Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Supply Chain Management and Cloud Computing for Small and Medium Businesses

Supply Chain Management and Cloud Computing for Small and Medium Businesses 

The intersection of Technology and Supply Chain Management has been dominated by the possibilities opened up by cloud computing. The internet has been abuzz about cloud computing allows different parts of the chain to communicate effectively and share data quickly. Cloud computing in this form is known as Infrastructure as a service and allows large companies such as Walmart to become even more efficient. As shown in the image below there are several other aspects to cloud computing which make it beneficial for SCM related to small businesses as well. As we can see Software As a Service models now make it possible for small and medium business to benefit from powerful ERP software packages without having to spend millions on the infrastructure. Since everything including computation and data storage and analytics is handled by a third party. The innovations in cloud computing have allowed this computation and exchange of data to occur instantaneously thus empowering small businesses.

 In April 2012 the mobile application BizSlate was launched. This is a mobile application that can be purchased with a subscription fee which is the fraction of the cost of services offered by Oracle and SAP. Application like BizSlate can allow businesses with around a 100 or fewer employees the tools to analyze, diagnose and improve on supply chain and operational issues just as efficiently as Walmart. BizSlate and other like it use cloud computing to transmit data from the SMB to their servers. The data is then analyzed and presented to the SMB managers in an understandable fashion with an appealing UI. This offsite computation is key to the empowerment of small businesses by improving supply chain agility and reliability. Furthermore the fact that it is in an easy to use mobile application format means that hard working small business owners can now plan on the go and make SCM accurate and easy to access. 

Can Cloud Computing provide a level playing for businesses in terms supply chain and operational efficiency ? 


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