Brett Gibson, Financial Planning and Reporting Manager, Super Retail Group

Brett Gibson shares how Super Retail Group was able to streamline the budgeting process across more than 600 stores spread across New Zealand, Australia, and China with the help of Anaplan.

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My name is Brett Gibson from the Super Retail Group. I am the Planning and Reporting Manager responsible for the budgeting and forecasting processes within the group.

I think the challenge with planning is that the collaborative side of it is really important and for us, it is about having those operational departments utilize the platform and own the numbers rather than the process being done with the finance team, where they basically advocated responsibility to a certain degree. It was important to have them strategically aligned and to really have that ownership and that commitment to delivering the financial resources and delivering those numbers, and I think that it was probably the strategic improbity that chose—that started our journey to Anaplan.

Clearly now as Anaplan—the platform has developed, we can now see more of a vision around that integrated planning cycle that has started to become a little bit of momentum around that. So we have started to recently connect more of the departments and use some more of that flow.

So the Anaplan platform is different primarily because we didn’t need a lot of consulting support. We didn’t need to do a lot of design. It’s very flexible and very customizable. So you can actually try a few ideas in a few scenarios and then build from that stage. So it wasn’t like a large ERP implementation where you needed to have a massive round of consultants and you needed to do it in a particular way. With the Anaplan platform, you actually can make an error and change it or correct or refine as you go. So that wasn’t really a full structure. Clearly to get the most out it, you needed a guideline, that way you are going with it, but it certainly—it probably didn’t matter, you probably just needed to have the end in mind and some steps on how you got to get there, and just work your way through it. So look, it was relatively easy to code and implement the platform.

So one of the advantages has been to be able to deploy the product via the browser. For us, that was really important. We have got 600 stalls at a geographic located all over a very large country like Australia. The ability to go and install an application within a store system is quite a challenge for us, so that ability to deliver the technology via a browser was really key for one of the decisions why we made it. The other big advantage is we could then deliver some training via some email, some screenshots, some text training those people that are able to get the hang of it.

We now have a streamlined budgeting process that actually is faster. So our time to plan and do budgeting was reduced, probably, at least a month, and it’s all around the speed of calculations and the collaboration and the visibility and transparency. All of those are relevant for us because we turned over in 2014 roughly $2.2 billion. We have got a number of values that are going through there, so the ability to have that refreshed very quickly is quite useful.

Also then being able to have one unified place, so you never have to worry about what version of people working on. So what was the budget we say, you go into the Anaplan model and you see that instantly—it’s static, it’s still there, and that meant that there was a singularity of version. So the difference now is we can actually look at the content rather than the mechanics of actually bringing in together. So that’s been very helpful and actually enabled us to (a) shorten the cycle but also (b) improve the quality of that budgeting and issues that we find straight way.

What we are finding is we are getting people that are passionate about the platform, and they are actually now coming back to us. And so we can actually use this platform in solving some of our other areas, some of the end users are quite actively trying to move the application on and assist us with it, so that’s been a really pleasant journey that people have started to now understand the power of the Anaplan platform and it has actually been able to help us, to extend that, to be able to make that more integrated within their business unit. So they are now taking ownership of the actual models that we are developing, just fantastic.

Anaplan has been a really good partnership for us. They actually have your success in the heart of their business. So if you have a problem with anything, you write an email or you pick up the phone. They are always trying to find the solution to fixing it. So they are very responsive in making sure that they are able to provide a solution to you that works for the organization.

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