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        Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

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        The Operations and Supply Chain Market Agenda for 2021: Increasing Agility and Resilience of the Supply Chain

        Ventana Research recently announced its 2021 research agenda for Operations and Supply Chain, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations across industries derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes.

        Market Agenda Logo 2021 (1)

        A new generation of innovative digital technology can help organizations optimize operations, aligning customer demand with fulfillment of products and services. Effective use of this technology can dramatically improve the value of products and services to customers. Failing to capitalize on technological advances risks diminished competitiveness and agility in responding to shocks. Effective use of analytics, collaboration, machine learning, planning and the internet of things can increase the agility of the supply chain through improved sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and logistics. Efficient management can increase revenue while holding the line on costs.


        In 2020, businesses experienced the power of technology to provide resilience for business continuity, agility to respond to a rapidly changing environment, and the capacity to operate remotely. Digitizing operations and supply chain became a priority. Ventana Research asserts that by 2023, one-third of organizations will require a center of excellence to apply digital technology innovation into product and operational processes to streamline demand and supply chain execution.

        Our practice of expertise is concerned with all aspects of Operations and Supply Chain, but we have six focus areas for 2021.

        • Continuous Planning employs technology such as in-memory computing, advanced analytic technologies and interactive planning to make planning processes faster and more agile. Planning cycles that once took days or weeks can now be accomplished in minutes or hours.
        • Continuous Supply Chain systems use software to enable concurrent planning – the antidote to siloed planning – so that plans are always in sync across the enterprise to support more nimble supply chain execution.
        • Enterprise Resource Planning systems are central to an organization’s handling of inventory transactions management. Today’s ERP systems and analytics take advantage of current technology to support greater agility, adaptability and resilience.
        • Product Information Management systems enable organizations to consistently manage product-related information used by business processes and consumers, improving customer service and satisfaction.
        • Property Technology applies digital applications to the management and use of real estate to support the owner, landlord and tenant relationships.
        • Supplier Relationship Management systems facilitate transactions and achieve better results by making buying organizations easier to do business with.

        We craft our annual research agenda using our firm’s expertise in business requirements, especially the complexities of accounting, tax and capital markets, combined with our knowledge of technology vendors and products. As a result of our market research, we are able to offer insights and best practices to both the lines of business and IT as well as across industry verticals, providing guidance that will help every organization reach its maximum potential.

        Continuous Planning

        Continuous planning processes support enterprise-wide, high-participation planning, enabling organizations to execute rapid planning cycles across all departments and business units. Such a process provides executives with detailed answers to what-if questions in seconds or minutes - not hours or days. Continuous planning employs technology such as in-memory computing, advanced analytics and interactive planning to make planning and budgeting processes more agile and easier. Organizations must shift from silo-based planning to continuous planning to achieve better results.

        We are conducting Benchmark Research and Value Index research in 2021 to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to meet emerging business planning needs.

        The Continuous Supply Chain


        The continuous supply chain is an approach that intelligently automates interactions on the supply chain to generate actionable information. Digital technologies are advancing the supply chain for improved performance, optimizing engagement to achieve desired outcomes. However, most organizations require new investments that automate and optimize supply chain actions. Technology can streamline product lifecycle management as well as manufacturing and service applications to ensure optimal execution. We assert that through 2024, over one-half of manufacturing organizations will recognize that existing supply chain applications do not provide sufficient automation and intelligence for competitive effectiveness. For 2021, new Benchmark Research will identify best practices to optimize the supply chain.

        Enterprise Resource Planning

        ERP technology is evolving to enable a continuous supply chain approach for manufacturing and services industries. ERP in the cloud advances processes for service and supply chains and their efficiency. ERP also increasingly includes technologies such as collaboration and robotic automation that enable digital transformation and improve the operational efficiency of the business. We are conducting Benchmark Research to identify best practices that will help organizations better meet emerging ERP needs.

        Product Information Management

        Product information Management technology improves product experiences by enabling consistent management of product-related information used in business processes and by consumers. Organizations are modernizing PIM to support a superior digital experience across supply chain operations and the product lifecycle. These applications also enable more effective marketing. The transition to the cloud will speed the return on investment and help organizations provide excellent product experiences. There is also pressure for organizations to take advantage of machine learning and robotic process automation. These technologies improve product information quality by highlighting issues and opportunities for improvement.

        To provide guidance on effective product experience management technologies, we are conducting Benchmark Research and will publish a Value Index to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to meet emerging product needs.

        Property Technology


        The upending of traditional office work coupled with shifts in where people shop and live has put a spotlight on the importance of property technology. Property management processes and technologies for both businesses and residential real estate are highly immature and inefficient. These processes will require significant change to cope with today’s environment. Too many organizations rely on manual processes that are cumbersome for property owners and do not deliver a 21st-century customer experience for lessees. We assert that through 2022, over three-quarters of the landlord and tenant relationships will be ineffective and lack digital technology to engage and restore mutually beneficial outcomes. The digital revolution in property management will support a more agile and predictive approach to managing locations, using technologies such as the IoT to continuously monitor properties and using work automation to supervise and support onsite processes.

        Watch for new Benchmark Research into property technology, which will determine the requirements for innovation and transformation that are desired from the range of parties and relationships.

        Supplier Relationship Management

        The role of sourcing and procurement is evolving to facilitate transactions and achieve better results by making buying organizations easier to do business with. Having tighter supplier coordination and deeper visibility into vendor capacity and capabilities is essential in an environment that requires supply chain agility and a high level of responsiveness in dealing with customers.

        Plans for 2021 include new Benchmark Research into Supplier Relationship Management to ascertain the challenge in the applications and processes required to sustain desired outcomes from the partnerships.

        Subscribe to our Ventana Research community to stay up-to-date on our 2021 research efforts. Visit our operations and supply chain expertise and topic areas to see the detailed agenda and continuously updated 90-day calendar as well as more research facts and best practices.




        Robert Kugel
        Executive Director, Business Research

        Robert Kugel leads business software research for Ventana Research, now part of ISG. His team covers technology and applications spanning front- and back-office enterprise functions, and he personally runs the Office of Finance area of expertise. Rob is a CFA charter holder and a published author and thought leader on integrated business planning (IBP).


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