Using S&OP to Reach Equilibrium – 5 Qualitative Factors

EquilibriumEquilibrium is the state at which market supply and demand are in balance. It’s common sense to want to produce the amount of product that the market will bear, but that has traditionally been a difficult goal to achieve given the nature of change in today’s markets. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) as an integrated business process has been around for more than 30 years. Success, however, still has varying levels of attainment.

Traditional supply chain planning has been focused on improving the work conducted within organizational silos that contribute to operations. From raw materials to production to sales and service, there are many steps and processes that cover the supply chain from end to end. Coordinating these and gaining visibility of the “big picture” is the outcome that S&OP brings to help companies close the variance between forecasted and actual equilibrium.

While there are plenty of quantitative factors that apply to S&OP, including improved inventory management and more predictable revenues, it’s important to consider the qualitative aspects of how a successful S&OP process can transform your business environment.

5 Qualitative Factors for S&OP:

1. Improved Teamwork: Collaboration is one of the key elements of a well-executed S&OP process. Rather than working in organizational silos, people begin to work cross-functionally, applying the insights from one part of the business to how they may impact another. This collaboration also helps direct reports view the business through the “glasses” their bosses use, helping them to see further than the immediate situation they deal with on a daily basis. This improved understanding can help teams to better achieve both short- and longer-term goals for the business.

Question: Has teamwork in your company visibly improved since you’ve implemented S&OP?

2. Decreased Firefighting: If you can’t get demand and supply to balance routinely—not all the time—then your S&OP process is not what it should be. If the norm is expedited firefighting on a daily basis, it’s likely the result of a lack of cross-functional communications. Those communications should enable teams and departments to proactively make adjustments based on timely information communicated from another area that has direct implications to responsibilities in another. Cross-functional collaboration is necessary for the identification and resolution of problems and issues.

Question: Has firefighting decreased since S&OP was put in place?

3. Fewer Surprises: With S&OP driving a consolidated operational plan with improved teamwork and decreased firefighting, issues can be identified more quickly to keep them from becoming real problems. There’s no uncertainty about which numbers to use for decision making because everyone is working from the same numbers. And, with the ability to look down the road, past the immediate time frame, your teams can see things coming and become more proactive and predictive.

Question: When surprises occur such as demands spikes, or supply crashes, does your S&OP process allow for mid period adjustments to be made quickly?

4. Forward Visibility: A best practice for S&OP is to have 18 months of forward visibility. This length of time is important because it covers an entire fiscal year, including the span of time for planning. When you have a forward, rolling organizational plan, each month during review it is adjusted. This way, you not only see things coming, but there is much less work to do during the traditional planning exercise because the plans are being scrubbed continuously to account for changes over time and their projected impact.

Question: Does your annual financial planning process use demand plans and supply plans from executive S&OP or does all of the data it uses come from other sources?

5. One Set of Data: Even though different departments need to view numbers differently—for example, finance in dollars, supply chain in volume, and operations in hours—it’s critical for S&OP that all departments are working off the same set of numbers. When each business unit is calculating from the same starting point, then equilibrium or balance is more likely to be achieved. Without it, the variance between forecast and actual will continue to produce a noticeable gap.

Question: Are all departments working from the same set of numbers?

These qualitative factors are important indications about how well your company will be able to use S&OP to reach equilibrium between demand and supply, and each of them plays a role in how well your company will be able to reach beyond the basics to support strategic initiatives.

Do you have any other qualitative benefits that you measure in your S&OP process? Let us know in the comments.

The Top 6 Capabilities of an Ideal S&OP Solution

According to recent Gartner research, companies that are at the forefront of sales and
operations planning (S&OP) have significantly improved their overall business performance. These companies attribute a more than 7% improvement in cash flow and 6% improvement in gross profit to a successful S&OP process. Moreover, these companies enjoy twice the improvements in areas like working capital and total supply chain costs than their counterparts. These staggering statistics further demonstrate the potential benefits associated with a successful S&OP process. So what prevents your company from
successfully implementing a mature S&OP process and reaping the same benefits?

