This continues our series of commentaries outlining our 2012 Predictions for Global Supply Chains. These predictions are provided in the spirit of advising supply chain organizations in setting management agenda for the year ahead, and in helping our readers and clients to prepare their supply chain management teams in establishing programs, initiatives and educational agendas for the New Year.

Readers are welcomed to review our previous series of postings.  These include:

 The full listing of 2012 predictions

Predictions One and Two.

Prediction Three

Prediction Four

Predictions Five and Six


Prediction Nine: Wider scale leveraging and adoption of in-memory computing technologies among enterprise and specialty supply chain vendors, coupled with broader leveraging of data mining, have the potential to be game changing influences on supply chain wide business planning and response management.

This is essentially a repeat of our 2011 prediction, which did not come to full fruition.  We, however, remain firm in the belief that breakthroughs in larger-scale in-memory computing will pave the way for adding much more responsiveness to supply chain operations, planning and business intelligence processes. This is also an area where the challenges for managing and mining large data volume and the fusing of the physical and digital aspects of supply chain can be brought together.  The question is timing and demonstration, and readers should note that we have not affixed a firm 2012 timing for this prediction.

The converging forces of a more rapid clock speed of business change, along with senior management imperatives for quicker, more timely and responsive decision-making in response to events, continue to motivate supply chain management teams to shed sequential supply chain planning and execution processes in favor of a combined response management process that is built upon more rapid planning and predictive analytics that anticipate various scenario responses to an unplanned event. Today’s cadence and process-sequential S&OP processes are having some difficulty with keeping up with the current clock speeds of business change. The goal now equates to delivering the most timely knowledge and insights to the point or process of need.

Vendors such as Agistix, JDA Software and Kinaxis (one of other Supply Chain Matters named sponsors) have already demonstrated this capability.

The biggest player with the highest game-changing impact is SAP and its HANA development efforts.  Unfortunately, the latest indicators coming out of the SAP Influencers Summit in mid-December indicate that SAP wants to not only leverage HANA technology for leveraging more in-memory insights, but also leverage the technology to eventually make SAP one of the top three players in database deployment.  Supply Chain Matters feels that this added burden will only delay the real impact of HANA in the advanced analytics area, and that will be disappointing for many SAP customers.

Oracle has also been developing interesting applications in this area, and recently acquired information discovery vendor Endeca. IBM has also assembled all of the supply chain technology components for in-memory advanced analytics and has the potential to deliver some breakthrough.

This concludes Part Seven of our Supply Chain Matters 2012 Predictions.  In Part Eight, we will conclude this series with our tenth and final prediction, the increased adoption of systems of engagement in 2012.

Our complete research report which outlines all ten predictions in a single document is now available for no obligation free download in our Research Center.  (Listed as We only request that you provide some basic registration data including name, email, role and phone contact.  All information remains confidential and no salesperson will call. We also do not sell our registration lists to any third parties.

In the meantime, readers are encouraged to share observations and added predictions from your industry and functional lenses.

Bob Ferrari

© 2011 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group LLC and the Supply Chain Matters, All rights reserved.