Andrew Chapello, Product Manager of Business Applications, Box
Andrew Chapello shares how Box exited an Excel-based approach and has driven collaboration and visibility in its financial forecasting and planning processes with Anaplan.
We had an ancient Excel® financial model that was sort of like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It was very large, took a few minutes to open. There were a couple hundred different versions sitting all over the place. One of our objectives was to eliminate the usage of that massive Excel file from our day-to-day business operations.
We first needed a cloud-based tool. Being able to get all users to collaborate in one version of a plan, at once, was really important. Then, as we were going through evaluating providers, one of the key differentiators for Anaplan was its in-memory computing.
We were able to do the implementation within about a month. We brought along Anaplanners in the entire implementation so they were building alongside everyone else. That joint implementations process where everyone understood what was going on—we were being thoughtful about what we were building and how we are building it—was really important.
And then for all the other users who maybe were not a part of the build in the beginning, we made sure to develop training materials, have a Q&A, have an open-door policy around being able to ask questions around things, but really, we found that adoption drove itself.
On a month-to-month basis, we are saving days and being able to consolidate our financial forecasting compared with their actuals. So there is an operational improvement there. Also, the alignment between our finance and accounting teams has been astronomical.
The most surprising thing that happened to me post-implementation was I had users coming to me and asking, “Can I use Anaplan for other things? I have this use case that I think would fit in with the tool, is that something that we can roll out?” That was something that you don’t see a whole lot in other tools. Having a product that users are excited about and want to be more integrated into their day-to-day jobs was really exciting.
We are going to look at two major areas for growth. One is growth and one is depth. In terms of growth horizontally, I think we are going to move into more sales planning and being able to link that with finance. And then in terms of depth, we would really like to get into deeper FP&A use cases to be able to model some of the more predictable cost.
My name is Andrew Chapello. Box is powered by Anaplan.