While role of executive sponsorship and open collaboration between cross-functional teams plays a key role in S&OP success, the primary reason that most companies cannot advance beyond Stage 2 of the Gartner Five-Stage Sales and Operations Planning Maturity Model is a lack of enabling S&OP technology. We’ve written about the five stages of S&OP maturity before, but here’s another look at Gartner’s S&OP Maturity model:

Gartner 5 stages

So what are the key components of a technology solution that can advance you past Stage 2 maturity? The following list features six capabilities that are a must-have in an S&OP software solution:

  1. A single unified data model for global scenario management across supply, demand and finance with ability to drive and reconcile demand, supply and finance plans from it
  2. Rich collaborative capabilities, so various team members can work together on a shared view of the data
  3. An easy-to-use platform with an Excel-based front end, so teams can start using the solution without any training
  4. Online analytics that enable scenario modeling about potential future events and then help the team pinpoint the best possible trade-offs within its specific business constraints for better and faster decision making
  5. Mobile and Web-based access, so team members can access information and collaborate wherever they are
  6. Cloud rather than an on-premise solution for two reasons: a) The solution must be able to bring data from multiple sources (both, external and internal) for global scenario management across supply, demand and finance – cloud offers a better architecture for it, and b) the ability to deploy the solution quickly across the organization so everyone is aligned, which is the hallmark of a cloud model because no hardware and software purchase is needed, no data center setup is required and no CapEx needs to be approved and allocated.

Addressing all six must-have capabilities listed above, the Steelwedge cloud solution is used by respected enterprises across the world to improve their S&OP process. Key platform and application capabilities include:

The following benefit curve highlights that companies plateau on the Gartner S&OP
maturity model if they continue to run their S&OP process using multiple spreadsheets.

SW Benefit Maturity Curve

Steelwedge not only enables them to get on the right trajectory, but it also accelerates time to value with its single data model, rich planning and analytics capabilities and cloud-based architecture. Companies have improved the maturity levels of their S&OP process and experienced significant improvements in their operational metrics–check out some of our success stories here.


Supply Chain Represents Opportunity to Get More Women in the C-Suite

Women in the C-SuiteThe fact that women are under-represented in the highest positions in corporate America isn’t new. But the numbers continue to improve. A 2013 Forbes Insight study found that the total number of female CEOs globally is up to 14% from 9%. And 24% of senior leadership positions globally are occupied by women, a 3% increase over the previous year. The report indicates the top five positions where women enter senior management include chief finance officer (31%), human resources director (30%), corporate controller (14%), chief marketing officer (13%) and sales director (13%).

So where does supply chain fit in here? According to SCM World research, only 5% of top-level supply chain positions at Fortune 500 companies are filled by women–compared to 15% all executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies. This statistic is relatively dismal, but with women representing 37% of students enrolled in university supply chain courses, the number of female senior supply chain executives is likely to increase in the future.

A recent Fortune article makes the point that getting more women in supply chain management leadership positions will translate into more women in the C-suite. Because supply chain management touches so many aspects of the business, supply chain executives have visibility into a broad spectrum of company dynamics–putting them in a prime position to ascend to the C-suite.

Elevating women within the ranks of supply chain management leadership requires attention at all levels of an organization. Veterans in the field need to nurture the potential of rising female talents in the industry. Human resources and hiring managers should make a point to look to diversify the gender base at entry-level hiring. With a focused effort, more women will emerge as supply chain leaders, and make their way to the C-suite.

Steelwedge is proud to count some leading women in supply chain management as our customers and partners. Check out their thought leadership in some of our recent webinars:

“GoPro Captures a Single Source of Truth with S&OP Technology” featuring Jennifer Ubamos, Senior Sales Process Manager, GoPro

“Building S&OP Shock Absorbers for your Business” featuring Lisa Aleman, Director, Sales and Operations Planning and Control, Radisys

“A Practitioner’s Guide to Successful S&OP and Demand Management” featuring Seema Phull, Partner, NorthFind Partners

How does your organization hire and promote women to supply chain management leadership positions? Let us know in the comments!

Does Finance Drive Your Annual Planning Cycle? Why S&OP is a Better Way to Build Your Budget

Budget“I hate this time of year! Finance wants my numbers next week. I don’t know what our sales or production will be next year. I guess I’ll use this year’s numbers and adjust a bit. There’s got to be a better way.”

Sound familiar? The annual budget planning cycle is a necessary yet painful time for many manufacturers.  Finance requires a budget for the next fiscal year and draws inputs from various contributors including Sales, Engineering, Research & Development, Operations, Human Resources and Marketing. The process is intended to yield a more accurate budget for which each department head will be held accountable for next year’s performance.

