Neil Doyle, Director, Bedford Consulting Group

Bedford Consulting Group discusses how they have helped customers transform their planning and forecasting strategy by replacing on-premise solutions and massive spreadsheets with the flexibility and scalability of Anaplan.

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My name is Neil Doyle. I’m the Director of Bedford Consulting, one of the UK Anaplan partners.

Bedford is a business analytics consultancy. We work with clients to implement new financial planning and reporting systems. We implement Anaplan into clients where they’ve had problems in the past with perhaps Excel® spreadsheet-based forecasting systems, and we replace those systems with the new technology of Anaplan.

Our clients are mostly moving either from an outdated on-premise solution or from an Excel-based planning and forecasting solution that they’ve built in-house. And it’s just becoming difficult to manage. They’ve kind of outgrown it, and they need a new software to come in and actually help them to do their planning processes without the stress that Excel brings to them. I’ve hardly described it as Excel hell, and they can understand that because it really can make a quite simple process quite complicated.

So Anaplan transforms that environment for clients by really delivering to them a quick, rapid implementation, allowing them to collaborate between all different parts of the organization. And also empowering them to use that software themselves, so [they can build] their own application.
I think really its scalability and the collaborative nature of the plan is what sets Anaplan apart from its competitors. Immediately by its nature, it’s a collaborative tool. It’s a cloud-based tool. And because it’s cloud-based, it can also scale. So if I need, for example, some extra memory to a second planning cycle, I just give the guys a call on Anaplan. They had a server, and they got a whole new workspace to work on. So that scalable nature of the products is really fantastic for clients.

Anaplan really empowers customers to do the “what-if” scenarios. I like to call it immediate feedback, so when they’re working on dashboards they don’t have to wait for things to refresh, they don’t have to wait for routines to run. They type a number in, they immediately get that response. The graph updates or the data actually changes.

The feedback from customers on Anaplan is they love it and for me that’s really important because, as a consultant, we want our clients to love the software that we give them. So Anaplan is such a powerful tool for the business use, probably a tool that they’ve never seen since Excel came about in the ‘80s. They’ve got this tool now where they actually do their own plans. Their own forecast, they’ve got control of it. They’re not reliant on anyone else; it’s giving them real-time access to data they can actually make decisions on. And that’s the reason users love it because they can actually control the software, and it gives them that flexibility of Excel but all the advantages of an enterprise software.

What I’m really excited about is to see customers actually putting their own apps onto the [App] Hub. I think that something that we’ve never been able to do in the industry before is actually really share that expertise—not just between consultancies or between partners but actually customers as well. I think that’s going to be really exciting.

So Anaplan delivers a kind of a different type of ROI. It really delivers time back to the business user. So less time on data crunching, less time on data collation, and actually more time in analysis and decision-making.

My name is Neil Doyle, and we empower our clients with Anaplan.