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Anaplan OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Anaplan is #2 ranked solution in top Business Performance Management tools. IT Central Station users give Anaplan an average rating of 8 out of 10. Anaplan is most commonly compared to SAP ERP:Anaplan vs SAP ERP. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is Anaplan?

Anaplan is a cloud-based planning and performance management platform with documented use cases in finance, sales, supply chain, marketing, IT and HR. At the core of Anaplan's technology is a single hub where business users can build, deploy, maintain, and share models without coding or reliance on IT personnel.

Anaplan Buyer's Guide

Download the Anaplan Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Anaplan Customers

HP, ForeScout, DocuSign, EAT, Pandora, Aviva, Intel Security, Zalora

Anaplan Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Anaplan pricing:
  • "The entry-level is anywhere from about $30,000 to $50,000 a year, however, it does go up significantly after that depending on the complexity and how much space you're using."
  • "This is a yearly subscription. So a customer initially buys a workspace and specifies how much GB they want. The minimum starts at around 30 GB. You can buy multiple workspaces."
  • "The license is a yearly subscription. There are three licensing tiers: the model builder, planner, and the reporting."

Anaplan Reviews

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James Myers
Founder and CEO at FP&A Strategy Consulting
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Great for large-scale modelling, easy to learn, and very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "Where we're seeing the opportunity in the market is at the Fortune 100 companies that have far more complex modeling type scenarios where you need to be able to have a lot of people collaborating together, and you need a lot of information all at everyone's fingertips. This is where you see the big advantage of a solution like Anaplan."
  • "Anaplan is a relatively expensive piece of software."

What is our primary use case?

We're a service provider, so we work with multiple clients to build out Anaplan solutions across a lot of different disciplines. We have a couple of high-tech companies. We're using it to manage the PR process, the purchase request process for marketing, which includes campaign management, and also for how a purchase request gets funded. It's that modeling around scenarios where you want to really understand what costs are associated with activities. 

Shortly, we're going to implement around connected with revenues so we can understand in more detail the ROI on marketing. This is for a high-tech Fortune 100 company.

What you do is you buy a workspace and then you basically have access to that workspace, and then you can build models within that workspace.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution improves forecast accuracy. We've seen forecast accuracy go from a variation of 10% to something like 2%. It also drives up the quality of analytics. What we're seeing is not only forecast accuracy improving but also the time spent on pulling data together to do a forecast. You get the benefits of both worlds and you get the forecast accuracy as people are spending significantly less time. 

It goes from about 50% on data validation, and getting the data, and validating the data, down to about 20% on a lot of our clients. You're freeing up those finance people that are pulling those models together. You're freeing up 30% of their time during the planning cycle to really spend a lot more on analytics, and deep-diving into the numbers, and doing a better job at understanding what those numbers are owning up to instead of spending all that time just consolidating all the numbers into one space.

That's definitely a big advantage. We are seeing massive time savings for people, freeing up time so that employees can do more value-added work. 

Especially over the COVID period, a lot of people have left and they haven't hired new people to replace them. The company is really looking at standardizing processes across the globe. This solution helps to build a platform where you can build a standard process across the world, and you get benefits from that idea of standardization where anybody can do anybody else's job as it's exactly the same all over the world. There is that advantage as well.

What is most valuable?

In corporate performance management where you're looking at building out forecasts, modeling data, and have really heavy interaction with data, it's extremely useful due to the fact that, unlike using Excel to build out models and things like that, it's very collaborative.

While you can put Excel in the cloud, and try to collaborate that way, it doesn't necessarily work as well. Whereas, this works really well as a collaboration solution. You can build complex data models. You can have lots of people entering lots of different pieces of data into them, similar to what you have in Excel, and yet, it's in the cloud and it's designed for the cloud, and it's a bit more structured than Excel.

It takes out a lot of the risks you have in building models in Excel. On the other side of the spectrum, you have your consolidation tools. You've got your Hyperion, you've got your adapters. Their primary purpose is to consolidate large amounts of data. They're typically quite purpose-built with little ability to customize them and their core function is consolidation. You can also add driver-based solutions on top of that. It's very rudimentary, and it's very designed around the application. These solutions typically are for corporate performance management. If you're a smaller company, and you just need a basic consolidation solution, that's where you go. 

Where we're seeing the opportunity in the market is at the Fortune 100 companies that have far more complex modeling type scenarios where you need to be able to have a lot of people collaborating together, and you need a lot of information all at everyone's fingertips. This is where you see the big advantage of a solution like Anaplan.

What needs improvement?

Anaplan is a relatively expensive piece of software. It's definitely being applied to very complex problems, and if the price were to drop I expect it would be more broadly adopted. 

From a product point of view, they have launched some new reporting functionality, which is pretty basic compared to something like Power BI.

What they have done to compensate for the reporting was to build native APIs into something like Power BI and Tableau, so that you can integrate your data into a reporting suite. The need to continue to develop this. There's new functionality all the time, however, some of the core functionality was lacking about three, four years ago. It's continuously getting resolved and improving, and I'm now pleased with the level of functionality, however, they need to keep going in this direction.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for about the last five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've been super impressed with the performance. I use other technologies for multi-billion dollar, trillion-dollar companies, and they can sometimes be a little bit challenging, especially if you haven't got a great PC. Due to the fact that this is all in-memory computing, the stability has been pretty good. 

