Reducing Calculations with Text in Anaplan

Reducing Calculations in Anaplan improves performance, and I am not referring to reducing line items. I am talking about the pieces of each formula in the line items. Anaplan’s engine is designed primarily to complete tasks that are Boolean, followed by numerical, like most computers. When you leverage text, Anaplan must work significantly harder to complete the created equation. Text calculations are necessary for many tasks, so when you do need to leverage them, being efficient by reducing the number of times that Anaplan needs to calculate pieces of, or at all, will return in an improvement in performance. One of those methods is to reduce dimensions, when possible. An easy method to take this concept to the maximum with text is creating a reference module with no dimensions.

In this example, our end goal is to add the term “Week “ into a line item, for all list members. The module does not require a summary, so this is assumed to function as a flat list. With summaries enabled, the calculations get more complex on how Anaplan handles it.

For consistencies sake and clarity, I built a reference module in this example model called “Phrases”. This module isn’t going to have any applied dimensions. In this instance I have two commonly used phrases in the model, Week and space. I also added a concatenated line item, as the Target example module requires them to be together. The goal is to have any text calculations that are applied to more than one cell calculated in the Phrases module, shown below.

You can reduce the number text calculations to one reference calculations, rather than X number of calculations, in this instance 13 which you can see by the cell count. This is done by applying the following equation which references the Phrases module:

This specific example saves 10 calculations, by taking the referenced line item and supporting line items and subtract those from the Target module. The referenced line has 2 supporting line items/cells and 1 value that will be brought to the Target module, which has 13 list members. This is an overly simple example, and the difference can be significantly more depending on the dimensionality, design, and size of your model.

The original formula that is used to calculate the savings is: start of the formula…& “Week “&… rest of the formula; which is completed 13 times, once for each list member. By moving the equation to be applied as a reference and breaking the terms into two separate entities you have a good place to grab the line item “Space” and “Week”, as well as a concatenated version as well if necessarily. By adding the combined/concatenated value as well, the reduction is a further single calculation, versus referencing multiple times.

To recap:

  • Normal method: 13 Text calculations per change impacting the line item AND during model launch
  • Described Method: 3 Text Calculations during model launch and 1 Reference Calculation per change impacting the line item AND during model launch