Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Apache

@CloudExpo: Case Study

Case Study: Cloud-Based Sales & Operations Planning in the Cloud

How network provider Enterasys used cloud-based S&OP technology to drive growth and save millions per quarter

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."

More Stories By Jeri Donn

Jeri Donn is Vice President of Cloud Services at Steelwedge Software, responsible for building, deploying and maintaining the company’s cloud environment. Steelwedge commands the global market for cloud-based Integrated Business Planning and is trusted by Global 1000 companies including: Lenovo, Jaguar Land Rover, Sony, and Emerson. Steelwedge's cloud-based Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) software connects people, process and technology to power a single view of a company's business, powering reliable "what if" scenario modelling that pinpoints the financial impact of supply-demand trade-off decisions. Visit www.steelwedge.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"MathFreeOn.com is a line coding platform for engineers and scientists. When they want to solve an engineering problem and they have to use software - they have to pay a lot of money for licenses - but with MathFreeOn you don't have to pay a lot of money. Just go to our site and write the code and you can check the result right away," explained Simon Lee, CMO of MathFreeOn, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Cla...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, provideed economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session also included a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Infrastructure is widely available, but who’s managing inbound/outbound traffic? Data is created, stored, and managed online – who is protecting it and how? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Jaeson Yoo, SVP of Business Development at Penta Security Systems Inc., discussed how to keep any and all infrastructure clean, safe, and efficient by monitoring and filtering all malicious HTTP/HTTPS traffic at the OSI Layer 7. Stop attacks and web intruders before they can enter your network.
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.