For many middle market manufacturers, making the shift from on-premises information technology systems to cloud-based IT operations can seem daunting. But because cloud computing has lowered the barriers organizations may have previously faced in the process of becoming a data-driven enterprise, cloud platforms also hold enormous possibility to transform manufacturers’ IT systems.
Cloud computing allows data to be stored off-premises but still be accessible from anywhere. For manufacturers, this has huge implications for the reams of data generated from machines and production systems, product tracking and other functions across the supply chain. As manufacturers increasingly automate operations, data will become even more crucial. Using a cloud platform can streamline the way data is stored and managed.
“While some devices and equipment will continue to live on-premise, manufacturers are increasingly realizing value by deploying devices out in the market, and in the hands of their customers and suppliers.”
“The big tech players are making their new investments in the cloud,” says Jeff Marker, RSM principal and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution architect. “While some devices and equipment will continue to live on-premise, manufacturers are increasingly realizing value by deploying devices out in the market, and in the hands of their customers and suppliers.”
Manufacturing leadership teams need to understand that their company can make this transition to the cloud incrementally, function by function, for various aspects of operation such as the ERP platform, supply chain integration or manufacturing processes. By their very nature, cloud technologies allow companies to make piecemeal progress in shifting away from on-premises IT infrastructure systems.
“Companies don’t need to redo everything to start taking advantage of the cloud,” Marker says. “It’s about processes you’re looking to improve, rather than replacing everything you have all at once.”
Lower risk, lower cost of ownership
Executive teams may have security concerns about cloud services. In many cases, however, data is less secure on-premises at a given company’s operations site than it is in the cloud; hackers can gain access when systems aren’t patched and maintained on a regular, often daily basis. Manufacturing companies run higher risks of falling behind their competition if they don’t make investments in the cloud now.