The Future of the Supply Chain

Read our latest research report to find out what businesses need to be aware of when managing supply chains in the modern era.

Uncertainty over Brexit is said to have caused more disruption to supply chains in the last five years than natural disasters and cyber-attacks combined. That’s one of the key findings of a new report launched today by connected planning specialist Vuealta, which found that 50% of UK business decision makers felt that Brexit uncertainty had negatively impacted their supply chain in the last 5 years.

In comparison, just over a fifth (22%) had suffered from supply chain disruption due to a cyber-attack, and 19% from a natural disaster. This was despite the fact that studies suggest extreme weather events have increased in the last six years, and a major cyber attack cost a global logistics business hundreds of millions of dollars as recently as 2017.

Other factors said to have caused a negative impact were through the failure of a single supplier (30%) and spikes in demand overstretching supply chain capacity (28%). The report also found that a fifth of respondents thought customers would feel the impact of a supply chain failure within a day, giving them little time to fix issues when they arise.

Despite the potential risks to disruption, many UK businesses were looking to grow, with 67% looking to expand into new markets. However, they were also conscious of improvements they needed to make to do that – 64% admitted that they needed to improve the efficiency of their supply chain. Real time information across their supply networks (45%) and collaborative planning with suppliers (41%) were two of the key steps to achieving that goal.

“UK businesses want to grow, yet they’re at risk of seeing critical supply chains and logistics disrupted by events outside of their control. They know they can’t control the weather for example, or what may or may not happen over Brexit, so it’s clear they need to focus on what they can manage. That means planning for all eventualities and being able to respond in real time” says Ian Stone, CEO, Vuealta. “This requires a connected supply chain ecosystem with transparency and collaboration between partners.  Those that achieve this will create sustainable and significant competitive advantage and will lead the race in the search of new markets and profit streams.”

The report also revealed that almost a fifth of respondent’s businesses (19%) have a supply chain that encompasses more than 30 suppliers, reflecting an often complex network to manage, particularly in times of disruption or change. The findings also demonstrate that business leadership often does not understand the potential impact on their supply chain, whether disruption be caused by a cyber-attack (42%), political or market uncertainty (47%) or a natural disaster (43%).

Ian Stone, CEO, Vuealta added, “With connected planning tools, organizations no longer need to be in the dark when it comes to the ‘what-ifs’ of supply chain disruption. Through taking control of their supply chain and giving themselves the visibility they need, UK businesses can find opportunities to succeed and ensure they’re protected against disruption, in whatever form that takes.”

The full report, The Future of the Supply Chain  can be downloaded HERE

How to go global overnight

Ian Stone shares his views on the factors that SME’s and hypergrowth companies need to consider to expand successfully.

Technology allows start-ups to ‘think big’ earlier than ever before and enables global expansion at pace, to rival larger enterprises. As the world becomes more connected and digitised – whether that’s the internet, social media, or big data and the cloud – businesses have access to better intelligence on global events and market opportunities. When harnessed properly, this information allows organizations to make faster and more informed decisions, such as opening an office or making an acquisition in a new territory. That expansion is a significant undertaking for any SME or hypergrowth company, but when armed with this real-time market and economic data, they can take that leap with speed and confidence.

Many of the established players have been taken by surprise at this speed and the rate that their industries are being disrupted by agile upstarts expanding into them – particularly the likes of financial services, FinTech and IT. Companies like Monzo, Airbnb, Coinbase, Darktrace and Uber have all flipped traditional thinking about banking, accommodation and travel, and security on their heads. And there’s no reason why others can’t follow suit.

Taking the first step to going global is not a simple undertaking, and businesses need to ensure that they plan properly. There are a few key factors they need to consider if they want to expand successfully:

