Last year, 100% of Steelwedge Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) solutions were delivered on a “SaaS” (Software-as-a-Service or OnDemand) basis – in other words, they were delivered “in the cloud.” Our partners and prospects frequently ask us why? The simple response is that it is what our customers asked. However, the broader question is why is this happening? The strategic answer is that the nature of computing is going through a sea change and that change is being accelerated by the current economic crisis.
But first, what is cloud computing? It is a world where applications and data are hosted in a “cloud” consisting of thousands of computers are linked together and a ccessible via the Internet. With cloud computing, all activities are performed via th internet rather than being based on your desktop or inside a corporate network.
How does cloud computing change the way people work? For one, people are no longer tied to their office or to a single computer. Work can be taken anywhere and team members can easily collaborate on plans and forecasts.
Why? Cloud computing offers a revenue and service model that enables companies to survive today’s challenging times – on one hand the huge upfront capital costs associated with the kind of traditional enterprise computing solutions offered by SAP and Oracle are eliminated. On the other, the need for costly, large dedicated IT organizationns with specialized knowledged are also eliminated.
Further, cloud solutions lend themselves to easy collaboration with partners and customers outside of corporate firewalls and ensure that software upgrades and updates are seamlessly applied with minimal disruption. In short, cloud computing offers customers a compelling, accessible, flexible, pay-as-you-go, and extremely cost-effective solution for automating cumbersome, manual excel-based integrated business planning and sales and operations planning processes.