Prior to implementing the Anaplan platform, VMware tried to reconcile multiple inconsistent data sources across inflexible spreadsheets and siloed systems, which resulted in significant productivity loss. Sales reps didn’t know what territory or accounts they were responsible for until nearly the third month of the planning cycle. Collaboration between the sales and finance teams wasn’t fast or effective, as no one had a consistent view of current conditions.
VMware began the search for a new sales planning solution that could not only replace Excel, but also could take data from disparate systems and roll up using different dimensions, including customer and product hierarchy. Additionally, VMware wanted to find a way to enable its finance and sales teams to collaborate more effectively, and give reps and managers better visibility of accounts on the first day of each planning cycle.
Leveraging the Anaplan platform, VMware developed the multi-dimensional modeling it needed to bring together business rules and data from various sources. This new capability helps sales leadership streamline the planning process by performing complex modeling, running “what if” scenarios, and analyzing data using different dimensions. The framework has also enabled faster and more effective collaboration between the sales and finance teams. Now, everyone has a single view of the data.
VMware was excited to completely replace its spreadsheets, eliminate data inaccuracies, and enable a faster roll up of data. The finance team believes that by implementing the Anaplan platform, they can reduce cycle times for whatever planning dimension it focuses on. The VMware team knew Anaplan was a platform with more flexibility and capabilities than any other and one that could enhance the overall performance of sales team.
Leaders at VMware discuss how the company streamlined its sales planning processes with Anaplan.
Sri Vellimedu (Director, Business Process & Solutions): There were some good early successes with Anaplan, and that led us to where we are today around the sales planning process.
Awinash Sinha (Director, IT Business Engagement and Solution Management): We had BI analytics for certain things: people pulled in data from a transactional system BI, stitched them together in Excel, and then used email as a collaboration tool to roll it up. The key thing that we were looking for to replace the Excel world was how to take the transactional system data and roll up by different dimensions, such as customer or product hierarchy, and how to do that when the collaboration happens at different levels.
Vellimedu: The problem statement today is that we were well into month two of the planning cycle before reps knew what territories they had, what accounts they had, and what the quarters were, so there is a loss of productivity. Our goal is that by the first day of each planning cycle, reps and managers have visibility of accounts in Anaplan.
Sinha: The platform [became] one single source, and replaced all the spreadsheets and data inaccuracies. [It also allowed] faster rollup of data; this means a reduction in the cycle time for whatever planning dimensions we are talking about, either GTM or a territory in account planning.
Vellimedu: The metric we are trying to drive is a five percent improvement in quarter accuracy for those reps, and measure it by how well they hit their quarters. So if reps hit the quarters as those quarters get rolled up to a geographic region, you know there is a higher predictability or higher likelihood of hitting targets, so it’s all co-related. We’re starting at rep level and making sure we put focus on that as it is good for the company.
Sinha: Anaplan really is a tool that is a mix of multiple capabilities from the end-user perspective. It’s a collaboration tool, it’s a data rollup tool, and an analytic tool.
Vellimedu: The Anaplan platform essentially provides all of the analytics available so decisions can be made faster.