Buyer's Guide
Business Performance Management
November 2022
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Senior Director at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Everything is calculated in memory, which allows for rapid analytics and planning
Pros and Cons
  • "Anaplan integrates well into my clients' core systems. The ability to aggregate the forms within the dashboarding is also useful. Only one of my clients has implemented workflow. Their usage has been very light. Dashboarding capability is probably the biggest one. My clients like having the ability to aggregate, slice and dice, and dynamically adjust things in the dashboards."
  • "Anaplan's workflow component is probably the biggest area for improvement. I'd also like to see Anaplan add an ad hoc reporting tool that allows users to query things. It's going to factor into how you design your data set and your models, but I'd like the ability to create ad hoc queries against the data that's in there."

What is our primary use case?

We work with real estate consultants who use Anaplan to budget and plan commercial real estate development. That's been the biggest area. One client has taken it further, and they use it to manage user security for the organization. However, it's mainly for budget and forecasting for commercial real estate.

Most of my clients already have Anaplan, and they're using it quite heavily. I'm not the implementer. I get the client interested and then coordinate with Anaplan to bring in a partner who handles the implementation.

It fills a niche where existing products don't fit well. I don't see it taking over our market and replacing many core solutions, but it allows clients to work with external processes where there isn't a good solution today. Our clients are using Excel for the most part and leveraging Anaplan in those areas. Whether Anaplan stays on the top of my list depends on finding better ways to leverage the tool, but there's one area where it potentially fills in those gaps. Anaplan comes into the conversation when my clients want to move away from Excel as the main tool for certain functions. 

How has it helped my organization?

In the budget forecasting space, some clients have chosen to go with Anaplan because it offers a customized experience versus some of the off-the-shelf packages in our industry. It's a small industry in the sense that you're not selling tens of thousands of products. You're selling a few hundred across your whole client base. 

The user experience is usually not as rich in those products because they don't have the breadth of iterations, whereas, in Anaplan, you can set that up for yourself. Clients love that there are certain features and functions that they do as part of their budgeting process, so they don't have to rely on Excel and features like that. They can do everything inside of Anaplan. 

What is most valuable?

Anaplan integrates well into my clients' core systems. The ability to aggregate the forms within the dashboarding is also useful. Only one of my clients has implemented workflow. Their usage has been very light. Dashboarding capability is probably the biggest one. My clients like having the ability to aggregate, slice and dice, and dynamically adjust things in the dashboards.

What needs improvement?

Anaplan's workflow component is probably the biggest area for improvement. I'd also like to see Anaplan add an ad hoc reporting tool that allows users to query things. It's going to factor into how you design your data set and your models, but I'd like the ability to create ad hoc queries against the data that's in there.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been advising clients on Anaplan off and on for about six or seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had any issues with stability or heard about any issues that would make me raise any concerns to clients.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Anaplan is very scalable. It is designed so that you can just keep adding on to your core piece. Their sales pitch is "land and expand."  Once you set up your core enterprise structure, you can leverage all your user configurations and settings across every additional module you add.

How are customer service and support?

I haven't used Anaplan's technical support much. I usually contact the architects when I have specific questions about approaching certain things or the viability of different uses for the solution. If I include the architects in technical support, I get a quick turnaround.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Many clients used Hyperion in the past, but in a lot of cases, they're switching because Hyperion has a heavy data platform. Hyperion was big when they were on JD Edwards for different functions, and those clients are moving away from JD Edwards to the leading industry solutions in real estate, so there's also a shift away from Hyperion planning into Anaplan's flexibility.

How was the initial setup?

Anaplan has some complex components, and we did do some iterative calculations that pushed the boundaries of what Anaplan can do. I had to work with one of the Anaplan architects to develop creative ways to address these limitations. It wasn't horrendous. After a day or two of working on it, the architect could resolve the issue, but it was definitely the limits of how Anaplan works with data. Data calculations are challenging in most systems, and Anaplan wasn't designed for that type of approach. I would still rate it eight out of 10 for ease of implementation.

The implementation strategy is more of an agile approach where each step is broken down into six or eight-week iterations. Within each six-week component, we could deliver a good portion of it and decide to expand it beyond that point.

Anaplan takes about three or four people to deploy and maintain. Usually, there's an architect who isn't working with it full time. They act as the lead Anaplan model builder, and then there are one or two junior model builders. Also, you have someone who is the subject matter expert. If we're talking about FTEs, it's probably close to three, but usually, four individuals are involved. That's relatively light. It's quite impressive.

