PLM, Supply Chain and Cloud Adoption

Cloud is one of the most discussable topics in the industry. In the consumer web, cloud seems to be a proven option. I think, people are feeling very comfortable in the cloud these days. Days when people afraid to put their credit cards on the website for e-commerce gone forever. Earlier with Google and lately with Facebook, cloud becomes an obvious thing. However, when people talk about cloud adoption in the enterprise and manufacturing industry, things are not always as simple as Facebook climb towards 700 million users. I readDriving Automotive Industry to the cloud article by Ronald Teijken of IBM/Sterling Commerce. Ronald is speaking about the cloud opportunity in the Automotive supply chains. Here is my favorite passage:

Many manufacturers are wary of moving particular processes to the cloud, due to questions around trust and visibility. However, as manufacturers increasingly rely on IT to ensure the smooth running of their supply chains, the question of whether or not to move to the cloud is unavoidable. It provides some much needed elasticity both in terms of cost and more importantly the agility needed in the supply chain to support future growth.

This article made me think about some aspects of cloud implementation that can make the supply chain a low hanging fruit for cloud adoption.

Collaboration Space

When it comes to the communication between suppliers, the ultimate need is to have a space where both sides can collaborate easily and exchange information. In most of the industries (automotive is not exclusion), companies are not allowing a complete transparency between their internal data spaces. Therefore, to have a separate cloud-based environment can be a solution to improve communication between OEM and various suppliers.

Security

This is another big question on the "cloud roadmap". It is always presented as a case why manufacturing companies won’t be interested to go alongside with the cloud. Put aside companies internal stories. To communicate with suppliers, data needs to go out anyway. This is a chance to public or near-private cloud to show up and establish a trustful position. Cost, reliability and availability can be factors to lead manufacturing to adopt it.

What is my conclusion?

Cloud is an interesting space these days. Leverage huge consumer market adoption, it will inspire people in the enterprise to adopt some of the best cloud examples. Will automotive manufacturing supply change be a "low hanging fruit"? I can see it possible… Just my thoughts, of course.

Best, Oleg

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