Introducing Next Generation Automation in Planhat


We are launching some amazing new automation tools in Planhat! These are designed to help save CSMs time, move your data where you need it and generally make the life of a CSM better than ever. This article provides some background and gets a bit nerdy, but we thought it was worth putting the new tools in context. Hope you enjoy!

Continuing our mission to help our customers grow their business, we launched our Data Module at the start of 2020. The Data tab as our customers know it, was a new way of organising and managing customer data , providing modern spreadsheet and kanban design tied directly to all your other databases. From real-time hyper flexible filtering to simple in-line editing, it’s an intuitive and easy way to manage customer data.

In the caverns of Planhat HQ however, Data Module was engineered as a completely new architecture and one we believed would scale for many years across many use cases. The aim was to create a truly next generation platform for handling diverse data types and connecting them to the many tools in Planhat.

As we step into 2021, we are excited to take Data Module a step further with the launch of next generation automations. But before we get to that, a little side note on Formula Fields which are amazing!


Targeting and Transforming Customer Data

During 2020 we launched a bunch of enhancements to Data Module as we tried to double down flexibility it provided. One really cool example is Formula Fields.

Where Data Module enables you to flexibly structure and work with your customer data, Formula Fields help you target and transform data to gain new insights.

With Formula Fields you can target your underlying data and move it between objects, while transforming it at the same time. For example, you may want to show the number of current open tickets, or the number of tickets with a severity level, or even the date a specific ticket type was last submitted. Formula Fields can easily find and calculate this information and put it wherever you need it.

The flexibility opened up by Formula Fields is huge as your data can be wherever you need it and in whatever form you need it. For example, on your Enterprise accounts you might want to show the name and email of each Exec Sponsor; formula fields could find the right contacts and put their name and email on the Account Profile. Or instead, you may want to show a countdown of days to renewal, or on an End User’s profile the number of days until their anniversary as a user, or the total number of seats associated with each of their licenses . All this and more are possible as formula fields can pinpoint and transform your data in real time.

In short, if Data Module is Google Earth showing you the world of your customers, Formula Fields give you the ability to zoom in and see the neighbourhood you grew up in.

Next Generation Automation

Ok, but on to the exciting stuff…

Planhat’s new automation engine doubles down on all the flexibility in the Data Module and lets you build chains of automations that can move and transform your data in a thousand different ways.

What’s more, these automations are not limited to the data in Planhat instead opening up possibilities to send data to different systems and even execute complex functions outside Planhat!

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine, you’re a customer success team leader. It’s a sunny day, you’re not stressed or over worked, you wake naturally from a wonderful dream and somewhere one of your AEs just closed a deal that you will manage. Using Planhat’s next generation automations in the blink of an eye and without the lifting of a finger the following could all happen:

  1. The new customer is created in Planhat with all key information from your CRM.

  2. The account owner is auto-assigned based on some property on the customer.

  3. An Onboarding Playbook auto assigns tasks to the new owner.

  4. An email is sent to the new customer welcoming them onboard.

  5. A QBR task is scheduled in 90 and 180 days time.

  6. A renewal meeting is scheduled 90 days before the subscription ends.

  7. A notification is posted in a Slack channel informing whoever needs to know that all this is happening.

  8. A card is generated in Trello or some other system for Product to provision their account.

  9. A cooked breakfast and a latte are delivered to your bed and you get a foot massage.

Ok we may have exaggerated that last one, but you get the idea. Sequential automations with by and large no-code is a game changer for customer success and a way to save hundreds of hours every year.

One of our principles at Planhat is to build tools that are flexible as we’ve seen over the years, that with flexibility, our customers come up with amazing use cases and solve fascinating challenges. (Yes, this is marketing talk for ‘our customers are more creative than we are’). Well, this is already happening with automations!

The VP of Customer Success at a large, financial technology company wanted to save his team time by having an update on a child account automatically update a different field on the parent account in real time and have this change generate an alert to the parent account manager. Then taking it further, he wanted to be able to enter numeric values on multiple child accounts and see them summed together on the parent. Obviously this use case is not for everyone so not something we would build outright, but with automations, it can easily be solved!

As we look ahead we see automations being a key attribute of Planhat and a way to give more time back to CSMs so they can focus on value creation and growing their book of business. Further, with the ability for automations to update systems outside Planhat, we are trying to remove data silos for our customers and drive their growth through customer centricity. Basically, cooked breakfast delivery is not too far away!

Please let us know what you think and as ever, please keep the feedback coming.

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