Anaplan (NYSE: PLAN) is a market-leading, cloud-native, enterprise SaaS company, transforming how enterprises across industries see, plan, and drive business performance. Powered by our proprietary Polaris Calculation Engine™ and Hyperblock® technology, our platform lets customers model “what-if” scenarios, contextualize current performance in real time, and forecast future outcomes for faster, more confident decisions.
1) What is the use-case and purpose of your community? Do you use your community for support, enablement and learning, marketing awareness, customer success, driving sales, product innovation, etc.? Has the community charter evolved in any way since launch?
The Anaplan Community is a critical resource for our primary audience of model builders and end users. With an emphasis on maintaining an open (non-gated) experience, Community is a place for members to learn, connect, get support — and quickly and effectively get back to business!
Since its inception, the Anaplan Community has been a destination for peer-to-peer connection to learn, support, and inspire the ecosystem. In 2021, we implemented a sharper focus on role-based learning and connection via ecosystem-aligned personas resulting in the launch of three new content and connection hubs. Additionally, we launched two hubs in early 2022, and many more planned for the remainder of this year. With this in mind, the team transitioned within the organization to align more closely so that we could ensure the ecosystem is set up for success. Now we are aligned under a team called Platform and Ecosystem Success — focused on product feature adoption, providing role-based content and connection, advancing ecosystem talent, and providing live interactive experiences to support model builders for their specific needs.
2) Tell us about how you are using your community and how you made it happen. Did you get executive/business/stakeholder buy-in? What was your process to gain this buy-in? How have you achieved cross-functional support, added stakeholders and increased organizational adoption?
At Anaplan, Community is a central focus for all parts of the organization. More specifically, the Community team is a part of the Customer Success organization and is pivotal in bringing technical content and peer-to-peer support opportunities to all customers and partners. Our Community has existed in various forms since 2013, and over the years, we have proven the value of Community time-and-time again. — So much so that executive conversation and support are solid today!
Other ways we are aligned with the broader organization include:
3) What were the results? Tell us how it impacted your customer experience or the outcomes you seek as a business. Please include metrics if possible.
One of our most well-known and successful Community initiatives in 2021 was, once again, Anaplan Live! This experience has evolved over the years, and in 2021, the Anaplan Community hosted Day 2 of this virtual event which brought together Anaplan model builders, experts, end users, and Certified Master Anaplanners (super users) from across the globe.
As the world managed through year two of virtual events, we had amazing attendance, favorable feedback, and a healthy uptick in overall Community health metrics. Metrics for reference are below:
Community Day 2 metrics:
YoY Community health metrics:
In 2021, we also focused on developing and launching role-based content and collaboration hubs for many of our unique customer-types. Over 200 customer interviews were conducted to determine the needs and wants of these customer-types (we call them Personas). The inaugural program launch included the Developer, UX Designer, and Model Contributor content hubs. These were quickly followed by two additional hubs in early 2022 — CoE Leader, and Certified Master Anaplanner, with more to follow soon. As a new initiative, we are currently in the awareness and engagement growth phase. Feedback to date has been favorable, and we look forward to providing metrics soon.
Additionally, this past year we took our findings from the role-based content development to create a personalized user experience, by developing and launching the first phase of our Profile Builder Personalization Efforts. Although this had been in the works for many months, we were able to roll this out a few months ago. The personalization project will allow us to better understand our customers role, expertise, topics of interest, among quite a few other details that will lead toward a personalized CX, UI, and content later in the year. Here are a few examples:
This “user profile” page may look similar to the current Khoros page, but we’ve purpose-built it to integrate with our internal systems so other Anaplan departments (like learning/certification/IT) can better align their programs to the most recent customer details.
The ‘Advanced Profile” page provides opportunities for customers to tell us their role, along with any expertise they may have within the Anaplan Platform. These can be utilized for future programs such as mentoring, call-for-papers, and speaking engagements.
On the “Personalization” tab, users are able to easily subscribe to “topics of interest” that resonate with them. As part of our phase 2, we are building “global subscriptions” rather than “category-specific” to ensure our users receive all the relevant information about a specific topic.
Finally, the Master Anaplanner Program empowers platform experts to drive thought leadership, advance their connected planning evangelism, and have a platform to share and develop their technical expertise. Although these users may be considered ‘super-users’ on other communities, they participate through a myriad of options within the Anaplan community, where they can earn points for annual recertification. Here are a few examples of how Master Anaplanners participate and give back to the larger community.
Additionally, we have built contribution activity dashboards to easily identify users who have participated in unique opportunities, such as Gartner Peer Insight Reviews, knowledge base and technical blog authoring, among many other options.
This image highlights one example of Master Anaplanners contribution activities.:
This image represents the overall cumulative activities and points awarded by multiple Master Anaplanners:
Collectively, our community thrives in large part due to our Master Anaplanner program and the expertise and involvement they bring to our global customer base. We have seen tremendous growth through utilizing our community events & integration with Bevy, significant increases in overall community member growth, and tremendous growth in visits. Overall, we are poised for growth over the next several quarters and years by leveraging the technology and implementing strategic programs to better-know our customers, surface content that resonates with them, utilize historical search data through our Coveo integration to make discoverability unequal and allow our users to expand their expertise and knowledge by being equipped and enabled for success.
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