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Manhattan’s Momentum 2015

By Charles Eschinger | June 05, 2015 | 0 Comments

This posting was collaborated on with Gartner colleagues: Tom Enright and Dwight Klappich

2015 marks Manhattan’s 25th anniversary which is an impressive milestone within the supply chain market.  For the last several years, it has also experienced total company growth of 19% in 2014 and 31% since 2012 driving it closer to $500 million.  Despite this growth, Manhattan remains a conservatively managed organization in terms of regional expansion, development and acquisitions.   As analysts watching and advising within the supply chain market, this conservative philosophy which at times is frustrating to observe, but Manhattan’s conservative dogma has served it relatively well during both difficult and prosperous economic periods.

The theme for this year’s Momentum user conference was “building the commerce-ready enterprise”.  Building the commerce-ready enterprise builds well off of last year’s theme of commerce ready where businesses were ‘encouraged’ to harness and embrace the change occurring within their industries to become commerce ready.  To help simplify its message, Manhattan introduced how it is categorizing its products across three software solution portfolios: inventory, Omni channel, and supply chain or simply move, manage, and fulfill. It is allocating its various product portfolio into each of these buckets which surround the commerce ready enterprise. Time will tell if these three groupings will resonate with clients and prospects

The primary announcements during Momentum were DM Mobile, extended relationships with Microsoft Azure and IBM Softlayer for Cloud and the capabilities embedded within Omni-Channel Local from its acquisition of Global Bay

DM Mobile: While mentioned during its 2014 Momentum conference, Manhattan’s labor and mobile capabilities for the warehouse was enthusiastically introduced and received through a ‘Ditch the Desktop’ theme. DM Mobile garnered the attention of many Manhattan WMOS and WMi clients that are looking for mobile solutions for management to drive employee engagement in part from having a larger presence on the floor with real-time reports while bringing insight and innovation to its customers.

Extended Cloud Partnerships: Manhattan has historically skirted the conversation of cloud based solutions indicating that demand has been absent within its install base and prospects.  We did hear more attendees this year asking about Manhattan’s current and future capabilities with respect to the cloud and during Gartner’s supply chain summit and Manhattan’s conference they announced extended partnerships with Microsoft Azure and IBM’s Softlayer. They also identified that its transportation management system (TMS) was cloud enabled and ready. While Manhattan remains cautious in moving to the cloud (completely to the cloud) it does realize that the industry is moving in that direction and that it will need capable offerings when demand begins to emerge. Gartner is seeing increased demand in emerging markets as well as North America within smaller less sophisticated environments. This is typically not been the target audience for Manhattan products and services. Despite that we are expecting to hear more around cloud capabilities from Manhattan in the coming months and year.

Global Bay: If there was ever a question that Manhattan wasn’t keenly focused on Retail and Omni-Channel enablement, this year’s event answered it. The 2014 Global Bay acquisition highlighted a focus on the needs of customers to have a unified shopping experience (something we all pine for) while understanding the unique requirements of the store associate driven through in store based mobile applications

Noted as Absent
By admitted design, there were no tracks for several key technology themes impacting businesses today, such as Internet of Things (IoT) or big data. The omission of these themes allowed for Manhattan to focus more discretely on omni channel discussion.  Yet, these are trends and obstacles that Manhattan won’t own but rather have to help support for their customers.

More discussion around its platform SCOPE and the inherent benefits of its applications residing on the same platform remains a positive technical message and differentiator in the market.

Although a solution for consumer returns to retailers exists within the distributed selling module of the Order Management solution, the conference as a whole did not address the issue of returns at a level that reflected the size of the issue within the retail market

It’s a Wrap
Manhattan’s 2015 annual conference continued to highlight its strength in terms of articulating and showcasing a cohesive and meaningful vision. Customers were engaged across a variety of topics beyond DM Mobile and Global Bay that include Inventory Optimization, Business Process, RFID, enterprise performance management (SCI).  Its Women’s Lunch was also extremely well attended and a first that I’ve been exposed to for a supply chain company. Today, Manhattan is almost a victim of its own success where there is increasing demand for many of its solutions which will stretch not only its resources but that of its partners to fulfill immediate demands. Manhattan Associates continues to expand its relationships with companies like Kurt Salmon, CAP Gemini, and Deloitte as well as investing & increasing its employee base to help satisfy its growing demand. The investments it has made in platforming its solutions on SCOPE and SCALE should help reduce the man hours for some of the engagements that Manhattan will engage in with its clients.  If the concept of Omni channel truly takes off (and there’s no indication that it won’t) than Manhattan its partners and competitors will have ample opportunities for the near to medium-term.

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