Analyst Insight: Demand management, not forecasting alone, should be the mantra for the supply chain. New opportunities exist to glean customer demand and early market insights from marketing automation and mobile apps. Supply chain professionals need to reach across the aisle to marketing and vice versa to leverage knowledge and real-time data to transform corporate performance.
-Ann Grackin, chief executive officer of ChainLink Research
In 2010, we did extensive research in several demand management categories that often are thought of separately but actually form the foundation of a new holistic model:
• Selling channels - Our model includes partner channels, distributors and retailers and their behaviors and information.
• Shopping channels - In addition, we looked at multichannel shopping, often called multichannel retail - web, catalog, store, wholesaler, as well as the delivery and information models that support these shopping options.
• Information platform channels - web/cloud, social networks, direct and mobile. Mobile has apps, bar-coding/QR, RFID, Near Field Communication, etc., all coming across a unified platform in a big way. Users are opting in and providing multi-dimensional views into consumer tastes, trends and tribes.
So far, even the leaders have not fully figured out how to create a holistic vision out of all of this. However, they have implemented components and are beginning to utilize and leverage them. Glimpses of the vision are appearing in the mist, though.
2011 will see an explosion of spending in a variety of these categories:
More sales for market automation solutions. This market is too complex and getting more so with so many mini apps. We see some more M&As here. We also see mid- to large-sized enterprises buying from the technology market leaders. Small firms will try and use freeware or inexpensive solutions. Their challenge will be in leveraging the bits of these pieces.
• Mobile explosion- Near Field Phones from Nokia and others, QR codes and location-based services are all growing, to mention just a few. These will add a new dimension to information for marketing and the supply chain.
• Social networks are exploding with specialty, follow-me's, promotions and information. Companies will harness these more intelligently in 2011 by understanding these channels' unique culture.
All of these components present new opportunities - and challenges - to enterprises. How can we mine right from the minds of the market to create better products, design better delivery channels and improve overall performance?
In 2011, the conference world will explode in sessions, supersessions and some case studies on the use of these technologies. Sales will grow in all these categories. Cloud/SaaS applications, in general are growing 3 times the rest of the market. Mobile apps are exploding with over 200-percent growth rates. 2011 will be a big pilot year, leading to further growth in these categories over the decade.
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