Before Anaplan, Zalora’s spreadsheet-based finance planning processes were cumbersome and disconnected. The financial planning process was managed very differently across different markets. Compounding this complexity, the company had created back-end systems and processes without standardization as they grew. The team frequently encountered spreadsheet crashes and spent a significant amount of time on data consolidation and administration. A fragmented planning process inhibited teams from collaborating or making business decisions in real-time.
Zalora needed a solution that would enable its team to plan in a single platform. The solution had to be highly flexible, dynamic, and enable the team to manage multiple currencies and reconcile differing data sets spread across various regions into a single, consistent view. After evaluating various business planning software, Zalora was able to see how Anaplan could help strengthen and unify its business strategy and planning process without any slow-down, as the company continues on its hyper growth trajectory.
With Anaplan, Zalora can integrate different types of datasets into a single planning process. The company has turned strategy into agile execution by arming do-ers and decision-makers with living, data-driven plans that they can easily execute against. Spreadsheet crashes have been eliminated, and data consolidation is substantially quicker—instead of it taking days, it now only takes seconds.
Zalora chose the Anaplan platform because it enables different functions of the business to have input into the planning process. As a company growing at a rate of over 100 percent a year, Zalora also believed implementing Anaplan would allow its finance team to standardize various modules within its business planning to help scale with its business growth.
David Inns, Director of FP&A and BI, discusses how Anaplan enables budget owners to have an active role in bringing together the business plans.
My name is David Inns, and I’m the Director of FP&A and BI (Business Intelligence) at Zalora. I look after all the business planning, but also look after getting together all the data that we need to put together the plans.
We sell fashion throughout Southeast Asia. Zalora is part of a larger group called GFG (Global Fashion Group). GFG is a holding company for similar ventures in other emerging markets.
We brought in Anaplan to simplify our planning process. We have quite a decentralized network throughout the organization, with the logistics teams spread out throughout the region and buying teams in different markets. We wanted to be able to pull together all that information in a cohesive way.
We use Anaplan to pull together our full assortment plan, which is what products we’re going to buy for the next season and which drives our top line. But obviously, as we operate a full supply chain, the volume going out of that goes into driving our fulfillment costs to get the product to the customers.
We built out several modules within Anaplan to enable different functions of the business to have input into coming up with the business plan. Once we’ve got an idea about our overall top-down targets for the business, we can then have the businesses work in each of the underlying modules to see how they’re going to come together to achieve the plan.
Resourcing is obviously the biggest cost driver for us, so we worked with our HR team to build out a full enterprise-wide resource planning tool that enables people to take their existing resourcing levels and then make some fairly complex decisions in terms of changes that they will be undertaking in their departments with their resourcing throughout the year.
Anaplan has helped us with some considerable time savings during the planning process. Not only have we avoided all the historic Excel crashes, but that consolidation and administration of the data has become a lot easier, enabling the various teams involved in pulling together the consolidated views to actually start reviewing the data straight away rather than spending all that time pulling it together.
Where we used to take several days to consolidate all of those spreadsheets to get a view, we now get it within seconds—the moment they input the information—and the timeframe is cut off, we can see what the cost will be.
Connected planning is important because it enables the owners of the budgets to have an active role in bringing together the business plans.
Now, with our assortment planning and resource planning, we are mostly done with our logistics out of the business. And I now will be looking to further extend that into other parts of the business, particularly on expenses, and possibly even on the marketing front.