Planning spreadsheets vs. Anaplan

With over 750 million users worldwide, spreadsheets is one of the most used tools for analyzing data. And even though they can be useful, spreadsheets have their limitations. Despite these limits, most companies still use them for analyzing and planning data because they think that there are no other options. However, the opposite is true, as there are an immense number of tools for reporting. For example, one of the largest and most efficient is Anaplan, an enterprise planning solution.

However, Anaplan is not a replacement for spreadsheets. It is an enterprise solution which spreadsheets are not. Besides it overcomes some of the inherent shortcomings in spreadsheets. We are highlighting some of them here:

Gimme gimme: tighter control over corporate data

In comparison to planning spreadsheets Anaplan offers flexible security levels to anyone that participates in the planning process. And with anyone we mean literally anyone: from the execute level to the front line user. With Anaplan changes of everyone can be easily tracked for audit purposes and old versions can be restored through built-in version to avoid potential loss of data. Safety and overview assured!

All the single users

Spreadsheets are single user applications whereas Anaplan is built for multiple users. With spreadsheets, multiple users can edit the same spreadsheet simultaneously, but they are built with a single user in mind. Let us explain this in more detail. There is a limit to how complex a spreadsheet can get before it becomes unmanageable. This could be because of the amount of data it holds, the complexity of calculations and how many business use cases it is trying to solve.

In short: The more people that are working on one planning spreadsheet, the slower and more complex it will work. And even tough, complexity in Anaplan also means that the solution is harder to manage, there are features in place to make managing complexity this easier – which is not the case with spreadsheets.

So get me… hierarchical data

While spreadsheets are good for representing flat data, Anaplan goes one step further. The reporting tool handles hierarchical data like no other. When we take a look at the parent child relationships Anaplan makes it possible to specify an item’s parent and everything will neatly roll up. The tool even understands the implications of this hierarchy, having options to set on how children roll up to their parent. Which makes it very useful for representing real life data.

Becomin’ more agile

What does it mean to become more agile? It is the ability to clearly see an issue or opportunity and take action or course correct to find the best solution. Anaplan can be that solution. The tool helps to improve user productivity through faster business processes and streamlined data management and makes sure you are able to:

  • copy and modify an existing model to create a new scenario.
  • rapidly run through numerous iterations that potentially touch billions of data points to assess the most likely outcome
  • immediately share your results with peers—all of which can never be achieved in planning spreadsheets.

Looking for a partner to guide you through Anaplan? Or to help you implement the tool from start to finish (and beyond) so that number crunching is eliminated? Our colleagues are eager to help you via this link.

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