When Anaplan, a provider of cloud-based operations and financial planning software, raised $100 million in Series D funding last spring, the company's CEO announced plans for a marketplace in which customers could share their enterprise planning applications.
Anaplan is making good on that announcement with the introduction of the App Hub, a community that facilitates creating enterprise planning apps on its cloud platform and sharing them with others. It is launching with nearly 40 apps representing more than 10 industries, many of them built by Anaplan and some built by partners like Workforce Insight and PwC. Based on plans for contributions from Anaplan partners, Anaplan expects the hub to quickly grow to more than a hundred apps.
The initial collection of apps encompasses sales forecasting, trade and promotion planning, incentive compensation planning, financial consolidation, strategic financial planning and territory and quota planning, among other areas.
The App Hub includes online materials and video demonstrations to help companies learn more about the apps. It features one-click provisioning, so "apps are activated in seconds with no dependency on IT and no coding required," said Folia Grace, Anaplan’s VP of Product Marketing.
Apps built by Anaplan are free if you have an Anaplan Platform License and you are within your user and size limits, Grace said. "If you have a limited use case license or need additional users or space, you can still deploy and explore apps built by Anaplan for 30 days, after which time you can decide if you want to expand your license," she added, noting that Anaplan account executives will assist with making any needed licensing changes.
Apps built by Anaplan partners are licensed through the partners. Partners currently participating in the App Hub are not charging for their apps although that could change, Grace said.
Open Content Model
Unlike other enterprise app stores like Salesforce's AppExchange, App Hub users will be able to customize applications to satisfy their specific planning needs. The hub is "based on an open-content model for business planning, similar to open-source strategy for computer programming," Grace said.
"We have some amazing partners that are happy to share their industry knowledge and expertise with other Anaplanners. It's all about collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the goal is to speed up services implementation times and to provide business users with solutions at their fingertips at all times," she said.
"This sharing of intellectual property is a radical shift in the way enterprise planning software is developed, enriched and consumed,” said Anaplan CEO Fred Laluyaux in a statement.
Anaplan customer Jeff Brobst, VP of FP&A at McAfee, said his company has created 20 applications while using Anaplan. "What we’ve learned as part of the Anaplan community is that the problems are almost the same across enterprises. Once someone cracks the code on a problem, it’s really great to be able to pass that on. With the App Hub, you’re not only getting application contributions from customers but really tightly written applications from vertical industry experts that you can just plug right in."
The hub "gives us a powerful and scalable way to package our deep industry and business insights for our clients," said Sam Kapreilian, chief technology officer of Deloitte Tax LLP. Deloitte's contributions to the hub include resources to help companies better analyze the tax implications of business decisions such as talent mobility, transfer pricing and M&A transactions, he said.
Grace said that Anaplan reviews and vets all contributions, ensuring they contain no proprietary data and also assessing app functionality and model structure. The Anaplan team also reviews collateral submitted with the app to make sure it helps potential customers understand the app's capabilities, she said.