- Survey results released by Supply Chain Digest last week suggests the industry may be at a technological inflection point, with many respondents planning but not yet willing to adopt cloud-based technology.
- More than half of the 175 managers and executives surveyed consider their companies laggards or late adopters when it comes to technology, while a similar number believe their supply chains are below average in "micro" and "macro agility," or handling transformations or disruptions.
- However, over 80% of respondents expect cloud-based solutions will account for half to all of supply chain applications by 2020, with more than 75% labeling its adoption a medium or high priority for the company.
The survey recognizes a variety of roadblocks to cloud adoption, including cultural and company goal alignment challenges, but the research report — sponsored by Oracle, Avata and Supply Chain Digest — warns against treating cloud technology as another Software as a Service technology, where companies often waited until there was a need to upgrade the technology before investing in new systems.
Cloud solutions are increasingly being used across the industry, and the report suggests non-adopters may fall behind their peers given the "agility" benefits provided from the technology. As a result, companies are advised to adopt the solutions incrementally, beginning with high-impact applications, and the return on investment will only grow over time. As more technology is adopted, employees will gain key skills and the company as a whole will be able to transition more quickly during the next implementation.
Respondents saw cloud technology as largely impactful for supply chain visibility, planning, analytics as well as enhanced specific functionalities like transportation management systems that may require outside data or information.
However, not all supply chain solutions are equally prone to transformation. The survey revealed solutions focused on global visibility, trade management, and transportation management systems were at higher demand (over 75% of respondents) for cloud deployment than their counterparts. Meanwhile, warehouse management systems were an unpopular choice (35% by 2020 compared to 7% in 2016).