The challenge to that is building the model. For example, we just built a model for a client recently, and we created a holiday calendar, which had a relatively complex calculation in it. That was actually slowing the entire model down. Every time there was a change, we just had to hard code the numbers as opposed to having it calculating all the time. That said, the actual stability is pretty solid.

Still, when you're building the model, you can get performance issues, which may be caused by actual model design, as opposed to the software itself. My advice is to make sure to spend the money on a good architect. If you can get a good architect, you're fine with the builders as most people pick it up quickly. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's phenomenally good at scaling. We built a solution for a retail chain, which basically initiated transfers from a centralized hub down to stores. There were 800 stores and about 600 skews in each store. It was all machine learning that drove the purchasing. And we were able to, on a daily basis, send an automated transfer to the central hub. There were six hubs around the world, and it would automatically on a daily basis send anything between 100 and 250,000 skews to different stores based on predictive algorithms. 

Typically, it's very unusual to deal with a small business. Typically Fortune 100 companies are using this product. There are a couple of different models, however, just the cost of being able to build a model, for a smaller company, that amount it would cost doesn't make any sense.

Also, typically, smaller companies don't have as many complex problems to solve. You can have a standardized model, whether it's a forecasting model or a headcount model, full cost and headcount, or a sales model and things like that. For smaller companies, Excel could handle it.

We do have plans to increase usage in the future.

Typically the way it works is that you normally start off with a use case or a number of use cases, and then the client gets used to using it. They build up an internal team as well, and then they expand the use cases out, and that continues to kind of build-out. There are just hundreds of modeling opportunities where you can bring in two sets of data, where you can bring in lots of people putting information in and, you can bring in predictive analytics. So there's always a huge amount of opportunity. The nice thing about Anaplan, as well, is it's very connected. I can use that one use case and I can use data out of that use case in another model, and all the models are connected. If somebody changes something in one model, then it'll change in the other models as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is pretty good. They're very responsive, and that typically means they're pretty good at solving problems. They can tend to take a little bit of time. Sometimes the challenges that we have are, typically, quite complex. 

When we had a performance issue on one of our models, it took them at least three weeks to do a full review of the model as the models are quite complex. However, they did a detailed breakdown line by line and there were probably 10,000 lines of items in here. It's built as cubes, so we have line items inside the cubes, similar to a pivot table in Excel. They did a full analysis, and then we got a detailed report at the end of where we had performance issues on a line-by-line basis and we could easily fix those issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, if we were building models and things like that, we would typically build them in SQL, and, before then, Microsoft Access, and before then, Excel. Some of my clients still use Excel just to keep it kind of simple, however, the reason why we switched to it is that it's really easy to set up the user interface, so you can build something that used to take us six months in SQL with a web UI. Now it takes us six weeks to build something. It's just the speed to deployment which is significantly faster. This is due to the UI which is very well designed, so you can build out that UI very, very quickly. Then the model in the background is also extremely powerful as it's all in memory. The barrier for most companies is the cost to switch. A lot of our clients would stay with Excel models until they got to a certain point, or a company got to a certain size, and then they would move over to an Anaplan.

How was the initial setup?

My background is not technical. My background is in finance. Therefore, picking up a solution is relatively quick if you're familiar with building models in Excel, or some of the other technologies out there. However, for a non-technical user, it is relatively easy to pick up. A lot of our clients don't necessarily use their IT department to support Anaplan, however, it does require that the people internally are trained. My advice is also to get a very good architect.

A lot of the projects we do are actually fixing other people's models. For example, people have built out a particular model that hasn't been positionally well designed. What we end up doing is going in and redesigning the model just to optimize it. What we need from clients is to really get them to focus on ongoing support. Getting them trained up is a key part of the deployment. Making sure that they are driving the functionality, et cetera, however, where we support them a lot is more in that initial design phase to make sure that we're building the right model for them.

The deployments are typically pretty small. For a small deployment, probably two or three people are needed. A larger one might have up to ten people.

For deployment, what we normally do is we do it in phases. A typical phase will be about three months, and a lot of our projects last a couple of years. The solution is very agile, so typically when we deploy, we have something up and running in the first month so that we can start to set it against people's expectations and understand some of the challenges. A typical project lasts three months. It might be to build a particular model, and then we'll go on and then we build another model or enhance the first one and things like that. For a typical deployment, end-to-end, is about three months.

The product probably doesn't require maintenance. The reality is that if you're doing business modeling, business modeling is constantly going to change. It doesn't necessarily need maintenance, and yet, typically, you don't want to build something that's static for very long, so you're constantly updating it. Where we see companies doing well is to have them invest in the development upfront, and then invest in what they call a center of excellence that is an internal team of people, that's centralized that can help architects and build future enhancements. Then, you have Anaplan experts within the business that can update and build constant enhancements. If you think about the modeling capability, this is not something that is like a one-off kind of development. It's typically an ongoing thing. 

What was our ROI?

We had COVID in between, so the dates are not a hundred percent accurate, however, a client was looking at a significant cost return just being able to get the right level of inventory in every store across the world meant that, there was a 5% impact on the bottom line. I haven't got the final numbers yet. They are still working them out, however, from what we were seeing from sales, there was a 5% increase at least in sales. That was all translating to the bottom line as well.

