FP&A Challenges experienced by a large Railway System

October 31, 2022

Anaplan recently released a new Customer Case Study on how they helped Swiss Federal Railways improve their financial planning process.

Swiss Federal Railways manages a significant operation including 15,000 employees,  1.3 million daily passengers, and nearly US $10B in revenue. Not to mention they are the national railway company of the government of Switzerland. Prior to Anaplan, Swiss Federal Railways managed their FP&A activities within spreadsheets. Their spreadsheet process grew unattainable. Anaplan describes it as:

“The scale of the project was huge: 20 workbooks with as many as 150 tabs apiece were created, and 12,000 scripts were written to control the data exchange among spreadsheets. Internally, the prototype was affectionately known as the “Jungle Book,” and its individual components were named after characters from Rudyard Kipling’s novel.”

Spreadsheets are incredible tools for personal productivity but they don’t replace corporate systems for enterprise-level operations at this scale. It is no surprise that Federal Swiss found itself in urgent need of a real planning platform.

Anaplan is one of the world’s most popular planning platforms for the largest enterprise globally.

If you read Anaplan’s latest 10-K released on March 23rd, 2022, there is no secret that its goal is to drive massive recurring revenue contracts with the world’s largest enterprises

They released impressive industry-leading financial results as highlighted in this 10-K:

  • Their top 25 clients spend a staggering average of $5M annually 
  • 29% of their entire client base spends over $250,000 annually

We can assume products that are direct competitors to Anaplan, like Oracle EPM and OneStream, are similarly priced and could easily match or exceed Anaplan’s average customer spend.

As a $10B revenue operation that is also backed by the federal government, we can assume Swiss Federal Railways has ample IT budget to afford a pricey solution like Anaplan.

An average annual IT spend for large enterprises with over $2B in annual revenue across industries is around 3% of revenue. Here is one study that backs that figure. Based on this, we can estimate Swiss Federal could have around a $300M IT budget if they fall within these averages.

If 29% of Anaplan’s entire client base spends over USD $250,000 annually there is a good chance the original implementation was around 1-2x the annual software amount for these clients. Additionally, platforms like Anaplan require product specialists with technical certifications to operate them on an ongoing basis. These are ongoing fees Anaplan clients may need to budget for the life of the product either as ongoing outside consulting fees or to hire specialized employees. This ongoing need for labor costs associated with a business software platform is also referred to as the Forever Implementation because the professional services (human labor) associated with maintaining the product live long after the original implementation is completed.

Is Anaplan worth this high cost?

If budget at these levels is not a concern for the CFO to adopt and maintain a new system, then a very positive ROI is probably there for the taking with Anaplan. It is a proven solution to help the world’s largest enterprises resolve complex planning challenges such as those experienced by Swiss Federal Railways.

In other words, if you can pay the very high price of admission and you’re a large global enterprise with challenges around your FP&A process, Anaplan is a safe bet.

What if you don’t have these massive IT budgets but are also experiencing bottlenecks managing your finance activities on too many spreadsheets?

There are alternatives like finlogic.io that can provide an enterprise-ready financial planning platform at a fraction of the total cost.

Visit finlogic.io to learn more.