The "cloud" can be a difficult concept to grasp, given the various definitions it has been assigned by software vendors and users. Greg Johnsen, executive vice president of marketing and sales with GT Nexus, calls it "an information replica of the physical supply chain." Cloud-based technology provides one place where managers can go to monitor critical supply-chain events. When an element is updated, "everybody gets the information."
Analyst Insight: Economic challenges have kept sales and operations planning at the forefront of the supply chain executive's mind. Research has successfully identified the financial benefits that S&OP and integrated business planning (IBP) bring to the table: for example, the Aberdeen Group points to best-in-class companies and the two- to six-times benefits they gained in several key metrics, especially gross margin, in comparison with other companies that did not employ S&OP. Nari Viswanathan, vice president, solutions architecture, Steelwedge Software