Data analytics software company Tableau improves accuracy of its data using Anaplan

Erin Hoff, Business Analyst, shares how Anaplan is used across Tableau for headcount, sales, and FP&A.

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Tableau is a data analytics software. It was originally founded by our three founders, and they melded this really awesome technology that really was graphic design oriented because they wanted to find a way that people could see and understand their data, but in a really appealing way.

We use Anaplan for headcount. We also use it for sales, and we are implementing right now our FP&A model as well, so we are using it for budgeting all of our expenses across the company. Headcount expenses are our base expense, our employees are assets, there are opportunities and there is innovation, so we need to make sure that we are forecasting so that not only our teams can be successful, but it’s very important from a budget perspective as well. Our old solution was such a manual process that if we added a new field, it could take us a week. So we were looking for something that could not only give us accurate data, but also timely data and something that our end users would adopt and use on a regular frequency.

The scope of our headcount can be a complicated matter, and every department plans headcount differently and on a different cadence. So our sales department really puts focus on quota attainment, quota planning, and coverage territories whereas our dev department will focus more on the correct number of employees working on the correct projects. Each planning team really needs to own their own data and be able to manage it, create it, play with it, and inside of each sub model we give each team their own opportunity to plan their headcount.

We want to be able to connect with not only other Anaplan models and Tableau but also external systems—for example, Workday for our HR systems or recruiting system so our recruiters can update fields in there, and we can directly see it in our headcount data. Additionally, self service is a huge part of Tableau’s message, and we really try to utilize that in all of our internal group as much as we can. We want people to self serve with their data, we want people to rely on their data.

Anaplan allows us to really edit our data—we are able to forecast, we are able to interpret it, but we weren’t always able to rely if the data was accurate. So now we have the opportunity to actually get into a model and change data, and then we can report on data that all of our leaders can rely on is accurate.

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