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Is the Cloud a Wise Choice in Developing Countries?

Posted By Jeff Moad, May 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

Even manufacturers that are embracing public cloud-based ERP and MES applications are thinking twice before rolling out the technology in some global locations. Why? The unpredictability of basic infrastructure such as electricity and Internet access still makes it difficult for manufacturers to turn critical, production-oriented applications over to the cloud.

Earlier this week, for example, I met with Paul Wright, a senior manager for projects at automotive supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Inc which is expanding its use of the SaaS-based Plex Online ERP and MES applications across its forging and metal-forming business units operating in the US and Mexico. But the General Motors spin-out is holding off at other plants in India and elsewhere in part out of concerns about the reliability of power and Web access. While manufacturers can keep on-premise systems running for a period even during widespread outages, SaaS deployments would be more vulnerable, points out Wright.

In the US and Mexico, however, AAM is charging into the cloud, expanding it use of Plex Online even for MES applications that effectively run much of scheduline, tooling, and engineering on the plant floor. AAM also plans to move to IntelliPlex, Plex Online's new near-real-time reporting and analytics offering that is based on Information Builders' WebFOCUS tool.

What do you think about using public cloud-based software in developing countries where infrastructure may be less reliable? Is this concern real or overblown? If it's real, what can be done to overcome it?

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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