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Anaplan Idea Proposal (PLAN)

Anaplan Idea Proposal (PLAN)

Is the deceleration in Anaplan’s billings growth a blip or a warning sign?

Report Available: April 16, 2020


Blueshift’s ongoing research found concern about a massive deceleration in PLAN’s billings growth. Company executives brushed off the slowdown as an anomaly stemming from a Q4 sales realignment effort. A key competitor, meanwhile, seems to be benefiting from its acquisition by WDAY.


  1. PLAN spooked investors in February with its Q4 earnings report. Billings growth decelerated to 25% after hitting at least 43% — and as high as 59% — in the five quarters since its October 2018 IPO. In addition, the company’s chief growth officer resigned after less than a year with the company, leading some analysts to wonder about deeper problems at the company. Shares of PLAN tumbled 24% the day after the earnings report. Revenues in Q4 were up 42% to $98.2 million as PLAN expanded its customer count to more than 1,400 and existing customers increased their spending, with dollar-based net expansion coming in at 122%. The company increased its full-year revenue guidance for the current year to $465 million, which would represent about 33% growth, a deceleration from 45% year-over-year growth last year.
  2. Company executives attributed the billings deceleration to a reorganization of its go-to-market strategy. The sales management reshuffling involved focusing resources on major companies deemed most likely to need PLAN’s broad, enterprise-wide, connected planning solutions. PLAN’s CFO said, “These changes affected alignment around some key near-term opportunities, specifically in the Americas, resulting in a lower-than-anticipated growth in billings.” Going forward, executives said billings growth should track revenue growth, which the company forecast at about 35% for Q1. Executives also contend that a more accurate measurement of the company’s momentum is provided by its remaining performance obligation, which represents the total booked or signed business within a quarter. RPO was up 49% in Q4.
  3. One of PLAN’s key competitors, Adaptive Insights, appears to be getting a boost after being acquired by WDAY in August 2018. Adaptive said it added more than 350 planning solution customers in Q4, its best quarter ever. The growth is coming both from new customers and from success selling financial and workforce planning solutions to existing WDAY users. Adaptive mainly competes with PLAN for finance department deployments, which represents about 60% of PLAN’s business. PLAN executives say their supply chain planning solutions are their fastest growing products.
  4. Blueshift’s April 22, 2019, report said PLAN’s connected planning software is unparalleled in its flexibility, making it useful for a wide variety of functions and appealing to a broad swath of enterprises. Sources said PLAN offers a far more comprehensive and accessible solution than MSFT’s Excel, which it often replaces, and is both easier to deploy and simpler to use than tools from ORCL and SAP. However, three sources predicted that Adaptive Insights would become a broader and more formidable competitor as part of WDAY.



Does PLAN’s sales management reshuffling explain its billings growth slowdown? Or does the deceleration hint at deeper issues? Will the reorganization boost PLAN’s ability to land enterprise accounts? Is Adaptive Insights becoming a bigger threat to plan now that it is part of WDAY? What happens when PLAN and Adaptive go head-to-head for deployments? To answer these and other questions, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: Anaplan customers, System integrators and resellers, and Industry specialists.  



Companies: Anaplan Inc. (PLAN), Oracle Corp. (ORCL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), SAP SE (SAP), Workday (WDAY)


Research Begins: March 30, 2020



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