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Bill Harrison
Demand Solutions

Supply Chain Comment

Mr. Harrison is responsible for the company's corporate strategy and direction as well as its operations including development, sales, marketing, services, customer programs, alliances and channels. His career in supply chain operations began over 25 years ago on the loading dock of a TrueValue warehouse. Mr. Harrison spent over 17 years with True Value Company where he held a number of management positions and personally designed and implemented a market-leading Replenishment Optimization System. He also served as Chief Operating Officer of Atrion/ClearCross, a global trading software corporation where he was instrumental in redefining the company’s product strategy, increasing sales, rationalizing costs and driving profitability. He came to Demand Solutions in 2006 after holding leadership positions at Manugistics and American Software. Since Harrison’s arrival at Demand Solutions, the company has delivered significant market share gains, revenue growth and customer satisfaction improvements.

Harrison graduated from The University of Missouri.

August 11, 2016

Is It Time to Move Your Supply Chain Planning to the Cloud?

Three Good Reasons to Explore Cloud-Based Supply Chain Processes


It’s getting crowded in the cloud. In the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Survey, 93 percent of respondents reported that they were adopting cloud solutions. Some 88 percent of enterprises are using public cloud solutions, while 63 percent are using private cloud.

Harrison Says...

If you’ve already fully embraced cloud solutions, you’ll probably have greater peace of mind from knowing that you’re firmly in the majority—and that you have the ear of your software vendors.

What do you say?

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Regardless of where you stand on the path to the cloud, this is all good news for you. If you’ve already fully embraced cloud solutions, you’ll probably have greater peace of mind from knowing that you’re firmly in the majority—and that you have the ear of your software vendors. And if you’ve taken a more cautious approach to the cloud, you can gain reassurance from the fact that the most established cloud software vendors worked out the kinks years ago and are now prepared to offer you a smooth transition to the cloud.

The question remains: which business processes are best suited to the cloud? Even the most rabidly pro-cloud customers generally don’t end up moving every business discipline to the cloud. Some processes just seem to work best on the in-house systems that were built to support them.  To put a finer point on it: should you move your supply chain planning (SCP) activities to the cloud?

Three Good Reasons to Explore Cloud-Based SCP

By now, we’ve all heard the boilerplate arguments for moving business processes to the cloud. You can avoid additional hardware investments. Eliminate the need for a huge IT team. And avoid getting locked in with one vendor.

These reasons certainly apply to supply chain planning. But I’d encourage any supply chain stakeholder to consider several other advantages of cloud-based SCP software:

  • No capital spending. When you’re trying to win customers in a cutthroat global market (and who isn’t, nowadays?), agility is everything—and capital spending is a dirty word. Approvals for large capital requests are much tougher—and more time-consuming. They also divert huge chunks of money away from strategic areas such as talent acquisition and product development.

    That’s the beauty of cloud-based software. You don’t have to make a huge outlay of cash to get started. You typically commit to a predictable monthly subscription fee—which you can tally as an operating expense. You can then get up and running quickly on an SCP platform that helps increase your competitiveness in every corner of the globe.

  • Full functionality. Remember when choosing a cloud-based solution meant compromising on features? Many vendors got their start in software as a service (SaaS) by delivering watered-down versions of their on-premises software with a good-looking front end. Customers who wanted more than a pretty interface soon realized that things just weren’t going to work out.

    Today, the savviest cloud-based SCP vendors are offering the same software in the cloud and on-premises. Isn’t this the way it ought to be? We at Demand Solutions say yes. That’s why we rewrote Demand Solutions DSX—our flagship platform—so that it could be deployed either on your premises or in the cloud. You get the freedom to access your SCP platform the way you want.

  • Minimal IT burden. Your IT department is probably already stretched thin just figuring out how they’re going to support your Next Big Thing while still meeting the day-to-day needs of your end users. With cloud-based SCP, they won’t have to spend any time researching and provisioning additional hardware.

    For example, Demand Solutions DSX runs on a standard Microsoft technology stack. Each time a customer chooses to deploy our platform in the cloud, Demand Solutions provisions the instance as quickly as possible on the Azure platform and applies its expertise to setting up the instance efficiently.  We leverage Microsoft’s functionality to balance and scale during peak usage of the application.  Once configured, customers can work closely with Demand Solutions experts to implement our solutions in ways that deliver the greatest impact to their business in the shortest amount of time.

So, Is On-Premises SCP Dead?

If cloud-based SCP can truly offer benefits like these, why would anyone still deploy SCP on-premises? Believe it or not, there are still good reasons for doing so. Some companies want the reassurance of knowing their own firewall is protecting their software and business data. Others have invested heavily in recruiting and training highly skilled IT teams and want these employees to be the ones responding to the needs of their peers.  

Demand Solutions leaves the choice with you. We’ve designed Demand Solutions DSX so that it would give you the same robust SCP functionality whether you deploy it in the cloud or in your data center. That means there’s one less obstacle for you to work around as you execute your plan for dominating your global market.

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