Some client ROI's are a little bit more difficult to quantify. It's ROI in saving people time and being more accurate. One of our clients went from 10% to 2% accuracy of the full cost, which meant that they were able to make far better decisions. They knew exactly how much things were going to cost, for example. This is an IT organization within a Fortune 100 company, a tech company. It made their lives a lot easier when they were going through this massive uncertainty. They were able to really understand exactly what their underlying costs were.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The entry-level is anywhere from about $30,000 to $50,000 a year, however, it does go up significantly after that depending on the complexity and how much space you're using. It's really driven by the number of users and also the space. It's more the user base, however, sometimes you need to buy extra users just to get the space.

What other advice do I have?

Currently, we are working on a partnership agreement with Anaplan.

It's one of the areas that I probably haven't explored enough at the moment, however, they have added integration into machine learning as well. The idea of that is you can build out a model and then you can push it through a machine learning model and then you can get an answer out of that. That's an area that I haven't probably spent enough time exploring, however, we're definitely working towards that.

If you've only got one person that's going to be building, then you probably want to go with something else, however, if you've got a complex modeling problem, and you've got a lot of people that are interacting with it, your typical kind of forecast and where you want to collect data from loads of different people, and you're just finding that Excel isn't doing it for you, this solution is worth considering.

I'd rate the solution a nine out of ten. If there'd be any reason why not a ten, it is just it is that much more expensive. It's a lot more difficult to get more clients onto it. You need to be a certain size to get it, to use it, however, from a stability point of view, from delivering value, et cetera, it's well worth it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SA
Lead Analyst at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Better than competing solutions but there is room for improvement in terms of UI and performance

Pros and Cons

  • "Anaplan's in-memory calculation engine is super-fast compared to the old tools we previously used. You enter the data and everything shows up in one go."
  • "The cloud engine slows down when working with a large dataset. It still lacks a powerful engine."

What is our primary use case?

Currently, I'm working in marketing and promotions. This includes promotions like buy one, get one offers, supply chain management, as well as forecasting supply and demand. All of this is done in Anaplan. We load the data into the app and plan the business execution at the retail level, including the pricing, payments to the retailers, and so on. 

How has it helped my organization?

Before Anaplan, we would have to supply a lot of technical resources to the team just to make sure the solution was up and running. The great thing about Anaplan is that you don't need to have much technical knowledge. You don't need a lot of raw technical knowledge, but you'll have to have functional knowledge.

What is most valuable?

Anaplan's in-memory calculation engine is super-fast compared to the old tools we previously used. You enter the data and everything shows up in one go. It's all refreshed across the system. So let's say we have a central system that is connected to workforce planning, supply chain planning, demand planning, dispatch planning, etc. If you change one number, it will update everywhere. Reporting is instant. You don't need to load it, refresh it, save it—it auto-saves and is processed by the in-memory calculation engine. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to see Anaplan adopt machine learning algorithms. That's where everything is heading—a package with AI, forecasting, and so on—but Anaplan still lacks it. Anaplan could make some improvements in terms of graphs and visualizations. They do have nice graphs to show the data, but when I compare it to Tableau or Power BI, Anaplan's charting ability is lacking. At the same time, I know it's not a BI tool. It does what it's supposed to do, but machine learning forecasting and artificial intelligence are much needed now. It still uses statistical forecasting. It's all formula- or history-based. There isn't really seasonal forecasting based on what we can now predict because of COVID and all. So the tools still won't support these sorts of forecasting.

Also, the cloud engine slows down when working with a large dataset. It still lacks a powerful engine. There are a couple of areas they're still working on and recently they have improved a lot. And there are some features that have been lost when they update, but that is more related to the tool aspect, not the usability.

We have inside access, so I can see the roadmap of what Anaplan is planning to implement. There's nothing specific that I would like to see that they haven't included there. They're working on the beta version of machine learning as well as the user experience. There are some new features like the ability to generate a PPT-style report within the system itself. 

In terms of the UI and dashboards, much needs to be improved. It's not perfect but compared to others, it is way better. And the way I had from other tools, actually, in terms of everything. I know there are a couple of improvements and announcements the way they use it and all, but it's always a trade-off between how people take it as an output or else anything. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Anaplan for the last five or six years. I work with Anaplan full-time on 
implementation, solution architecture, etc.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's hard to say evaluate the stability of Anaplan considering different users will have different needs and experiences. Just financial planning by itself doesn't require a large application. But if you add to that workforce planning, supply chain management, and marketing, then you'll need a bigger model in terms of data. At that level, it doesn't seem to be very sustainable, but when it comes to the FP&A and other stuff, it's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They've been working on it, and there are some integrations currently available to connect with the output and input sources, but not on a very large scale as other tools can. It does have a decent APA connection. That's where people can integrate with other systems as well. There is support for connecting Dell Boomi, SnapLogic, Informatica Teradata, and a couple of other things.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from Anaplan is excellent. But I haven't seen any major setback that required technical support. Sometimes the server was down and we couldn't do anything. Support from Anaplan in those instances was great. It's not like other tools where the server keeps failing. Everything is in the cloud, and we hardly see things collapsing.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have worked on TM1, Essbase, Hyperion, and other similar tools with these capabilities. Comparing to these, I think Anaplan is doing a great job. But in terms of actual user experience, there is room for improvement.

