While not directly in the heart of one’s supply chain planning and execution processes, cloud-based leaders such as Salesforce.com, the banking industry and Google blazed the trail in the cloud while solving and dispelling many of the myths that were holding back CIOs and businesses from moving from traditional processes and systems to operating key aspects of their business in the cloud. In fact, today it is estimated that about 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises use some level of cloud computing services.
So why have companies lagged in their adoption of cloud-based supply chain solutions? In part, because one’s supply chain is now recognized as the heart and soul of the business—hence, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality applies—coupled with the fact that businesses and people hate change. Change normally comes with a degree of risk and traditionally change also came with significant costs in both time, effort and dollars. But the rate of cloud adoption has also been hampered by industry myths and misconceptions—the lack of education and the vendor-caused confusion—in the market about cloud-based supply chain solutions. Some simple and straight-talking clarity is necessary so that businesses can chart the best course forward in today’s cloud-driven world.
The old adage “what goes around comes around” could not be more true. Compare today’s cloud-based computing environment to how leading companies operated their businesses 30 years ago. Business and facilities were often run off time-share systems or remote mainframe computers via dial up or other telecommunication lines. The fundamental difference today is everything is actually better, faster, cheaper and more reliable. Many of the same or comparable myths existed in those days, too. The leaders were those that embraced and leveraged the available technology and capabilities, putting them to best use for business advantage.
Dispel the myths
It is important to vet the technical myths surrounding data security and data ownership, network and system performance, reliability and outages, peak volume handling, disaster recovery and service level agreements with any solution provider and their respective data center team. True cloud-based solutions offer current system and application infrastructure services as part of their solutions. Many older vendors are simply trying to leverage the cloud into their sales and marketing messages, utilizing past-generation solutions and techniques. Key benefits reside in true multi-tenant cloud-based solutions, architectured from the ground-up, leveraging the latest techniques and technology—proven useful by those trail-blazing leaders mentioned earlier. Also, solutions managed in world-class data centers will often highlight IT infrastructure advantages over current environment capabilities, and provide these enhanced capabilities with reduced IT burden and cost. It is no wonder why the move to the cloud is on the top priority of most CIOs agenda based on these vetted misconceptions; the significant capital cost savings opportunities; and IT support benefits available through the use of true multi-tenant cloud-based solutions.
Some of the greatest supply chain solution myths today include:
Myth: Tier 1 companies will not utilized cloud-based supply chain solutions.
False: It really comes down to whether the solution provider has the understanding, domain expertise and is focused on providing the necessary industry-specific Tier 1 business processes and functionality. In fact, most of the same business complexities and functional requirements today are the needs of smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies in the same industry. The only differences are the company’s volumes and possibly the degree of their geographic or global reach.