Anaplan allows us to spend time on value added instead of spending time consolidating planning results in Excel. We can look at reviewing key trends. Forecasts are broken down into smaller tasks and distributed to the business resulting in less pressure on the FP&A team during forecast/budget rounds.
The reporting timeline is shorter as dashboards can be used for users to login and see their areas results which means we dont have to send out manual reports.
Anaplan allows very complex business modelling but without any of the complex language used in other tools and can be run by the users themselves. Results are recalculated on the fly with no wait time to run the recalc process.
- Forecast consolidation and recalcuation
- Dashboards for entry and review
- Ease of modelling. Its like Excel but simpler to use.
- Some of the charting is limited
- Some formatting options could be better
- Excel Add-in has only just been revamped
- Anaplan does automatically what we had to do manually using Excel in the past. This saves both time and energy for the users.
- Unless you're a technically-minded person, Anaplan doesn't logically make sense. It takes a lot of training and notes to learn how to use the system and can be incredibly frustrating. I often miss Excel and want to dump Anaplan for the archaic process.
- Anaplan is very fast! Instantaneous updates to imported information.
- Getting a blue-box error is the worst. If formula errors could not result in blocking other users out that would be an awesome improvement.
- Real - time - the cloud based technology allows all changes & its impact is visible in real time.
- Performance - in the case of complex business cases, the size of Anaplan is increasing drastically, and even a simple click would take more than it should.
- UI - The User interface needs to be improved: group/expand hierarchy, "Ctrl " + select option to allow multi selection, Content page clean up, easier "Drag & drop" when customizing or building exports.
- Review & enhance the type of security user roles.
- I think the greatest strength of Anaplan is that the entire model is interconnected. The ability to update a single variable and have that change propagated through the entire model is unparalleled.
- Another strength is the ability to have multiple users working in a given model simultaneously. We have had the experience of actively modeling to meet a deadline and realizing that some of the underlying assumptions and/or layout needed to be changed to support a new approach. While our model-builder made the back-end adjustments in Florida, our analyst continued to work through a new set of variables. We ended up with a completely refreshed approach in less than a half hour. With only two hours before our deadline, we NEVER would have even entertained making the change in Excel.
- The thing that Anaplan does -- that I haven't seen elsewhere -- is the ability to get to data-driven analysis of the future. BI tools are great for reporting what has already happened, but fall short of predictive analytics and sensitivity analysis. Anaplan handles those with ease.
- The reporting/dashboarding capability is adequate but could be enhanced.
- Anaplan is somewhat intuitive ... but it DOES require an investment of time and energy to become proficient in it. The ability to use it for more and more use cases is limited by the number of personnel who truly understand the tool. The corollary is that unless that knowledge is spread to multiple people on the team, there can be substantial risk were a key resource to leave the group.
- Building a new model does require a fair amount of up-front planning and construction. So there are some things we would rather do in Anaplan than Excel ... but unless they have continuing utility, we find ourselves unlikely to perform quick analyses in Anaplan.
- Hyperbloc architecture -- the ability to see changes to models instantly cascade through all the models.
- Function agnostic platform - the ability to adapt the platform to many different use cases and integrate those use cases into a connected planning environment.
- Cloud architecture. Security and product enhancements come automatically.
- The actions could be improved - make it obvious what the sources and targets of the are so we don't have to guess or put them in the action names. Also get a native scheduler! That's so simple and it's very frustrating and expensive to have to build/buy our own.
- Reporting and UI still have a long way to go. Simple things like being able to alphabetize/order what you see on the screen, or add a rich color pallet to choose from.
- User access management could improve. We need to have model level admins that don't have access to everything in the workspace. Also the tenant admin space doesn't work effectively. I can't remove a user from all models simultaneously. I also can't see all models a user has access to from the tenant admin space.
I manage the FP&A instance which is used to plan headcount, expenses, capex, and COGS. We also use it for reporting for various cuts of the P&L, headcount, and balance sheet. This instance is only being used by FP&A, but we hope to role it out to business partners later in the year.
- Anaplan is great for headcount reporting. We have reports by dept, office location, and subsidiary that is great for planning and also for full company reporting.
- Although they can be complicated to set up, Anaplan is also great for setting up complex P&L views. For example, setting up a P&L with a combination of subs/depts., that still needs to consolidate to the total P&L.
