Talking Tech: Using Anaplan to Drive Value Creation Plans
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Accordion’s “Talking Tech” series explores how different CFO Technology solutions can empower finance functions to support organizational strategic initiatives – by implementing business process recommendations, optimizing operations, and capitalizing on value creation opportunities.
Now, let’s take a look at Anaplan in the context of value creation planning.
Defining and tracking Value Creation Plans (VCPs) — also known as strategic business plans to unlock value — is paramount to improving business outcomes. Whether you’re a sponsor working with a portfolio company, or a large enterprise going through a strategic planning process, a lot of traditional value creation planning happens “offline”. Goals are set, but they aren’t easily trackable or linked to financial results, which makes realizing value creation much less attainable.
Anaplan can help solve these challenges.
Leveraging Anaplan’s inherent strengths in real-time connected planning, you can derive maximum value from your VCP – bringing it online, connecting it to financials, and having a single place to plan, track, and reassess value being created. This online framework is enabled through 3 key steps:
Step 1: Target Practice
Set your VCP initiatives with corresponding target value. Here, we’re modeling our VCP initiatives at a strategic level with assumptions around financial and KPI impact. For our example, we’re focusing on two initiatives: (a) driving higher gross margin by product rationalization and (b) improving back office spend in the accounting function.
Step 2: Bottoms Up
With our VCP targets set and live “online,” our portfolio company or business units need to operationalize the plans by implementing a more “bottoms up” and business-specific driver-based plan.
Here, we’re going to (a) scenario model our current product mix to achieve the gross margin target and (b) reduce our third-party consultants and add a CapEx project for a new accounting system.
Step 3: Track & Reassess
Because our VCP is operationalized and connected to source financial systems (GL, CRM, etc.), we can track real-time progress and see how we’re trending toward value realization. If outcomes aren’t hitting expected targets as actual data comes surfaces, we can reassess our operational drivers set in Step 2 or reprioritize initiatives from Step 1. Of course, nothing goes exactly according to plan. But having real, measurable data gives us the ability to adjust our plans in real time — while also expediting the delivery of those strategies to portfolio companies or business units to maximize value creation.
The bottom line? When value creation planning occurs offline, it can be difficult for teams to accurately and efficiently monitor progress and connect the data to tangible financial outcomes. But with Anaplan, value creation is brought online by linking strategic plans to operational modeling.
And, by connecting to the most up-to-date figures, sponsors can be nimble and accurate when adjusting business strategies — increasing efficiency in delivering the appropriate plans to their portfolio companies or business units. Anaplan’s access to real-time data, combined with the user’s ability to make adjustments on the fly, enables both the sponsor and operational teams to work smarter and ultimately unlock more value in their VCPs.
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