Whether your systems have been moved to a centralized architecture yet or not, part one of this blog series discussed how centralizing your WMS system can improve efficiency and lower costs. Part 2 of will explore how managed services are transforming the approach to best in case WMS deployments in the cloud.
Outsourcing Scale and Efficiency Through Managed Services
While some large corporations with robust IT investment have the breadth and scale to train themselves on these tools to deliver that value, others will be challenged from a staffing perspective to build or maintain those skill sets. The JDA managed services team, however, offers the scale and expertise required to ensure the effective implementation of such a performance monitoring program. Our participation begins as early as the implementation phase, and helps customer to validate scalability under peak workloads and address potential business risks. It continues from a monitoring perspective as well, as to re-validate scalability prior to significant events impacting volumes such as rollouts or acquisitions. Not only does our managed services team have the most robust skill set in tuning our applications, but they are also actively engaged with our product development group’s load testing to ensure the continual evolution of our products to foster efficient scalability in high volume environments.
One important caveat for centralization is the speed with which to respond to high velocity material handling equipment. In these cases, even limited amounts of latency can prove disruptive as sub-second response times are required to ensure that conveyor and sortation signals can send updates and receive and process appropriate instructions. In these cases, systems will often be maintained on site to eliminate any non-essential variables that could impact the operation. Still, in such circumstances, performance optimization can be considered even more crucial to delivering a scalable solution to support the facility.
The Advantages of a Saas Environment vs. a Cloud
So, where does that put WMS on the path to SaaS? Important clarifications are required to define the advantages of a SaaS environment vs. a cloud. These include:
- Licensing – Software agreements can be either perpetual or subscription based, with subscription approaches becoming far more common in recent years. Most WMS providers who provide cloud services offer flexibility in licensing.
- Environment – True SaaS gains economies of scale from a multi-tenant, 100 percent standard environment. Requirements including security, specialization and scale require dedicated environments that can be guaranteed to perform.
- Upgradeability – The sensitivity of execution systems such as WMS, and change management sensitivities associated with impacts on service levels eliminate the option of auto-upgrade. However, vendors focused on cloud environments, such as JDA, have invested in a framework that will allow more flexible approaches to consistent patching approaches (in specialized, controlled environments) that gives customers the ability to move to a continuously current versioning approach, and therefore maintain supportability without fear of expensive projects or business disruption in their future.
These factors considered, the optimal approach for a Cloud WMS partner in today’s environment is to offer a robust program with options that can be tuned to best complement your organizational capabilities and needs. Key elements, including licensing options, performance monitoring capabilities, global presence, hyper-support, change management and product development/version delivery to facilitate a SaaS-like approach to staying current.
JDA offers both @JDA (Application & Incident Management on JDA HW at a JDA datacenter) and @Customer (Application & Incident Management on Customer HW at the Customer’s datacenter) models, positioned to address the greatest investment return opportunities for an array of customer requirements, whether that includes existing infrastructure investment, de-centralized automation requirements, or the full offering of JDA’s best in class application managed services focused specifically on JDA’s best in class solution set.
Any hosting provider can offer hardware, OS, network and database diagnostics for a WMS, but only JDA offers unparalleled value through Managed Services by drilling into application performance and continuously ensuring proactive tuning of the environment. In a mission critical systems environment, where system response times in heavy transaction environments quickly aggregate to real dollars, only JDA Managed Services can plan to deliver an optimized user experience.