What would you do? If you’re like most department heads, you’ll under-forecast sales and overestimate production costs and resources required. This, in turn, puts the burden back on Finance and senior leadership to enforce reasonableness, creating multiple iterations of plan adjustments and justifications.

There IS a better way…

Sales and operations planning (S&OP) enables companies to eliminate this painful cycle. Instead of Finance governing an annual event, S&OP refreshes future projections with a defined cadence, typically monthly. For example, an S&OP planning horizon of 18 months allows planners to see a full 12-month forecast for next year six months prior to start of next fiscal year.

If you’re thinking, “So now we’re repeating the budget planning every month? That sounds like 12 times the work,” please keep reading.

Why a budget driven by S&OP is better

The essence of S&OP is collaboration. Cross-functional participation is mandatory, and senior leadership support is critical. Once you’ve established an effective and efficient S&OP process, the annual budget flows right out of S&OP.

Here are some of the key benefits of an S&OP-driven annual budget:

  • Leverages continuous collaborative planning
  • Increases cross-functional participation in developing budget
  • Ensures participants are more informed and less apt to make rough guesses
  • Incorporates both top-down and bottom-up forecasting
  • Increases acceptance of company rather than Finance budget
  • Pulls Finance into S&OP process and out of budget governance
  • Improves budget accuracy
  • Ensures budget feasibility via S&OP demand and supply reviews

Using the Budget

Once the budget is set for the new year, what’s next? The budget should serve as a comparison to better understand deviations. If actual sales results are lower than budget, why? If production costs differ from budget, why? What can we learn from these deviations to improve future plans?

Business agility requires quick realignment of plans and “what-if” scenario planning. A Finance-driven budget disconnected from other planning systems means that Finance does not have the right tools to quickly adjust to operations plan changes, calculate expected revenue and margins based on the new plan and use that information to create a pro forma P&L. A pro forma statement would immediately tell the team if the proposed operations plan can meet or beat revenue and margin targets and give them the comfort they need to approve the plan. Without the right tools, Finance has to go through a tedious, manual process to identify potential shortfalls in revenue and margin from the proposed operations plan.

S&OP should be a great “friend” to Finance. Yet, many financial leaders stick to a painful, inefficient annual budget process. It’s time to pull Finance into the S&OP process and let them say hello to their new friend.

Are You Ready to Select an S&OP Vendor? RFP Help Is Here

RFPimageSelecting a software vendor can feel like running a gauntlet. Big budgets are at stake, and oftentimes, choosing a vendor who can help a company achieve its business goals directly affects the career trajectory of those who have made the vendor selection.

The selection of a sales and operations planning (S&OP) solutions provider is no different. Multiple factors must be weighed in the decision-making process. Internal stakeholders have to align on a selection, and it’s often challenging for companies to know exactly what kind of technology and services they require to be truly successful at S&OP. It’s a daunting task, to be sure.

Creating a request for proposal (RFP) serves as a critical step in choosing an S&OP solutions provider. An RFP enables you to measure all vendors on the same criteria to ensure that they can meet your goals, and allows you to leverage better control over the vendor selection process.

But how do you get started in creating an RFP for an S&OP solutions provider?

Steelwedge is here to help. We’ve designed an RFP template to help you consider and rate key functionalities that an S&OP solution must have, and includes guidelines for considering important profile features that an S&OP solution vendor must have.

Some highlights of this S&OP RFP tool:

  1. S&OP Solution – Illustrates the requirement for a cross-functional planning environment to support S&OP stakeholders and their planning terms.
  2. Key Functionality – Over 50 key functional requirements for S&OP technology to help drive agility and adoption of your S&OP process. Use the scoring criteria to compare vendors and determine the best fit for your organization.
  3. Solution Profile – Key considerations when evaluating S&OP technology, vendor expertise and focus.


Download the RFP template by clicking here.

In addition, Steelwedge hosted a webinar entitled “S&OP RFP 101:
Evaluating Your ERP Vendor’s Solution vs. the Best-of-Breed,” which can be accessed on-demand here. This webinar is designed for companies considering implementing collaborative S&OP technology who need to understand how to overcome common business, technical and organizational challenges. S&OP experts discuss recommended project phase components and key project milestones, as well as the inherent value found in the newest features and functionality.

These two resources will get you well on your way to creating the S&OP RFP that’s right for your company.

Do you have any RFP best practices to share? Let us know in the comments section.

