An Open Letter About Challenging the Status Quo

The 2018 Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record published recently. If you are a global manufacturer that prefers an on-premise deployment model from legacy solutions, then you’ll enjoy this latest version of the magic quadrant. If you’re in retail distribution or you are a wholesaler, then you’ll most likely be left feeling challenged.

In full disclosure, Blue Ridge was moved from the Leaders quadrant to the Challengers quadrant. We couldn’t have been more surprised. We feel steadfast that the qualities and attributes that propelled us to the leadership position in the previous magic quadrant, have only multiplied and that couldn’t be any more evident than the dozens of customers that have joined the Blue Ridge family since January 2017. By the way…. that’s a lot of new customers in an industry that has been around for some time.

What’s propelled that growth you might ask?

It’s the fact that we’ve been a Challenger all along.

At Blue Ridge we’ve been challenging the status quo from day one. We realized that traditional supply chain planning solutions were designed before the computing power required to analyze data in order to expose what causes customers to buy was available or cost-prohibitive, ultimately resulting in inaccurate forecasting.

Costs and limitations also confined legacy technology to compromises in the form of assumptions, estimates and averages that disallowed precise planning, economic optimizations, and automated actions that are required to pre-empt and respond to changing conditions in your unique business environment.

As the limitations came to be accepted, companies developed work arounds or manual processes to compensate for the legacy systems. This status quo is why you’re constantly left chasing demand, applying your own intuition and referring to multiple reports and systems to make your decisions. Hindrances you cannot afford when your customers can act so rapidly and have so many alternatives.

And believe it or not, many of these legacy, on-premises supply chain planning solutions are represented as “Leaders” today in this latest version of the magic quadrant.

Unlike many ERP solutions and other legacy supply chain applications, Blue Ridge is specifically designed for retail and distribution to manage the unique dynamics of providing finished goods directly to customers. With the opportunity to analyze every customer transaction, Blue Ridge enables unprecedented forecasting precision and automatically generates the most cost-effective supply chain plan for meeting customer needs. We know what will happen, what to do about it, and how it will affect your business.

To paraphrase the Magic Quadrant for Supply Chain Planning System of Record document, through customer validated data, Gartner believes that-

Gartner Statement

What it means to you

Strength - Blue Ridge’s vision for cloud and real-time analytics is above average, strengthened by its multitenant cloud base, which can support evolving data models. Its management team has a strong focus on the SCP portfolio, and its percent of SCP product R&D spend (relative to revenue) is above average. Blue Ridge is cloud-native and will be able to grow with your business. You’ll receive the latest functionality in each monthly release and won’t have to wait or pay for any upgrades. This is possible because Blue Ridge is investing heavily into forward-thinking processes and technologies.

We’re not resting on our laurels…

Strength - Compared with other Magic Quadrant vendors, Blue Ridge has an above-average score related to the customer experience criterion. This is mainly driven by its above-average customer reference customer satisfaction levels and their level of business benefit achieved. Blue Ridge customers are happy with the solution and are realizing real word results that are driving competitive advantages in their supply chain planning processes.

We don’t just sell you software. Through our LifeLine programs, we’re going to be successful together!

Strength - Customer references report below-average median project budgets and typical implementation timelines. The software-to-services ratio is below average. Reference customers have an above-average level of satisfaction with the vendor’s implementation services. Blue Ridge on-boards (implements) faster and cheaper than most legacy, on-premises solutions. Our customers also love our support and LifeLine teams!

Cheaper, better, faster. In the old way of doing things, you had to choose two. With Blue Ridge, you can have all three!

Caution - Blue Ridge has traditionally focused on the distribution-intensive sector. Consequently, it is below average in terms of industry coverage. Guilty as charged. No defense here. As mentioned earlier, Blue Ridge is specifically designed for retail and distribution to manage the unique dynamics of providing finished goods directly to customers.
Caution - Customer references report that their intent to deploy and use additional SCP features from Blue Ridge is below average in the short term (i.e., the next 12 months) and midterm (i.e., the next 12 to 24 months) compared with other vendors in this Magic Quadrant. Today, when you buy the Blue Ridge SCP Solution, you get every module except Multi-echelon Inventory Optimization and Integrated Business Planning on the core platform. Demand Planning, Supply Planning, Replenishment Planning and other modules all are available to you from day one. We’re not bolting on additional modules to continue to drive additional sales from our customer base.
Caution - Blue Ridge’s functional strength for demand planning and supply planning is below average. Other product capabilities including supply chain segmentation and transaction system integration rank below average. The Blue Ridge solution was purpose-built for retail and wholesale distribution…not manufacturing.

Simply put…we’re damn good at what we do, and we don’t play in areas that don’t make sense to our customers.

Caution - Customer references report below-average levels of satisfaction with total cost of ownership (TCO), geographic coverage and third-party implementation services. I really couldn’t tell you. In the Strengths section, we get kudos for our ability to on-board faster and cheaper…and our customers achieve above-average business benefits. They also lauded our software to service ratio.

Hmmm…we have a head scratcher here.

Blue Ridge is replacing outdated and legacy solutions handedly, posting a 7 – 1 record against the “leaders” JDA and haven’t lost to an ERP solution provider in over 12 months. In 2017 Blue Ridge grew company revenue at 42% higher than the growth rate for the supply chain planning market (Gartner forecast) and achieved a world-class customer retention rate 98%. Annual recurring revenue grew by 40% driven by bookings growth of 120%. And we’re just getting started.

And while leader sounds good…I kind of like the idea of being a Challenger. Challenging the status quo is where we started. And it is what keeps pushing us forward. It’s what will fuel our determination to help Gartner understand why forward-thinking retailers and wholesalers are moving to Blue Ridge.

For a more foreseeable future

Jim Byrnes

CEO | Blue Ridge