Comparison business planning solutions: Excel* vs Anaplan vs Pigment


Published by Jan Veerman, last updated on

Planadigm - Excel
*: if mentioned Excel, it also could be substituted for Google Sheets, same issues & challenges apply.

Excel planning

In our projects, we do still see a lot of supply chain decisions being made based on Excel planning. We replace this Excel planning with a robust, flexible and agile planning platform Pigment. Excel has many advantages: flexibility, easy to setup, comes with no additional costs. And to a certain level of planning, we see that Excel can perform quitte well.

As combinations of planning points increase (number of SKU’s, customers, channels), it becomes more difficult to maintain the Excel planning file(s). The increased data points can also result in a less performing planning file or even become corrupt. As a backup, many versions (separate files stored on a shared folder) are created, resulting in loss of overview and updates made to the wrong file. The ability to create a scenario is complex and time consuming and involves in most cases a duplication of the file to support scenario planning, resulting in two files to maintain!

In the old days, when a customer wanted to replace Excel, we implemented (now known as) legacy systems like Cognos Planning or Hyperion Planning. The first mature cloud-based planning tool that came to market was Anaplan (around 2010 – 2011), which replaced the need for its own hardware, periodic updates (with CD-Roms!). From a user perspective, this platform was very user friendly, easier to implement compared to Cognos Planning with improved performance.

Planadigm - Anaplan

Anaplan: the first cloud-based planning tool

The ride Anaplan took from the start till now reads like a fairy tale. Anaplan grew to one of the leading platforms in business planning since then, the number of customers exploded and the functionality increased a lot over the years. Even the ownership of the organisation. From privately owned to listed at the NYSE to owned by private equity.


This last move (owned by private equity) seems to have shifted the internal focus from customer centric to internal ROI: to earn back the investment as soon as possible. Implementation partners now have to pay heavily for a partnership, customers are surprised by increased license prices and a decreased performance especially with large models. Customers that are now up for a renewal of their contract, proactively look for alternative solutions. We are in talks with many current Anaplan customers who are on the lookout for better performing and cheaper alternatives like Pigment.


Planadigm - Logo Pigment

Pigment: the next generation cloud-based planning tool

Pigment came to market in 2019 and is a cloud-based planning platform based on low-code/ no-code technology. The first time I came across Pigment, I was flabbergasted with the ease of use, the flexibility of the platform and the very clever implemented functionality that is available. For example, the activation of the scenario functionality with just a few clicks and the creation of new scenarios by end users is also done in a few clicks. This new technology and the way it has been developed, enables planners to create supply chain planning models that are very flexible and resilient, easy to setup and maintain, and that are able to handle large data sets.


When comparing the three mentioned planning solutions (Excel – Anaplan – Pigment), it becomes evident that Pigment is the preferred option. With its reasonable pricing, flexibility, capability to swiftly generate scenarios, and adept handling of large datasets, Pigment encompasses all functionalities highly sought after by supply chain planners. To compare the three platforms, we created a comparison table below to show the differences between the solutions. This comparison is based on our experience (we implemented Anaplan for many years, we started implement Pigment since the beginning of 2023), feedback from sales calls with prospects and current customers.
Planadigm - Comparison bus planning tools
Pigment created their own comparison with Anaplan, which can be accessed here:


Conclusion based on comparison

If you are a current Excel or Anaplan user and recognise one or more shortcoming of your current planning solution, please reach out. We believe that the life cycle of products like Excel or Anaplan have reached their end-of-life and Pigment can be seen as a new product introduction. Pigment as a the new kid on the block, based on the latest technology can deliver results, fast. If you are considering a new planning solution, Pigment is a very good alternative that promotes true integrated business planning.


Happy to discuss your current challenges to see if Pigment is the right fit for you. Please contact me at or +316 – 5188 4701.
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