Corporate Social Responsibility at Work: Steelwedge and the Government Primary School, Borabanda, Hyderabad

With a major office in Hyderabad, Steelwedge recognized that there were significant opportunities to help improve the community there. So in January 2014, as part of its corporate social responsibility program, Steelwedge began working with Government Primary School (GPS), Borabanda. Our talented and dedicated workforce in the Hyderabad office has taken on this project with great passion and enthusiasm, contributing time to share knowledge by leading training and instructional classes to the students at GPSB Borabanda.

GPSB classroom

Steelwedge connected with GPS Borabanda after contacting government education body Rajiv Vidya Mission for a school recommendation. After visits to various schools, Steelwedge chose to work with GPSB for several reasons: the school lacked resources and staff; the school was never approached by any other corporation or organization for any collaborative quality-enhancement or infrastructure development project; and despite a lack of amenities, the school’s average attendance rate is 78%.

About the Government Primary School, Borabanda

Government Primary School in Sai Baba Nagar, Borabanda is the only government-run primary school for more than 800 families in the slum-like municipal area of Borabanda in Hyderabad.

The school opened in 2000 under the Government of India education policy of providing free education for all. The primary school serves children in classes 1 to 5 via English, Telugu and Urdu. The school welcomes any child eager to learn and join the academic community. Classes include English, Telugu, math, and environmental studies, which includes both social studies and science. Six teachers and one principal comprise the staff.

Government Primary School, Borabanda: Student Profile

  • Parents: typically working odd jobs such as drivers, cleaners, laundry-helpers, domestic servants.
  • Monthly household income of parents: US$150 USD with both parents working.
  • Monthly household income if children of the family work too: US$200-250
  • Student Age Profile: 5 – 10 yrs
  • No. of students in English Medium: 75
  • No. of students in Telugu Medium: 100
  • No. of students in Urdu Medium: 55

GPSB maintains an objective to dissuade parents from sending children to work and encourages them to keep children in school for the long-term benefit to their families, for a better future for the children and to improve the community.

GPSB class

The Mid-day Meal Scheme, a government-run meal program, offers the students meals for free every weekday. This has been a successful program, keeping children in school and preventing malnourishment.

The school aims to recruit more students from the neighborhood and give them a chance at education.

Steelwedge Workshops to Date

Steelwedge and GPS Borabanda have together launched a quality enhancement program to benefit the students of the school. Through this program, Steelwedge will make its resources available through activities such as workshops, competitions, lectures, video screening, mentoring programs, and tailor-made learning initiatives. These programs are included in the curriculum of the school alongside the prescribed government curriculum.

The goal is to expose students to a variety of subject and offer basic understanding and knowledge of skills that could benefit students greatly in secondary and higher schools.

GPSB student

So far, 8 workshops have been successfully held:

  • Inter-class drawing competition
  • Our Country: Our World
  • Spoken English Lessons
  • Our Food: Our Health
  • Reading the Clock
  • Symmetry (Mathematics)
  • Child Rights

Infrastructure and Other Needs

GPS Borabanda has recently moved into a new government building, and though it is an improvement from the prior building, it still lacks basic infrastructure and funds to make necessary improvements. The following is a list of infrastructural needs that the school lacks

  • Fencing, tables, chairs and benches, school bell
  • Supplies – safe drinking water, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc.
  • Technology needs: computers with Internet
  • Library
  • Teaching aides such as maps, charts, and projectors

Learn More

Steelwedge has created social media pages for GPS Borabanda, where you can learn more about the school:




We’re honored to play a role in improving the lives of students at GPS Borabanda. We’d love to hear about other corporate social responsibility programs and help spread the good word. Tell us what your company is doing in the comments section.

S&OP: The Tug of War Between Cutting Costs and the Pursuit of Growth

tug of warToo many priorities. It’s a problem most of us face at some point in both our personal and professional lives. Organizations are no different. Executives in Sales, Operations, and Finance across industries will tell you they have too many priorities and face challenges like:

  • Choosing the right priorities—those that align with corporate strategy and financial objectives
  • Finding the resources and technology to support those priorities
  • Cannibalizing important growth initiatives under the guise of saving costs

By all accounts, IT spending is on the rise. That’s great news for vendors and customers alike. However, after the economic downturn six years ago, organizations find themselves in a constant tug of war between growth and controlling costs. Two conflicting priorities indeed.

Because the avenues to growth are many and roads to success few, companies need the right process, the right partner and the right technology to enable both more now than ever.

