|By Jeri Donn||
|October 5, 2012 09:45 AM EDT||
Cloud computing has changed the way we work. People and businesses can now access services, applications and infrastructure over the Internet, with lower costs, higher productivity and an enhanced user experience.
While cloud computing has revolutionized many aspects of business, its effects have been quite dramatic across supply and demand management. Cloud-based Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) is particularly powerful, connecting disparate demand, supply and financial data from a wide swath of packaged and home-grown enterprise information systems as well as a forest of spreadsheets, harmonizing everything into a single, meaningful plan. Delivering this supply chain "Big Data," analytics and reporting in the cloud means that it can be deployed, scaled, and interconnected quickly, enabling truly collaborative supply and demand planning.
Cloud makes S&OP faster, more transparent and collaborative. It works, it's proven, and it can immediately adjust as needed based on changing business demands. Applications delivered via cloud not only makes it easier to connect disparate business processes and applications, it eliminates the traditional ‘forklift upgrade' process of traditional software vendors. Keeping up with the latest innovations is automatic, so enterprises can focus on their business instead of technology issues.
An Early Commitment to Cloud for Enterasys
For wired and wireless network infrastructure supplier Enterasys Networks, the cloud was not simply a path to IT value and cost savings, but rather it is considered a strategic weapon for competing against very large competitors. Enterasys has rolled out a broad range of cloud solutions company-wide, from gmail and Google Apps, in addition, to replacing Microsoft SharePoint, with Box for cloud-based content management and on-line collaboration. An avid advocate for cloud, Enterasys CIO Dan Petlon is a member of the customer advisory board for its cloud CRM solution, SalesForce.com.
One of its early business processes to benefit from cloud computing is S&OP, a journey which began in 2005. By harnessing the power of the cloud through S&OP vendor Steelwedge to better align its demand and supply plans internally as well as with suppliers and customers, Enterasys has achieved better demand predictability, reduced inventory and contributed to a 95% rate of global customer satisfaction.
The company's achievements have not gone unnoticed. Because of their innovative S&OP use of cloud computing, Enterasys has been recognized by Gartner as embodying advanced S&OP Maturity. The company's exceptional S&OP practices have resulted in three years of sequential growth during a period its peers were plagued with sluggish growth. With cloud-based S&OP technology, Enterasys identified $3 - $4 million in savings per quarter, and, in 2012, achieved the milestone of eleven consecutive quarters of improved year-over-year growth.
Creating a Demand-Driven Mindset
Enterasys' wired and wireless network infrastructure & security solutions help enterprises stay in front of changing connectivity and security needs. Back in 2004, the company realized that the impact of constantly evolving global business change on its supply chain meant that improving its ability to predict demand was paramount. The firm subsequently embarked on a CEO-driven mission to transform itself into a lean, responsive and much more demand-driven business.
According to Vice President of Operations Jack Lyon, "We needed to do a better job at predicting demand, so that we could reduce excess and obsolete inventory; you own it and have to write it off." Lyon's baseline assessment of supply chain challenges also included order delays, sluggish market response, short product life cycles and organization silos of information. Compounding the problem was a completely outsourced supply chain with contract manufacturers building all of its products.
Enterasys embarked on a mission to create a worldwide collaborative integrated process and methodology that supports and delivers a demand plan with one agreed set of numbers. The company set out to find an IT solution incorporating a S&OP software platform.
S&OP Year One: Anticipating the Market
Within a year of Lyon's assessment, the company improved its bottom line by applying new techniques and cloud-based technology to a proven S&OP process. With the cloud-based S&OP platform from Steelwedge, Enterasys connected its people and processes to better understand operational tradeoffs when changes in the business environment did not align with its business plan. The company selected Steelwedge's S&OP solution because it is built on a single, cloud-based Integrated Business Planning platform used by large, global manufacturers across multiple industries.
Enterasys uses Steelwedge to unite people, process and technology for an agile planning environment and growing business.
In 2005 the Enterasys S&OP process brought together a cross functional group of leaders from sales, marketing, product management, operations, finance and supply chain. At the same time, Steelwedge integrated and normalized the data from each of those groups that resided in their respective systems such as SAP and Salesforce.com --and eventually added in BigMachines as well. From there, Enterasys drove significant and immediate changes in its business starting with better demand predictability, which in turn, directly affected its ability to respond to change.
For example, within a year, the company could determine in near real-time when a product was not selling as well as expected and drive demand-shaping activities to stimulate sales. Alternatively, if products were selling better than forecast, Enterasys could look first at sales data to see if the growth was sustainable, then reach out to its contract manufacturers to ascertain their capacity to boost production short and mid- term.
The bottom line was clear as well: decreased excess and obsolescence accounted for a whopping $3 to $4 million in savings per quarter initially.
But better demand planning was just the beginning of the ongoing transformation that Enterasys continues to drive from cloud-enabled S&OP. Armed with cross-company data and insights, the S&OP team moved its discussions from having enough supply to fill a particular order, to strategizing on improving gross margins. It regularly uses S&OP to power "what if" scenario planning across many facets of its business to understand the impacts of potential changes on customer satisfaction, revenue, sales and production.
Seven Years Later: Collaborating and Orchestrating
Enterasys has taken a purposeful, incremental "win" approach to driving advancement and ROI from its S&OP. Seven years later, the company has a global, collaborative and integrated S&OP process and methodology, powered with the Steelwedge cloud-based S&OP Platform. Its demand and supply plans are aligned internally and externally with suppliers and customers. In turn, better balance is delivering better predictability, better cash spend and better customer success.
