Multi-Enterprise Capabilities Drive Supply Chain Planning Technology Requirements

Gartner Magic Quadrants have long played a key role in how business decision-makers evaluate software vendors. To be recognized in any Magic Quadrant, we believe you must have a strong product and a sound vision, and the entire organization must also closely collaborate to gather, analyze and deliver the required information requested from the analyst firm in a timely manner. It is truly a multi-disciplinary exercise. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning Solutions 2021*—different from the various iterations in previous years—has now been released, and we are honored to be recognized as a Leader in this critical report. The entire E2open team is proud of this great accomplishment!

This new supply chain planning Magic Quadrant now encompasses all aspects of planning across all maturities, including the advanced stages, which are multi-enterprise in nature and several tiers deep.

So why is multi-enterprise supply chain planning important?

In recent years, brand owners have continued to shift from a more traditional in-house manufacturing role to an orchestrator of complex global supply chains, leveraging outsourced production, logistics and distribution partners. Multi-tier planning is a crucial part of this orchestration. Organizations must include easy collaboration with multi-tier partners as part of the technology requirement for any supply chain planning vendor.

There are two critical requirements for best-in-class supply chain planning. The first is that supply chains must be both agile and resilient at the same time. Agility and resiliency are two different traits and require distinct characteristics to simultaneously be present within the supply chain. Agility requires the ability to respond quickly to disruptions. Resiliency requires thoughtful supply chain design and planning far ahead of time. Companies can be agile by simply being reactive, but this isn’t adequate when major disruptions like pandemics and extreme weather events occur. On the other hand, companies might plan for many different scenarios but be unable to execute well when disruptions happen.

Also, having only internal visibility and planning within the four walls of the enterprise leaves a company open to being blindsided by external events. Sensing a disruption when it is too late does not help with agility. Planning for thousands of scenarios purely based on internal operations without understanding the multi-tier channel, supply, logistics and global trade ecosystems is insufficient.

The requirement, therefore, is that your entire supply chain ecosystem be agile and resilient.

The second requirement for best-in-class supply chain planning is to automate as many simple decisions as possible so your personnel resources can remain dedicated to the truly tough decisions.

Good supply chain planning considers the whole spectrum of possible decisions that might help the company meet customer demand, minimize inventory and generate profits. Too often, companies struggle with loads of manual decision-making without the requisite amount of decision automation that is possible with technology today. The main reason they are disillusioned with automation technology is that their previous efforts to automate decisions were not as successful as they hoped. However, this was not due to faulty technology but rather, in most cases, to a lack of adequate data feeding into the technology. Most disruptions happen outside the organization. Lack of connectivity to broader ecosystems renders any process automation exercise futile and destined for failure.

When you automate decisions based on the wrong data, you end up with the wrong decisions. The natural conclusion of this is that success in decision automation implies that data from the end-to-end ecosystem must be incorporated into the process.

The best way to address these requirements is through multi-tier supply chain orchestration and planning. We’re excited to see this reality now reflected by the expanded scope in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning Solutions 2021.

By the way, we believe E2open is the only planning vendor in the Leader’s Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning Solutions 2021 that is powered by a multi-enterprise supply chain business network at its core.

I hope you’ll read the full report to find out why we believe E2open’s vision for advanced digital supply chain planning, algorithmic planning, and the convergence of planning and execution encompasses key capabilities.

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning Solutions, Amber Salley, Tim Payne, Pia Orup Lund, 22 February 2021.

**Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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