What was our ROI?

My clients have seen a return. For example, one of the use cases was an investment waterfall model. Using Excel was labor intensive, so it took a lot of extra work every month to extend this out. They needed to add an extra person for every new fund they added to their portfolio. When they rolled out Anaplan, they could keep expanding the funds without adding any resources because it was a one-time adjustment, and the monthly pieces were within the scope of one individual. 

Their ROI on that was reducing their personnel costs. They planned to hire five people over the next two years, but they didn't need to. Anaplan paid for itself with what it saved on new hires. I'm not even talking about operational efficiencies.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost of Anaplan is a challenge for clients, especially if they don't have an ongoing long-term use case for it. It's a $50,000 licensing fee just to get started. Clients need a strong business case to switch from Excel to Anaplan. But if clients have used something similar in the past, such as Hyperion or other solutions, that's not a factor because they know what to expect. 

I haven't come across any additional costs. In our role, we've considered developing our own solutions within Anaplan, which requires different licensing costs on our side if we were to do that. That's the only time I ever talked about additional costs beyond a basic licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I had a couple of clients that were comparing OneStream with Anaplan. One of them chose OneStream over Anaplan, and the other is still deciding. I don't have experience with OneStream, but a close friend of mine is a consultant there. He says that the features are similar.  I connect clients to him if they want to hear more about OneStream. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate Anaplan eight out of 10 overall. It's addressing a need in the market. Everything is calculated in memory, which allows for rapid analytics and planning. It doesn't require a programmer to develop, and that's the challenge with many things that aren't focused on business users. It allows business users to take a structured environment with security built-in, and its functions are integrated with other systems. Business users can actually put together information and manage it to get results. It's a huge win that Anaplan is user-focused instead of a technical focus.

If you're implementing Anaplan, it's essential to work with an architect. The architect is the cornerstone of this. They will guide you through all the key components of what you're trying to do, how to approach it, and how to determine the right size of your use case. If you're trying to do something that's way too large, it'll take a lot longer than you expect. You'll have challenges, and you may even find that the use case you build out doesn't meet your needs anymore because it was too large, and your needs changed as you went through the process.

Once you have an architect and a good rapport with them, you'll have a good solution. The mechanics are building the model. You need to put a lot of effort into it, and if the people aren't as good, it might take a little longer. You may need to work with someone from Anaplan directly. If your architect isn't good, your solution won't keep you happy in the long run, but you'll be able to build on it with a good architect.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chief Revenue Officer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Top 20Leaderboard
A solid, scalable platform that allows you to multiple things with just one purchase
Pros and Cons
  • "We were with Oracle previously. With Oracle, you have to buy a different piece of software for every business process. If you want to do budgeting, that's a product. If you want to do consolidation, that's a product. If you want to do BI type of work, that's yet another product. So, you end up buying a lot of software from Oracle. With OneStream, it is a little different. It is a platform where you can do all those things, and you can do them with just one software purchase and then you just pay for users on it."
  • "Currently, they only support one browser, and it would be good if you could use it on Chrome, Firefox, etc. It is a little frustrating that you can only use a certain Microsoft browser. They're pretty tightly aligned with Microsoft. So, I can see the reasons for it."

What is our primary use case?

Mostly, we're using it for consolidation, reporting, and some budgeting.

It used to be a hybrid, but they have pushed most of their customers to the cloud now. They'll let people do on-premises if it has high security. For example, for the government or something like that, they will let it be on-prem, but for most commercial customers, it is just on the cloud now.

How has it helped my organization?

We were with Oracle previously. With Oracle, you have to buy a different piece of software for every business process. If you want to do budgeting, that's a product. If you want to do consolidation, that's a product. If you want to do BI type of work, that's yet another product. So, you end up buying a lot of software from Oracle. With OneStream, it is a little different. It is a platform where you can do all those things, and you can do them with just one software purchase and then you just pay for users on it. 

There is a big difference if I have five pieces of software versus just one. I got to train everybody on five different pieces of software. OneStream looks the same, acts the same, and does all the things that we want it to do.

What is most valuable?

It is a platform on which you can do multiple things. 

What needs improvement?

Currently, they only support one browser, and it would be good if you could use it on Chrome, Firefox, etc. It is a little frustrating that you can only use a certain Microsoft browser. They're pretty tightly aligned with Microsoft. So, I can see the reasons for it.

