Dialogue with Anaplan: The next generation of business planning

Reading Time: 4 minutes
samir
Samir Salim Neji, Managing Director Anaplan Asia-Pacific

Anaplan, a US-based business software company that provides innovative solutions for business planning and challenges established players such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft is rapidly expanding in Asia-Pacific. Investvine caught up with the company’s regional head Samir Salim Neji to learn more.

What does Anaplan, as a software service provider, aim to achieve? Much of the business world relies on disconnected, error-prone and time-consuming spreadsheets to manage critical business functions. That’s where we come in and play a role. With our enterprise planning cloud, we combined the virtues of a spreadsheet experience with the collaborative power of the cloud, and a ground breaking modeling engine, to reimagine planning as a connected function across the enterprise. We are the first planning technology to achieve this.

Ah, thus the ‘plan’ in Anaplan. Then, how do you improve a company’s planning? Despite cloud technology advances, we see global companies still using personal productivity tools like Excel spreadsheets for highly complex planning and process challenges. The other alternative is a landscape of legacy planning tools built for another era. We went in and resolved this with a user-friendly platform and apps that can be customised to the needs of any business.

Interesting. So what momentum have you achieved regionally, in ASEAN? We started in ASEAN three years back and have experienced hyper-growth year-on-year.

Is that kind of growth sustainable? The growth we are experiencing demonstrates that a large gap remains in the area of planning that Anaplan addresses. While a number of point planning solutions have come onto the market, they don’t have the power and scale to sufficiently address enterprise planning across a broad range of functions.

It really seems like companies are beginning to deploy innovative strategies to run their business. Absolutely. I think if you consider how Spotify has changed the music industry and how Uber has impacted existing taxi companies, you could make a similar comparison to what we are doing in the traditional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market. We are first to the market with our disruptive enterprise cloud-planning platform.

But with disruptive technology, there are often great challenges in implementation. Are you facing the same issues in ASEAN as you face in the US? Zero difference. The problem that Procter & Gamble has in Europe is the same problem that Petron has in Philippines. We don’t see any difference in terms of usage challenges. We work with complex, global companies that all need to move faster and collaboratively respond to both threat and opportunity.

What, then, are the biggest challenges? Four years ago, business planning was ruled by Excel and supplementary solutions for different verticals such as demand planning, financial planning, and manpower planning. There are approximately 45 such add-ons, so users are buying all 45 additional solutions to fix their Excel sheets. Frankly, it’s an incredibly broken process. But, people no longer have to dream of a technology that can address all of these planning needs in one solution. It’s arrived.

And Anaplan provides a one-stop solution…? That’s correct. What we are giving customers is a single platform that connects data across the business enabling users to gain real-time insight and the ability to model “what if” scenarios. It’s all about Anaplan as an enterprise platform in the cloud.

How have customers in Asia responded to cloud-based technology? Companies in Asia have varied maturity levels, so you cannot go with the same message into each country. For example, if we say we are agile some countries may come back and say, “We don’t need agility, we need control.”

Then, how do you teach such young markets? When I meet my customers, I ask them “What choice do you have?” The reality is that the world is changing and they don’t have a choice. They must keep up. Understanding how to quickly adopt the newest innovations is their best approach. We spend a lot of time educating the market to ensure there are no missed opportunities for their business to grow and remain relevant. We work in partnership with our current and future customers to ensure they are set up, not only to take on Anaplan, but also drive a strategic shift towards agile technologies that have greater time-to-value.

Which Asian nations make this conversation the easiest to have? From a maturity point of view, India is super-savvy. India, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia are very hot markets for us. Additionally, we see strong demand from Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. These are mature markets that will adopt quickly and are able to self-service.

Do you believe you are shaking up ASEAN now? We’ve all witnessed the fast growth of similar organisations such as Tableau and Salesforce.com. In ASEAN, Anaplan is seeing similar linearity and we are not far behind from the same explosive growth as markets become increasingly aware that the adoption of cloud-based technologies can have an immediate impact.

How are you differentiating yourself from such high-growth competitors? A great example is a conversation I had with the CIO of Petron. He was giving a reference call to a future customer, and the question asked was, “How was the deployment of Anaplan? How painful was it?” The Petron CIO answered that Anaplan delivered in 15 days almost 10 times faster than what the closest competitor was proposing.

If a customer has an immediate planning challenge – what is the engagement model with Anaplan? Our approach is what we call the Anaplan challenge. Bring us your most complex spreadsheets in use, and we will show you how to simplify them. It’s a quick engagement and our sales approach is more consultative. We sit with the client’s core team in a two-hour workshop to understand the real challenges, leverage our experience and best practices, and build a living prototype to show how Anaplan adds value. It’s a process-led sale engagement – not a technology conversation.

Any final thoughts? Look, until now enterprises have been forced to rely on inflexible planning systems built for another, slower era. We want them to know that those painful days don’t have to continue. It’s possible to move faster. With digital disruption, the business world is moving faster than ever before — and there are new competitors, business models, buying behaviors, opportunities and emerging markets to consider. Enterprises must look forward when they plan; they must simulate and correct the course of their plans more frequently. Anaplan has stepped into a massive technology gap… and now the largest and fastest growing companies in the world are rapidly adapting to change and we are doing our part to enable it.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Samir Salim Neji, Managing Director Anaplan Asia-Pacific

Anaplan, a US-based business software company that provides innovative solutions for business planning and challenges established players such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft is rapidly expanding in Asia-Pacific. Investvine caught up with the company’s regional head Samir Salim Neji to learn more.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

samir
Samir Salim Neji, Managing Director Anaplan Asia-Pacific

Anaplan, a US-based business software company that provides innovative solutions for business planning and challenges established players such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft is rapidly expanding in Asia-Pacific. Investvine caught up with the company’s regional head Samir Salim Neji to learn more.

