Sourcing, Connected: How Anaplan Empowered a Proactive Procurement Team

When Sarah Toomey accepted a new position leading Anaplan’s procurement team in 2017, she didn’t know her de facto title would be “chief firefighter.” This quickly became apparent. The small procurement team, with Sarah now at the helm, was supporting over 700 employees in a dozen offices globally. To support the business’ hyper-growth, they were constantly in fire-fighting mode to satisfy other teams’ needs.

Disconnected Procurement Processes Threaten Growth

Sarah’s first challenge at Anaplan was “to get the deluge of suppliers, purchase requests, and contracts under control.” The continuous stream of requests put the company’s ability to scale at risk and blocked Legal, Finance, and Compliance teams from accessing critical projects they needed to evaluate. With dozens of contracts in queue at a time, the procurement team was dangerously close to losing context on key decisions.

Flash-forward to today, and Anaplan has grown to over 1,000 employees generating more than US$240M in revenue. They have 20 offices in 13 countries to support over 1,100 customers. But despite their hyper-growth growth, the procurement team is no longer in the hot seat fighting fires. In fact, they’ve been able to triple the capacity of their small team. Sourcing projects are now connected with all functions of the organization, especially with planning, risk, and finance. So, what changed? How did they achieve such rapid success?

Laying the Foundation for Procurement Innovation

Back in 2017, Finance laid the groundwork by updating procurement operations infrastructure, including digitizing POs and invoices. In 2018, Sarah decided to take the procurement evolution a step further by transforming and then maturing the sourcing function. The Anaplan team set out to evaluate sourcing tools, looking across the market for a solution that was simple, cost-effective, and able to integrate with their connected planning platform.

Anaplan Chooses Scout for Sourcing Innovation

Anaplan chose Scout to increase the procurement team’s efficiency to support their growth and make it easy to communicate Sourcing’s impact to the rest of the company. Scout empowered Anaplan to further transform and accelerate the way decisions are made. Now, not only has Anaplan evolved to a more self-service model for sourcing and procurement – freeing the team to work on more strategic projects – but they’re also capturing the history of every supplier engagement. That kind of continuity in a continually changing, growing organization is critical to maintaining compliance, risk, and savings under management.

Anaplan Achieves Unprecedented Success with Scout

Today, Anaplan uses Scout’s Sourcing and Supplier Engagement Platform with their own connected planning platform, ERP and invoicing systems to quarterback their entire supplier, purchasing, and contracting lifecycle. They’re focusing on improving compliance, quality of buying data, task automation, and tighter integrations with the Anaplan platform.

Using the Scout platform, the Anaplan sourcing team can facilitate collaboration between business stakeholders, clearly communicate priorities and impact, and help the entire organization execute more effectively. The ability to see and prioritize sourcing projects while enforcing contract compliance and leveraging automatically triggered workflows have all helped the team mitigate risk and strengthen their sourcing strategy.

“With Scout,” says Sarah, “our legal team now has full context and priority into every contract and renewal…This is our opportunity to elevate sourcing and procurement into a true source of growth for our company.”  Anaplan now supports contracts for more than 50 percent of their global spend. “Our ability to see quarters ahead is helping keep our rapidly growing company’s financials on track,” Sarah reports.

With the right processes implemented, the right people to lead, and the right tools enabled, Anaplan’s procurement team is no longer the firefighters of the organization, struggling to keep up with business demands. They’re Anaplan’s quarterbacks of indirect and direct spend, using Scout to expand their playbook and get the entire business on the same page.

Looking to the Future with Scout for Sourcing

Looking ahead, what’s next for Sarah and the Anaplan team? They’re driving procurement evolution at a lightning pace and show no signs of slowing. In 2020, they’re looking to expand RFP policies, implement tiered suppliers, enforce QBRs, focus on category reviews, and much more.

Want to learn more about Anaplan’s lessons learned and next steps? Check out Sarah’s engaging presentation at the recent SPARK event in San Francisco or reach out to us directly!

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