Each year software companies small and large stage their biggest show of the year, the User Conference. The User Conference is the one opportunity for a Software Vendor to grab the attention of clients, prospects and industry analysts to showcase why @anaplan is the market leader and different from everybody else. This is part boondoggle and part giant sales opportunity, and for the Sales Opportunity to work and for clients to justify the Boondoggle there must be value in terms of learning about something new I can take back and leverage at my company (or clients) to make it better or for the Sales Team to sell.
The objective of the opening General Session is to generate excitement for the conference, Company executives announcing great new features flanked by Sales Engineers with flashy demos of the best of those new features. Clients are expected and expecting to leave the General Session ready to “run through walls” to make #anaplan greater at their company, @anaplan greater in the market and increase sales for Anaplan (so they can pay for the conference).
If you are reading this blog to learn about the exciting new Anaplan features, you will be disappointed. The General Session was ‘flat’, with too much deja vu – the same clients talking about the same use cases. The one and only demo was 2 hours into the General Session with the only “new” feature highlighted – Tableau integration, an afterthought at the end of the demo. But it was cool to solve a space problem, and a nice way to close out after Dr Jemison’s fantastic presentation.
Anaplan’s challenges since last April have been widely publicized and analyzed. The CEO and essentially any Senior Executive that was not a Founder was terminated. This was followed by what is speculated to be an attempt to sell, then the recent hiring of Frank Calderoni as the new CEO, and this is the real positive from this conference – experience, stability and vision. Mr. Calderoni committed to a significant increase in the investment in Anaplan Product Development, welcome news to all Anaplanners.
Frank Calderoni joins Anaplan from Red Hat where he most recently served as EVP Operations and CFO since June 2015, prior he has over 30 Years of industry experience at organizations including Cisco (EVP and CFO), QLogic and IBM. As Anaplan.com states ‘Frank is a technology industry veteran with over 30 years of successful executive leadership’. Read the Anaplan press release here….
This diverse, successful executive leadership has been the key missing component at Anaplan for several years. Mr Calderoni will bring much needed structure, discipline and most importantly vision to Anaplan.
Open Decision Management and Connected Planning:
In our evolving world driven by vast amounts of readily available data, the opportunity to harness this data in real time to feed Anaplan Connected Planning models positions people (employees) to analyze in real time the impacts to Plans, Forecasts and ultimately the company strategy. Rather than having employees spend their time engaged in mundane tasks such as gathering data, updating and building spreadsheets only then to try and analyze disconnected spreadsheets, employees can, with Anaplan become integral and valued participants in the analysis and decision making processes benefiting both the organization and employees by keeping them engaged, stimulated, empowered and happy.
Anaplan supports this concept of ‘Open Decision Management’; engaging more people and processes to create diversity and generate the best decisions by supporting Connected Planning models. Each individual connected model supports the specific business function (HR, Sales, Demand, Finance, Sales, etc) requirement and business needs but is connected, ‘integrated’ with other functional models to align the functional goals to the key corporate goals and strategies, monitor performance and allow the organization insight and transparency to react and modify strategy, in real time as appropriate.
Anaplan’s flexibility and ease of use supports each Functional Area to maintain and manage their individual models, engaged and empowered while supporting a “Connected” model to support the organization’s strategy.
Anaplan as a Leader in Sales Performance Management:
Anaplan “…has moved to the Leader quadrant from the Challenger quadrant in the March 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant in the Sales Performance Management (SPM) category, being cited for both vision and execution of its solution.” *Anaplan.com, access the report here
HUB 2017 was a decent conference, Anaplan has come along way since HUB 2013 and we look forward to Anaplan delivering on future capabilities.
I would like to thank our client Yahoo for participating
And Thank You to Dave T, because without his gracious hospitality none of this would be possible.