Interview conducted by Emilien Villeroy, published the 4/12/2017 on the Voxlog.
What is the origin of Colibri?
A few years ago, VISEO created a Supply Chain Optimization business unit to assist its key account customers. This business unit was multi-sectors and multi-solutions with a large team of experts. But, when we started growing I realized that I was often contacted by prospects that wished to implement simpler tool for their company. Overall, all the available solutions on the market were way above their budget, volume or maturity. So, we decided to address this part of the market with simple needs but no adequate solutions to answer them. At the same time, we were starting a partnership with Microsoft Azure and the cloud technology just emerged. In 2013, we launched our R&D teams on the development of a new solutions based in the cloud and named Colibri. We were market ready in 2014.
What are Colibri’s specificities compared to other solutions?
The Colibri objective has always been to offer a simple tool, quick to implement and using best practices in order to improve forecasts reliability and service rate, reduce stocks and master flows. In short, Colibri is composed of different modules to easily manage sales forecasts. We are offering a unique SaaS solution for all the users, with quarterly updates with new functionalities and modules.
In my point of view, the true value to make a good demand planning is not to look for super-powerful algorithms, but to implement collaboration within the company. The Colibri solution has been designed that way: to put at the same level the marketing, sales team, directors and the production. Everyone can collaborate and share his views on sales forecasts. It is even possible to connect with customers in order to have buying forecasts.
Another specificity is that the solution has been natively built in the cloud. We were a bit ahead the market at that time and some clients were not trusting this new technology. It is different now, our interlocutors have clearly understood the advantages of the cloud: more scalability, simple access via internet, increased safety with Microsoft Azure.
What are the steps to implement Colibri?
We are offering companies to try prototypes with their own data for a few weeks. The prototypes are ready in about half a day. For us, it is an opportunity to sell differently our solution, without going through the long process of requirement specifications. Customer can directly see how Colibri can help. After that, the implementation only takes a month or two.
Where is Colibri today?
We already have more than 250 users and this number is growing constantly. Our customers are from three main sectors: Industry trade, distribution (BtoB mostly, but also BtoC) and Food&Beverage. Most of them are based in France but we are seeing an increase in the international demand. Thanks to the Cloud the tool can be easily rolled-out around the world. We already have customers in Singapore, Thailand, China and England.
What are the next steps for Colibri?
We are currently working on mobility questions; a lot of our customers have really specifics demands on this topic. We are thinking about a mobile application that could be of use for people that are regularly on the move with no access to their network, such as sales representatives. We are currently in the concept phase and are planning for a set up next year.