We are flattered to be recognized by Gartner in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Sales and Operations Planning Systems of Differentiation, especially considering that we only launched our configurable S&OP application two years ago. While I’d be first to concede that there are some incredible S&OP tools out there (I particularly admire Kinaxis and OM Partners), it’s incredible that we can play on the same pitch with these large COTS vendors so quickly. Our powerful platform, which we’ve invested in for decades, allows us to develop functionality an order of magnitude faster than the market. It also enables us to work with organizations with an annual revenue starting at a couple of hundred million dollars. We offer scalable technology at an accessible price.
Gartner suggests that we can best help organizations that have aspirations to succeed with S&OP and currently run their process using Excel. Specifically, the report states that our technology delivers “an above-average level of business benefits” to reference customers. It is very rewarding to hear that our customers gain above average business benefits, even compared to the longstanding S&OP leaders. This seems like a great deal to customers that want to leapfrog their peer group AND leave themselves space to grow into even higher levels of maturity in the future.
A great example of this is one of our customers, a European chemical company with $300M in annual revenue who is growing fast and was ready to move from spreadsheets to something more robust. They were searching for technology to improve supply chain visibility and analyze scenarios to improve planning decisions. Within a few months they moved from spreadsheets and silos to looking at real-time scenarios in monthly planning meetings. When they had a production issue at one of their plants, they were able to quickly simulate the impact of the problem on their volume and EBITDA and decide on the best course of action. They were able to do this within an hour, with the management team interactively reviewing scenarios during a meeting.
Analytics will play an increasingly important role in S&OP
The S&OP market is moving quickly to place increased value on the analytical component of S&OP. We feel fortunate that the market is moving towards us in this regard. Gartner states that AIMMS is “especially strong in hierarchy/translation management, supply chain modeling and financial impact analysis of plans and scenarios.” They also state that our “vision for longer-term modeling and scenario modeling and collaboration are above-average,” which is recognition that we have multiple real–time optimization applications in the market while also enabling applications that look out 50 years! The extensively used National Energy Model is just one of them.
A focus on Digital Twins
Gartner cautioned that we didn’t include Digital Twins in our strategy, while recognizing that we have Digital Twins live in other settings (such as this Multi-Billion Dollar delivering energy case). We think the criticism is very fair and while this is our bread and butter, sometimes we fall into the trap of not placing enough value in what we see every day. We have digested this and fully embraced the potential of digital representation and what Gartner recognized as our “especially strong hierarchy/translation management.” Our road map reflects this guidance and this will help us share this next wave of innovation more broadly with our clients.
Our investment in S&OP is only accelerating, although it’s important to acknowledge that we are not a one size fits all solution. Companies between $200M – $10Bn often take our technology right off the shelf and gladly accept the cloud based, generic fit capabilities because they see “above average” business benefits within 3 monthly cycles. It’s such a huge upgrade from Excel and all the repetitive, tedious work of the past. We also do work with many of the world’s largest companies. They typically take our S&OP applications as a starting point from which their internal team, sometimes with help from consultants, can tailor the solution to their more unique needs. We enjoy working with big and small, as we learn from both.
More innovation ahead
The speed of innovation will continue to accelerate and with this, we find our work becomes more interesting. In additional to our work in the digital twin/digital representation area, we’re adding predictive and machine learning capabilities to our S&OP application in 2019 and continue in our mission to make these capabilities accessible to supply chain teams.
We very much appreciate the effort of the Gartner team. If you’d like to see specific examples of how the feedback from the S&OP magic quadrant is driving our product innovation, sign up for our S&OP innovation showcase online in September – hope to see you there.