- Systems-wise, I like that it's impossible to #REF the model! Anaplan shows you where everything is referenced, so it's very difficult to break anything.
- I also like that formulas copy across, so there is no chance of pointing to the wrong cell, like in Excel
- I'd like to see a back button. While there is restore from backup, it is a long process that only Admins can perform. And all users lose changes of course.
- As an Admin, my #1 request is: why can't we select multiple list members with check boxes? For example, if I have a list of depts., and want to see HR + Recruiting (two list members). Yes, I can build a line item that does that. But every combination of list members must be custom built.
- Another one that I get asked for are hierarchies for line items. For example, if I have a List on pages, there will be "+" to group items. For example, I might have Finance, HR, and Recruiting, all in "G&A" which I could then open the "+" to expand and collapse (G&A) to show the detail. If I am pivoted on a Line Item on pages, this isn't possible.
- Another big one I get asked for, is "why can't I save views?!" Of course Admins can, but I think users would really appreciate it this one. Please consider it!
- We really like the Data Hub concept. We are working on multiple projects with regards to aggregating data from multiple sources, and Data Hub has worked well for us thus far.
- Agility is key for our businesses and we feel that Anaplan gives us the ability to remain flexible and reactive to the changes throughout our businesses.
- As a administrator I really like the resources provided by Anaplan such as Anapedia. It makes it really simple to ask questions and find answers if we are having difficulty with certain items.
- I believe user set up within Anaplan is one of the areas that could be improved greatly.
- Workflow is another area that I believe could be improved. Currently, I do not believe, there is a way to create an action against workflow. This would be a great benefit rather than moving the item to complete or in progress if you could write an action for it.
We are really excited and looking forward to exploring the forecasting, and "What If" scenarios. Our current business structure makes it very difficult to forecast and project at any level, and I think Anaplan will be a great solution for us.
I think for any business that has multiple, or dynamic, hierarchies Anaplan is a great solution. We have reduced the time spent on these dynamic views by using subsets and properties with in the models.
I am looking forward to the increased the communication/connected planning aspect that Anaplan brings to our company. In the past we had thousands of Excel workbooks, some that were too large to email or open. We have seen improved interaction and clear lines of communication for our end users by using Anaplan for our budget process.
We are currently in the process of rolling out Anaplan for sales forecasting to increase accuracy and accountability in our sales forecasts.
Lastly, we are in the early stages of planning to use Anaplan for our business intelligence reporting capabilities. It will be used as our one source of truth for business metrics and results - something we desperately need and that Anaplan will work perfectly for.
- Modeling is next level in Anaplan. With a background deep in Excel modeling and the frustrations that come along with it, Anaplan is a breath of fresh air and is actually fun to build and model in.
- Dashboarding and synchronization. The synchronization feature in Anaplan is one of the greatest things ever. As its core Anaplan models are built around hierarchical lists and dimensions and using similar dimensions in dashboards allows you to synchronize to different views of the same data with simple clicks around a dashboard. It makes reporting and BI extremely user friendly and flexible.
- Its fast. If you had the same exact model in Excel and Anaplan. That model in Excel would be like riding and old bike with under-inflated tires, while Anaplan would be like driving a Tesla in Ludicrous mode. The ability to have your entire business modeled on a single platform, potentially across multiple models, where when you make a change the entire model updates within seconds, is invaluable in making decisions.
- Error handling can be annoying. A single formula error can lock up your model for 2-5 minutes while it reverts back to before you pressed enter, and while its improved a little in the year I've been using Anaplan, there are certain situations where I feel like it could be eliminated or made more efficient.
- Time subsets would be really nice.
It's also probably not worth your time to build a model in Anaplan if you're only going to use it once - in this case, if it's not too complicated, Excel is probably a better choice.
- It is a very user-friendly platform that allows individuals without IT backgrounds to build models in simple syntax. If you know how to use Excel, you will be able to pick up model building in Anaplan with relative ease using the guided build methodology.
- Anaplan is a blank slate that allows for multi-dimension models in which we determine the dimensions versus forcing us to adhere to predetermined dimensions.
- Maintaining our company hierarchies in data hub allows us to change information there and have it automatically pushed out to all spoke models versus changing 10-20 spreadsheets.
