Why ServiceSource, a company with 3,000+ employees globally, continues to expand its use of Anaplan across the organization
Mike Lemberg, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations, shares the different use cases for Anaplan at ServiceSource, including planning, forecasting, and providing analytics and insights to their managed service or revenue service centers.View Transcript
We use Anaplan really in two distinct ways, and we bring those together in a corporate consolidation model. If you think about our business, we have 3,000 employees worldwide. Twenty-five hundred (2500) of those are in our managed service or revenue service centers around the world. We use Anaplan to plan, forecast, manage, and provide analytics and insights on that side of the business. We look at how we are delivering outcomes on behalf of our customers. We look at how we’re deploying our talented employees against our customer engagements, and then ultimately, the results that we’re delivering to our customers, and then the financials that we deliver back to ServiceSource
We also use it for our other side of the business, which is about 500 employees that we deploy across RRD, SG&A, and professional services organizations, and we’re using it for budgeting, planning, forecasting, really more of your prescriptive FP&A side. We are managing our workforce, our people. We are adding people, we’re transferring them, we’re promoting them, and then we’re also managing the other expense forecasting. We bring those together into a consolidation model so we can really manage the consolidated business really on a look for budgeting/forecasting basis.
When I joined the company, we were really living in the old world called Excel. [ServiceSource] was dabbling with a couple of planning tools and partners, and so I had the opportunity really to try and figure out which one of those tools and partners met our vision about what we wanted to develop and deliver. We quickly ascertained and determined that Anaplan was the right tool for us. The platform technology that we get out of Anaplan lets us build a custom model for that managed service—that’s 25 people that we deploy in the centers—but it also allows us to build a more prescriptive model and also easily bring those two worlds together.
We’ve got relatively complex revenue arrangements with our customers. We are predominantly a pay-for-performance company. The better we do, the better the outcomes we deliver on behalf of our customers. It changes the economics and the revenues that we deliver for our customers, and then we have to figure out how we’re going to deploy those 2,500 people across those customers to deliver those outcomes.
You really can’t do that on a prescriptive FP&A—manage head count, transfer, promote, terminate. We really go in and look at what roles they are doing, what centers they are located in, what job families and job levels they are doing. We have a very complex model about how we deploy those individuals against the customer engagements to make sure we were driving outcomes on behalf of our customers, but then also effectively managing the profitability and the results that are then delivered it back to the customer.
We love the platform technology that Anaplan delivers to us, but with that platform technology, you want to make sure that you’re building and designing something that can scale and is also supportable. Anaplan now houses a lot of information that we use in various parts of the business. If you think about what we’re going to start exploring, it’s how we leverage what’s already in Anaplan that neatly adds additional business use cases to what we’ve built. One of them we’re considering is inside sales compensation. All of that data that we bring in for production and bookings that we’re delivering to our customers and revenue, we’re delivering to our company all drive our variable comp plans.
We’ve taken our FP&A team and taken them from spending 80 percent of their time processing numbers through Excel (with a hope and a prayer those numbers are right) to where the system is driving a lot of that. They are spending 80 percent of their time providing analytics and insights back to the business.
We are now providing very detailed regular financial information to our partners, who are the ones ultimately responsible for driving the business results. And so with that transparency, we were able to empower them to make better decisions, and you can also hold them accountable for driving to the results. It’s really hard to hold folks accountable when you keep the numbers hidden from them.
We’ve increased our productivity of the employees in our centers by five percent in just over the last year and we’ve also been able to drive our operating expense down by 15 percent.
They’ve (employees) really become, in a lot of ways, orchestrators of outcomes on a very detailed account-by-account level through providing the transparency, but then adding the analytics and insights on top of it. We’re seeing them thinking about the business in many additional dimensions compared to before. They are thinking about first and foremost the customer outcomes, but they are also thinking about how that translates back to what we’re trying to deliver for our company, and ultimately our shareholders.
When we think about Anaplan’s platform, we have the ability to really build into Anaplan the analytics and insights in what drives out the results or the outcomes for our customers, and results for our business, and really do a very detailed assessment and understanding on what that means for ServiceSource and what does it mean for our customers. Having that flexibility to add to our DNA, our analytic understanding, and do it quickly and rapidly, and integrate it with the rest of the business really gives us the tools to not only understand where we are today, but to plan for the future.