One of the bitter ironies of rapid IT development is the fact that the early adopters are, at some point, going to end up with the oldest technology, apparently putting them at a competitive disadvantage.
The point comes to the fore in a new report by the Aberdeen Group into how organisations all around the world are making use of S&OP entitled “Sales & Operations Planning: A Global Comparison”.
For example, the report found that in North America, 67 per cent of respondents were using legacy systems for S&OP compared to 33 per cent in EMEA and 25 per cent in the emerging markets.
In contrast, 73 per cent of respondents in the emerging markets had integrated ERP modules compared with only 38 per cent in North America.
The emerging markets were also ahead of North America and EMEA in the use of specialist S&OP solutions.
Aberdeen also found that there were differences in measurement and organisation, with EMEA the most mature in having the sales and operations planning process established. However, the emerging markets were clear leaders when it came to the ability to measure forecast accuracy at the SKU level – possibly reflecting the capabilities of the technology in place.
The emerging markets group had a distinct advantage in have newer technology and not being saddled with legacy systems. However, perhaps more surprisingly Aberdeen found that this had not directly translated into a higher percentage of best-in-class S&OP performance companies.
And that suggests that success is not just about what kit you have, but what you do with it.