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Before Investing in S&OP Software, Get a Handle on Planning Needs

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,
January 24 2013

Technology is facilitating Sales and Operation Planning (S&OP) for companies that are intent on aligning demand and supply to drive business outcomes, but the solutions aren't any easier to cull through and select from. In fact, even with the proliferation of enterprise-wide and best-of-breed S&OP solutions, supply chain analyst Lora Cecere says a mere 10 percent of companies are fully leveraging their capabilities in this area.

"Technology has always played a role in S&OP," says Cecere, founder and CEO of Baltimore-based Supply Chain Insights, "particularly when it comes to switching over from simplistic views enabled by Excel spreadsheets to more definitive data models." Cecere says that evolution of technology is critical because supply chains have become more complex, intricate, and global in nature.

Unfortunately, S&OP solution selection isn't easy, particularly when companies jump into the game without a roadmap - something that fewer than 15 percent of firms take the time to develop, according to Supply Chain Insights' research. That oversight can lead to problems down the road, says Cecere.

"Companies have defined S&OP very differently; and there is no one standard definition or a perfect technology solution. Instead, there are many variants," writes Cecere in a 2012 report, Putting Together the Pieces - A Guide to S&OP Technology Selection to Build a Market-driven Value Network. "It is not as easy as picking a solution from an analyst report using a simple two-dimensional grid."

Cecere says users of Microsoft Dynamics and other enterprise systems would achieve better results by getting a handle on their planning needs - and ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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Submitted by jkirk225 on Thu, 01/24/2013 - 22:14 Permalink

Check out and our approach to using Excel as the user interface and working surface while using backend large scale servers to synchronize the enterprise and extended enterprise data This approach is perfect for Microsoft users as retains friendly known tool and ability to make changes while providing the supply chain data feed coordination and planning results synchronized both within and in the extended enterprise Analysts and software "experts" who preach Excel is bad for S&OP are just plain have something other to sell and have never done real planning or analytics.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)