  1. Access to capital – to grow quickly into new markets, SMEs and hypergrowth companies need fuel in the form of funding. Thankfully access to that capital is much better now than 10-20 years ago, with more choice than ever before. While traditional lending avenues with the major high street banks has stalled – £165bn lent in 2017, down from £166bn in 2016 – demand for alternative financing has soared. Many of these funding routes saw significant growth from 2016 to 2017 including: equity investment (79%), asset finance (12%), and peer-to-peer lending (51%). Not all of these will be right for every business so, it’s important for organizations to do their due diligence on which route works best for them when expanding into new territories
  2. Local market knowledge – Don’t underestimate local nuances. To succeed in a new territory, businesses need to understand the economic, cultural, governmental, and market conditions of that region. A one-size-fits-all model for a global company doesn’t work. Knowledge of the local language, cultural differences of doing businesses, the regulatory framework, and industry contacts are all invaluable to setting up operations in a new market. This can range from knowing whether to handshake, bow, or use formal titles at a business meeting, through to country specific policies on consumer data protection, or rules around data storage and cybersecurity
  3. Land or Expand? – when expanding into a new territory, SMEs and hypergrowth companies are faced with the decision of whether to acquire a local business or open new owned offices. Both have their merits and draw backs and depend on a huge range of factors – from capital investment to industry and product capability. What is important though is that, when opening a new office, ensure that you hire local talent with regional knowledge. If acquiring, find a business that aligns to your vision and wants to come on that journey with you. That means that you can get up and running fast – crucial for ventures into new territories
  4. Agile connected planning – despite the huge potential rewards, international expansion is not simple. The market and economic volatility that allows SMEs and hypergrowth companies to thrive, is also a danger to new ventures. You have to be able to plan for every scenario, model the potential outcomes and respond quickly. Monitor your key revenue lines and the plans that track them closely, reforecasting in real time based on these. You must continuously test and challenge these numbers to show that they’re robust and to avoid any nasty surprises

At Vuealta we are going through our own exciting expansion, having recently announced the opening of a New York office and the acquisition of Executit, to extend our offering into Northern Europe and Asia Pacific. As with all SMEs and hypergrowth companies looking to expand, we had to make these decisions quickly and decisively, but with complete confidence. By taking a connected planning approach to expansion decisions like this, businesses can have the agility and real-time insight they need. They can produce plans and projections for every aspect of the newly formed business, across cash-flow and revenue streams, through to modeling head count, customer or prospect pipelines, while accurately forecasting to mitigate against external risk factors. That “what-if” analysis shows you how the impact of the expansion could ripple through the wider organization, now, in a year, in two or five years, and beyond.

There are many factors to consider and hurdles to jump when SMEs and hypergrowth companies look to expand into new markets. Five years ago, we couldn’t have taken these steps, but when you have a better understanding and visibility of the potential outcomes, you can be sure that you have the ability to do it at speed, successfully. The concept of “going global” is more achievable now than ever before.

Custom fit: getting the most out of your tech

The rate of innovation taking place today is enough to make any business feel permanently caught in a hamster wheel; trying to keep up with the latest trends to stay relevant. From small businesses to large enterprises, introducing anything new into a company can be a painful process. But if done right, it’s highly rewarding.

The problem is, the hamster wheel means that businesses feel constantly under pressure to move onto the next “big thing. There is a tendency for them to implement new technology and then quickly move on to the next project. Often, they’re then left feeling disappointed with the impact of that new piece of technology because just winding it up and expecting it to deliver isn’t enough. Businesses need to ensure that there is a dedicated team focusing on getting the most out of what is probably quite a significant investment. They need to consider the wider implications and success factors, such as people and processes.

Business need to look at how the technology will impact and benefit everyone, not just the IT team. It also needs to consider how it will integrate with existing workflows and procedures that are currently in place. Time is a luxury for today’s businesses so doing all of that whilst continuing with the day to day jobs can be difficult. Which is why working with a partner who can manage a project from start to finish and ensure that it delivers can be a game changer.

A new technology implementation is like a cycle race. Racing cyclists are decked out head to toe in the latest gear, accompanied by a highly technologically-advanced, custom-built bicycle built for precision and speed. The cyclist themselves are passionate and highly trained, knowledgeable about the course and the competition. They work together to be the best that they can be and to win the race. But without the rider, the bike is just a bike.

It’s the same in business. A company must be in the best shape possible, adapting processes and training people where needed to ensure that they can use new technology to its full advantage. Without that, the technology will sit there, having only the most basic impact or even no impact at all. For many businesses today, what they lack is time and skills – neither of which are easy to come by within existing internal teams.

