[Third in a series: In previous articles, we framed the importance of matching cloud adoption to business strategy, as well as Finding a Provider that Works With You is Critical to Cloud Success. In this final installment, we look at implementation considerations.]
If you're reading this, then it's quite possible you've thought about how your business strategy should drive your cloud adoption, have put some thought into who your cloud partner should be, and may even be actively grappling with how to approach implementation.
To which I say, there's no time like the present, as manufacturers and wholesale distributors are in the midst of a digital revolution. With so many technologies changing the way things are done in the manufacturing world, the next few years figure to bring a significant "digital transformation" trend to the industry.
IDC predicts that by the end of 2017, half of all manufacturers will be leveraging the cloud, mobility and advanced analytics to facilitate innovation on their shop floors. What's more, IDC expects that by the following year, 75 percent of manufacturers will have transformed their operations with digitally connected processes that improve responsiveness and productivity.
Wherever you look in the manufacturing and wholesale distribution markets, companies are looking to transform for different reasons. Food and beverage distributors are largely looking to get ahead of increasingly onerous regulatory and compliance requirements. Consumer and industrial electronics manufacturers are focused on streamlining their supply chains to facilitate new product introductions. And industrial supply firms are looking to bring new levels of efficiency to their business-to-business commerce channels.
“Over 90% of SMBs now use at least one cloud business solution and 87% use at least one cloud infrastructure solution.” — The SMB Group
Transformation a Matter of When, not If
With that backdrop, any manufacturer or wholesale distributor that isn't thinking about how to digitally transform its commerce model, or how to align its business strategy with the technologies that enable that transformation, is in danger of falling behind.
Consider a couple of examples from the NetSuite universe of Manufacturers and Wholesale Distributors:
Blue Microphones “NetSuite’s unified cloud-based business management suite has made a huge difference in our business and has us well positioned for our next stage of growth.”
Blue Microphones is saving two full-time employees by converting to NetSuite, an annual savings of $80,000; while its 3PL partners in Amsterdam and Hong Kong now have access to NetSuite through a portal to fulfill orders, which has helped improve accuracy and efficiency.
Manduka has expanded its wholesale channel across thousands of yoga studios and retail locations in the U.S., including REI, Nordstrom and Dick's Sporting Goods, with a distribution business that spans 75 countries, as well as a direct-to-consumer website
This growth was not without challenges. The entry-level business systems the company previously used could not scale with the business, and the manual processes Manduka had to rely on instead cut into operational performance. Manduka turned to NetSuite and SPS Commerce for a strong, foundational core system that could scale with the business and unlock its long-term innovation and growth potential.
By now, it's no doubt become obvious that your competitors are pursuing these kinds of improvements via cloud-based technology, and that you can't afford to continue with the status quo. The good news is that if you've already assessed your business strategy and matched it to a cloud solution from a particular provider, then you're well on your way to the transformation you seek.
That provider should have an implementation approach designed to increase not only the speed of your deployment, but also the odds of its success. At NetSuite, that approach is achieved with a combination of two strategies: Our "stairway to heaven" process, which helps our customers zero in on their best path to the cloud, and our SuiteSuccess program, which is designed to take companies from zero to cloud in 100 days or less.
Finding Your Way to the Cloud
The stairway to heaven process will help manufacturers and wholesale distributors tackle a number of important questions, such as where their demand is coming from, how they can best facilitate that demand for the long term, and how they want to tie all the related data together. The answers to such questions can help a company choose the best cloud-based tools and deployment strategy to match its needs.
NetSuite combines an agile approach, leading best practices, and a focus on risk mitigation to deliver a secure and disruptive solution that gives customers the competitive bang they're looking for. We also understand that migrating to the cloud is a big change, which is why we work with customers to gradually change behavior, and not just foist a new application onto old habits.
The SuiteSuccess program, meanwhile, helps companies best organize the sequence of the implementation to ensure the solution is up and running as quickly and effectively as possible. We understand that speed is of the essence, but that our customers don't want to sacrifice effectiveness, which is why we take a preconfigured, holistic approach that enables us to deliver the quick time to value companies are looking for.
Taking the time to make the right choices pre-deployment can make the difference between success and stagnancy. Most manufacturers choose to move to the cloud to simplify and gain the ability to focus more closely on their core business activities. When planned and deployed correctly, the cloud also gives CIOs the ability to affect change, maximize efficiency, and improve the customer experience. It creates instant value in the form of business readiness and ability to innovate.
More importantly, with the majority of manufacturers expected to identify this opportunity to transition from stagnant, antiquated business models and embrace innovation, effective adoption of the cloud is a digital recipe for keeping pace with forward-thinking rivals and differentiating from the laggards.
In other words, by getting a handle on the business strategy, identifying the right cloud solution partner, and investing in the smoothest possible implementation process, manufacturers and wholesale distributors can take an important step toward ensuring their futures.