There’s an evolution taking place in the IT industry: the continuous and steady progression from traditionally installed software to cloud technology including Cloud Warehouse Management Systems. In the cloud computing model, the vendor provides Web-based access to applications as a service, through a subscription pricing model. The vendor takes responsibility for everything, including servers, storage, backups, system updates, applications, databases, and maintenance. This eliminates the need for customers to buy, deploy, and manage IT infrastructure, saving the customer large upfront deployment costs and ongoing maintenance headaches.
In recent years the shift of enterprise software to the cloud has intensified, driven by a perfect storm of dramatically lowered cost of storage, increased processor speed, elimination of the need for a software and hardware to be physically connected.
Warehouse Management System (WMS) Technology is now available in the cloud delivery model from some providers, offering a lower cost, reduced risk option. When evaluating WMS providers, it is imperative for every business to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO)—including both direct and indirect costs—of the technology and labor associated with adopting WMS technology. The scrutiny of new technology projects has never been higher, and building a business case to justify an investment in supply chain management technology has never been more crucial. While some see cloud as being simply the next level of technology, the shift towards cloud computing also has very tangible financial benefits.
More Technology for Less Cost:
For most businesses, infrastructure, development, and IT management are not core competencies or business differentiation. The anemic economy compels businesses to look even harder at their core competencies and costs. Ask yourself: can someone else do it for you more effectively and at less cost? Take, for example, the explosive growth of 3PL/logistics services providers, hired to take on tasks manufacturers and distributors used to do themselves, because the 3PL can perform the service more efficiently and at less cost than the company can itself.
Cloud allows you to switch from a fixed cost capital-intensive business model to a variable cost pay-as-you-go operating expense model. Eliminating the need to gain approval for a large, up-front capital investment to cover the cost of software makes stepping into a WMS easier for many companies, especially smaller operations with less cash on hand.
In typical enterprise data centers, large initial capital outlays also make ongoing upgrades in servers, operating systems, and database software prohibitively expensive. Over time these costs remain fixed, but so does performance. The economies of scale available with the cloud allow cloud providers to purchase and maintain large volumes of hardware storage at very low costs. In this way, the cloud enables costs to decrease and performance and functionality to increase steadily over time.
While a move away from capital expenses is undoubtedly attractive to most organizations, it is in the total cost of ownership analysis that the economic benefits of WMS in the cloud become clear.
Lower Total Cost of Ownership:
Performing system upgrades is one of the most dreaded IT tasks related to traditional WMS Software. Did you know there are a large number of businesses out there that have had to cough up a million dollars just to upgrade their WMS? With WMS in the cloud, your vendor performs routine software maintenance for you, including scheduled upgrades and patches.
Additionally, in traditional enterprise data centers; it is fairly common to experience capacity constraints or waste caused by spikes and troughs in demand throughout the year. You either need to wait while additional server hardware is ordered, shipped, and brought into operation—which can take months and cause lost business and unfulfilled orders—or you have excess capacity, meaning wasted space and expense. The cloud is elastic and scalable, so you can access more power when you need, and scale back during slower periods.
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