In the pro peloton, the rider is supported by a group of team-mates and a huge support team, working tirelessly throughout the races to help achieve the best result possible. Building a long-term, working relationship with a partner, who has the skills and time to help the business through the entire journey of a new technology implementation is highly rewarding. By providing ongoing support, the partner can help the business start small, delivering immediate benefits, and then over time expanding the reach and impact of the investment to benefit other areas of the business. They are there to help figure out where to start, carrying out pilots to get an idea of any issues or unexpected benefits, from what the design and build should look like through to carrying out regular health-checks to ensure everything is working well.

It’s hard enough wading through all the technology solutions out there to find the best one, let alone achieving the promised benefits of the technology once you’ve invested in it. Businesses need to surround themselves with the best technology implementation partner possible to ensure that they’re reaping the rewards from their technology investments. As we know, in today’s digital age, technology can be the game changer for businesses looking to come out on top and win the race.

Vuealta joins the Anaplan Partner Network in EMEA

San Francisco, February 7, 2017 – Anaplan, a leading planning and performance management platform, today announced that London-based Vuealta will join the Anaplan partner network in EMEA. Led by Ian Stone, formerly of Anaplan, Vuealta will bolster the Anaplan channel program.

We’re thrilled to have a fast-growing global community of best-in- class consulting partners,” said Paul Melchiorre, Anaplan’s Chief Revenue Officer. “We are excited to welcome Vuealta into our ecosystem of partners who continually innovate to enable smart planning for our diverse customer base.

Stone has worked closely with Anaplan since 2011, when he launched Vue Analytics as the first Anaplan partner in the UK. Since then, Stone has been at the heart of Anaplan’s growth in EMEA as the Anaplan UK Managing Director before moving on as Managing Director at Vuealta.

There’s a huge opportunity for Anaplan business partners in EMEA to complement phenomenal software with advisory, implementation, and managed services,” said Stone. “I’m looking forward to working closely with customers to implement solutions that solve their business challenges and to continue supporting Anaplan’s growth in EMEA.

About Anaplan

Anaplan is a leading planning and performance management platform for smart businesses. Anaplan combines an unrivaled planning and modeling engine, predictive analytics, and cloud collaboration into one simple interface for business users. Anaplan is a privately held company based in San Francisco with 16 offices worldwide. To learn more, visit anaplan.com.

Press Contact
Anaplan – Pascal Boulard, Head of PR, EMEA
Cel : +336 14 16 80 17
pascal.boulard@anaplan.com

Vuealta: Our Ambition

Having launched Anaplan to the UK market in 2011, it’s still amazing to see the phenomenal growth the business has had.  There is no question that the Anaplan technology is amazing and best-in-class, but the fast and global widespread adoption that we have seen is simply unprecedented.  I know I am biased, but having led the Anaplan UK organization for the last six years, and witnessing the demand out there at all levels in the market, I had no choice but to form Vuealta and strive for Anaplan Excellence!

One thing that has remained constant over recent years is that you don’t necessarily have to start big with Anaplan.  Many customers start with a small pre-defined use case or business planning problem.  Our mantra has very much been to get you up and running, adding value to your process in days and weeks, not months and years.  This is as true today as it was six years ago, but what has amazed me, is the reach and growth within organizations once they start to understand the power of a connected enterprise planning environment.

Understanding the impact of sales, marketing, product, human capital and operational decisions in real-time, is game changing for organizations.  The ability to crystal ball gaze and understand outcomes in the decision-making process directly effects the bottom line and confidence in which businesses operate.  I recall running companies in the past and only discovering issues once the FD had produced the monthly accounts. With Anaplan and its integrated financial planning capabilities, I know what’s going on in real time and can course correct ‘on the fly’.  If I have revenue targets around my Professional Services function but my Recruitment Planning model tells me we are behind on our recruitment funnel, I can instantly make changes.  If I am looking at making an acquisition, I can load the target’s data into my operating model and see what the combined business looks like across a range of scenarios.  If I want to know the impact of launching a new product or service I can test the scenario and visualise the impact.   It is literally possible to run any business planning scenario and you can head into a decision with absolute confidence of the outcome.

Vuealta can not only help you start your Anaplan journey, but we can grow with you as a true business partner and take the solution wherever you would like to go.  Whether you are a small team in a departmental area of your organization or you are mature in your use of Anaplan and want to ‘industrialise’ it by building a Centre of Excellence, we can help.

