Barbican Case Study (Now part of Arch Insurance)

Insurance Companies use Anaplan to Automate and Improve Reporting Processes

Insurance companies often face the challenge of having to deal with lots of calculations of varying complexity across different departments. Many insurers have found that Anaplan helps them manage the challenges that comes with large, complex and business critical calculations, coupled with their need to provide internal reporting of results. Barbican Insurance Group has implemented Anaplan’s cloud-based business planning and execution platform bringing more control to their business planning and less labour-intensive reporting.

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Dynamic Notification Recipients in Anaplan

Several months ago, Anaplan released a ‘notifications’ action in the UX. The purpose of this new type of action was to allow model users to trigger email notifications to others users from within Anaplan. One of the main reasons for wanting to do this would be to support a workflow, whereby an action or change in the model would trigger a notification to another user that their input to the model was required.

The notification action was a step in the right direction for creating a workflow, but it lacked a critical element to support a full-scale process. The recipient of the notification had to be manually selected, and only a single recipient could be assigned to the action. This meant that where the intended recipient would vary by a dimension such as Cost Centre, we couldn’t construct a workflow to follow that organisational structure.

Anaplan has recently delivered an update to their notification action to support dynamic recipients, and I think that this is a game changer for workflow in Anaplan. When creating a new notification, page builders can now choose whether to assign recipients via module data or to specific people.

When selecting ‘Module data’, the page builder now has to select a module where a line item resides which will drive the recipient information. The recipient line item needs to be a User formatted line item.

Anaplan will use the User value – corresponding to the context selection on the Page – to insert the recipient. For example, if I have Cost Centre as a dimension on my Page and I want to send a notification to the owner of the selected Cost Centre, I would use Cost Centre as a dimension of my recipient User line item. I would then select which user should act as the recipient for each individual Cost Centre and select this line item in the Notification designer.

One thing to bear in mind is that Anaplan seems to use the module dimensionality as context within the notification, so make sure the dimensionality of your recipient module matches the dimensionality of your recipient line item.

Budget Time

I have never done a budget myself, so I am not really qualified to write this article. However, I do know of the pain of having to get everyone to get their figures in. I do not know the pain of reworking all that data to fit into the form you need, as people will not give it you in the form that you need it.

I do not know the pain of trying to answer those seemingly simple, innocent questions that mean that you that to wrestle the data into another shape to get the answer. Inevitably, the answers to the first questions lead to a second set of seemingly simple, innocent questions, that lead to another round of data wrestling, and this can go on for quite a while.

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Delivering Anaplan From Home

When working with a cloud-based platform like Anaplan, we are used to building models and collaborating remotely, but how easy is it to run an entire project without any real face-to-face contact? This year most employees have had little choice but to work from home. In my latest project for a large insurance company we put the idea of an ‘entirely remote’ project implementation – where everything is done remotely, including scoping and project planning – to the test. 

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