How was the initial setup?

That's one reason people like Anaplan. Setup is very straightforward. You just log in. That's it. There is no IT setup required at all.

What was our ROI?

I don't have data on that yet, but I think initially it's not too much. Let's say I buy a license and in the first year, I might not see a big difference in terms of ROI. But from the second year onwards, it's actually double the initial ROI or else one-and-a-half times it. That's really awesome. I think there are articles on Anaplan itself, which I have reviewed, but I don't recall those numbers. There will be a dip in the first year when they do the licensing and go live for the first time. But after that, when a customer starts expanding to multiple countries or territories, then they will see the real impact of the driver-based analysis and optimization Anaplan provides.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is a yearly subscription. So a customer initially buys a workspace and specifies how much GB they want. The minimum starts at around 30 GB. You can buy multiple workspaces.

Anaplan sets a limit on the size of the model. Say that you pay for 130 GB and you want to increase this to 560 or 700 GB, you have to buy a separate one and pay a lot for it. But let's say if you are running a business model on a supply chain and you can't run a model that is more than 130 GB. That's too much. And they'll have to pay and purchase a separate workspace that is 700 GB. They call it "HyperCare" or a "HyperModel" and that's too expensive. 

Pricing is premium because they're the market leader right now. Their competitors are still far behind.  haven't seen a real competitor in Anaplan's niche. Of course, IBM has  Watson Analytics. However, when it comes to implementation, that's too technical and people tend to prefer Anaplan over that. 

What other advice do I have?

Overall things are moving into the cloud. Of course, COVID taught us a great lesson. We used to go to the office and work because the servers are everything. The whole IT setup was required to work on something. But now the business is easier. You sit here and log into Anaplan and run a supply chain model and see how the whole inventory is optimized.  Everything is here in the system. Probably in maybe another five to 10 years, more players will come into this field because of the pandemic. I think Anaplan predicted it a long time ago. That's why everybody's moving into Anaplan, thinking it's safe to run a business on.

If you're considering Anaplan, you should assess the tool first in terms of capability. We have seen some use cases where we're not exactly certain Anaplan is the right fit in terms of the procurement area. Some use cases might not really fit into Anaplan. Another feedback is that Anaplan might require a clean dataset to be fed in in order to get the whole thing working.

There are some ups and downs when it comes to the capability of other engines with Anaplan, but what Anaplan makes simpler is the ease of use. It's simple and gets the job done.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Learn what your peers think about Anaplan. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,027 professionals have used our research since 2012.
PJ
Technical Product Owner - EPM at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Has real-time connected planning and is UX friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "It's real-time connected planning, so the calculations are pretty much seamless as far as your model is connected."
  • "There are workspace issues, like the limitation on model sizes."

What is our primary use case?

We use Anaplan as a retail budgeting and planning solution. We use our retail private-based planning solution for almost one hundred entities. Anaplan is a cloud-based solution. 

We have integrated SAP with Anaplan because our base is SAP. Anaplan doesn't require any coding language. It's very Excel-based with respect to the models, so a user should be very strong in modeling.

How has it helped my organization?

Anaplan is a driver-based solution. For a finance-driven project, the business inputs the revenue or the expense lines, which is directly connected to your financial statements and further integrated to your core systems for your consolidation of other things. For example, with store planning for new stores, it calculates the ROI.

What is most valuable?

It's real-time connected planning, so the calculations are pretty much seamless as far as your model is connected. That's the major advantage, and it's cloud-based and very UX friendly.

What needs improvement?

There are workspace issues, like the limitation on model sizes. The model is very limited to 130GB, a base model. We were one of the use cases to go beyond 130GB for a model size. So it's not enterprise-wide. Performance is quite weak if there are concurrent users. In the next release, I would like to see performance improved. It can't handle concurrent users because of the way it's designed.

Integration is not that strong. We use a connector called Anaplan Connect, which needs a lot of interface to work on.

License cost is quite huge compared to the other solutions we ran in the market. It's too costly for SME businesses.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Anaplan for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Anaplan invests a lot. In the past year, there have been a lot of developed features. They have spent a lot of time on R&D and pretty much every day, every quarter, or every 15 days they do an announcement pack, and every month I see new features coming in because they have made a lot of improvements.

But they have also made a lot of improvements that might not add value to us. However, I like to see more and more as we get into new business cases. Within a month, there could be 10 to 15 improvements, and not all will be useful for us, but from a product strategy perspective, it's good. From a business point of view, we use maybe one or two developments because of how we have developed it earlier.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They have restrictions on the space, so scalability is currently limited, but they are working on that because they are trying to make it wider.

We have around 300 people using Anaplan in our organization, and they have a category of users to work on. Model builders manage the model and there are also planners and then reporting users. We have a wide range of users, like IT consultants, who are on the lead level. I lead, but I also do hands-on. There are developers and then FP&A professionals, and I have brand managers and finance managers who are doing the reporting.

Our entire retail division is on Anaplan for FP&A solutions. Every business is using it. Once you get in, you can't come out because you have replaced your traditional way of planning using Anaplan, so pretty much all users are bound to use it. From a scalability point of view, our organization is quite wide with respect to divisions, like retail. We brought treasury in for cash flows. We are working on real estate and probably will go with automotive soon.