Among the results Enterasys achieved from its mature use of cloud-based S&OP:
- Timely and accurate information through automation
- Cross functional alignment through a collaborative planning approach
- Higher customer satisfaction through better fulfillment
- Sustained high global customer satisfaction (ATP): 95%
- Customer fulfillment: over 97%
- Reduced inventory: 21% year over year
- Forecast error (MAPE): averaging 24%
- Revenue impact less than 5% (of material overhead/excess inventory)
Most impressive though was that Enterasys has realized year over year growth for the past three years (2009-2012). Even in 2011, where its sector saw a 3% drop, Enterasys kept growing and outperforming all other networking companies. Critical to that business stability is Enterasys' cloud-based S&OP foundation.
Crawl, Walk, Run, Sprint: the Promise and Perils of Optimizing Business in a Volatile World
Under Lyon's leadership, S&OP has become a key strategic lever for the company's continued market growth and competitive advantage. But Lyon isn't resting on his laurels. He maintains that the ever shifting marketplace requires constant vigilance on agile business planning to maintain great customer success.
"We traded up our problems, by transforming from a manually intensive supply chain into a lean and responsive organization," says Lyon. "For us, success is all about strengthening the collaboration with customers, delivering on our promises and meeting their expectations. Therefore, our optimization work is never done."
In summary, the cloud-based S&OP transformation at Enterasys resulted in the following improvements and lessons learned:
Stronger collaboration within the organization: A demand plan with one agreed set of numbers fosters alignment and a "we're in it together" culture, eliminating finger-pointing.
Better inventory balance: S&OP helps model the optimal inventory balance. Keeping the lowest possible inventory is not always the right solution: balance needs to be struck between revenue growth and high customer satisfaction while protecting the balance sheet.
Automation powers valuable analysis: Integrated data and executive level reports from the S&OP platform facilitate a collaborative, global S&OP process, freeing resource time for analysis vs. data gathering and manipulation. This, in turn, powers continuous improvement and faster process maturity.
Enabling "bluebird" opportunism: Insights from accurate S&OP data and timely "what if" scenario testing supports "bluebird" demand opportunities that weren't in the forecast at all. With tighter contract manufacturer collaboration, this provides reliable answers to questions like: Can we support it? If not now, when? What other options do we have for supply if we don't have it?
Lyon sums up Enterasys' S&OP success by stating, "We've been successful with S&OP because we've taken an iterative, ‘Crawl, Walk, Run, Sprint' approach to implementation, testing, measurement and advancement. "It's a non-stop journey. The only constant in business is change, whether its market disruptions, economic volatility, a natural disaster...or you name it: they all have varying degrees of impact on the process. Achieving a ‘sprint', may only happen for a matter of seconds before continuous improvement kicks in and you re-evaluate. But we have an agile foundation in place to help us deliver better, more consistently-regardless of the circumstance."
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, discussed how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every applicati...
May. 26, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,883
As enterprises engage with Big Data technologies to develop applications needed to meet operational demands, new computation fabrics are continually being introduced. To leverage these new innovations, organizations are sacrificing market opportunities to gain expertise in learning new systems. In his session at Big Data Expo, Supreet Oberoi, Vice President of Field Engineering at Concurrent, Inc., discussed how to leverage existing infrastructure and investments and future-proof them against e...
May. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,275
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT transformation?
May. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,498
Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins of distributed applications that enables them to build, ship, and run any app anywhere. Docker allows applications to run on any platform irrespective of what tools were used to build it making it easy to distribute, test, and run software. I found this 5 Minute Docker video, which is very helpful when you want to get a quick and digestible overview. If you want to learn more, you can go to Docker’s web page and start with this Docker intro...
May. 25, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,216
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
May. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,271
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
May. 25, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,473
Over the years, a variety of methodologies have emerged in order to overcome the challenges related to project constraints. The successful use of each methodology seems highly context-dependent. However, communication seems to be the common denominator of the many challenges that project management methodologies intend to resolve. In this respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be viewed as powerful tools for managing projects. Few research papers have focused on the way...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,026
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,909
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,055
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. The DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo – to be held June 3-5, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City – will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,529
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way ...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,576
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
May. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,857
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edite...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,903
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to DevOps Summit 2015 as Conference Chair. The 4th International DevOps Summit will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at ...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,090
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,630
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
May. 25, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,311
T-Mobile has been transforming the wireless industry with its “Uncarrier” initiatives. Today as T-Mobile’s IT organization works to transform itself in a like manner, technical foundations built over the last couple of years are now key to their drive for more Agile delivery practices. In his session at DevOps Summit, Martin Krienke, Sr Development Manager at T-Mobile, will discuss where they started their Continuous Delivery journey, where they are today, and where they are going in an effort ...
May. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,894
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers ...
May. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,345
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseDB (EDB), the leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class Postgres products and database compatibility solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EDB is the largest provider of Postgres software and services that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability and the open source freedom to divert budget from more costly traditiona...
May. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,942
Do you think development teams really update those BMC Remedy tickets with all the changes contained in a release? They don't. Most of them just "check the box" and move on. They rose a Risk Level that won't raise questions from the Change Control managers and they work around the checks and balances. The alternative is to stop and wait for a department that still thinks releases are rare events. When a release happens every day there's just not enough time for people to attend CAB meeting...
May. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,727