By Andre Lie, Senior Consultant at Cornerstone Performance Management
Anaplan, whose name comes from the words 'analysis' and planning' is a cloud based platform which allows enterprise teams to organise and analyse their disparate sets of data and collaborate within a single web interface. Sales, Finance, HR, Marketing and other business operations functions can work together within the Anaplan Platform.One of the most important factors in successfully delivering a production-ready Anaplan application is data availability and accuracy. Data refresh, particularly for actuals, is often required on a regular basis. Otherwise, users could lose confidence if they find incorrect data due to late availability.
Anaplan GUI allows such Actions as data or list import and export to be manually run. However, this approach may not be practical for data that should be frequently refreshed. This is where Anaplan Connect offers a solution, particularly in an environment where there is no formal data integration tool.
Automating import and export in Anaplan is made possible by Anaplan Connect, an API client tool with command line interface. In addition to import and export actions, the Delete action removes specific items from the list, you can also schedule process actions. With Anaplan Connect, manual work in the Anaplan GUI to run actions is eliminated as they can be executed at the time interval required via operating system scheduler. Furthermore, data can be updated from any JDBC compliant databases, which are often the most common source of data for Anaplan model.
To use Anaplan Connect, the API Client tool needs to be downloaded, and a Windows batch file or Unix / MacOS shell script needs to be written. The creation of this file is made easier as sample files are available together with the API client download.
In the example below see how data can be imported into Anaplan list from the database.
Batch file creation can be done by modifying the supplied Example file, and the following parameters need to be configured:
- AnaplanUser, provides credentials to connect to Anaplan, such as username and or password. With the latest release of Anaplan Connect 1.4, authentication can be done by using Certificate Authorities (CA) certificates
- WorkspaceId, specifies Anaplan Workspace ID
- ModelId, specifies Anaplan Model ID
- Operation, provides specific Anaplan actions to be executed (-import), instruction to run the action (-execute), and log file for any errors during the execution (-output). For import from database, the parameter also sets Anaplan file to use and the SQL query to upload to (-file), database connection (-jdbcurl and -jdbcuser), and SQL Query (-jdbcquery)
The configuration of Operation parameter is what differentiates one Anaplan action to another.
Figure 1: Sample Windows batch file
Once the script is created, it can be run either from the command line or via the operating system scheduler for automation. When running the script via the command line, the user will be prompted for their password if it isn’t included in the script.
Figure 2: Sample command line execution
Figure 3: Sample Windows scheduler
The following screenshot shows the Anaplan list after the import action:
Figure 4: Anaplan List
Anaplan Connect offers a sound solution for automation, which overcomes limitation of Anaplan GUI, particularly in an environment with no formal data integration tool. Since its simple to configure, Anaplan Connect can be used by business users with limited scripting experience as well as IT developers.
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