We are thinking that our numbers will increase to around a thousand plus. The reporting is quite huge because that's the cheaper one in Anaplan. With planning, you will be reaching around 400 plus because it's not financial alone; it's business cum finance, so it's a wide reach.

How are customer service and support?

They are very customer oriented. You get your responses very quickly, and their turnaround to fix problems is also very quick: around four hours. They don't have any kind of portal, but they are building on it. It is all through mail communication. Once you send something,  there is somebody immediately supporting you 24/7.

They have a huge documentation space for troubleshooting. Because it's a very small solution with less customization, it's more about your thought process and they have forums to help you out based on user experience. From a technical side, it is very easy to understand. But to do the customization part you need someone for support, and the forums are helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have business planning and consolidation SAP BPC. It's primarily a financial-driven tool because you just do it at a high level and collect information as a data dump. You don't have any driver-based solutions that extensively in BPC. We went with Anaplan because our focus was on driver-based solutions and cloud strategy.

The solutions are completely different because the other solution is purely an Excel-based solution, a native product, and is much less driver-based. It was very finance-focused, but Anaplan is quite a different strategy for us.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward actually and much more user friendly. A business can run it, and I learned Anaplan during this course.

Normally, the deployment shouldn't take more than three to four months for simple usage. For us, we took around six months because of the user adoption, which is a hundred plus entities. The six months included the customization and testing.

What about the implementation team?

It's a top-down approach. Basically, you go to the end to see what you want and work backward to the calculations and data.

What was our ROI?

Right now, we haven't seen any ROI from using Anaplan. With the current solution, we are trying to make that work because that was our first learning. When we thought it would reach to business, we struggled to establish the finance itself. When it reaches to business, you get the ROI. If it doesn't reach to business, it is just another tool where people just upload data. We got licenses and we pretty much use them for different focus areas. We have had success in a few cases, but we haven't gotten the full ROI, which is what we invested initially.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The license is a yearly subscription. There are three licensing tiers: the model builder, planner, and the reporting. The reporting is the cheapest. Model builder is the costliest one. Depending on the type of license you buy, you get more spaces to work on.

There are some additional costs to the standard licensing fees. For example, we go with the extended workspace ISIS. For that, they charge for model optimization if you are below the premium customer level, so we were having more licenses. We are in the premium level, but if you are below premium, they charge for your model optimization, or they charge you if they want to investigate something on the licenses.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution 8 out of 10. There is still room for improvement because of the integration issues. 

If your strategies are more toward driver-based solutions and if you have a very lean implementation approach, Anaplan is the best solution you can get. If you're okay with spending lots of money and aren't SAP-bound, Anaplan is the best in the market right now.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MM
Solution Architect and Model Builder at Changement pvt ltd
Real User
Top 20
Very stable, easy to set up and offers good modelling

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution scales well."
  • "There are so many business rules to set up in the system that as a business user it's hard to gauge what they're doing and it's possible to get lost."

What is our primary use case?

There are four or five main use cases. One is for P&L. It's for profit and loss planning forecast and actuarial reporting. We also use it for balance sheet reporting. And then I have what is connected to payroll and HR. I have a lot of business cases and allocations by product, by customers, et cetera, as well.

How has it helped my organization?

We are able to create and build the yearly budget and the yearly focus. It allows for a direct saving of human capital.

What is most valuable?

The modeling part of Anaplan, which is a model builder in which you can build whatever you want, has been great. There is no limit. The sky is the limit with Anaplan.

The initial setup is very straightforward. 

The solution scales well.

We have found the product to be very stable. 

What needs improvement?

The limit today is in the ability for business people to describe what they actually need. I don't see any need for improvement on Anaplan's side. The limit is within the people who use it and not the product itself. 

It's not easy to test the Anaplan processes completely, as it's so large, that it is covered by Anaplan. It's quite difficult to test everything, including all the business rules all the business cases. It requires a lot of data to be able to test everything because it's so big. When you implement the accounting software you just have to test two devices and just two customers invoices, two customers, and then you know it works fine. However, when you implement Anaplan on the scale on which it is implemented, it is difficult to test every single business case.

The ability of the end-users to manage the software is due to the fact that it becomes so sophisticated. On top of that, there are so many business rules to set up in the system that as a business user it's hard to gauge what they're doing and it's possible to get lost.

The advantages of Anaplan are its weakness. You can set up whatever you want, however, it tends to be really big, and the users have to be very competent, very efficient, and have to know what they need to do to use Anaplan. There needs to be a good understanding of the solution. When the user was working on Excel, due to the fact that Excel is very small and it's very limited, a user can understand everything. With Anaplan, the scope is so wider, which makes it difficult for the average user to manage and drive the process. Some users are very skilled. They have good knowledge of what they're doing. Others are not. It will become difficult for them.  

I'd like to see the ability to print papers, as it's not easy to do so right now. I know that we are in August and by the end of August Anaplan will release new features about reporting. However, in France, we are quite old-fashioned people. A lot of clients like to have a sheet of paper - something printed. That's not easy on Anaplan. Anaplan is designed to be worked on from a screen, on a laptop, on a smartphone. It's not designed to allow a person to print a sheet of paper with data.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with the solution for more than ten years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable and very reliable. there's no doubt about that. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have never met a limit in Anaplan as far as scalability is concerned. I understand from a certain point of view that there is a limit. However, with my daily customers, for 10 years now, since it's more than 10 years that I've been working on it, I have never met any limits as far as scalability is concerned.

