When U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of sending a person to the moon in a speech at Rice University on September 12, 1962, he acknowledged that it wouldn’t be easy. But that was a key part of the challenge.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade,” Kennedy said, “and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept … and one we intend to win.”

It was easy to convey this dream in a speech. Achieving that dream, however, took more than just a clear vision. It took the combined knowledge, talents and abilities of thousands of men and women – all working together to develop technologies that had never been developed before, overcoming unforeseen challenges in a race to achieve a goal long thought impossible.

Achieving the Autonomous Supply Chain™ is JDA’s “moonshot” – and just as the astronauts who landed on the moon had partners and technical experts whose combined knowledge helped them reach their goal, JDA’s partnerships with Microsoft and Blue Yonder will help us achieve this vision and deliver unprecedented value and efficiency to our customers’ global supply chains.

The Agile, Connected Platform

With Microsoft Azure, JDA’s supply chain solutions – which already provide rapid response to demand signals from cognitive insights, consumer behavior and cutting-edge intelligent sensors – will gain additional capabilities and the agility that comes with cloud-based computing. The powerful combination of JDA’s proven applications and the Azure platform will empower customers to leverage real-time insights, giving them the ability to make smarter business decisions and drive more profitable business growth.

From supplier to factory, from transportation network to warehouse, and from store to customer, JDA’s solutions are already driving end-to-end digital supply chain transformation. Our partnership with Microsoft for development of future SaaS solutions on the Azure platform will begin to provide rapid benefits to customers.

In addition, by leveraging Azure’s large compliance portfolio, JDA customers will benefit from Microsoft’s global footprint and global alliances network, as well as embedded security, enterprise-grade service level agreements and industry-leading support. Our customers in manufacturing, logistics and retail will gain increased agility and capability from this partnership.

Enabling Better Decision-Making With AI 

One only needs to look at the robust Blue Yonder solutions to see the potential of Microsoft Azure. Blue Yonder’s solutions, which use artificial intelligence (AI) to give retailers the freedom to boost revenues, increase margins and deliver the best customer experience, are built on Azure.

Before we decided to acquire Blue Yonder, JDA experts had already recognized the potential of AI technology to move beyond a supply chain that can heal itself when disruptions occur, toward the ultimate end goal of a supply chain that learns to avoid disruptions. It’s a dream that may seem as distant as a flight to the moon seemed in 1962, but we know it’s possible. We’ve already started laying the groundwork through our partnership with MuleSoft to increase connectivity, and through our Luminate™ platform and other cognitive SaaS solutions.

Today, with Blue Yonder’s AI expertise combined with our market-leading supply chain solutions, we’re ready to help customers increase value and quickly generate higher profits by automating complex decisions across the entire value chain. As a result, retailers will be better positioned to give customers the kinds of personalized experiences that they both demand and expect, not only by freeing up staff time for customer interactions, but by reducing the chance of human error in decision making.

With powerful technologies including AI and machine learning applied to the challenges retailers in grocery and fashion are facing, Blue Yonder helps retailers move beyond just gathering large amounts of big data to actually begin addressing those challenges and overcoming them.

Ready for the Challenge

In working to create the supply chain of the future, we’re acknowledging the same challenges that President Kennedy knew existed in choosing to send people to the moon. But we know that Microsoft, Blue Yonder and JDA have talents and a vision for how technology can solve the challenges and create self-learning supply chains.

Moving forward, JDA will continue to create the technologies, systems and partnerships that will turn the Autonomous Supply Chain vision a reality. And when we think of the knowledge we can bring to bear to meet the challenges of the future, we know the benefits are worth the hard work it will take to make this vision a reality.