When it comes to sales and operations planning (S&OP), it’s keenly important to understand the connection between strategy, the decision-making process and behaviors that bring strategic vision to life. Add the context of delivering growth in unpredictable circumstances while controlling costs, and you’ve got quite a balancing act on your hands.

On July 15 and 16, Chris Turner, co-founder of StrataBridge, will take some of the tug out of the war during a webinar in which he will discuss S&OP in the context of balancing control vs. growth—with a look at the prospects and pitfalls of balancing global, regional and local planning and decision making.

Please join us for this webinar to learn how to optimize your company’s approach to drive growth, whether you are new to S&OP and demand planning or you are evolving your strategy and process.

Click here to register for the North America session on July 15 at 10amPDT/1pmEDT.

Click here to register for the EMEA session on July 16 at 3pmBST/4pmCEST.

How do you balance control with growth at your company? Share your challenges and best practices in the comments!

Got Cloud? The Most Advanced Supply Chains Do

What do companies who have an advanced supply chain do differently than their less mature counterparts? A recent report from Gartner (in partnership with Supply Chain Digest) provides one clear insight into a competitive differentiator:

The more advanced a company’s supply chain is, the more likely it is to have acquired cloud-based systems.

The results from the survey of nearly 500 supply chain professionals show that 18% of level 1 supply chains (least mature) are using some type of cloud/software as a service (SaaS) solution for supply chain management, versus 57% for the most mature level 4 companies.

SCM Cloud AdoptionGartner anticipates significant expansion in both “private” and “public” cloud deployments, however it still expects that by 2021, approximately 60% of all supply chain software deployments will be traditional license models–a small decline from current levels. Supply Chain Digest editor Dan Gilmore disagrees, writing, “I believe Cloud will take a bigger share by then, as I have argued in the past.”

Another recent report from SCM World demonstrated that cloud solutions improve supply chain performance. SCM World identified Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Spare Parts Management and Store Shelf Optimization as the most cloud-friendly supply chain processes with the most capability to deliver the network effect throughout a supply chain. According to the report, “the network effect is maximised for functions that are best served when a large number of suppliers and/or customers benefit from rapid access to information that can streamline business.”

Rapid access to information is the fuel that drives collaboration within the supply chain. It’s no surprise that 46% of the SCM World respondents said that greater supply chain collaboration leads to problems being solved twice as quickly. Because cloud-based platforms facilitate more effective collaboration,  companies with large-scale supply chains are adopting cloud solutions in increasing numbers in an effort to increase agility and improve response time to their most challenging problems.

As a the leader and pioneer in cloud sales and operations planning, Steelwedge has been advocating for years that S&OP belongs in the cloud. So, we’re always pleased to see reports that validate the success of cloud applications for supply chain and S&OP. What do you think? Will cloud solutions for supply chain management expand more rapidly than Gartner predicts? What else does the future hold for supply chains in the cloud? Let us know in the comments.

Steelwedge Sales Pipeline Bridge: Now on Salesforce1 AppExchange

AppExchangeIt’s an exciting time for Steelwedge, our partners and our customers. Cloud computing is on the rise. More and more companies are not only adopting cloud technologies, but making cloud a strategic priority. As the leader in cloud Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) solutions, Steelwedge understands better than most how the cloud, coupled with social and mobile collaboration, can transform your business. Simply put, we get it.

With that backdrop, I’m very pleased to announce the launch of Steelwedge Sales Pipeline Bridge on Salesforce1 AppExchange, the world’s leading business apps marketplace. Steelwedge Sales Pipeline Bridge systematically captures the sales opportunities in users’ Salesforce1 Sales Cloud and intelligently filters and transforms sales data into a view that is meaningful to finance, product management, operations and executive management. With Steelwedge Sales Pipeline Bridge, companies can align sales pipeline-based and demand history-based forecasts, enabling them to quickly identify and respond to changing market conditions and improve revenue predictability.

The combination of Steelwedge and, two powerhouses in cloud technology, empowers businesses to connect with customers, partners and employees in a whole new way. Exciting times indeed!

Just today, ZDNet posted an article entitled, “CIO priorities are different around the world, but the cloud is one consistent factor.” It’s a great read and reiterates that, irrespective of industry or geography, cloud technology is top of mind for CIOs trying to take their businesses to the next level. While shrinking IT budgets, consolidation, and continuous changes in technology are here to stay, I believe that cloud helps companies face these challenges head on—protecting profits and delivering agility all at once.

