Vice President of GTM Finance, McAfee
And so for me, the challenge was really bringing it all together so I could see a single picture of where we were from a performance standpoint, how we were performing by territory, how we were performing by rep, how we were performing again quota year over year. All of that information existed; it just existed in different places. And then probably, the biggest challenge on top of that was then bringing that information to a point where we could try to improve it, understanding the building blocks of what made up those things, and understanding how we can improve those different pieces. That to me was hard because everything was disassociated; everybody managed their own spreadsheet; everybody had their own definitions; everybody viewed things differently. So we really set out with just understanding that if we could pull all that together, we might be able to break the code on it.
The moment it clicked for me that we really were going to be able to use Anaplan to do what I wanted was about halfway through when we were converting, we had 13 or so spreadsheets that we were converting into an Anaplan model, was it the finance folks were actually going into Anaplan and using it. I have been on the implementation side of many different BI applications, many different tools, many different systems, and everybody in finance always asks, “Where is the export button? How do I get this in Excel, the slice and dice? How do I actually do my work in Excel and push it into the tool?”
And I asked every single one of my team, “So are you using Anaplan or are you just using Excel then importing into Anaplan?” and across the board, it was, “No, we are actually using Anaplan.” And it’s easier than we expected it to be, and it’s just as good, if not better, than using Excel. And I think that was the ‘aha’ moment for me. If I can get finance people out of Excel and into a tool like Anaplan, I think the sky is the limit because finance people are smart or capable, and anybody who knows Excel and then unleashes the power in something like Anaplan, we can do a lot of good.
I do believe that Anaplan provides more visibility to the true cost of a sale. I think we have been able to unlock some of the pieces that go into a sale from the start to the finish. I think there is an element of the commissions piece as part of the sale; there is an element of time; there is an element of discounting; there is an element of pricing. There is a lot of different pieces that go into start to finish to a sale. And by combining a lot of the different pictures that we get within the Anaplan application, I feel like we have a much better sense of what it truly costs to sell.
I think it’s pretty critical to understand the pieces that go into that. I would challenge the organization to bring you pictures of capacity, understanding the amount of sales per rep, per region, per product, start to slice and dice, different levels, levels of the data. If you can do that quickly, easily and see the link back to how a territory was set and how a quota was set and how a team is incented, you are probably already there. If you can’t see that quickly, if there is a lot of we don’t have that or I don’t knows or that’s hard to get, that will take time, you probably want to start, and the best way to start to, I think, challenge status quo, ask the questions, understand where the data is, understand where your knowledge base is.
Most organizations have people that they can really analyze and understand this. The key is to get them all working together, so that as a team, they can understand it better together. And that’s really what we try to do with Anaplan, and if you want to get started on that, just start asking questions. Our IT team put Anaplan through the wringer. We are McAfee; we are a security company. I feel much more comfortable knowing that our IT team tested and ultimately approved Anaplan from a security standpoint. I think there is a natural progression to the cloud. And I think as long as you are diligent with who you partner with and ensure that you don’t just blindly trust but you still do test, I feel very good about having that in the cloud.