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As a director in Spaulding Ridge’s Anaplan practice, I am often asked by clients “Who would you recommend to be an Anaplanner from our team?” or “How do you identify a good Anaplanner?” By no means is this a science, but there are certain traits that help clients and Spaulding Ridge identify high value Anaplanners. Here are the three things I look for.

Excel Rockstar

I first look to understand what a person’s modeling background is. Often someone that can build great models in Excel can be an effective Model Builder in Anaplan.  Many of the formulas in Excel have functional counterparts in Anaplan, so once a person is comfortable thinking across multiple dimensions and has grasped the Anaplan syntax, or at least knows how to look up functions in Anapedia, model building should come naturally.

Strong Business Acumen

When people first hear about Anaplan they think they will need “coding” abilities, which is a false assumption. Anaplan requires “coding” knowledge as much as Excel requires it; which is to say not at all. So rather than tapping individuals with computer science or coding backgrounds the next quality I look for is a high aptitude for the business. This is a bit more ambiguous than the first trait.  If someone is great at building models in Excel, those models are evidence. “So how can I know who has a high aptitude for the business?” I typically look for individuals who, when introduced to a new concept or element of the business, can understand not just the new concept but how it fits into the larger business. The ability to learn efficiently and “connect-the-dots” is extremely valuable for getting the most out of a connected planning platform like Anaplan.

Excellent Communicator

Finally, communications skills are crucial.  As your organization matures and Anaplan’s footprint begins to grow, it will be important for model builders to have open lines of communication with the business to ensure that the tool is evolving as the organization’s needs do. Model builders must be able to envision and articulate the roadmap of how Anaplan can be deployed to different lines of business. This promotes a proactive culture. They will help drive change within the organization, get buy-in from business owners, identify efficiencies, and keep the organization competitive.

Identifying someone that will be a good Anaplanner is a balance between art and science. Even after thorough vetting, individuals may still have trouble adopting a new technology, but by sticking to these three traits, I have significantly improved my rate of making Anaplan model builders successful.

Are you trying to identify potential Anaplanners within your organization?  Let’s connect: [email protected].

About Spaulding Ridge

Founded in 2018, Spaulding Ridge is a top management consulting firm, dedicated to client success and helping organizations implement and adopt best-in-cloud technology to solve their most pressing challenges. We provide the office of the CFO financial clarity on sales and operational complexity by integrating financial and sales SaaS Platforms.

We help:
• Finance gain control ” Increasing financial effectiveness, insight and impact
• Sales increase Productivity ” Hitting quota more quickly, consistently and efficiently
• Operations increase Competitiveness ” Through productivity rates, customer service outcomes, and efficiency