BOSTON, Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ToolsGroup announces a major new release of its 'Powerfully Simple' supply chain planning (SCP) software, SO99+ 8.0, bolstered by a new technology integration with Microsoft. With this release, ToolsGroup migrates its software to Microsoft Azure and its machine learning engine (MLE) to Microsoft AI - an open artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing platform.
Version 8.0 makes innovative advanced analytics solutions accessible to a much broader audience, including both larger organizations wishing to enhance their legacy investments and mid-tier companies looking for competitive advantage. It is an important step in productizing machine learning for a wide range of business environments.
ToolsGroup previewed Version 8.0 in Stockholm last week at its Nordic partner Optilon's Supply Chain Conference 2017. A short video of CEO Joseph Shamir's presentation is available here. SO99+ 8.0 will be generally available beginning October 16, 2017.
Building on early first-mover advantage
Starting seven years ago, ToolsGroup was the first SCP vendor to integrate machine learning into a supply chain planning product. Gartner Research showcased it in a customer case study of Danone Corporation's highly successful promotions forecasting and management using ToolsGroup software.
In the ensuing years, companies such as HVAC manufacturer Lennox, automobile producer Aston Martin, and medical device vertically-integrated retailer Amplifon have adopted ToolsGroup machine learning technology. ToolsGroup has added new applications and refined their adaptability and robustness. ToolsGroup's machine learning-based application products now include:
- Trade promotion and media forecasting
- New product introduction (NPI)
- Extreme or complex seasonality
- Demand sensing and social sensing
ToolsGroup's application layer, MLE, sits on top of Microsoft AI, translating business phenomena into AI models. It marries statistical modeling with machine learning analytics to solve supply chain planning and optimization problems. Adding machine learning to planning processes reduces demand and supply uncertainty by separating the signal from the noise, while also automating time-consuming tasks.
AI-driven Supply Chain Planning in the Cloud
ToolsGroup SO99+ 8.0 has a new SaaS architecture, delivery approach and takes full advantage of Microsoft Azure. ToolsGroup's database of reference is now cloud-native and optimized in Azure for such IT benefits as enhanced scalability, performance and mobility.
Azure serves ToolsGroup's data-intensive solutions like Point-of-Sale (POS) demand sensing. Azure's ability to scale fast, handle high data volumes and accept non-traditional inputs like social feeds and weather forecasts makes it perfect for handling big and complex supply chain data.
SO99+ 8.0 includes an upgraded user interface that features intuitive network status visualization, integrated alerting and embedded live dashboards, with all navigation originating from the web.
Microsoft supply chain service provider
With SO99+ 8.0, ToolsGroup becomes a Microsoft service provider of advanced supply chain optimization and a supply chain reference partner.
Roberto Filipelli, Cloud & Enterprise - Partner Development Director Microsoft Apps, calls the relationship "a perfect fit between a platform company and ToolsGroup's 'killer' supply chain planning solution that supports multiple industries."
Akshey Gupta, director, Microsoft AI at Microsoft Corp. adds, "Supply chains are getting more complex and ToolsGroup provides one of the best supply chain analytics solutions today. ToolsGroup's deep analytical skills combined with Microsoft's listening and learning platform create collaborative solutions that adapt to changing supply chain environments."
Other improvements to ToolsGroup SO99+ 8.0 release include:
- Enhanced data modeling for what-if analysis as part of in-memory S&OP
- New budgeting and S&OP functionality to support merchandising of rapidly evolving product portfolios such as e-commerce catalogues and fashion products
- Enhanced functionality for reverse logistics, returns and repairs management
- Forecasting enhancements for extremely slow moving (i.e. "deep long tail") items in highly fragmented demand streams
- Increased supply chain monitoring
This new release also coincides with the ISO27001 Certification of ToolsGroup for Information Security – certifying the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
Release Process Underway
Joe Shamir, CEO of ToolsGroup, said, "This is our most significant software release in years, representing a major step in bringing AI-based supply chain planning to a broader audience. It is also an important step in ToolsGroup's transition to a full SaaS business. We are encouraging those clients who have not already transitioned from on premise to move to a cloud-based SaaS model."
While optional, all ToolsGroup customers, including customers with current machine learning applications, are eligible to upgrade to SO99+ 8.0 via ToolsGroup's normal migration process. ToolsGroup will also continue to offer its software on-premise.
ToolsGroup is a global provider of "Powerfully Simple" supply chain planning and demand analytics software. Our customers overcome volatile demand and challenging supply chains to generate accurate forecasts and outstanding customer service levels with less global inventory. ToolsGroup's solutions span key supply chain planning areas such as demand forecasting and collaboration, sales and operations planning(S&OP), demand sensing, promotion forecasting and multi-echelon inventory optimization (MEIO). For more information, visit www.toolsgroup.com or follow us on Twitter @ToolsGroup.