But don’t just take their word for it (or mine!) This infographic, posted recently by CloudTech, demonstrates in one powerful picture, the explosive growth of cloud computing and what’s to come.

  • 2008: Global cloud computing industry estimated to be worth $46 billion. By the end of 2014, it’s predicted to be in excess of $150 billion.
  • More than three quarters of respondents to a recent Forbes survey use some form of cloud computing and 86% of those companies use more than one type of cloud services.
  • Last but not least, studies predict that more than 50% of all information technology will be in the cloud in the next five to ten years!

My take? If you’re not in the cloud, your competitors are probably eating your lunch—or will be soon. But don’t panic, the time is now to make the transition. Take a look at your business, educate yourself, and join forces with Steelwedge and to connect like never before.

You can find more detail on the Sales Pipeline Bridge solution in my previous blog post or visit .

As always, questions and comments are most welcome. I look forward to hearing from you!

Why Are So Many SAP and JDA Customers Still Using Spreadsheets for Supply Chain Planning?

SpreadsheetIn a recent article authored by Lora Cecere, she stated that nine manufacturing clients she worked with in the span of a week are all still using spreadsheets for planning—despite the fact that they’ve spent millions on the implementation of SAP and JDA supply chain planning software. So why are few companies using planning software they’ve invested so heavily in?

Per the article, very few companies can use the optimizers within the SAP planning software to run their business. That’s because, according to Lora:

“The software from SAP, with the name of SAP APO, doesn’t meet the line-of-business needs for optimization and visualization. While it met the market requirements for IT integration (and is one of the strongest supply chain planning systems of record),  it has failed to meet the greater business needs for the line-of business user. Yes, the systems are integrated, but the plans are not sufficient.”

Lora went on to describe the situation with JDA, referencing the fact that JDA forced an upgrade when it re-wrote the planning software to a new architecture seven years ago. This presented JDA customers with a clear impetus to migrate to other software, and many did. Lora stated:

“Over the course of the decade, I have watched many JDA implementations be replaced by SAP. The primary JDA solutions still in use are JDA’s transportation software (purchased from i2 Technologies) and the warehouse management software (purchased from Red Prairie). Line-of-business users have found the consolidation of the company difficult. Most of the companies that I speak to are angry that the acquisition has not yielded more.”

Despite the fact that SAP is the market leader based on sales volume, it isn’t providing the kind of leadership or innovation that the user community expects, according to Lora. As a result, frustration has grown, and the opportunities for competitors to step in have increased. Supply chain planning has only increased in importance amid escalating demand volatility and global market complexity. This serves to magnify the marked difference in planning software capabilities. A “rip and replace” approach is not one that most companies want to take, but they want “a system of differentiation that planners could use.” Competitors, then, have an opportunity “to build something that can lay on top of the SAP architecture that can better meet the needs of the line-of-business user.”

All of this has netted one major result, according to the article: the market for SAP supply chain planning software has waned. Lora explains:

“The company has been pushing a Big Data and HANA message, but to no avail. There are few takers.  SAP has also written several applications on the HANA architecture (a database purchased with the Sybase acquisition) that offers the promise of greater scalability and usability. The promises have not translated into a viable product. The company has also stated that the current supply chain planning software, SAP APO, will be re-written on SAP HANA by 2020 making the current software obsolete and requiring a forced upgrade. The user community is not happy. They are pushing back.”

Amidst all of this, major changes have taken place among the leadership at SAP and JDA. Vishal Sikka, the longtime head of technology at SAP has departed the company. Given that Vishal drove the HANA strategy, and he left while SAP is pushing HANA, the impact is significant. And, JDA announced two weeks ago that its CEO, Hamish Brewer, was asked to step down after a 20-year run.

Lora calls for the leaders to innovate, noting:

“There are new kids in town. The market is flush with new best-of-breed vendors. They are not hampered by maintenance upgrades and legacy board issues.”

Steelwedge is proud to count itself among the best-of-breed vendors driving innovation in the planning software space. And, we’re not so new. We have a decade of domain expertise backing our single, cloud Integrated Business Planning (IBP) platform. Steelwedge solutions for sales and operations planning (S&OP) are trusted by many of the world’s leading manufacturers because of our easy-to-use interface, easy-to-access cloud applications and easy-to-configure platform.

What have your experiences been like with planning offerings from SAP, JDA, or other large software companies? Are you still using spreadsheets to handle the heavy lifting? Let us know in the comments.