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50 Fastest Growing Tech Companies 2016

Action-ready planning in time with opportunity: Steelwedge

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‘A configurable, action-ready planning solution which lets individual roles across your organization collaborate to predict, shape and respond in time with opportunity.’

Steelwedge Software, Inc. provides cloud-based integrated business planning solutions and services to organizations in the United States and internationally. It offers cloud planning platform and services to align product, sales, demand, supply, strategy, operations, and financial decisions across roles, geographies, products, time horizons, channels, customers, and suppliers to improve efficiency and outcomes.

The company also offers Plan Streaming, a cloud platform that combines predictive, prescriptive, and responsive analytics and technology to equip organizations to be ready to act in time with opportunity. Steelwedge was founded in 2000, and is based in Pleasanton, California.

Steelwedge was founded to help companies plan more collaboratively, particularly with respect to keeping sales, finance and supply chain teams on the same page so they can stay ahead of changes in demand and supply, and so they can respond profitably to mismatches when they occur. Cloud technology is particularly well-suited for equipping people to collaborate globally, both within a company and outside of it, with suppliers, distribution partners, outsourced manufactures and channel participants. Steelwedge was the first company to bring Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) to the cloud, establishing that market.

In conversation with the Key Executive

Tell us about your first product that was launched?
I became aware of Steelwedge in 2012, when I was Vice President of Global Supply Chain Systems at HP. We had a transformational vision for HP’s global supply chain, with aggressive KPIs for accelerating growth and reducing costs. Planning more innovatively was central to achieving this vision. I was intrigued by the idea of being able to plan so expertly that warehouses would actually become unnecessary; all inventory would be in motion, produced and distributed to the exact timing of demand consumption.

As a start, I needed a better way to sense market changes and to shape demand ahead of our competitors, and to respond to demand and supply mismatches more quickly and profitably. I evaluated solutions from all the major vendors and from more innovative companies such as Steelwedge, but I couldn’t find the perfect fit. I wanted to shatter the restrictions of cycle-bound planning, where plans are outdated by the time they are finished. Instead, I wanted the horsepower, flexibility and ease-of-use to enable global teams to continuously plan the best decisions together, without waiting for monthly or weekly meetings. I needed analytics to enable fast scenario planning informed by billions of data points, so that all options could be considered very quickly, especially in “big data” driven markets.

Steelwedge was intrigued by this vision. To develop the right solution for HP, we began co-innovating to shape a planning platform powered by the most modern Silicon Valley bred technology, science and math. In 2014, Steelwedge’s investors approached me to become CEO and lead the company to deliver on this vision of continuous, fast, collaborative planning and response management across ecosystems.

I found the prospect of leading this dramatic modernization of planning for all companies so intriguing that I joined Steelwedge in November of 2014, leaving what was arguably one of the best positions in supply chain at the time.

We launched the platform I had envisioned, PlanStreaming, in October of 2015. We have dramatically expanded Steelwedge beyond its foundation as a cloud S&OP provider to include state-of-the-art Supply Chain Planning (including modern Response Management), Sales Planning, Demand Sensing, Supply Sensing, Control Tower and Exception Management, Visibility, Procure-to-Pay, Opportunity to Cash, and Advanced Analytics to drive Algorithmic Planning, which we believe will be essential for companies to capture first-mover advantage in the next 5 to 10 years.

“The future belongs to companies that seize every opportunity and technological advance to make planning a strategic advantage.”

What kind of mixed responses have you received from your customers over the years?
I believe that you can become particularly close to your customers when you go through pain together. Maybe it’s the pain of their pushing the boundaries of your solution, and so you co-innovate to grow together, and both come out stronger on the other side. Or it might be the pain of their absorbing acquisitions or working through divestitures, and you’ve got to work together to adapt solutions and service models.

What drives/inspires you to excel in your field of business?
I have always been intrigued with finding better ways to do things, and with creating innovations that matter. This isn’t just in my business endeavors; it’s part of my natural personality. So a career in technology is a perfect place to stimulate my innate curiosity and passion for always discovering “a better way.”

What do you feel freshers and peers need to keep in mind to figure out a place for them in today’s marketplace?
Continuous innovation is the key to a successful career, whether or not you happen to be in the technology industry. Those who create the most value for their companies are people who come up with fresh perspectives, keep a company from getting stale or resting on its laurels, and have a first-mover mindset. Playing from your front foot rather than being back on your heels is just as much of an advantage in business as it is in sports. Find where you can make a forward-moving difference, and take the initiative to do it.

Meet the Master

Pervinder Johar, CEO: A seasoned supply chain executive with extensive industry knowledge and operational expertise,Pervinder Johar joined Steelwedge as CEO from HP in November 2014.

“A true partnership exists when a company and its customer are willing to face difficulties together, and to trust that a win-win solution is possible.”

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