I have various clients on the solution, and their users range from just five to up to 100 people in the sales area. 

I would say in the first year clients are using perhaps two or three percent of the company are using Anaplan. The second-year is the same. By the third or fourth year, they grow and up to 10% of the company will use it. Within six or seven years, you may go up to 50 or 75 percent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is really fabulous. I've been working in data processing for the last 25 years, and Anaplan is incredible. They're fast, they are skilled, they are competent, and they are accurate. It's really great. They're wonderful. The support is incredible.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did previously use IBM Cognos. We also noticed people were using Orion Hyperion, however, it is called something else now. 

Cognos is very limited. It takes quite a long to implement and it is not scalable at all. You cannot extend the usage of Cognos as very quickly you are faced with a limit. IBM and Anaplan are like day and night.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of initial setup, I would say 95% of the time it's very straightforward.

Deployments, for a small project, can take between two and three weeks. Bigger ones can take two or three weeks. That's between 10 and 15 days. Even larger projects can take three months. That's for a very sizable project. 

The implementation strategy is agile. We design the scope with the customer, with the business user. First, we define the scope with the business user, and then we do an agile process. And after that, there is a test process.

What was our ROI?

For the customers who are using Anaplan exclusively from a financial SPNA point of view, the only return on investment we can expect is about savings in relation to personnel count. It can shrink staff. That said when the customer uses Anaplan for sales composition planning, or sales management, or supply chain project, there is a direct return on investment within six months. It really depends on what field of the business they are implementing with that. In finance, you will not have a return on investment and in supply chain management you will see an ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

While the cost is on the higher side, the value is high as well. The customer's plan is a yearly cost. It's software as a service. Beyond the standard licensing fee, there are no additional costs. 

What other advice do I have?

I'm using the latest version. I am not using the beta, however, I am using the live version.

I am a consultant and a partner, so I am working on the cloud deployment. 

I would advise new users to not try to create something too complex in the first year. Keep it simple. It's so powerful. You can do so many incredible things with Anaplan, however, if you try to go there in the first year, you will lose yourself.

Anaplan is the type of software that requires collaboration between people, more than ever. You cannot have an Anaplan project if you are not a team and a collaborative team. Previously, with IBM Cognos, this was not the case. 

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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VM
Senior Anaplan Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
User-friendly, easy to set up, and scalable

Pros and Cons

  • "You don't need to have a programming language to use Anaplan."
  • "It would be nice if the solution offered better extensions."

What is our primary use case?

My first project in Anaplan was about capacity planning for the factory's RCT and NCTC capacity planning. My second use case was about CapEx and OpEx planning for another client. Mainly it's finance and supply chain related activities.

How has it helped my organization?

In finance, mainly, earlier, we were using Excel spreadsheets. Every time their monthly cycle ends, the company needed to go back to the reporting. They would have to pull all the data from all the users and then publish all final reports. However, in Anaplan, everyone reports their numbers through the cloud and wherever the end-user or the planner wants to see the data collated, he can just simply open the Anaplan and then see the reports ready-made. It's much less work-intensive.

What is most valuable?

The modeling is very easy. It's almost an Excel-like model building. It is very easy to change the logic or business rules. You can do it anytime. It's not like you need a different team set up for the changes.

The solution is very user-friendly.

The initial setup is very easy.

The solution is scalable.

The solution has been very stable so far.

We have found that the product integrates well with SAP and they have ready-made connectors. In fact, it is easy to integrate with any other system. They have plug-and-play software which makes integrations easy with very little time consumption required. 

You don't need to have a programming language to use Anaplan.

What needs improvement?

There is no demand planning, no dedicated demand planning where it can do statistical forecasting. They have engaged with a plan queue to do the statistical forecasting. However, if we compare it with SAP or others, they don't have an in-house forecasting tool or anything.

It would be nice if the solution offered better extensions. For example, in SEC Excel, they have one extra extension, which is really good in terms of performance. It would have been really great to have something similar, however, from what I have seen so far it is not up to the mark. Whenever you load the data in Excel and then send it back to Anaplan, it takes a lot of time. It's very hard to use it. Rather than using the available extension, people prefer to go back to Anaplan again.

Plastic dashboards were a little bit hard to create, however, it's my understanding that it's a bit better now.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than two years at this point. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. I've never faced any issue where it had downtime or anything. It has never failed, at least for me.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. In previous projects, there were some changes that the business wanted to make, however, they were not able to do it in SAP or Cisco systems. They used append models to do those changes and send them back to SAP.

Considering the previous project, there were almost 300 to 400 users. There are finance project managers across the zones or the CapEx and OpEx controllers.

Our latest client does plan to increase usage. They've already forgotten all about trying to make Excel reporting work.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. I have also worked on SAP previously, and, if I had to compare SAP support and Anaplan support, Anaplan support is quite responsive. We're very satisfied with them overall. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I didn't use business performance management, however, I do use SAP, IBP, and APO. These are mainly ERP-related Software solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not difficult or complex. It's very simple and straightforward. 

Generally, the deployment takes four to five months to complete at least the basic agenda. Later you can keep on adding the functionalities once the users start filling the Anaplan, they go ahead and ask for more requirements.

