knowing how things work. It’s driven by knowing how things work together.

Jack McGarry, Group CFO

Insurance provider Unum is in the business of helping people through the difficult times in their lives. This isn’t just a job for the company’s 9,400 employees; Group CFO Jack McGarry calls this the “high social purpose” of the 170-year-old Fortune 500 company. Unum’s commitment to serve its 36 million customers requires constant, continuous improvement from the finance team. “We’ve always been forced to think about being competitive and providing the best value,” explains CFO for US Operations Steve Mitchell. “So we think a lot about how we can have a better process, how we can have a better set of tools.”

The Anaplan platform has been one of Unum’s key finance tools since 2016, and it has become a catalyst for dramatic process change and improvement. Anaplan was first deployed at Unum to help with financial consolidations, and the company soon expanded its use to Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) and reporting. Guided by an Anaplan Center of Excellence within the finance team, Unum is now deploying expense budgeting and reporting, investment portfolio planning and analysis, and capital models on Anaplan.

Unum’s environment is the very definition of Connected Planning: people joined together with data and plans to accelerate business value. The immediate value comes from greater efficiency; Mitchell, a hands-on Anaplan user, says the Anaplan platform gives a CFO like him the insight to ask better-informed questions. “I find it a very efficient way to go in and look at either the aggregate for the businesses that I’m involved with, or decompose it into specific businesses.” An important byproduct: saved time can be applied to high-value tasks such as data analysis.

And in the long run, Anaplan is serving as a platform for business transformation. Many business processes at Unum that formerly required finance intervention or assistance (such as reviewing expenses against budgets) are now self-service operations, and ad-hoc questions can be answered without the finance team’s help about 80 percent of the time.

There’s more to come. “We have really smart people discovering new connections and how we should respond to them as a company,” McGarry says—responses that will enable Unum to serve its customers even better in their time of need.