- The dashboard functionality is basic therefore, we have to bring in Tableau to provide a more professional view of the outputs as well as to allow management to more easily slice and dice data.
- There is an Anaplan learning center however, I have not found it useful when I have questions. We are fortunate to have Aviana Global guiding us through the initial phases of our process. Without our consultants, learning Anaplan would be overwhelming.
- The Anaplan Connect needs to be improved. We are considering a third party ETL, but we prefer that Anaplan have this capability built into its platform.
- Smart Import Features: When you have data in multiple dimensions, as long as you set up the corresponding fields correctly, it can be loaded into your Anaplan space fairly easily.
- Interactive Dashboard: As long as you set up hierarchy correctly, you can publish your numbers on the dashboard and just navigate to the level that you are interested in.
- Productivity: My favorite thing about Anaplan is that you can work on the formulas on a micro level (in my case, individual employee) and you only work on this once and it will apply to the whole and you can have the company view in no time. Doing the same thing in MS Excel could take much longer.
- Graphical feature: Anaplan should explore more graphical features. In my case, I have to export my data to MS Visio to get an org chart. The conditional formatting options are still very limited right now.
- Formula for List Properties: It's only allowed to key in the formulas for these list properties. I'm not sure about the design philosophy. But I wish it could be similar to the formulas in modules to avoid mistakes.
- Training Documentation Version Control: Training documentations have some many mistakes. It seems no version control at all. Since using Anaplan requires to set up time properly, the training documentations need to be updated. Before you publish any document, can you let one of your employees (who are not authors of the documentation) to follow the documentation to see if he can complete tasks based on the directions on the documentation? All the modeler in my company had hard time to teach ourselves by using the documentation so none of us was able to complete the intermediate training.
- Calculate values based on data in other files; we use this for scoring accounts
- See the impact of new scenarios and potential changes; we do this with proposed territory changes
- Quick and easy reporting on your current setup
- Logistics and relationships of data are complicated if you do not have a data background
- Formulas are difficult without a data background
- We need more storage, we have large data sets
- Scalability - ability to build out financials with new SKUs spanning multiple financial assumptions
- Timely cross functional data access
- Ability to export data across systems SQL / Tableau
- Difficulty training up users
- Hierarchy of units that are used cross functionally that aren't easily translated between orgs
- Ability to call back parts of models previously built up
- Elegance in design can be make or break between cost accretion and dilution
- Inconsistency of quality of consultants
Oftentimes I've also seen it being used as a place to build out long range planning or similar exercises based on complex functions -- in that case I'd actually recommend Excel. Anaplan is truly used best when scaling large, inconsistently sized data sets across organizations.
- It allows users to set up complex algorithms which then leads to recommendations made by the tool for the planners to make a decision.
- Helps in collaboration across multiple users within our department but across Dish and potentially externally with our suppliers in the future.
- The software is extremely fast and can calculate scenarios fast.
- Partnership with data visualization software such as Tableau is needed.
- More supply chain apps to allow users to see the different applications within supply chain.
- It allows for us to lock our forecast, which is extremely important for a public company.
- It's an extremely collaborative tool, allowing multiple users on a team to update the forecast, without fear of breaking the system.
- It is easy for a finance person to understand the formulas and update them as the business changes.
- Error Messages. When updating a formula, you may have missed a bracket. Doing something like this can lock up the system for an extensive amount of time, also locking out your peers.
- Suppressing Zero. Space becomes a real issue as you get more involved in the tool. A lot of times you want to use the system to its full capability, however, run into problems, because of space. It would be great if zero balances did not count against your space.
- Open source: Because the tool is so open, you can change something in on module, however effect many other things that you never intended too. I would love to see a feature that shows me by changing something a clear picture of all thing i am updating.
- Personnel Forecasting models allow more in-depth & precise forecasting.
- Flexibility allows the creation and use of custom, better focused analytical and planning models.
- The tool is geared towards mass usability within an organization, thus can be used collaboratively between finance and business partners.
- Size and pricing limitations inhibit full potential of the tool.
- Empty cells/cells with 0 value are counted and take up space in models.
- Models often require sophistication that can be a challenge to implement.
