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What do Gartner, Forrester, and IDC have in common? They all named Anaplan a planning leader.
With Anaplan, planners and business units are much more comfortable taking ownership of their data and responsibility for their business performance.Parav Pandya, Head of Planning, Virgin Media O2
less time required to deliver monthly forecast for volume and revenue
forecasting supports agility as business conditions change
forecast accuracy creates deeper insight into business performance and customer behavior
To bring ultra-fast broadband and mobile data services to more customers, Virgin Media merged with O2, one of the largest mobile providers in the UK. Combining forces to form Virgin Media O2 promised to unlock huge opportunities to grow the company, create a more compelling customer proposition, and deliver value.
When the new planning team formed in 2021, it inherited planning processes based on more than 1,500 key performance indicators (KPIs) in the Cable business alone, all tracked using hundreds of spreadsheets. Consolidating financial data, creating reports, and building forecasts on company-wide performance took one to two weeks every month because each business unit followed a different planning process.
“Because planning teams were working with their own datasets and processes, it was hard to get a clear view of our operations,” recalls Parav Pandya, Head of Planning at Virgin Media O2.
The sheer number of KPIs the team inherited increased planning workloads and timescales, and as a result the company could only analyze more generic aspects of performance on a regular basis, rather than truly understanding customer behavior at a granular level. This limited the company’s ability to adapt successfully to sudden market changes.
To automate and optimize monthly forecasting, derive greater insight from data, and seize fresh opportunities for growth, the company streamlined and centralized planning processes using Anaplan. “Moving to Anaplan would help us to shift from our dependency on intuition and instead create truly data-driven plans that the business could trust,” reflects Pandya. “We were confident that by consolidating planning data in Anaplan and providing our teams with more user-friendly tools, we could take our forecasting to the next level.”
To speed up adoption of Anaplan, the Virgin Media O2 project team worked with data modelers, finance business partners, and business leaders across all key stakeholder groups in the design process. “Involving all these groups from day one helped us ensure that Anaplan would meet their needs, and also enabled us to identify areas where more flexibility was required,” explains Pandya.
With Anaplan, Virgin Media O2 has automated baseline forecasting and enhanced business analysis. Because data consolidation takes just two days, the Virgin Media O2 Planning team now refreshes Cable volume and revenue plans on a monthly basis by working day four — 50% faster than before — with the ability to conduct rolling reviews of three-year forecasts when required. This agility helps the company anticipate future resource needs, changes in customer behavior, and new market opportunities more quickly and in greater detail.
“Using Anaplan, we can predict how much churn we are likely to see in a given month based on historical customer behavior and their expected movements,” says Pandya. “Being able to adjust our baseline forecasts monthly means that we can adapt much faster to changes in the market and, in turn, ensure that the company stays on track to meet business development targets.”
As part of the move to Anaplan, Virgin Media O2 reduced the number of Cable KPIs it tracks by 86% — down to just over 200 metrics. With fewer, better-targeted KPIs, planners can measure performance against the most valuable benchmarks even faster. And by creating an Anaplan Data Hub, planners can follow the thread from the original source data through to final models seamlessly. This enhances data governance and increases confidence in the system’s outputs.
“Improved transparency has contributed to a really positive cultural change at Virgin Media O2,” Pandya says. “With Anaplan, planners and business units are much more comfortable taking ownership of their data and responsibility for their business performance. We’re excited to see how we can optimize our planning with real-time forecasting as we continue our growth journey, and Anaplan will play a critical role in this development.”