This week, this supply chain management technology industry analyst had the opportunity to attend the annual customer conference of supply chain planning and response management technology provider Kinaxis. Readers should note that Kinaxis has been a long-time sponsor of this blog.
Having attended and written of the last 10 consecutive years of the termed Kinexions conference, this year’s event was by far, the most significant from a product strategy and market impact perspective.
Unlike the format of many prior Kinexion conferences where the day one keynotes involved both the CEO keynote followed by a series of customer presentations, this year’s event had the CEO keynote followed with the product development update, normally slotted for day two.
That was a wise decision in that it magnified the importance of what is to come.
Andrew McDonald, Chief Product Officer along with respective product development leads unveiled a series of significant new product development initiatives underway.
To cut to the chase, the most significant and likely far reaching came first. Kinaxis announced that the company’s RapidResponse technology platform will be extended to partners for use as a custom development platform for building supplemental supply chain or enterprise planning process support applications. That would likely include extensions of custom algorithms related to broader industry or enterprise planning needs.
In essence, Kinaxis has declared itself to be the first supply chain Cloud planning platform to open up the company’s RapidResponse interconnected applications and existing proprietary algorithms for designated partners to extend to broader industry needs.
In a later dedicated briefing provided to combined equity and supply chain technology industry analysts, Kinaxis CEO John Sicard described this week’s product development announcements as: “the largest product innovation release in many years.”
This Editor will concur with that statement and presume other Kinaxis customers will likely concur.
In fact, we heard of examples where partners are already in the process of extending such an extension in addressing other unique industry planning and real-time response needs, areas that clearly are beyond classic supply chain planning.
The product platform extension strategy has the potential to extend Kinaxis’s planning and response management technology to specifically address other planning and response management process problems extending to areas such as manufacturing, logistics, customer fulfillment or other areas. It forms the basis for designated partners in developing a series of different mini-applications or bots as extensions of a planning platform, all leveraging the Kinaxis existing proprietary in-memory data management capabilities.
For its part, Kinaxis told customer conference attendees that there will be a partner certification process and that Kinaxis will assume existing first-level support for custom extensions of RapidResponse into these other areas.
Other product development announcements included the development of what was termed as a totally new user planning experience anticipated in 2020. As we have witnessed with other supply chain management technology providers, with the need for intense data management and analysis, couple with new levels of talent joining the ranks of supply chain management, there are needs for better experiences, enhanced visualization of large amounts of data couple to advanced analytics.
Personalization is another important area. Kinaxis Senior Manager of User Experience Matt Chmiel addressed each of these areas along with sharing screen shots of proposed new user screens and dashboards. Further shared was the company’s new “Live Lens” mobile based application affording senior executives a summarized viewing of key performance indicators involving the end-to-end supply chain. Beta development efforts related to improved user experiences are underway with the potential for some 2020 enhancements.
In the area of intelligence and automation, Vice President of Product Management Josee Loudiadis shared direction of development efforts further addressing what Kinaxis terms as the ‘self-healing supply chain’ demonstrating advanced analytics, machine-learning capabilities in uncovering rather significant supply chain cost savings, in the order of multi-millions of dollars, related to resource planning. Kinaxis has further extended its in-memory engine to incorporate both internal and external market information sources, each with the ability to be automatically analyzed by machine-learning techniques. Planners can then be afforded the ability to compare both calculated plans with machine-learning generated plans to assess proper fit or application.
Director of Product Management Andrew Bell shared three areas for added product development in 2020 which will include supply planning, production planning and scheduling, and demand planning. A new multi-level search technology algorithm was described as providing significantly higher speeds of search computing. In the process and batch-process manufacturing sector, Kinaxis plans to augment existing attribute-based planning and product expiry support planning support by adding Automated Sourcing Intelligence (multi-level search) in 2020.
Oh yes, Kinaxis’s planned deeper support of detailed production scheduling is likely to be a market alternative to current ERP or other best-of-breed market offerings, placing Kinaxis technology deeper into operational and execution type planning.
In the specific area of demand planning, efforts are being directed for further developing termed demand sensing capabilities enhanced by machine-learning along with some other enhancements.
Day One Summary
By far, this year’s product development tract was far reaching and market significant. The extension of the RapidResponse planning platform for broader industry use cases indeed provides broader market implications which Supply Chain Matters will share in a separate blog in the coming days. Such a strategy suddenly opens-up a different pathway for supply chain digital transformation, and specifically in which data management platform to utilize.
Our next specific blog related to Kinexions 2019 will highlight impressions of day two customer presentations and other areas.
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