It is a pretty technical product. It is not insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination, but it is pretty complex, which happens with the platforms that can do anything. You can build whatever you want, but you have to build it versus having something that would be a little bit more turnkey and configurable.

For how long have I used the solution?

It has been about two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is fine. It has been around for years now. So, it is pretty solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. The underlying technology is such that you can build things fairly simply. If your requirements aren't that crazy, you could build stuff that's really straightforward. 

If you have a huge company with thousands of employees and operations all over the world, then you can deploy multiple cubes. By doing that, you can increase the performance and really scale it up. So, the bigger and more complex you are, you would just deploy that method to increase your performance. I can't think of any limit that I've seen. 

In terms of its users, we're not that big. We're only about 50 people.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we were with Oracle.

How was the initial setup?

It is not necessarily complex; it is just a little bit more technology-oriented. You have to be a little bit more of a techie than a typical finance person.

Once it is set up, there is some administration, but it is pretty easy to maintain going forward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

They price it by the user. Before discounting, it is 2,500 or something like that.

What other advice do I have?

One of the things that people should keep in mind is that it is a platform and you can do a lot with it, but it is best to take a phased approach. You should take your objectives down to bite-size deliverables and then execute a roadmap over time.

You should build the foundation. You should get it up and working and use that time to learn it. Once you have it built, you can put extensions on the house, add something over here, add something over here, and put a shed back there. You have to approach it in a way that you're not biting off more than you can chew.

You don't want to take your time, but you want to take a more measurable and tangible approach so that you don't end up with this massive project that never gets done. The best way to approach it is to take it into lots of little projects that get you where you want to be over time instead of one big project that might take a long time to get to.

Based on our experience, I'd rate it a 10 out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Systems Analyst at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
High-performing, helps clients save time in budget processes
Pros and Cons
  • "A lot of the platform is in-memory, so Planning Analytics can run calculations quite fast. It also offers several user interfaces. And in the newest version of Planning Analytics, there is a new one called the Planning Analytics Workspace. Maybe it could be useful for the business side."
  • "It's highly competitive right now, and all the vendors are in a race to put out new versions with additional features. IBM comes out with new versions too often, and it has an impact on quality."

What is our primary use case?

It varies from client to client, but IBM Planning Analytics is used for budgeting processes in every case. In addition, some clients use it for reporting as a data source.

How has it helped my organization?

Some of our customers previously used Excel spreadsheets for budget planning, and the process took more than two months. However, after switching to Planning Analytics, they could do it in a week. And they were able to do multiple projections, like optimistic, pessimistic, realistic, etc.

What is most valuable?

A lot of the platform is in-memory, so Planning Analytics can run calculations quite fast. It also offers several user interfaces. And in the newest version of Planning Analytics, there is a new one called the Planning Analytics Workspace. Maybe it could be useful for the business side.

What needs improvement?

It's highly competitive right now, and all the vendors are in a race to put out new versions with additional features. IBM comes out with new versions too often, and it has an impact on quality.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using IBM Planning Analytics for 10 years or more. Before, it was named TM1.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think Planning Analytics is quite a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

IBM uses Planning Analytics. So if this huge company has a vast quantity of users working on it simultaneously, it must be scalable.

How are customer service and support?

If we face some issues, we raise escalate tickets for IBM, and usually, they can find some temporary solution. We are the first-line support for our customers, but if we face some issue, we escalate tickets. But it's true for any comparable platform, like SAP BPC or Oracle Hyperion. So if we can face some tricky issues, we have to escalate tickets to the vendor.

How was the initial setup?

All of the solutions have some complications when it comes to installation. In our company, we installed SAP BPC, Oracle Hyperion, and Planning Analytics. All of them can be tricky. Sometimes you can face some issues. And it also depends on what you're doing. For example, if you're installing everything on one PC, it will be fast and easy. But when you want to create a real, stable infrastructure with a distributed installation across multiple machines, it is a little more complex. We provide solutions for our customers, so we install everything for them.

What was our ROI?

If we look at the budgeting processes of companies that have implemented this solution, then I think you'll see ROI. This service lets customers finish their budgeting process faster, so they don't waste any time. It's capable of analyzing large amounts of data, so it's they can work more productively. At the same time, budget planning is used to motivate employees and help them achieve some goals. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate IBM Planning Analytics eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Business Performance Management
November 2022
Get our free report covering Tableau, Anaplan, IBM, and other competitors of Oracle Hyperion. Updated: November 2022.
655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.