The old barriers are gone. Suddenly, anything seems possible.
Even five years ago, starting a manufacturing or distribution business—or aggressively growing an existing one—meant making a major financial commitment to computing technology.
You couldn’t think in terms of, “How soon can we get this product line on the shelves?” Instead, you had to ask, “How long will it take to purchase and build out our hardware infrastructure, implement a new software platform, roll it out to all of our locations, and get everyone trained on it? And will Corporate even approve a major capital expenditure right now?”
The cloud has changed everything.
All the computing power you’ve ever dreamed of can be at your fingertips in hours. Your end users can access the most powerful software through any browser—and can use it as easily as if they were shopping online.
As your business grows, you can scale up your infrastructure with a quick phone call. There’s no need to run it past your IT department—they won’t even have to touch the hardware or software that powers your business. And there’s no need to worry about getting a major capital expenditure approved—your computing is now an operational expense.
That’s what the cloud has done for businesses like yours. If you were operating at a disadvantage due to inadequate or outdated technology, the technology now exists to quickly get current. You can now find a way to do just about anything in the cloud.
The Current Trend: More Cloud, Less Traditional IT
If you’re embracing the cloud, you’re far from alone. According to Gartner, the public cloud market is doubling every four years, exploding from $42 billion in 2010 to a projected $168 billion in 2018.
You might assume that IT budgets in general are growing as companies realize that computing power is where it’s at. But that’s not the case. Gartner reports that IT expenditures are only projected to grow 2.2 percent between 2015 and 2020.
You can see what’s happening here: companies are dramatically reducing their spending on traditional IT and diverting these funds to the cloud. They can see where the future of business computing is. And they’re onto something.
What’s in the Cloud for Manufacturers and Distributors?
If you work for a manufacturer or distributor, you’re doing business at a very exciting time. The explosion in availability of cloud technology isn’t just for sexy Silicon Valley startups—it benefits you, too. You can take advantage of platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) simply by subscribing to these offerings.
SaaS supply chain planning platforms have many potential advantages. You’re probably already aware of how they minimize your initial outlay and relieve the burden on your IT staff. Keep in mind that cloud-based platforms are also upgraded continuously. Rather than implementing your software on-premises and then waiting several years to upgrade it, you can get the benefit of constant enhancements as your vendor releases them.
But you still need to be careful when evaluating potential SaaS solutions. Some providers of cloud-based supply chain planning solutions are merely offering stripped-down versions of their on-premises solutions.
By contrast, Demand Solutions DSX SaaS provides complete, end-to-end supply chain planning functionality. We’re one of the first vendors to do so—and because we were “early” to the cloud market, we believe we’re the ideal partner to help your business get a head start in the cloud.
How to Tap into the Cloud
This kind of functionality used to come at a price. You had to make a major outlay for hardware and software licenses just to get up and running. And then you had to think about how you’d provide enough computing power, data storage, and IT support to keep your system up and running.
Not anymore. Demand Solutions is one step ahead of you. Not only do we provide the latest supply chain planning functionality, but we’ve also figured out how to seamlessly provide you with all the other stuff you need—storage, hosting, security — so that you can focus on running your business.
We’ll write again soon about why running your supply chain in the cloud not only makes good business sense, but also positions you to take advantage of some of the most exciting technology advances in today’s manufacturing and distribution world.