2017 Review - Six years on from our first Anaplan customer
This has been a landmark year for us here at Bedford Towers. We’ve enjoyed another successful year and are looking forward to 2018 with great excitement.
A particular milestone for me this year was the renewal of my very first Anaplan customer signed in 2011 for a further three years. When the customer next comes up for renewal in 2020 they will have been using Anaplan for 9 years – and I think you’ll agree that is something both we and Anaplan should be exceptionally proud of. Not just because of the longevity of the term, but the story of the term. The usage of Anaplan has survived six years of acquisition, organisational & people change, expansion, upgrades, new releases and development. Both the customer and the tool are entirely different after those six years, but the relationship continues to thrive. It is a testament to my team here at Bedford, to the Anaplan team and to the customer, that through all of this, they feel empowered to commit to a further 3 years cycle. It’s also worth considering the context of that usage - they are still expanding the use of Anaplan, it doesn’t just sit in the corner and get dusted off once or twice a month - it is a living breathing part of day to day life in the organisation.
Like all good stories, it’s also a story of people, the individual I worked with on the implementation in 2011 now heads up one of the world’s largest advisory firm’s Anaplan practice. When I first met him as a contractor at the customer, he was excited and open minded at the prospects of a new tool, he embraced it and learned it quickly and his career has gone from strength to strength ever since based on that enthusiasm and commitment to excellence he showed from day one. For me personally, it is a gratifying return on the investment placed in Anaplan in those very early days. The customer was developed from a cold call (yes shock horror we do cold calling) when nobody had really even heard of Anaplan. In those days, it was not the all singing, all dancing platform we see today, it was a pretty basic module based tool, not a dashboard in sight – but I could see the power and I understood how we were on the verge of something amazing – it just wasn’t easy to convince customers that early. What a great pleasure it is for me to tell the story of my very first Anaplan customer, how Bedford has developed as a business and how Anaplan has developed as a platform and world beating Unicorn.
We are Anaplan people, and this was the first full year we were entirely Anaplan focused. Just over twelve months after making that decision we haven’t looked back for a single second. In 2017 we worked on 77 different engagements across 54 different customers, bringing our total number of Anaplan engagements now to well over 200. We doubled our Customer Success Team and intend to do so again in the next 12 months. I have great confidence in Anaplan, the product, the leadership and the strategy and I am delighted that Bedford can play a significant part in the Anaplan story here in the UK. Our culture and reputation are hugely important to me. I want us to be known as the Anaplan experts but more importantly, I want us to be known as good people. Easy to work with, easy to deal with and people who genuinely add value to their customers. Business can sometimes lose sight of the “nice guy” factor, but at Bedford we hold that true in everything we do, we call it the Bedford Way.
In 2017 we had some organisational changes of our own at Bedford, with Cathal and I taking complete ownership of Bedford into the Doyle family. This has allowed us to set about an investment strategy which will continue well into 2018 and 2019 to cement our position as the number one Anaplan partner in the UK. We have very aggressive growth targets and hope with our colleagues at Anaplan we’ll be knocking on the door of over achievement in 2018.
It has been an exciting, exhilarating, challenging and naturally tiring year. My team and I are looking forward to a well-deserved rest and we wish similar to our wonderful hard-working customers, partners and friends. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2018 and continuing to build on our joint success.