A final thought for 2009


Happy HolidaysWe’re taking a short break from blogging over the holidays, so this will be our last post until the New Year.  The entire Kinaxis team would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season. 

To our valued readers and subscribers, we are humbled that we are a regular resource for you.  And to everyone that has commented to this blog, we sincerely appreciate the contributions – the conversation is always more valuable when people chime in with their own take on the subject.  We are looking forward to 2010 when the discussions will continue with enthusiasm!

I leave you with Brian Sommers’ must-read blog post over at ZDNet.  It’s priceless stuff.  Dear Santa : The CXO ERP Xmas Letter  (my favorite is the comment to the post whereby a poster criticizes the ERP wish list as “ridiculous”….I think something is ridiculous, but it certainly isn’t that list … :))

Cheers to the New Year with more views and news…

Take good care.


Douglas Colbeth became president and chief executive officer of Kinaxis in March 2003. As one of the true visionaries of the Internet explosion in the mid 1990's, he envisioned the opportunity to be a leader in delivering an on-demand supply chain management service. He then came across what he describes as a "gang of supply chain geniuses" in Canada, who had already developed very powerful modeling and collaboration technology. Doug understood what the Internet's influence on consumer behavior would be and how it would dramatically increase demand volatility. The problem of effectively responding to consumer demand would be further exacerbated by the dramatic market shift of outsourced manufacturing operations. Under Doug's leadership, Kinaxis developed a world-class offering which enables companies to build better supply chain plans and quickly respond to constant changes in demand, supply and product — driving breakthroughs in customer service and operations performance. Today, the Kinaxis RapidResponse® cloud service empowers front-line decision makers at brand name companies and contract manufacturers with multi-enterprise visibility and collaborative analysis tools to effectively respond to change across an entire distributed supply chain. Prior to Kinaxis, Doug was chief executive officer of Spyglass Inc., a leading provider of Internet software technologies. Spyglass technologies are utilized inside millions of products including PCs, televisions, telephones, and other hand-held devices. Most notably, Spyglass technology is the foundation of the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. In June 1995, Spyglass became the first Internet software company to conduct a successful Initial Public Offering. In March 2000, Doug negotiated its merger with OpenTV Inc., at a value of $2.4 Billion. Outside of his work with Kinaxis, Doug and his wife Margaret are pioneer philanthropists in the area of juvenile brain diseases. Established in 2000, the Colbeth Clinic is operated by the University of Illinois Medical Center and serves inner city children in the Chicago area. This state of the art clinic employs a multidisciplinary approach to treating a wide range of brain diseases including: autism, depression, bipolar, OCD, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Doug holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, and studied Quantitative Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (R.P.I.) in Troy, New York. While attending R.P.I., Doug was awarded a research grant from Texas Instruments Inc. to develop modeling software for various Texas Instruments products.

More blog posts by Doug Colbeth


  1. Re ‘The ERP Xmas Letter’ – What an amazing coincidence – I just sent a similar but less ironic email to Redmond Curtis (Kinaxis) regarding the demise of 32 bit Rapid Response (both product & support) and the perpetual licensing model at a speed far faster that we want. It’s a funny old world …

  2. As we see it (as do many of our sales prospects and customers) subscription pricing keeps technology and service delivery companies like Kinaxis ‘on their toes’ continually needing to demonstrate value to stay in the game. It’s the new paradigm: SaaS or perish.

    Rob Bell

  3. Thanks for getting back so promptly Rob.

    Kinaxis have not recently announced that they are withdrawing from ‘on premises’ licensing as well have they??
    No? So it’s not really a “new paradigm” issue then. SaaS/Cloud is only part of the story here. Commercials and trust are big parts as well.

    BTW, I do not disagree with the principal at all – Kinaxis just need to do a better job taking your older customers with you on the journey. Kinaxis need to honestly/openly deal with what is being taken away and accept that their chosen speed of the complete support removal for an older established ‘on premises’ 32 bit product version will not suit everyone. At least with ‘on premises’, perpetual licensing the customer retains an ‘out’ if the relationship with the vendor gets too unilateral.

    Kinaxis also needs to demonstrate that they are ‘fit for purpose’ for this new licensing model so that existing customers (and I assume prospects) can be assured that Kinaxis will also look after their interests going forward.

    My original point to Doug’s blog post is that the approach of ERP vendors to their customers in the ZDNet blog post being alluded to as “ridiculous” is, in my opinion, not so very far away from how Kinaxis is currently treating us on this journey. As CEO he needs to be aware when Kinaxis strategy and reality do not tie up.

    Maybe it is just us smaller guys over here in Europe, but I wonder how many of your older established customers feel the same …

  4. Charlie,

    I’m glad to hear that you agree with the principal of SaaS and subscription services. It is a model that we find is resonating well with customers and prospects alike. The precariousness of global markets demand steadily improving business results. With IT organizations in the difficult position of needing to deliver high value tools that can address urgent businesses challenges and that can show tangible ROI quickly, we are finding that the on-demand subscription offering is the path to follow. And it’s a trend we want to lead in the supply chain space. We work hard with those customers who wish to adopt the technologies (and associated business models) as they become mainstream.

    You mentioned that customers should have an ‘out’ – I completely agree, and in fact, I think that makes the case for on-demand services even more. On-demand services are results driven. The prospect of an unsatisfied customer walking away is strong motivation. The goal of ’value delivery’ is pervasive and crystal clear. In my opinion, it is the antidote to unilateral vendor relationships.

    We do not take your concerns lightly, so let’s continue the discussion offline. Thanks for the feedback.


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