Manufacturers ramp up IT infrastructure cloud adoption

Nearly one in five (18%) IT directors in manufacturing say all their organisation’s IT infrastructure is based in the cloud today, while a further 38% say their organisation have moved most of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. These are among the key findings of a recent survey commissioned by NiceLabel, polling the views of IT directors across the globe.

The survey did reveal some concerns about cloud migration. More than a quarter (27%) of IT directors in manufacturing are concerned about slow performance when running applications in the cloud, while 26% note a lack of integration with legacy systems as a key obstacle.

However, eliminating issues around performance and legacy systems integration would spark a faster migration, with 50% of respondents saying they would be ‘much more likely to move their applications to the cloud’ as a result.

Ken Moir VP Marketing, NiceLabel, said: “Both a lack of legacy systems integration and performance issues can be addressed by a modern cloud system. With regards to the former, when it comes to labelling, manufacturers need to integrate seamlessly in the cloud with other key industry platforms, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management systems (WMS). Cloud-to-cloud integrations can typically be done via Cloud APIs, whereas cloud-to-on-premise integrations require a proxy on-premise. The use of out-of-the box connectors for most major business systems can also help achieve a rapid integration with other platforms.”

“Manufacturers can also enhance performance levels for labelling in the cloud by using a printing application or integrating with a business system,” continued Moir. “Both these ’executables’ actually run on-premise utilising local CPU processing power. This architecture provides the benefits of a cloud based label management system combined with the performance of on-premise printing.”

Often, it is a simple understanding of the broader benefits of cloud that drive uptake. The survey shows that among the top reasons why manufacturers decided to use cloud solutions were better and easier global collaboration (33%) and efficient traceability and tracking across the supply chain (30%).

According to Moir: “Vendors can also help to accelerate the move to the cloud for manufacturers through services teams doing discovery and building solutions that deliver best practice, and, from the perspective of labelling, through tools that help convert label templates from different providers. All this together helps significantly shorten migration time from months to weeks.”

The move to the cloud is part of a wider digital transformation. The study by NiceLabel, who combined with Loftware early this year finds that while there is a long way to go, many manufacturers plan to increase investment in major IT infrastructure. In fact, 80% of IT directors surveyed expect their organisation to increase its investment in IT systems like ERP, MES and WMS by more than 25% over the next three years.

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