We had our annual user conference, Kinexions (pronounced ‘connections’ – isn’t English a strange and fabulous language?) in late October with record attendance and great feedback. The theme of the conference was our tag line ‘Know Sooner. Act Faster.’ Indulge me while I parse out our strap line. Know Sooner - The ability to detect market changes quickly and determine whether the changes represent risk or opportunity, as well as identifying and alerting the people impacted by the risks or opportunities. Act Faster – The ability to determine the best course of action quickly through scenario analysis within a team of people, across functions and even organizations, in a structured manner. In other words our strap line is all about reducing decision latency through purposeful collaboration driven by responsibilities. As usual it was the great customer testimonials that drive home the benefits of this theme through:
- Rapid time to value in the initial deployment
- Rapid innovation on the part of Kinaxis
- Consistent value delivery over time as they expand into new BUs, geographies, and business processes
- Mature into a Planning Control Tower – End-to-end supply chain planning process enablement
Of course that is easy for me to say, so I want to focus on external validation of these points.
Client companies at the conference demonstrated several ways in which they are adapting and improving their supply chains. These included speeding up time to value from deploying new software, and using embedded analytics and master data management (MDM). In doing so they showed how they were redefining their supply chain planning (SCP) application portfolios to support an adaptable and capable planning system of record (SOR).
Several client companies showed how they were using RapidResponse as a planning SOR. Some are now decommissioning their other SCP solutions and even moving material requirements planning (MRP) out of their ERP systems. This indicates Stage 3+ IT maturity for planning, whereby a planning SOR is in place and ERP systems are seen solely as transactional SORs.
Titze, C., Payne, T.; Kinexions 2013 Shows the Value of Adaptable Planning Systems of Record; Gartner, Inc.; 31 October 2013 .
Unfortunately Ray Wang had some travel issues meaning he could not attend our analyst/influencer session in which we have open kimono discussions with several customers, but Ray has attended our user conference in the past and knows several of our customers. However we were fortunate to have Holger Mueller on a panel which I moderated. Holger has tons of experience in large ERP vendors so it was great to see him endorse the benefits of our technical architecture in a Twitter stream with Ray, which is of course behind all the value delivery.
Lora Cecere has been a consistent voice of the customer in the analyst community for well over 10 years now, often putting the software vendors feet to the fire, including ours. She calls this ‘tough love’. As a consequence any positive statements about a vendor need to be cherished, so it is with great joy that I can report that while at our conference, Lora wrote a blog entitled ‘Applause’ in which she states:
In leaving the Kinaxis user meeting this week, I am struck by three things.
First, their recent work on mobility and defining the user experience on a mobile application is very cool.
Second, the flexibility of the Kinaxis solution makes the product hard to message, but the clients that have figured it out, are very happy. (Some of the happiest….)
Third, the solution is most often deployed in material-intensive supply chains for what-if simulation and visibility. It is a cloud-based solution that scales easily for hundreds of users. It has helped many clients that were too constrained by the inflexibility of the traditional APS platform.
At the conference, Kinexions, I heard many clients speaking freely about the deployment of Kinaxis and the turning off of Oracle and SAP APS solutions. Many were almost giddy. The ease-of-use of the Kinaxis system was freeing for their teams.
While I wish I could share details of the customer stories shared with the influencers and as keynotes, these days companies are very reluctant to provide public statements of benefit. What I can say is that during the influencer session we had three customers speak:
• Flextronics – Customer since Oct 2001 • Amgen – Customer since Mar 2009 • NCR – Customer since Jan 2010
The consistent story across all 3 is how they paid for the initial investment in less than a year and how they have expanded their deployment of Kinaxis ever since, often to adjacent functions such as Finance, R&D, and Regulatory/Control. These stories were repeated in the main stage presentations by Cisco, Applied Materials, and First Solar. What I love about these customer stories is that they give us purpose. Without tangible business benefits software is nothing but a few bits and bytes.