Solution Exchange Coming Soon…

Solution Exchange Coming Soon…

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”– Dalai Lama

Later in January, we will be launching the Planful Solutions Exchange, and in this post we’ll provide a preview for readers of the Planful Blog.

Updated 1/12/18 – Thank you all for the great questions and comments – we’ve updated the post to answer some of your questions.

What is the Solution Exchange?

The Solutions Exchange is a website where Planful customers, partners, and staff can discover, share and deploy Modeling and Planning solutions to specific business problems. It provides an interactive forum of ideas, industry best practices, and proven customer solutions uploaded by experts from the Planful ecosystem.

What do we mean by Solutions?

In the initial release, the Solutions Exchange will include Modeling solutions only, so the solutions will all be various example models built using Planful Modeling.  Solutions can be used either as head starts to help you get going quickly on solving a given application problem or simply as educational tools that help you see how others have approached solving a given modeling problem. As Solution Exchange evolves it will go on to include other artifacts such as planning templates or reports.

Are “Solutions” Applications?

While some vendors try to over-represent their solutions as applications, in reality, they are not.  Solutions are not supported. They aren’t necessarily maintained and enhanced.  The easiest way to think of this difference is via an example. Suppose a friend at another company in your industry shared a Bookings Waterfall model with you. Would you use it as-is? No. Would he provide you with periodic updates? Probably not. Will it have value to you? Absolutely yes. You could learn which drivers he/she is using the model, how those drivers interact, and how he/she has chosen to model things like sales rep productivity, quota attainment, attrition, and over assignment.

What are some examples of Solutions?

With Solutions Exchange, organizations have access to dozens of enterprise planning solutions for use cases from various industry verticals and functional business areas. For example, learn how other retail organizations have addressed same store sales planning and reporting challenges. Discover how members of the life sciences industry have created solutions for supply chain management and profitability analysis. See how other sales teams have built driver-based revenue planning models by customer and product and bookings and revenue waterfall models. Or find out how other marketing teams have designed lead generation models.

Who can upload Solutions?

Planful’ customers, partners, and staff. We have many experts in the Planful ecosystem and we encourage all of them to participate in the Solutions Exchange. More participation means more value for everyone.

How are Solutions Verified?

To be accepted, solutions submitted by customers, partners, and staff would be reviewed and approved by the Planful Product Management team. The team will validate the solution use case to ensure that it’s relevant to the broader community and that it conforms to Modeling best practices.

Does any other EPM vendor have a Solution Exchange?

Anaplan does, though it was over-represented as providing customers with finished applications, which they were not.  Adaptive Insights, Oracle/Hyperion, Oracle/Cloud, and most other EPM vendors do not.

What are the benefits for customers of the Planful Solution Exchange?

The Solution Exchange provides the following primary benefits for customers:

  • The ability to accelerate their EPM projects by using Solution Exchange to find head-start solutions and learn best practices used by others
  • The opportunity to see how others in the same and/or different industries with similar business problems have found solutions to those problems, or to find creative connections between different planning models that share similar characteristics – (e.g., the concept of same-store sales in retail is quite similar to ramped-rep productivity in enterprise sales)
  • The opportunity to learn and leverage how peers have automated solutions to tedious and cumbersome activities
  • The chance to give back to the community by providing solutions to problems to either promote your brand as a consultant/partner or simply to generate good karma.

Why is the Solution Exchange Important to Planful partners?

For the Planful partner network, the Solutions Exchange enables partners to highlight and demonstrate their depth of industry expertise, bringing forward proven solutions that solve specific pragmatic issues for their clients. In doing so, they reinforce their brand in the marketplace and reach new customers who share the same business problems.

When will it be released?

The Solutions Exchange will be released before the end of January 2018.

How can I hear more about it?

Stayed tuned for our official announcement in January 2018, and if you’re itching to learn more contact us directly.

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Existing tools getting in the way of growth

Customizing and changing old Excel models by hand was not only difficult, but it didn’t yield much in the way of insight. And even when it did, getting a rough view of GSF’s global operation would mean hours of intensive extra work, time that could be better spent analyzing results.

“If you wanted to figure out how much the [foreign exchange] rate in a various currency impacted the results overall, or look at the company in a constant currency, we had the possibility of doing that but you’d need to manually build the model in Excel,” Tingey says.

In that sense, Excel was proving to be a bottleneck for GSF, a $6 billion global company with an appetite for long-term growth. Even minor changes to the business were problematic, with members of the finance team usually spending 8 to 12 hours of overtime just to close each month. Custom reports would take a half-day each.

Finding comfort, and answers, in Planful

Tingey documented GSF’s problems with Excel and listed out requirements for a better tool, kicking off a competitive review between Planful and Hyperion. Cloud-based EPM proved to be the ideal solution for financial consolidation. “We wanted this to be a finance-driven solution. We wanted to be in control of our destiny,” Tingey says. “With Planful, we would be up and running and getting data in within a matter of hours after the environment was provisioned.”

What’s that mean today? Tingey says that Planful provides consolidated insights into all areas of the business in minutes, providing “one source of the truth, which we didn’t really have before.” Members of the finance team are also free to use the data to answer questions not practical in Excel. GSF is using the answers derived from Planful to better manage its global expansion.

Since implementing Planful, Golden State Foods has completed a handful of new acquisitions and continued to make and sell investments. Tingey’s team tracks and reports on it all in the cloud. “Our Planful solution has flexed to match requirements as these transactions change the structure of our organization. What would have been a nightmare to account for in Excel has, in Planful, actually been very enjoyable.”

To learn more about how cloud-based EPM from Planful can help your organization succeed, check out the customer video from Golden State Foods.

Watch Video

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