What does Anaplan, as a software service provider, aim to achieve? Much of the business world relies on disconnected, error-prone and time-consuming spreadsheets to manage critical business functions. That’s where we come in and play a role. With our enterprise planning cloud, we combined the virtues of a spreadsheet experience with the collaborative power of the cloud, and a ground breaking modeling engine, to reimagine planning as a connected function across the enterprise. We are the first planning technology to achieve this.

Ah, thus the ‘plan’ in Anaplan. Then, how do you improve a company’s planning? Despite cloud technology advances, we see global companies still using personal productivity tools like Excel spreadsheets for highly complex planning and process challenges. The other alternative is a landscape of legacy planning tools built for another era. We went in and resolved this with a user-friendly platform and apps that can be customised to the needs of any business.

Interesting. So what momentum have you achieved regionally, in ASEAN? We started in ASEAN three years back and have experienced hyper-growth year-on-year.

Is that kind of growth sustainable? The growth we are experiencing demonstrates that a large gap remains in the area of planning that Anaplan addresses. While a number of point planning solutions have come onto the market, they don’t have the power and scale to sufficiently address enterprise planning across a broad range of functions.

It really seems like companies are beginning to deploy innovative strategies to run their business. Absolutely. I think if you consider how Spotify has changed the music industry and how Uber has impacted existing taxi companies, you could make a similar comparison to what we are doing in the traditional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market. We are first to the market with our disruptive enterprise cloud-planning platform.

But with disruptive technology, there are often great challenges in implementation. Are you facing the same issues in ASEAN as you face in the US? Zero difference. The problem that Procter & Gamble has in Europe is the same problem that Petron has in Philippines. We don’t see any difference in terms of usage challenges. We work with complex, global companies that all need to move faster and collaboratively respond to both threat and opportunity.

What, then, are the biggest challenges? Four years ago, business planning was ruled by Excel and supplementary solutions for different verticals such as demand planning, financial planning, and manpower planning. There are approximately 45 such add-ons, so users are buying all 45 additional solutions to fix their Excel sheets. Frankly, it’s an incredibly broken process. But, people no longer have to dream of a technology that can address all of these planning needs in one solution. It’s arrived.

And Anaplan provides a one-stop solution…? That’s correct. What we are giving customers is a single platform that connects data across the business enabling users to gain real-time insight and the ability to model “what if” scenarios. It’s all about Anaplan as an enterprise platform in the cloud.

How have customers in Asia responded to cloud-based technology? Companies in Asia have varied maturity levels, so you cannot go with the same message into each country. For example, if we say we are agile some countries may come back and say, “We don’t need agility, we need control.”

Then, how do you teach such young markets? When I meet my customers, I ask them “What choice do you have?” The reality is that the world is changing and they don’t have a choice. They must keep up. Understanding how to quickly adopt the newest innovations is their best approach. We spend a lot of time educating the market to ensure there are no missed opportunities for their business to grow and remain relevant. We work in partnership with our current and future customers to ensure they are set up, not only to take on Anaplan, but also drive a strategic shift towards agile technologies that have greater time-to-value.

Which Asian nations make this conversation the easiest to have? From a maturity point of view, India is super-savvy. India, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia are very hot markets for us. Additionally, we see strong demand from Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. These are mature markets that will adopt quickly and are able to self-service.

Do you believe you are shaking up ASEAN now? We’ve all witnessed the fast growth of similar organisations such as Tableau and Salesforce.com. In ASEAN, Anaplan is seeing similar linearity and we are not far behind from the same explosive growth as markets become increasingly aware that the adoption of cloud-based technologies can have an immediate impact.

How are you differentiating yourself from such high-growth competitors? A great example is a conversation I had with the CIO of Petron. He was giving a reference call to a future customer, and the question asked was, “How was the deployment of Anaplan? How painful was it?” The Petron CIO answered that Anaplan delivered in 15 days almost 10 times faster than what the closest competitor was proposing.

If a customer has an immediate planning challenge – what is the engagement model with Anaplan? Our approach is what we call the Anaplan challenge. Bring us your most complex spreadsheets in use, and we will show you how to simplify them. It’s a quick engagement and our sales approach is more consultative. We sit with the client’s core team in a two-hour workshop to understand the real challenges, leverage our experience and best practices, and build a living prototype to show how Anaplan adds value. It’s a process-led sale engagement – not a technology conversation.

Any final thoughts? Look, until now enterprises have been forced to rely on inflexible planning systems built for another, slower era. We want them to know that those painful days don’t have to continue. It’s possible to move faster. With digital disruption, the business world is moving faster than ever before — and there are new competitors, business models, buying behaviors, opportunities and emerging markets to consider. Enterprises must look forward when they plan; they must simulate and correct the course of their plans more frequently. Anaplan has stepped into a massive technology gap… and now the largest and fastest growing companies in the world are rapidly adapting to change and we are doing our part to enable it.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid