2021 Customer Awards: Anaplan - All-Ways Connected

2021 Customer Awards: Anaplan - All-Ways Connected




Company: Anaplan

Company background: At Anaplan, we enable decisive action in dynamic conditions, turning complexity into clarity and alignment, and turning change into advantage.

Contact: Aaron White

Title: Groups Program Manager, Community

Related URLs: https://community.anaplan.com 

Kudos Category: All-Ways Connected

1. Tell us about your digital customer experience: When and why did digital customer experience become a focus and priority for your organization and what technology(ies) did you decide to implement to help you, and what problem(s) does it help solve?

The Anaplan Community has existed in some state since 2013, but in 2017 (thanks to investment and vision by our leadership) moved into Khoros (then Lithium) with Community becoming a critical focus within Anaplan to provide the kind of knowledge, training, support, and awareness of our platform’s potential that just wasn’t possible through company communications and conversations with internal representatives.

The Anaplan Community supports dozens of different programs utilizing many different platforms, impacting our end users, partners, employees, prospects, and learners. We see our community as a hub, with many spokes depending on what the user needs, from support and best practices, to training and online events, to Groups. It’s many moving parts that we do our best to put into a seamless experience to allow our users to connect in whatever way works best for them.

Our Community team actually sits outside the rest of the organization, reporting up through our Chief Planning Officer, which gives us high levels of executive visibility and support. Instead of existing in and/or supporting a specific department, we are connected to the entire organization. Our tech stack (documented below in what we lovingly refer to as our “Community Robot”) is relatively lean, which is why having extremely flexible platforms (like Khoros) is key, as we are constantly going into multiple directions at the same time.

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2. What are the benefits of having an integrated community and social media management platform for your organization? How does it improve your strategy for digital customer engagement?

Anaplan is a “Customer First” organization, and the Community is on the front lines of that strategy. Since 2019, we have used Okta for single sign-on. In the last year, we have improved the usage and capabilities of Community accounts by connecting them further to multiple post-sale experiences (Support, Academy, and Events) and making them the single source of truth. This has streamlined the experience among these properties, making additional experiences possible. Some examples:

  • Our Anaplan Talent Builder program (our first-ever opportunity to provide 90-day access to our platform and related training to non-customers) leverages the connection between the Community and the Learning Center (Academy). Since launching less than a year ago, over 2,000 individuals have passed through the Anaplan Access and Anaplan Talent Builder programs with more than 1100 completions of related platform trainings.

  • Our virtual events leverage SSO between Bevy and the Community, making event registration and attendance a breeze for Community members. Our registration-to-attendee conversion is about 60%—well above current industry averages.

  • Our customer case portal connects the Support experience to the Community, streamlining the account creation process whenever someone submits a ticket and allowing them to track their cases.

We also deployed a global navigation across our ecosystem—connecting the Community with Anaplan.com, our Learning Center, Anapedia (our technical documentation), and Anaplan Navigator (an interactive experience designed to help unpack the art of the possible with Anaplan) like never before, further enhancing the value of a Community account.

The Anaplan Community is a differentiator for Anaplan not simply because it exists, but because of how it is used, every day, by our members to ensure greater business growth and success. Through in-depth content, robust programs, award-winning event experiences, and diverse opportunities for interaction, the Anaplan Community showcases the art of the possible as presented by its most passionate and experienced users and advocates.  

At this stage of our maturity, there is no segment of our business that isn’t connected to or supported in some capacity by the Community or one of its programs. On the customer side, while the Community technically remains an optional part of the post-sale experience, we are in the early stages of having data to validate the notion that customers who are engaged on the Community adopt more successfully, achieve faster time to value, and are more likely to renew or expand.

3. What are your digital results? Please provide your business outcomes and results because of your digital customer experience approach in quantifiable metrics (e.g. revenue, Net Promoter Score, cost savings, brand reputation).

The value of the Anaplan Community goes beyond its ability to support existing customers in the journey with our product. Rather, we believe that the Anaplan ecosystem grows and the message of Anaplan spreads when everyone has full access to inspiration, education, and support—which is why our Community is open to everyone. When members (or even non-members) see what Anaplan has to offer—as a platform, as a company, and as a Community—it impacts our business through influence on potential sales and expands.

This year, for the first time, we’ve been able to start tying member engagement to customer spend in what we’re calling the Community Value Metric. When we began looking at the business impact of customers who log in to the Community versus remaining disengaged, we found that where there was Community login activity (and thus engagement, as the only time a member is required to log in is to comment, kudo, post, etc.), customers spent (on average) 62% more as where there was no Community activity.

Further, in our calculations, the YoY change from FY20 to FY21 where there was no Community activity remained flat; however, where there was Community activity, the amount of spend increased 23% from FY20 to FY21.

While we fully understand there are many reasons why a customer chooses to spend what they spend, or why some of these numbers may change (or not) year over year as they’ve done, it still remains clear that a customer who engages with the Anaplan Community and its members derives significantly more value from their experience with the platform than someone who is attempting to use it alone.

Through the Community being connected to all facets of our business, this impact is felt everywhere.

  • Our Customer Success teams can consolidate their efforts by leveraging Groups and events for customer communications.

  • Our Academy team has an expansive platform to host their growing catalog of on-demand trainings.

  • Our Solutions teams have a ready supply of success stories and use cases to draw on.

  • Our Product teams have a steady stream of feedback, new ideas, and beta testers from a passionate audience.

  • Our Support teams can proactively address customer pain points through content instead of cases.

  • Our Marketing teams have the support of a grassroots fanbase that evangelizes the platform out in the wild and a constant schedule of high quality events to supplement their own efforts.

  • And our Sales teams are equipped with the knowledge of the Community as a powerful differentiator that has made the difference for hundreds of customers and will be there to support new ones in their journeys.

As do many Communities, we still have work to do in promoting adoption of this value proposition within Anaplan itself and thus to every user, but the foundations are in place for this tremendous connectedness to drive even more success—for Anaplan and its customers.