The four to five-month deployment includes, for example, the process of customization and testing.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use an integrator. I'm in consulting, so we get the projects for the deployment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know anything about the cost or the licensing. It's not an aspect of the solution I work on.

What other advice do I have?

We have partners and we do the implementation for clients. 

I am using a SaaS version of the solution.

Generally, people rush to design the scope and just start building. I would say that new users should focus first on designing the process and scope. Once that is finalized, then move into the model building rather than pushing everything in one go.

During our training in Anaplan, there was one quote saying, "almost everything can be built in Anaplan". There were scenarios where I thought, okay fine, Anaplan can't build this logic, and yet, after a point, we were able to build that logic. It's pretty scalable.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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KC
Consultant
Consultant
Is highly flexible and scalable, and can be tailored to the company's requirements

Pros and Cons

  • "It's highly flexible. If you've got a complex environment with complex calculations, you can build that out. So that's a really good positive."
  • "The negative is that the higher the flexibility, the higher is the complexity. That can act against you as a negative because it does require a model builder or a coder/developer."

What is our primary use case?

It can be used for FPNA, forecasting, and planning. It can also be used from a tax point of view and an allocation point of view.

What is most valuable?

It's highly flexible. If you've got a complex environment with complex calculations, you can build that out. So that's a really good positive.

Because of that flexibility and ability to build models in the way you want to build it, it means you can tailor it to the company's requirements. You can really tailor it, which is the big positive with Anaplan, and the fact that you can track what everybody does. There are more constraints within SAP and Oracle than in this kind of product.

It's like Excel but with a mix of VBA, and it's a bit more controlled. So you have, from a client's point of view, an internal/external audit trail. The audit trail logs absolutely everything you do. That's really useful when people build out these models for it because you want to know what people are doing. It's very difficult to do that in Excel. So it's like Excel, but a more controlled version of it. You are using formulas and you build it out with formulas.

Anaplan can be easily deployed and scaled.

What needs improvement?

The negative is that the higher the flexibility, the higher is the complexity. That can act against you as a negative because it does require a model builder or a coder/developer.

It's not something that can be easily learned. It's a full-time job for someone who's a kind of specialist. Once you've learned it, it's great, but it does take a few years to build that knowledge up.

Any integration or interfaces into it and out of it can be hard, depending on the client and the tools available.

As additional features wise, if it could be more intuitive, it might be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We're in the midst of implementing it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very easy to scale. It's not that hard. However, the cost can go up depending on the volume.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The client's previous software was less flexible, more clunky, and didn't give them what they wanted. Anaplan has been more flexible, more streamlined, and gives them what they want. If they want X, they get X, and they don't get Y instead.

How was the initial setup?

It can be deployed quite quickly. It would take about three to six months.

You can have both external support or internally trained support, and the maintenance can be either. The software itself, because it's cloud-based, will get automatically upgraded. It's software as a service.

What about the implementation team?

Staff wise, you would need a PM. Depending on the number of models being built, you will need one or two model builders. One model builder per model is probably the expectation. You need to have a subject matter expert and an architect involved. You will probably need four staff members at minimum for deployment.

You can have both external support or internally trained support. So the maintenance can be either, but the software itself, because it's cloud-based, will get automatically upgraded. It's software as a service.

What was our ROI?

It's going to give the clients what they want, so the return on investment will be pretty rapid. They could expect a return on investment within the first year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated PCM.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good product, but you need to consider whether you need a center of excellence in-house. You need to consider process mapping, the standard operating procedures that you would produce with it, and the integrations or ETLs, and your interfaces, inwards and outwards. You need to be very clear about your business requirements and know exactly what you need, in terms of your inputs, the calculations you need to run it through, the outputs, and the end results that you would provide to the client, along with the master data/static data.

If you're not clear, then you can't implement it, and you'll just waste money with the developers, the model builders, and the consultants that you're dealing with. However, if you're clear about it and you can provide clear examples of what you need, then it works like a dream.

It takes a long time for a beginner to understand what's going on. You need to make sure that the developers that you use or the model builder you use puts copious notes on everything, especially at the back-end from a technical point of view.

Then at the front-end, with dashboards, you need to make sure that there are lots of good quality instructions, operating procedures, and process maps.

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate Anaplan at eight.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MS
Data Engineering Sr Analyst
Real User
Top 20
A web-based business planning platform with a useful updating feature

Pros and Cons

  • "I believe Anaplan is a new cloud tool, and from time to time, there's a lot of improvement that the Anaplan company deploys with the system. So, with that improvement, we need to really adapt and know the new system trends."
  • "The dashboard could be better. Because within a dashboard or report, you have to do a lot of scrolling. You need to scroll down because the table doesn't fit in a single view. That's why even the users aren't happy with that kind of user experience. They need to scroll to see all the data, and it could be better if it fits in just one page. That way, you can see everything. In the next release, I want automation that's connected to Anaplan. For example, to load master data from SAP to Anaplan. I don't know if this already exists, but a log where you can see the progress and see if there's an error will also help. It would be better to give you the error message, for example, if there is an error within the automated process importing to Anaplan."

What is our primary use case?

