Selecting the Right Partner: Anaplan Solution Providers

Makrand Jadhav đź“‹ blog đź“… June 26, 2024

Implementing Anaplan, a leading cloud-based planning and performance management platform, can significantly enhance an organization's financial planning, forecasting, and operational efficiency. Anaplan is a connected planning platform which helps organizations digitize their planning processes across functions viz. Finance, Supply Chain, HR, and Sales & Marketing. However, the success of an Anaplan implementation largely depends on selecting the right implementation partner. This partner should not only have provide Anaplan consulting services but also understand the unique needs and challenges of the organization. Here, we will explore the critical factors organizations should consider to select the best Anaplan implementation partner.

Identifying your Business Needs and Goals

Before beginning the search for an Anaplan implementation partner, it is essential for an organization to clearly understand its own business needs and goals. This includes identifying the specific problems that Anaplan will address, such as improving budgeting process, better demand forecasting accuracy, optimized inventory management, aligned workforce plan, or detailed sales compensation. Having a clear understanding of these objectives will guide the selection process and ensure that the chosen partner can meet these requirements.

Evaluating Partner Expertise and Experience

It goes without saying that the expertise and experience of an implementation partner are paramount. But first validate the consulting partner’s ability in understanding your business needs. Do they have sufficient knowledge of the domain, can they talk your language, do they have teams which have a business background. No amount of technical skills will be able to compensate for the lack of business and domain knowledge.  

Next is Anaplan consulting services. Anaplan has set in place three categories of platform expertise – (i) Anaplan Model Builder (ii) Anaplan Solution Architect and the most prestigious and sought after (iii) Master Anaplanner. The right mix of these skills is necessary for the platform implementation to be successful.

An experienced partner will have a deep understanding of Anaplan’s capabilities and best practices for implementation. They should be able to demonstrate their ability to handle complex configurations, data integration, and customization to fit the unique needs of the organization. 

Industry Knowledge and Expertise

An Anaplan consulting services partner with industry-specific knowledge can provide significant advantages. Each industry has its own set of challenges and regulatory requirements, and a partner with experience in the same industry as the organization can offer insights and solutions tailored to those specific needs. For example, the complexity in financial services industry has different planning and costing requirements compared to the retail sector. Industry expertise ensures that the partner understands the unique business processes and can customize the Anaplan implementation to align with industry standards and best practices. 

In 2023, Anaplan replaced its partner program to reflect the partners’ knowledge and skills in industries and functional domains. As a part of this renewed program partners can now earn badges for their industry knowledge and understanding, e.g. Manufacturing, Consumer, Business Services, etc. Similarly, partners can get accredited for their functional expertise i.e. Finance, Supply Chain, Sales & Marketing, HR, etc. These badges can be a guiding factor for organizations but they should be considered along with industry expertise and not in isolation.

Methodology and Approach

The methodology and approach of the implementation partner are critical factors that can influence the success of the project. A structured and well-defined implementation methodology ensures that the project is completed on time, within budget, and meets the desired objectives.

Anaplan has a defined implementation methodology - Anaplan Way - for its implementations. This is it’s recommended methodology for all Anaplan Consulting services partners. Anaplan expect that it’s partners practice and follow this prescribed methodology for all their implementations. 

Organizations should inquire about the partner’s understanding and practical experience with Anaplan Way, including their project management practices, phases of implementation, and how they handle potential challenges. A partner that employs an agile approach can offer flexibility and adaptability, allowing for iterative development and continuous improvement throughout the project. This approach is particularly beneficial for complex implementations where requirements may evolve over time.

Training and Support

A successful Anaplan implementation does not end with the deployment of the platform. Ongoing training and support are crucial to ensure that the organization can fully leverage Anaplan’s capabilities and achieve continuous improvement.

Organizations should look for Anaplan solution providers that include comprehensive training as a part of their implementations. This should include both the end-users and administrators. It should cover not only the technical aspects of Anaplan but also how to use the platform to achieve business objectives. Additionally, the partner should provide post-implementation support to address any issues that may arise and assist with further customization or optimization of the platform.

In addition it is worth noting that Anaplan provides self-paced, on-line training to its customers free of charge. 

References and Client Testimonials

References and client testimonials provide valuable insights into the partner’s performance and reliability. Organizations should ask potential Anaplan solution providers for references from previous clients, particularly those with similar needs and industry backgrounds.

Speaking with these references can help organizations understand the partner’s strengths and weaknesses, their approach to problem-solving, and their overall satisfaction with the implementation. Positive feedback from previous clients is a strong indicator of the partner’s ability to deliver successful Anaplan implementations.

Cost and Value

While cost is an important consideration, it should not be the sole determining factor in selecting an Anaplan implementation partner. Organizations should evaluate the value that the partner brings to the table with it’s Anaplan planning services in terms of expertise, experience, and the potential return on investment.

A cost-effective partner may not always provide the best value if they lack the necessary skills and experience to deliver a successful implementation. Conversely, a more expensive partner with a proven track record and comprehensive service offering may provide greater long-term benefits. Organizations should consider the total cost of ownership, including implementation, training, and ongoing support, and weigh this against the expected value and benefits.

Cultural Fit

The cultural fit between the organization and the implementation partner can also influence the success of the project. A partner whose values, work ethic, and corporate culture align with those of the organization is more likely to work well with internal teams and contribute to a positive working relationship.

During the selection process, organizations should assess the partner’s cultural fit by meeting with their team, discussing their approach to collaboration, and observing how they interact with stakeholders. A good cultural fit can enhance communication, foster trust, and ensure a smoother implementation process.

Conclusion

Selecting the best Anaplan implementation partner requires careful consideration of various factors, including technical expertise, industry knowledge, methodology, communication, training, references, cost, and cultural fit. By thoroughly evaluating potential partners against these criteria, organizations can choose a partner that not only meets their immediate implementation needs but also supports their long-term strategic goals.

A well-chosen Anaplan implementation partner can help organizations unlock the full potential of the platform, leading to improved financial planning, enhanced decision-making, and greater operational efficiency. With the right partner, organizations can ensure a successful Anaplan deployment that delivers lasting value and drives business success.


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