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.
But when he joined Nutanix five years ago, demand planning at the cloud computing company was done entirely using offline spreadsheets. The finance team would spend hours consolidating data from disconnected source systems—making it tough to collaborate cross-functionally and to generate forecasts with agility.
“When you’re sharing multiple spreadsheets and updating and extracting data manually, collaboration is extremely difficult,” says Rob. “You’re battling from within in that situation. You don’t know whose data is correct.”
With no reliable demand forecast based on up-to-date actuals, it was difficult to look ahead and respond proactively to changing business requirements. So, as Senior Manager of Demand/Supply Planning and Business Systems, Rob was tasked with finding an integrated software solution that could 1) provide a holistic view of financial and operational data, 2) eliminate manual spreadsheet work and 3) enable agile decision making across every function of the business.
“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, Rob knew he was looking for an easy-to-use solution that would also be scalable across the entire organization. He was immediately drawn to Vena’s Excel interface—as Excel was a tool his team already loved—and the flexible functionality that Vena Complete Planning provides.
“I have full control over the Vena environment,” says Rob. “There hasn’t been any functionality that I haven’t been able to deploy.”
Another key feature was Vena’s ability to integrate with all of Nutanix’s data sources, including Salesforce (for sales pipeline and customer info) and NetSuite (for up-to-date journal entries). After launching Vena for demand planning with just five users on the platform, Rob’s use case has evolved into 30 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,” he says. “That single source of truth has proved to be essential for our business.”
Offline spreadsheets, data integrity challenges and hindered collaboration are ancient history for Rob and his teammates. Centralizing their planning processes with Vena has allowed them to work more efficiently, eliminate version control issues and maintain an accurate operational outlook to support strategic decision making.
“We’re using Vena to forecast and to produce that signal for what we anticipate we'll have to build for our customers in the future,” he says. “Now we can deliver that forecast to our contract manufacturer seamlessly, which helps them to support us from a materials perspective and really drive our supply chain.”
But the most important result, Rob says, has been the ability to respond quickly when business conditions change, or when new targets come down from finance and senior management. With all the data he needs right at his fingertips in Vena—plus the flexibility to factor that data into any existing reporting template—Rob and his colleagues can look ahead with confidence and identify opportunities for strategic growth and improvement.
“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.”