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CEO Frank Calderoni lays out vision for SaaS unicorn Anaplan

Scott Carey | April 3, 2017
The company is planning an initial public offering this year.

"What I learned over the years is that companies that put their customers at the centre of their strategy are the companies that win, that have the longevity and strength in the market to be successful over time," he added. "So we kicked off an initiative called customer first, which is internal to us. All for the benefit of meeting [customer] needs, requirements, and expectations."

When it comes to technology, Calderoni doesn't want Anaplan resting on its laurels as a leader in the planning software space, especially with big name rivals like Workday starting to encroach on their territory.

"Yes we need to make continued investment to add on some of the requests our customers have and that is where I want to stay focused," he said. "We also have to be aware of how technology will evolve and make sure that is part of our long-range roadmap. [One] of the things that come up is the open platform, so allowing more connections and feeders in."

Calderoni also wants to ensure that Anaplan keeps up-to-date with the latest technology, saying that his CTO Michael Gould will continue to look into "how technology evolves around AI and machine learning and if we could evolve into capturing some of that into our platform, potentially."

Lastly, there is an increased focus on community, building out the existing Anaplan portal, adding user groups and continuing to grow events like Hub.

Calderoni saw the importance of community during his time at Red Hat, saying: "I learned a lot with my Red Hat experience as it relates to open source community and the value of that. In the community itself, where you have users of your technology connecting and sharing best practice, ideas, code, it makes you advance much faster as you bring in all that expertise and select the best."


IPO preparations

In terms of preparing Anaplan for a highly-anticipated IPO, Calderoni wouldn't be pushed on a timeline, but he does believe the market is showing green shoots and that Anaplan is well positioned to take advantage.

"Do we feel like we can reach a point where we are ready for an IPO? Yes. Do we also feel that we are on our way to profitability? Yes, but there are different steps that have to happen along that journey. I think we are well positioned right now for both." Calderoni cited the customer growth and uptick in subscriptions in 2016 as markers that the company is on that path to profitability.

"We did announce last year that for the first half of the fiscal year we were cash flow-break-even, which shows we have a level of frugality and that investments are made for a return and that is a good thing," he added.


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