City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is a system of seven community colleges and five satellite campuses that provide opportunities for higher education to Chicago-area residents. Serving over 80,000 students and more than 5,000 faculty and staff members, it is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation.  The organization aims to ensure the success of every student and serve as an economic engine for the city of Chicago. It gives students access to quality resources to support and further their education or career.  For more information on City Colleges of Chicago, please visit their website.


Previously, CCC employed a spreadsheet and email driven workflow process for budgeting that lacked speed, efficiency, and transparency within the organization.  This manual system presented several challenges, including:

  • An iterative submission process that resulted in internal communication hurdles
  • A time-consuming consolidation process that resulted in internal communication hurdles
  • Difficulty in identifying and tracking budget discrepancies
  • A lack of robust workflow process when identifying the source of discrepancies in data

CCC required a cloud-based EPM solution to enable more efficient, compliant, and transparent processes within their Department of Finance and gives business leaders across the enterprise the tools to manage organizational performance and guide strategic direction.

Why Anaplan?

Recognizing the need for a timely and secure enterprise-level solution, CCC requested the implementation of Anaplan’s Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting solution by way of their Connected Planning software.  This allowed for processes such as automation of data interfaces, efficient budget model updates, leveraging workflow to automate reviews and submittals, and “what-if” analysis.  Benefits of PB&F specifically suited to CCC’s needs included:

  • Facilitating quick and easy creation of online management reports
  • Connecting data across the organization to have a holistic view of financial forecasts
  • Providing uniformity and allowing users to work cohesively and transparently
  • Modeling project structures, time frames, resources, funding requirements, and expected benefits

Implementation & Deployment

Using the Anaplan Way methodology, Clarity Partners worked closely with CCC’s budget team to design and develop a solution that addressed issues with the existing system.  More specifically, the implementation provided the following upgrades and improvements:

  • Process of budget template creation reduced from a week to a single click
  • Streamlined process consolidation from three days to one, including post-submission analytics
  • More time for analysis during budget time line due to decreased need for time
    spent on consolidation and clean up
  • Allowance for instantaneous feedback to colleges through the system
  • Easy access to data from previous year for end users
  • Allowance of a single platform communication channel between three data warehouses (CS9, PeopleSoft HR, and PeopleSoft Finance)

Clarity was responsible for the overall implementation, including end-user training, testing, deployment, cut-over, and go-live activities, in addition to post-implementation support.


For Your Internal Teams

  • Improved communications to support better decision making
  • Enhanced controls with user-based roles and permissions
  • Improved user experience for both non-financial managers and staff
  • More time to analyze data with automated reporting

For Your Data

  • Secured access
  • Potential for future expansion
  • Seamless integration with PeopleSoft technology
  • Elimination of data discrepancies within public records
  • Elimination of data redundancies within repositories and hard copy files

For Your Workflows

  • More time to analyze data with automated reporting
  • Improve quality of reports
  • Improve efficiency with streamlined formulation processes

For Management

  • Increase confidence in long range planning, budgeting, and forecasting
  • Improve auditability

What’s Next

CCC has completed its first budget cycle with Anaplan and will continue to utilize Anaplan as the main tool for budgeting.  With the recent Capital Planning and College Course Cost/Revenue Reporting functionalities, CCC is exploring how Anaplan can benefit the organization in additional areas.