By Mariana Romero Guillot, Solution Architect at Twelve Consulting Group
Anaplan is a powerful tool and optimizing your models is a crucial component of an implementation strategy to realize its full potential. In this blog, we discuss a strategy for optimizing workspace usage to help you maximize the value of your Anaplan investment while avoiding unnecessary workspace expenses.
Workspace Reduction Story:
As a Solution Architect, I have the opportunity to work closely with clients to build new models and enhance existing models every day. I recently worked with a client whose models we did not build. We were working on a couple of their models with minor enhancements and creating new reports as a part of a support contract and were scheduled to start a more robust project with enhancements for their Incentive Compensation Management (ICM) Anaplan Model a few weeks later.
The client contacted us after receiving an error when trying to sync Dev -> Prod. When they attempted to add one year to the Time Ranges, it caused the workspace (WS) to exceed the size limit.
Before Model Review & Optimization:
WS size limit: 130 GB
WS usage: 87%
WS size before sync: 20.4 B cells
WS size before sync: 114.17 GB
WS size after sync: 140.46 GB
Consequently, Anaplan could not be used to calculate their commission payments, which resulted in the calculations being done manually outside of Anaplan. Additionally, this prevented them from carrying out further planned enhancements.
Given the time crunch, we partnered with Anaplan to quickly discuss options for addressing their space constraints. One option was to invest in a HyperModel, which is basically a giant high-performance workspace (up to 720GB) that allows large models to work seamlessly without impacting performance by using additional hardware that a regular workspace (with a 130GB limit) doesn’t need.
Although a Hypermodel would give the client the space they needed, it was not in the budget and they were concerned that space might continue to be an issue in the future.
"We got a quote for HyperModel and need to understand if we can address the space issue long-term without going down the HyperModel route."
In order for the client to be able to calculate their commission payments utilizing Anaplan, they needed more space. The client could buy more space (which didn’t seem like a viable option), or free up space in their existing model in a way that would assure scalability for the future. I have seen both the software and best practices rapidly evolve during my tenure, and since this model was built over a year ago, I knew there may be an opportunity to optimize the model to save space and enhance performance potentially solving the issue completely.
My assignment was to assess the situation and determine if we could make changes to the model as soon as possible that would result in space savings, but not impact the functionality or user experience. Less than two weeks before the start of the enhancement project, I decided to identify the most significant issue and optimize it.
My Analysis & Process:
1. Identify the largest modules; in this case, it was 2 modules that took around 66% of the model size
2. Applied best practices (to these 2 modules), considering both performance and size. (best practices may contradict one another; therefore, it is crucial to prioritize and consider the specific situations accordingly.)
3. Observed that both modules utilized two large dimensions and time that were unnecessary for certain line items.
How to reduce the size of each line item:
1. Take note of how line items are used throughout the model:
Referenced by other modules
Displayed in dashboards/UX
Used as filters in dashboards/UX
Displayed in Saved Views
used as filters in Saved Views
Used in any imports/exports/other actions
Used as DCA
Used as filters
2. Compare & test all the changes
Download a view of the module to compare data before and after
Download the blueprint of the module to “save” the current state
Duplicate line items with complex logic to test before making final changes
3. Systematically, one line item at a time:
Remove unnecessary dimensions
Create PROP/SYS modules to reference with minimal dimensions
Review summaries and use only strictly necessary ones
Delete any unnecessary line items
Outcome & Results:
Model reduced by approximately 55%
WS usage: 47%
9.3 B cells
35 Solution Architect hrs invested
No process changes
Zero impact on the user experience
Once the model assessment and line item reduction were completed, the client was able to add the necessary years to the Time Ranges to calculate commissions in Anaplan, once again, and the project to make enhancements to the model proceeded as planned. The customer was thrilled to be getting more value than ever out of their Anaplan investment.
To ensure you are getting the most out of your investment, we recommend existing models are reviewed every year and optimized as needed.
How can Twelve CG help with this?
1. We can review your model and provide optimization recommendations.
2. We may recommend requesting a Model Optimization Report from Anaplan Support. Anaplan has access to additional performance data, enabling them to uncover potential areas that could be optimized.
The report focuses on a specific section of the model outlined in a brief, and the recommendations are typically provided within 1-2 weeks.
3. After identifying the required model adjustments, we can assist with implementing the changes by executing them ourselves or by collaborating with your model builders.
During this process, we can focus on reducing workspace usage, improving model performance, and enhancing the user experience, through the intelligent use of best practices and, potentially, applying new Anaplan functionality.