Yesterday’s Day 1 of the Planful Virtual Tour was tough to top. It started with a bang as our CEO, Grant Halloran, announced Planful Now, Nature’s Sunshine and Planar Systems talked about how they’re putting Continuous Planning to work, and we learned that the Golden Gate Bridge color is officially named “international orange”. Now, Day 2 is behind us and the excitement and engagement shown by the nearly 1,000 attendees continues to amaze and humble us. We saw what’s in store for Planful’s product in 2020, we heard from SmartyPants Vitamins and the Boston Red Sox, and we learned that Chicago was the birthplace of softball. Who knew?
Here’s what else Day 2 had in store, plus a quick look at what Day 3 will bring.
The Planful Product Roadmap
This is always one of the most popular sessions at our annual Tour, and this year proved the same. Planful’s product leadership team was on hand to detail what customers can expect through the end of the year, and there were some delightful surprises. Mark Bauer, our Senior Vice President of Product Management, and Sanjay Vyas, our Chief Technology Officer, also looked back at what our product team has accomplished over the past year, and how that has positioned us to make the Continuous Planning vision come true for so many of our customers.
The team also made several product announcements covering Dynamic Planning, Dynamic Collaboration, Dynamic Canvas, and Predictive Analytics, and explained how these enhancements are already adding agility and collaborative decision-making to FP&A and the business.
SmartyPants Got Planful in 20 Days
Cheryl Chow, a Senior Finance Manager at SmartyPants Vitamins, a preventative health and nutrition start-up, explained how the company was up and running with Planful in just 20 days! That’s less than 3 weeks — and it happened even before we launched Planful Now!
With help from Planful partner Cogenics, SmartyPants was able to realize an incredibly fast time-to-value. As soon as they were live, they didn’t waste a moment, immediately closing Q1 and moving to reforecast sales, advertising, and other areas as they recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“The conventional wisdom in the industry is that even a fast cloud FP&A software deployment will take months, but with Planful, we were up and running with our Sales and Trade spend forecast templates in three weeks,” said Cheryl Chow, Senior Finance Manager at SmartyPants. “Planful provided amazingly fast time-to-value, enabling the FP&A team to plan their quarterly reforecast following Q1 close, prepare for an upcoming board meeting, and create new forecasts for sales, advertising, and other areas without breaking our stride.”
The Red Sox Benched Excel
Up next was Tim Zue, Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer for the Boston Red Sox. He explained how the Major League Baseball organization used Planful to modernize their FP&A by getting out of spreadsheets. Tim led the effort to boost efficiency, improve accuracy, and accelerate decision-making, and it was all built on Planful.
During the session, Tim detailed their transition and how they quickly expanded the use of Planful for reporting, monthly forecasting, and financial close across the organization. He even highlighted how the team’s head groundskeeper uses Planful to plan and manage the entire operations, from staff and supplies to grass seed and the chalk they use to mark the field.
Finally, Tim explained how the team is regrouping to deal with a curtailed baseball season due to COVID-19, and how Planful is critical to their continued modeling and analysis.
“Now more than ever we’re relying on Planful to help us think through multiple scenarios to ensure we make the best decisions,” said Tim Zue, Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer for the Boston Red Sox. “Planful has been incredibly helpful to our finance team by enabling more robust reporting and simplifying the forecasting and close processes. The platform has created greater transparency and better access to data across the organization. We’re currently using the platform to game out ‘what-if’ scenarios to manage the impact of COVID-19.”
More Planful Product Spotlights
Our product experts showed customers even more ways to use Planful for collaboration, planning, and predictions in FP&A and out to every corner of the business.
Chris Howard, Product Marketing Manager at Planful, explored the “Top 3 Capabilities that Increase Business-wide Collaboration”. He demonstrated how Planful customers can add essential context to share the meaning behind the numbers, helping everyone increase their financial IQ and make better decisions in the process. He also covered how Planful accelerates that decision-making process to create a more agile and responsive FP&A team.
Andrew Von Eschen, Senior Solutions Consultant at Planful, covered “The Power of Report Sets and Report Collections in Dynamic Reports”. He demonstrated how to build more beautiful, insightful, and user-friendly Dynamic Reports, and then quickly get them to the right people, in the right format, at the right time. Getting this information out to the business faster not only elevates the financial IQ of the entire business, he explained, it enables everyone, even at the edges of the business, to make better and faster decisions. He also demonstrated Planful’s rapid report creation, advanced formatting, and conditional highlighting, and how those features can be used to build tighter, more collaborative relationships between FP&A and the business.
Steve Armistead, Sr. Director, Product Management at Planful, and Melissa Dreuth, Senior Vice President of People & Culture at Planful, looked at Planful’s vision for “The Future of Workforce Planning”. They provided a sneak peek into the next evolution of Planful Workforce Planning, including a new user interface for a better user experience. Melissa then talked about how she and her team use Planful every day to Continuously Plan for the organization’s workforce needs, and how it’s especially valuable as the company, like every other, shifts to more work-at-home arrangements and adjusts for changing priorities.
Finally, Sanjay Vyas, Chief Technology Officer at Planful, explained how Planful uses “Predictive Capabilities & Machine Learning”. He demonstrated how these technologies are helping FP&A augment their judgement and make better decisions. But he also looked at how future applications of predictive technologies across the Planful platform will revolutionize plans, models, and forecasts.
Coming Up on Day 3
Day 3 of the Planful Virtual Tour begins with customer stories from Bose and Carta, looks at Dynamic Canvas and Cash Flow Management, and takes a deep dive into our new and exciting Planful Now offering.
Register now to join us for this third and final day of the Planful Virtual Tour!