Manufacturing Strategies that Win: IT’s New Role in the Cloud

With acceptance of cloud-based strategies growing among manufacturers of all types and sizes, it’s easier than ever to make the business case for transitioning to the cloud. But beyond the cost savings and responsiveness of cloud solutions, this transition also provides new opportunities for the IT department to grow into a key role as strategic business advisor. This report includes advice on how IT can help manufacturers realize the full benefits of cloud-based solutions.

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Executive Summary

With acceptance of cloud-based strategies growing among manufacturers of all types and sizes, it’s easier than ever to make the business case for transitioning to the cloud. But beyond the cost savings and responsiveness of cloud solutions, this transition also provides new opportunities for the IT department to grow into a key role as strategic business advisor.

Also in this report:
  • why manufacturers are moving to the cloud
  • the advantages that cloud solutions offer manufacturers
  • the new opportunities that moving to the cloud opens up for IT
  • advice on how IT can help manufacturers realize the full benefits of cloud-based solutions.


New Opportunities for IT

Today more than ever, small and mid-sized manufacturers are adopting cloud-based enterprise software solutions. Driving this newfound interest is an emerging manufacturing model that relies heavily on outsourcing. This model allows companies to keep costs low and stay nimble in the face of stiff competition. It’s also well suited to take advantage of cloud-based enterprise software.


A New Manufacturing Model

Outsourced manufacturers, or “brand owners” as they’re often called, tend to be fast-growing, small to mid-sized multinational companies that take full advantage of the global information economy to bring products to market. Instead of investing in in-house manufacturing infrastructure, these companies focus on leveraging their intellectual property to design products that are then manufactured—and often warehoused, transported, and shipped—by international networks of partners.

By outsourcing resource-intensive processes to trusted partners, brand owners can keep start-up and operating costs low, react quickly to new opportunities and market shifts, and leverage their core strengths to compete effectively with larger players. But to make it work, they need to keep track of a huge number of moving parts. And that requires a solid IT infrastructure that provides always-on connectivity and unmatched visibility into operations like:

  • order and inventory management,
  • supply chain management,
  • spend consolidation,
  • demand/supply synchronization, and
  • regulatory compliance.
To get that operational visibility, brand owners need integrated core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions that they can deploy company-wide to achieve a so-called “single version of the truth.” But with flexibility and cost control chief among their concerns, brand owners tend to balk at the cost and resources required to deploy such a system on-premise.

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