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In the Race to the Cloud, Where does WMS Extensibility Fit?

We cut our teeth on RedPrairie.  Early on as implementation analysts and software engineers, we saw firsthand how truly impressive their supply chain execution products were.  The degree to which they could be enhanced was astounding and it triggered a feeling of hopefulness — that anything was possible.

When you’re paying millions of dollars to implement a best-of-breed warehouse management system, wouldn’t you expect the keys to the castle?

One could argue that this is often taken too far and the wheel is reinvented, but if we, as a people, held that viewpoint as gospel very little in terms of innovation would occur.  I am glad we don’t live in such a world.

When you’re paying millions of dollars to implement a best-of-breed warehouse management system, wouldn’t you expect the keys to the castle?  I would.  You should.  It’s your fiscal responsibility to wring every last bit of value from the software investment.  Am I right or am I right?

Fast forward to today and beyond to the coming years.  All the hype is pointed squarely at cloud computing.  What remains unanswered is what a best-of-breed warehouse management system will look like when it’s transformed into a SaaS offering.  Will the same level of extensibility be maintained?  How do you scale the data model and allow individual companies to add business specific elements?

Yes.  We have seen the beginning of cloud based solutions, but those are stopgap solutions on the road to something radically different.  After all, these systems were designed in an era when physical servers were the de facto standard and scalability was measured on a per business basis; what Kraft was doing had no direct impact on Mondelez.

In the new paradigm that is cloud computing, how do you provide the extensibility that customers have cherished for decades and make it scale efficiently for tens of thousands of businesses spread across the globe?

This is the question that will be receiving an immense amount of attention over the next decade.  We also foresee new contenders emerging using fundamentally new techniques and approaches needed to answer these tough questions.

What are your plans for the cloud as they relate to your distribution centers?