Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
The Khoros Holiday Freeze is coming up! Learn what to expect for non-critical platform maintenance during the holidays.

2021 Customer Awards: Anaplan - Keep Calm and Carry On

2021 Customer Awards: Anaplan - Keep Calm and Carry On



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:

Kudos Category: Keep Calm and Carry On

1. How did your team shift your existing strategy to better engage customers during a crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic presented us with the opportunity to truly lean into what it means to create valuable content and experiences for a global audience now living in a fully virtual world. For us, this largely meant doubling down on what we were already doing, with renewed focus and purpose.

For example, we were already running a successful fully-virtual event series, known as Anaplan Live!, with five successful major events completed in the year before March 2020. Many of our Groups were already meeting virtually, or at least offering virtual options or recordings for those who couldn’t attend in-person meetups. We were already looking for ways to improve our talent ecosystem and bolster the the efforts of those looking for Anaplan experience or job opportunities.

The crisis helped provide clarity of focus, which helped clear out the operational clutter and remove roadblocks. We also experienced new/renewed support across our organization for these efforts, which helped us accomplish a lot quickly—including things we had never been able to make happen until then.

2. What operational processes did you create or change to respond in a time of crisis?

We shifted in a number of areas, but some of the largest and most visible include:


For the first time ever, we made available free 90-day trials of the Anaplan platform to non-customers. Paired with the on-demand training resources available in the Community, this offering allowed development of an in-demand skillset (Anaplan Model Builder) for everyone from potential customers to displaced workers seeking new opportunities. In addition to platform access and training, we streamlined job hunting for members through an Available Talent board (using Khoros' Group Hubs feature) and a Career Search listing—an API-powered job board that scours the internet for the latest postings seeking skilled Anaplanners. 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 Groups program rebranded from User Groups to Anaplan Groups in order to be more inclusive of all Groups within the Community. In light of the pandemic, we are no longer focusing on region-specific Groups only, but now on several other types of Group, including Industry & Interest, Education, Program, and Platform. Through these changes, our Groups program membership has grown by 230% (now over 4700 members) and our number of Groups has doubled from 41 a year ago to 80+ today.

In line with our Talent improvements outlined above, we have more than 20 cohorts of Learners utilizing Group Hubs as a way to undertake their virtual learning journeys together in a sort of virtual classroom experience.


For the Anaplan Live! event series, we renewed our focus on a truly engaging virtual experience. We leveraged the new Bevy Virtual Conferences platform to great success, producing another five events in the year since the pandemic started and a full schedule of events on the way for the rest of this year.

Additionally, with our team’s experience, we provided support to our larger Marketing Events team for Anaplan’s annual (and newly virtual) DigitalCPX conference, producing more than 50% of the content, facilitating the livestream, and hosting two full days of back-to-back virtual Groups meetups for Community members as part of the event. In June 2021, Anaplan Live! and DigitalCPX are joining forces for a combined virtual event, with the Community once again producing and delivering the vast majority of the content.

All of this is on top of the 80+ virtual events hosted by the Anaplan Groups program and our amazing volunteer Group Leaders, many of whom stepped up to help for the first time in the last year.

These events have been incredibly successful in connecting our members during this time; our registration-to-attendee conversion is about 60%—well above current industry averages.

3. What success metrics did you use to determine if your shifts in strategy and process had the desired outcomes? What were those quantifiable outcomes?

The metrics outlined above hint at the bigger picture for all of this, which is the value the Community has brought to our members and Anaplan as a whole during this time. We have seen incredible stories of resilience from people who pivoted their skillsets with our talent programs and found work after job loss. We have watched members increase their engagement in our forums and events and parlay that into new levels of thought leadership and career visibility. We have even been able to publish some of their stories or host them at events as a way to encourage other members during these challenging times.

One incredible story from the first few months of the pandemic was our Master Anaplanner hackathon, during which our top-tier platform users generated working Anaplan models usable by front-line response workers. All of this was rolled into our larger Anaplan Helps initiative, much of which was hosted on the Community. The early work of this team of Community members is still impacting our company’s response today as our business continues to support the logistical efforts necessary for vaccine distribution and other post-pandemic planning.

Through all of this, our Community remains engaged and responsive, helping where they can. Remarkably, they are doing all of this without becoming sidetracked by political discussions or disagreements over differences. They remain focused, and all without the need for any formal moderation team (that’s right, we have no moderators).

Beyond the pandemic, our team has stepped up in response to the cultural shift around diversity and inclusion. We led Anaplan’s Women’s History Month video initiatives organization-wide, and we published blogs on Diversity in Tech, civil rights, and International Women’s Day that provided a platform to voices that needed to be heard.

And finally, we were able to say “Thank you” to our Community for stepping up in amazing ways throughout the year. In these challenging times, although we have many success metrics, remembering the simple things like gratitude, encouragement, and supporting one another have the greatest impact in helping us all keep calm and carry on.