A few weeks back, Supply Chain Matters had a briefing and product demonstration from the Kinaxis product marketing team regarding the Spring 2011 release of the company’s flagship RapidResponse application.  We have always been impressed with this product and that is one of the principle reasons that Kinaxis remains as one of the original sponsors of this blog.  With this updated release, the application is an even stronger offering.

Last October in our Supply Chain Matters summary impressions of the annual Kinaxis customer conference, we noted a consistent impression from attendee conversations that Kinaxis customers are generally pleased with the overall two-way relationship and support received from this vendor.  Product releases are therefore targeted toward customer priorities and feedback, and the latest release is no exception.

There are four three principle enhancement areas included this latest Spring 2011 release:

  • Enhancement of S&OP process support through the addition of deeper visualization and charting capabilities along with usability features in added configurable, role-based dashboards. One of the prime attractions of RapidResponse has always been its usability factors or worksheets, with a look and feel similar to utilizing spreadsheets.  In the new release, every worksheet can become a ‘widget’ with augmented visualization tools.   For users, large amounts of data in a planning or S&OP scenario can now be easily visualized for analysis or management and contract manufacturing communication needs. The enhanced role-based dashboards allow specific users to view the unique data required for their specific role.  This is an important enhancement because in many Rapid Response implementations, users extend beyond the planning team, often including product management, procurement t and other functional supply chain users.
  • Process automation additions in scripting and web services assist users to focus more on planning process exceptions in a much more- timely basis. Scripting checks certain conditions and helps RapidResponse to remain in-sync with events throughout the day.
  • Scalability enhancements are the most significant takeaway of this release, with enhanced in-memory capabilities allowing users to incorporate much larger volumes of data in the planning model. Previously, Rapid Response was limited to supporting a ceiling of 128 gigabytes of in-memory data.  This new release expands the support model to several terabytes.  We were informed that Kinaxis has tested models up to 1 terabyte with 1.1 billion related records.  Many RapidResponse implementations exist in multiple ERP or legacy application environments and enhanced in-memory capabilities will allow users to either incorporate more historic data, more planning scenarios, or larger planning models within Rapid Response. While several ERP vendors continue to promise enhanced in-memory capabilities, Rapid Response is delivering.
  • Even tighter high-frequency integration with ERP backbone or legacy applications via a two-way update of net changes, inuring integration to transactional systems is more timely and synchronized.

 

Overall, we remain impressed with the progress and functionality enhancements of RapidResponse and believe that Kinaxis installed base customers and prospects should be impressed as well.

Bob Ferrari

Note: Kinaxis is one of other noted  sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog.