On March 7th 2018 in Las Vegas at the world’s conference dedicated to Connected Planning, Hub 2018, Anaplan announced a number of usability enhancements to its platform that takes the dynamics and responsiveness of user experience to another level. Industry leaders and experts gathered at the event to share vision and be inspired. Anaplan, which is a leading platform in Connected Planning, is on the Forbes list among the companies with a value of over a billion dollars. The company that is driving a new age of connected planning also introduced two powerful user capabilities that help democratize decisions and establish clarity in decision making.

Platform usability enhancements

The new user-centric enhancements to the platform can be described as a “dynamic, collaborative and intelligent” way of connecting data, people and plans across all business structures. Anaplan added up to the user experience with the following enhancements:

  • Personalized dashboards, charting enhancements and improved navigational features make the user experience dynamic and additionally facilitate the planning function. Companies can now more promptly meet their ever-changing business needs throughout the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) capability since users have the ability to quickly design, develop and deliver planning apps.
  • The internal cross-functional collaboration in an organization is enhanced with the benefits of the new feature Workflow as it enables users to tailor their focus for specific content and easily access useful features such as search or sum bar for quick calculation.
  • The platform introduced machine learning (ML) to Connected Planning and is currently working on proof-of-concept implementations with multiple customers. The company recognizes that business processes are impacted and transformed by AI-powered predictive models and is hiring workforce with specific expertise in machine learning. The Anaplan approach is intelligent because it aims to incorporate data into the planning process from any source, including third parties.

“We are most excited about the possibility of deeper insights and sharpened accuracy in our modelling made possible by the inclusion of AI and machine learning.”

said Nick Hanson, Director of Finance Process and Systems in Autodesk who acknowledged Anaplan for improving effectiveness in various areas of his organization.

Workflow and Optimizer

Workflow and Optimizer are the new functions integrated in the Anaplan platform. Workflow is a feature that enhances collaborative planning with enterprise businesses and guides stakeholders in the Connected Planning process for accelerated execution. Optimizer is an advanced algorithm-based function, that enables stakeholders to make better decisions when businesses in complex decision-making environments require a timely response.

Sampath Gomatam, Vice President of Product Management at Anaplan, stated at the conference that the common goal for the two new capabilities is to shorten and improve time-to-insight for customers.

“Optimizer and Workflow are just the latest examples of our commitment to providing customers with the ability to build a trusted plan that connects people and data, adapt dynamically to market conditions, and take the necessary actions-all in real-time, while being collaborative and insightful.”

said Mr. Gomatam.

Workflow facilitates project coordination and cross-departmental collaboration

Collaboration between teams and departments is never an easy task. Workflow connects business units and individuals across the organization, thus bridging the gap between planning and execution processes. Using Workflow’s feature Process Builder facilitates business process owners to define steps, establish links between them and assign individuals or groups to take specific action. The feature sets parameters for the stakeholders in the process to guide them through their designated portions of a plan. After all processes and related tasks are established, Workflow automatically notifies the first stakeholder when a specific task requires to be completed. Tasks might include updating data or approving numbers and are provided with instructions to guide navigation. After the first step is completed, the next stakeholder contributes to the second task in line until the completion of the entire process.

Optimizer presents the best solution among multiple options

Larger organizations face business challenges with great impact that are multi-dimensional. This might include tremendous changes in the business and macro environment. The best feature about Optimizer is that it gives business planners insight about the best outcome among billions of possible solutions based on the configured objective when presented with multiple options to solve a business issue. Although Optimizer uses advanced modelling and algorithmic problem-solving, the function itself is very simple and does not require specific programming skills to be implemented. Users can define business objectives in various fields including revenue, cost reduction and profit maximization and then set multiple variables for the planning process to consider.

Where to now?

The role of Anaplan in the IoT data collection process is to be determined in the future. More and more IoT devices will be coming online which rаises the need for fast and prompt data processing based on the predictive analytics model. Anaplan is expected to get involved in platforms where real-time data is extracted and used as it enormously affects the overall planning process.

The platform itself will continue to focus on providing secure, reliable and intuitive experience for its users that can be reached from both desktops and mobile devices. Anaplan upholds highest standards regarding control of access, identity management and data encryption of highly sensitive information making it the industry’s most trusted cloud planning platform.