A realistic case for transitioning SCM solutions to cloud

Focusing on the more realistics versions

When you talk about advantages of migrating Supply Chain solutions into cloud with integrators of people proposing you one, you normally end up getting too much jazz.  None of that jazz is untrue. But the key is to understand that many of those aspects are pretty long term- and will take years to develop.

A seamlessly connected Supply network (not chain) with real time visibility, seamless collaboration, highly evolved operating models with actionable execution and enhanced accelerated innovation…….seems like such a lovely and beautiful vision. But not happening soon…unless you are building a Supply Chain network from scratch.

That vision described above will take time to develop. The bigger you are, the messier candidate your Supply Chain is to get that perfect cloud based Supply Chain platform. But that should not stop you from embarking on the journey. In my opinion, if your security concerns are not insane, for solutions that do not require extreme customization – you should really think about moving to cloud. Even though the end state described is not something that will get accelerated simply by migrating to cloud, it does provide you the start you need.

Key immediate benefits from migrating to cloud

The key aspect is to understand that in addition to building a foundation for a Supply Chain of the future with true Control tower capability, there are certain immediate benefits that you get from cloud platforms. So what are the immediate short term benefits ?

Speed to implement

It is common sense knowledge that it is much faster to deploy cloud applications rather than develope a solution in house. SaaS based Supply Chain applications allow rapid deployment hence providing you to show value for your investment faster. These aplications also allow you to avoid long IT project queues.

Speed to scale

Not only is deployment faster, if you need to scale up in the future, cloud based applications also allow you to sclae faster.  You don’t need to scale up any infrastructure at your end. Upgrades can be delivred more timely with limited manpower.

Cost aspects

Based on the first two points above, you can interpret that SaaS based Supply Chain colutions keep the cost of deployment low for fast growing companies as well as for large scale deployments and migrations. As cloud based applications can support highly distributed operational processes at low cost, they provide an attractive alternative to on-premises solutions for Supply Chain leaders who are constrained on budget.

Developing Business cases

Since SaaS solutions are a perfect fit to facilitate rapid, flexible implementation of SCM capabilities in small and mid-sized companies, SaaS based solutions allow such organizations to build the competencies they need before they committ to making any major investments, as well as an approach to run pilots for uses cases, at lower cost.

Centralized data foundation for the future

As mentioned above, transitioning to cloud allows for building a data foundation – by creating a single source of truth that is available to be accessed anytime feom anywhere, on a real time basis. SaaS based Supply Chain applications can quickly lead to connectivity that turns traditional Supply Chains into Supply networks.

Parting thought- Which of your applications are the right fit ?

Having given you nice things about transitioning to cloud, let me give you some reality bite. Since I do not sell any thing or any solution, it allows me to share an honest opinion. Not all your applications may be a good candidate for cloud migrations. Extreme customization environments (like WMSs for some organizations) are an example. But that does not mean that it will be the case forever. Rapid advances and research means that we will get there too, but just not now.

Views my own.



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