Vuealta has the best and brightest talent and we would love to work with you to embrace the amazing opportunity that Anaplan can bring your organizations.  Get in touch today!

Broaden your Knowledge with Anaplan Resources

Take time to visit the content rich Resources page at Anaplan.  Learn of customer successes by reading cases studies and watching testimonial videos, download informative whitepapers and analysts reports from the likes of Forrester and Gartner.

Anaplan Datasheets, Product Demos and access to Events and Webinars are listed in the resources section too – it’s a plethora of useful information!

Visit the Resources library now and don’t forget to let us know when you are ready to take your Anaplan project forward – we are here to provide you with all the expert and tailored advice you need to be successful!

Why the Customer is King in Strategic Planning

Companies are faced with a future that would appear to be both unknowable and uncontrollable. Some appear to have slipped into the false comfort that it is best not to make too many firm choices, and instead let strategy emerge as events unfold to make the future clearer. Back in the 1970’s, Henry Mintzberg —still lecturing, writing and tweeting at the age of 75 —made the distinction between deliberate strategy that resulted from systematic business planning, and emergent strategy, which he saw as a wait-and-see approach that came about as a company responded to a variety of unanticipated and unconsidered events.

Beware of Extremes in Strategic Planning

Mintzberg recognized that most companies pursue strategies that lay somewhere on a continuum between the extremes of completely deliberate and completely emergent, which he saw as ideal types. He wanted managers to develop a strategy but at the same time he wanted them to carefully monitor for changes in their environment and constantly make course corrections to their strategy.

If scenario analysis is concerned with identifying plausible futures, then strategic planning is concerned with moving the company to a sustainable position in the most likely future — all the time monitoring critical events and technologies that will lead to that future and being ready to re-orientate as necessary.

Those companies that spend little time on strategic planning leave themselves exposed to the whims of an emergent strategy. Many believe that their markets are large enough to accommodate their growth aspirations without too much planning; or that they are a “fast-follower” and can rapidly adapt to changes in their markets. Adopting an emergent approach to strategy is clearly risky for a large company with a high level of fixed assets. However it may be entirely the right approach to strategic planning for a start-up technology company exploring which vertical markets to double down on or an entrepreneurial business unit of a large organization.

Follow the Money

At the same time, being over-zealous in adopting a deliberate approach to strategy formulation can be risky too. This is because companies can easily immerse themselves in the detailed planning of revenue, operating expenses, and capital expenditure, and quickly delude themselves that they now know and can control the future. They clearly cannot. They might be able to control costs in the future, but only customers create revenue. That is why strategic planning should always focus on the changing needs of customers and how anticipated changes in market size and market share combine to generate future revenue streams.

Ultimately, the customer plays the decisive role and every strategy for a business is a mix between responding to market demands and creating them. Businesses need agility and flexibility to walk the precarious line between each of these options – too far over to either side can have disastrous consequences, potentially leaving the organization trailing key trends or else going off in the wrong direction altogether.

Planning for Spontaneity

When it comes to adding agility, cloud computing now offers the most compelling argument. Facilitating real-time updates allows the entire team to be involved in collaborating on the best approach, whilst sharing accountability for the results as they are realised. The on-demand resources of the cloud provide businesses with unprecedented scale and the ability to cost-effectively manage and process data volumes that were previously unthinkable – crucial when it comes to analysing and predicting customer buying habits.

As strange as it sounds, organizations must try and plan for the unexpected trends. Simply put, your organization must be agile and flexible enough to keep the pace with rivals. Adhering to old-processes and clunky legacy software leaves a business at risk of being left behind as the market continues to embrace the cloud operation model and increase the speed of change within their organizations. Organizational flexibility doesn’t come solely from mobile working or a scalable cloud infrastructure but also from empowering business users to find the technologies and processes which best enable them to work most effectively. So find out from your staff what they need to be more agile.

Mixing emergent and deliberate approaches is the best way of making decisions. There is a risk of waiting and seeing what comes up. But if you only have one ambition in life, failure can mean overwhelming disappointment, and by that time, your singular focus may have led you to close down too many other options.