Rob Pastega is a seasoned veteran when it comes to operational planning in the tech industry. He knows better than most how important it is for businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and evolving consumer needs.
When he joined Nutanix five years ago, demand planning at the enterprise cloud computing company was done entirely using offline Excel spreadsheets with data sourced from disparate, disconnected systems. This made it tough for his team to collaborate with other departments to generate forecasts with agility.
“When you’re sharing multiple spreadsheets and updating and extracting data manually, collaboration is extremely difficult,” says Pastega. “You’re battling from within in that situation. You don’t know whose data is correct.”
Without a reliable demand forecast based on up-to-date data, it’s difficult to look ahead and respond proactively to changing business requirements. As Senior Manager of Demand/Supply Planning and Business Systems, Pastega was tasked with finding an integrated software solution that could provide a holistic view of operational data, eliminate manual spreadsheet work and enable agile decision making at Nutanix.
“There are times when you have critical things happening in business that are going to sway one way or another,” he says. “The ability to react to that in a timely fashion just didn’t exist prior to Vena.”
As he began his search, Pastega knew the solution would have to be easy-to-use and scalable across the entire organization. He was immediately drawn to Vena’s Excel interface—as Excel was a tool his team already knew and loved—and the flexible functionality that Vena’s platform solution provides.
“I have full control over the [Vena] environment,” he says. “There hasn’t been any functionality that I haven’t been able to deploy.”
Another key feature was Vena’s ability to connect seamlessly with all of Nutanix’s existing data sources, including Salesforce (for sales and customer info) and NetSuite (for transactional ERP data). After launching Vena for demand planning with just five users on the platform, Pastega’s team has since grown to include 30 active Vena users contributing to all aspects of demand and supply chain planning—with Vena serving as the central reference point for key processes like attach rate planning, point-in-time analysis and what-if scenario modeling.
“Vena provides us with a platform that can give ultimate flexibility, with limited IT support,” says Pastega. “That single source of truth has really proved to be essential for our business.”
For Pastega and his team, the days of offline spreadsheets, data integrity challenges and hindered collaboration across departments are ancient history. Bringing all of their planning processes into Vena has allowed them to work more efficiently, eliminate version control issues and maintain a more accurate operational outlook to support agile, strategic decision making.
“We’re using Vena to forecast and produce that signal for what we anticipate building for our customers in the future,” he says. “Now we can deliver that signal seamlessly to our contract manufacturer, which enables them to support us from a materials perspective and really drive our supply chain.”
But the most important result, Pastega says, has been the ability to respond quickly when business conditions change, or when new targets come down from the office of finance. With all the data he needs right there at his fingertips in Vena—as well as the flexibility to factor that data into any existing templates or data models—Pastega and his colleagues can look ahead with confidence and identify opportunities for strategic improvements and growth initiatives.
“Going into work each day and having the ability to be efficient, to be that conduit to the business, and to enable the business to make decisions has been much more fulfilling,” he says. “Vena has enabled that.”