I'm using Anaplan to provide production support for my client. The Anaplan model is already there and what I'm doing is fixing bugs updating the logic. That's my main role in the project. I will fix those queues for the business and update some processes or dashboards to better suit business needs, as per their requests.

How has it helped my organization?

I believe Anaplan is a new cloud tool, and from time to time, there's a lot of improvement that the Anaplan company deploys with the system. So, with that improvement, we need to really adapt and know the new system trends.

What is most valuable?

I like updating the current model. For example, if the business wants to see a different version or a different report style, I'm happy to work, manipulate, and do some data visualization changes for them.

What needs improvement?

The dashboard could be better. Because within a dashboard or report, you have to do a lot of scrolling. You need to scroll down because the table doesn't fit in a single view. That's why even the users aren't happy with that kind of user experience. They need to scroll to see all the data, and it could be better if it fits in just one page. That way, you can see everything.

In the next release, I want automation that's connected to Anaplan. For example, to load master data from SAP to Anaplan. I don't know if this already exists, but a log where you can see the progress and see if there's an error will also help. It would be better to give you the error message, for example, if there is an error within the automated process importing to Anaplan.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the Anaplan tool for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Right now, Anaplan is very stable. It has some downtime from time to time, but they're able to reinstate it to work as it is. I think many of our users have a demand planner, and they are the main users of Anaplan for our clients. Many of them are in field sales roles, and these people are in the market selling the product. I believe the number of users ranges from 30 to 50 for one country.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, Anaplan is great. Right now, there's a lot of changes that need to happen in our model, and I believe you can easily ask for an increase in size, and it can adopt the new logic that encouraged a lot of space.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sometimes, we find bugs within the system, and we don't know how to fix them. So, every year we file maybe five to ten tickets with Anaplan support to fix the bugs that we found.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used IBM Cognos TM1, which is now called Planning Analytics. I started using Anaplan because I was given an additional role, and I started supporting Anaplan simultaneously. 

I think there's a lot of differences between Anaplan and IBM because Anaplan is cloud-based. But I believe IBM Planning Analytics is getting on the cloud as well. The old version of IBM is more like a remote desktop. But Anaplan is on the cloud, and you can access it via the web anywhere you go.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite complex because we have this one development team, and we have plenty of markets connected to one model. There's a lot of customization to tailor-fit with the market requirements and with the country requirements. Setting up a new model takes the team at least three months or five months at most.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this solution. We followed the Agile methodology, and there were a lot of sprints for two weeks and then we released all the enhancements or deployments. It's very fast-paced.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise potential users to have a good model builder and a solutions architect to transform their business complexity into an Anaplan module or dashboard that fits and works for them. They need to have a great solutions architect, a finder, and the end model builder, which will convert this complexity in Excel and to an equivalent Anaplan report.

The biggest lesson I learned using the Anaplan is that everyone can learn to use the Anaplan tool if they have the perseverance to learn. Everything is in Google, and you can Google the logic that you need to apply to a given bug or issue with the module within the system. It's continuous learning, and you have to keep learning and using the Anaplan system every day to be more familiar with the tool.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Anaplan a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Sai Teja K V
Anaplan Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Provides beneficial forecast models, good dashboards, and highly stable

Pros and Cons

  • "Anaplan provides 130 GB of cloud storage for organizations to use as part of their license."
  • "The solution can improve by providing an easier form of integration to different platforms, such as receiving data from different Salesforce. There is a process to do it through the use of some APIs but it could be made much easier. This would be a large help to us."

What is our primary use case?

Anaplan can be used for many types of planning, such as finance, supply chain, sales, and workforce.

How has it helped my organization?

My organization has benefited from the solution providing us with very good forecasting models. Additionally, there is a tool where users can go through different dashboards,  a feature called Dimension where you can use multiple dimensions, and the granularity is very good for us.

What is most valuable?

Anaplan provides 130 GB of cloud storage for organizations to use as part of their license. 

It is easier to implement for the developer teams and client users who are using it. For example, if a client is using thousands of Excel documents, it becomes very easy for Anaplan to do all of the calculations and move things around inside.

The flexibility is very good, it is easy to make new changes to the deployments.

What needs improvement?

The solution can improve by providing an easier form of integration to different platforms, such as receiving data from different Salesforce. There is a process to do it through the use of APIs but it could be made much easier. This would be a large help to us.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Anaplan for approximately one and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Anaplan has been scalable, there are a least 40 domains where this solution can be used, such as OPEX and financial planning

In my organization, we have approximately 10 clients using this solution.

We are extensively using this solution in the project we are currently involved in.

How are customer service and technical support?

We provide the implementation and the after the support of the solution.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is not difficult but I would put it in the easy to medium level of difficulty.

What about the implementation team?

The amount of technical staff required for the implementation and maintenance completely depends on the requirements of clients. There is some flexibility that comes after the first deployment, we can do enhancement for the same deployment instead of creating a new one.

We follow the Sprint method of implementation and it can take approximately two weeks. However, as previously mentioned the time is dependant on the client's requirements. For example, we are doing an update to enhance a previous implementation that will take approximately two months.

What was our ROI?

We are not the end-user to know if the clients are receiving a return on investment. However, I would conclude they have been receiving a good return on their investment because we are having an increasing number of clients and we are doing enhancements to previous deployments.

What other advice do I have?

I would strongly recommend this solution to others.

I rate Anaplan an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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