Dave Weinand
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Fri, May 12, '2023

Can Blue Yonder Take Supply Chains into the Blue Yonder?

At their annual user group conference, Blue Yonder presented a vision of a first-of-its-kind' enterprise supply chain platform' that will sit inside a data cloud.

Can Blue Yonder Take Supply Chains into the Blue Yonder?, Blog

Last week some of the Incisiv Team attended Blue Yonder's annual user group conference, ICON. Equipped with a new executive team and some big announcements around key partnerships, ICON focused on Blue Yonder's big vision. Historically known as a company built through acquisitions, Blue Yonder is chock full of robust point solutions that help retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers to plan and execute their supply chain strategies. While it won't change overnight, Blue Yonder presented a vision of a first-of-its-kind' enterprise supply chain platform' that will sit inside a data cloud.

What does that mean? It means building upon the partnership between Snowflake and Blue Yonder that was formalized last year. Blue Yonder plans to build all of its applications natively on top of Microsoft Azure, utilizing the Snowflake data cloud, to effectively eliminate the siloed nature of data across multiple applications. As they put it, Blue Yonder will topsy-turvy the traditional process of pulling data into the application and will bring the application to the data. This will create end-to-end operability and eliminate the age-old challenge of batch processing.

They even went as far as calling it the single database on top of the world's supply chain. A big vision for sure, and as such, this will be a multi-year plan with many goalposts to reach:

  • They must overcome the challenge of selling a percentage of their current client base who are on-premise to migrate to the cloud.
  • They must convince those retailers and manufacturers that subscribe to a best-of-breed philosophy that a single platform with composable microservices is the way to go.
  • The territoriality that exists in the planning and supply chain world will require a cultural shift and training (although they did detail a 'clean room' concept that enables different views of the data depending on the role in the company).
  • In addition, as a single source of data 'to rule them all' (my Lord of the Rings reference), the challenge of data cleanliness becomes tantamount to their ability to execute.

Overall, the vision is sound - for both Blue Yonder and the industry. Blue Yonder will be able to offer a more cohesive portfolio of solutions that will be more efficient to roll out and execute. For the industry, the idea of an enterprise supply chain platform to manage planning and execution leveraging a single dataset can bring great efficiency.

What makes Blue Yonder believe they can pull this off? Well, in an era where large tech firms have been scrambling with layoffs and budget cuts, Blue Yonder's poppa, Panasonic Connect, is enabling them to step up their game with plans to hire 1,000+ people in the next 12-18 months and provide an invest $1 Billion (Yes, that's a B) for R&D over the next 36 months.

As we know, changing processes and mindsets in consumer industry companies is never easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Blue Yonder's vision will be a fun story to see unfold.