Oracle and SAP have try to offer S&OP solutions on an on-again off-again basis for many years. Oracle first tried to build, then acquired solutions in an attempt to solve this mission-critical business problem. However, they have still not been successful which is why Oracle customers continue to invest in Steelwedge. Why? For one, S&OP is a challenging problem that requires the kind of technical and business sophistication that is just not the forte’ of end-to-end suite mega-vendors. It’s not just software. Moreoever, it is inevitable that S&OP requires cross-integration with a variety of external legacy and packaged applications – never a forte’ of ERP vendors.
While the same challenges apply to SAP, SAP’s initial effort to solve this problem failed because of an overly technical focus, lack of a big picture view of the world, and the adoption of a clunky, overly complex solution that proved to expensive to use and presumed heavy investment in background infrastructure.
So where are we today? The need to bridge sales and operations is larger than ever, the number of initiatives is growing rapidly, and yet one can easily name the number of vendors in one hand.
The road ahead will most certainly need to be on the kind of SOA-based, open, flexible, and highly configurable MDA (model driven architecture that is the basis for Steelwedge.