|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."
Microservices are a type of software architecture where large applications are made up of small, self-contained units working together through APIs that are not dependent on a specific language. Each service has a limited scope, concentrates on a specific task and is highly independent. This setup allows IT managers and developers to build systems in a modular way. In his book, “Building Microservices,” Sam Newman said microservices are small, focused components built to do a single thing very w...
Feb. 11, 2016 06:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
Feb. 11, 2016 05:00 PM EST Reads: 385
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Feb. 11, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 176
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 11, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 407
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 11, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 439
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 437
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 209
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:30 AM EST
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 283
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 245
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Feb. 11, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 418
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...
Feb. 11, 2016 08:00 AM EST Reads: 486
In a previous article, I demonstrated how to effectively and efficiently install the Dynatrace Application Monitoring solution using Ansible. In this post, I am going to explain how to achieve the same results using Chef with our official dynatrace cookbook available on GitHub and on the Chef Supermarket. In the following hands-on tutorial, we’ll also apply what we see as good practice on working with and extending our deployment automation blueprints to suit your needs.
Feb. 11, 2016 05:00 AM EST
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
Feb. 11, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 260
How is your DevOps transformation coming along? How do you measure Agility? Reliability? Efficiency? Quality? Success?! How do you optimize your processes? This morning on #c9d9 we talked about some of the metrics that matter for the different stakeholders throughout the software delivery pipeline. Our panelists shared their best practices.
Feb. 11, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 111
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 215
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 237
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 418
If we look at slow, traditional IT and jump to the conclusion that just because we found its issues intractable before, that necessarily means we will again, then it’s time for a rethink. As a matter of fact, the world of IT has changed over the last ten years or so. We’ve been experiencing unprecedented innovation across the board – innovation in technology as well as in how people organize and accomplish tasks. Let’s take a look at three differences between today’s modern, digital context...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 222