Is Supply Chain Planning Right for the Cloud?

The explosive growth of data that today’s supply chain teams must manage creates challenges even for the most seasoned professionals. Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors need agile systems that help manage and simplify complexity. However, one of the biggest hurdles today’s organizations face is gaining executive approval to implement an advanced supply chain planning system. Is the cloud the answer to these hurdles?

For many the answer is yes. These companies have found it possible to enact powerful supply chain capabilities almost immediately, while saving substantial amounts of working capital and ensuring timely support for growth and collaboration over the long term.

Often, we hear that cloud-based deployments can remove IT obstacles and accelerate the launch of supply chain initiatives. However, are the advantages of cloud deployments for supply chain solutions real and worthwhile? Below are three of the biggest benefits for having your supply chain planning in the cloud.

Affordability and Savings

Lower upfront costs. Initial capital equipment expenses are reduced and total cost of ownership shifts to a highly predictable annual expense line item.

Optimal licensing, hosting, and services options. The wide variety of options provides a solution delivery profile that fits just about any organization’s software procurement model and budget process.

Ability to reallocate valuable IT resources. Cloud-based deployments free up enterprise IT resources to focus on strategic initiatives and meet mission-critical demands.

Scalability to handle supply chain growth. It’s a significant competitive advantage to be able to activate capabilities as requirements grow and flex over time.

Tangible Business Benefits

Accelerated ROI. Cloud deployments often deliver better cash flow and create a positive bottom-line impact much more quickly than traditional models.

Greater agility to react to change. Because “the infrastructure is on the internet,” there is no hardware to implement and no software to install. Users can access the system from any location through web-connected laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Reliability and Security

Less risk of unscheduled downtime. Resiliency and high availability are characteristics of a well-designed cloud-based deployment.

Robust security. It has been proven that in the majority of cases, a third-party-hosted server is more secure than the server located on premise.

Expert administrative services. The provider’s technical personnel are an essential resource for installing software updates, hot fixes, service packs, and version updates in an optimum computer environment.

As you consider the benefits of a cloud-based supply chain planning solution, conduct a self-evaluation by asking these questions:

  1. Does your current supply chain planning technology infrastructure fall short of the task of providing the capabilities you need?
  2. Is it difficult in your organization to drive new capital investments for updated equipment and systems?
  3. Is your IT staff overwhelmed with user support issues and other system administration tasks?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s time to find out how a cloud-based solution can optimize your supply chain.

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