1. Sales Finance - Anaplan was used for weekly forecast process and I was part of the team that implemented Anaplan.
2. Business Strategy and Marketing Team - I implemented Anaplan for this team for our annual target setting.
Both experiences had positive outcomes and each model was implemented and currently being used.
- If the model in Anaplan is built well, it allows the user to make one change as part of an input and that one change will be reflected through out the model.
- Unlike Excel, there is no need for a formula check - it's a very useful feature for a large model for multiple variable and drivers.
- The key to a successful model is to keep your model simple, don't overcomplicate things.
- So far, I've been pleased with Anaplan. Where Anaplan, as a company can improve, is the consultants. Different consultants have different styles and Anaplan Consultants should be teaching their customers how to use the tool rather than doing the work on their behalf.
- Also, most of the consultants I interacted with were from LA so it would be nice to have some local consultants (Bay Area) or at least have some face to face time with our consultants.
For our purposes of weekly forecasts and target setting, Anaplan is well suited.
I took a target setting Excel model, that is about 20 tabs or more, and converted it into Anaplan model. It usually took the team about 2 or 3 days to make a few simple adjustments to the target setting Excel model, whereas I made the same adjustments in Anaplan and it took me about an hour or two. So there is tremendous time saving, but that's if the model has been built well in Anaplan.
- It is in the cloud.
- it is a powerful calculation engine.
- It allows you to analyze data instead of [just] prepare it.
- Saving of different user views of dashboards.
- I wish it would handle custom time frames better.
- Integrated forecast tool with internal systems
- Excel add-in ... could definitely be improved to be more robust
- Excel Add Ins ... it needs to be further developed to increase efficiency
- For FP&A - Anaplan helped streamline the budget and forecast process.
- Build robust financial model and improve efficiency, accuracy, and reliability.
- Cloud based modeling platform that can be accessed from anywhere with leading industry-standard encryption and security.
- Speed and Power of Hyperblock calculation engine. It can calculate an enormous amount of data, an amount that excel would have no chance at processing.
- History/Audit Trails/Restore Points - every single change to the model is logged and a restore point created
- User-access controls
- Large up front cost compared to using an existing platform like Excel
- Learning curve for model builders
I typically ask the following 3 questions to determine if Anaplan is the right platform for a particular solution:
- Does the model have a very large number of calculations or massive amounts of data? A quantity that would be difficult to process in Excel or its current platform?
- Does the project require collaboration or input from many different users?
- Is the problem complex enough to require a more sophisticated and highly structured modeling tool?
If the answer if yes to all of the above then Anaplan is likely a good choice.
- Anaplan's dynamic features make this application a huge win over essbase (no calculating, everything is almost instant).
- User experience is great and intuitive.
- Size constraints (130 gigs per workspace is terrible).
- The blue toast note that stops model building progress is an absolute time killer during development.
- Modeling capability - It has enough control to be a rigid system. Yet, it has enough flexibility to change with the needs of the business.
- One version of truth - Same data source is being shared by many groups via dashboard, so there is no confusion on which version is the most recent.
- Be able to create reports on the fly and provide access to the data set for those who need them.
- Additional reporting capability, especially with formatting of the tables, charts, and graphs. I wish to be able to label axis, change colors of the graphs, define axis.
- Dashboard - unable to place a "picture/logo" on a dashboard.
- No auto e-mail capabilities. Once data is loaded into Anaplan, I would like to send an automatic e-mail that the load has been completed.
- No mobile app is available. I wish there is a version (for dashboard) to see it on mobile device.
- I think that Anaplan is good for workforce planning. The strength is that once you have the raw data of the personnel, one could upload the sheet for a more automated output.
- It is at times difficult to trouble shoot. It would be nice to have better references to the source cells.
Anaplan Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
Request a personal demo: https://www.anaplan.com/request-demo/ Free trial for existing customers for any app in the App Hub: https://apphub.anaplan.com/
Anaplan Customer Size Distribution
|Small Businesses (1-50 employees)||0%|
|Mid-Size Companies (51-500 employees)||10%|
|Enterprises (> 500 employees)||90%|
Anaplan Support Options
|Free Version||Paid Version|
|Video Tutorials / Webinar|
Anaplan Technical Details
|Supported Countries:||All countries|
|Supported Languages: ||Multi-lingual support|