Cloud computing has long been seen as the province of those companies that have large IT departments or are focused on the IT sector almost exclusively. After recent years of economic slowdown, companies like Microsoft, VMware and Amazon have created cloud solutions that they now advertise as ways to lower computing costs and better response times, in addition to offering access to virtual servers from anywhere in the world.
Now, a survey by Microsoft indicates that those companies in the manufacturing sector are also seeing the benefits of the cloud. Out of 152 companies surveyed, almost half said that they had lowered their IT infrastructure costs by moving some or all of their data to cloud computing platforms. In addition, just over 38% said that cloud computing has allowed them to provide better response times to customer demands as the market has shifted.
This move to use cloud computing in the manufacturing sector appears to echo what many IT pundits are now preaching – that the cloud has finally reached mainstream status. Typically, a new technology will go through a period of early adoption in which only those close to the source and with great knowledge of the technology will use it on a regular basis. This is often followed by a “gap” in adopted as the service is marketed to a broader audience, and finally a stage of mainstream adoption follows if the technology has proven its use. The fact that manufacturing industry leaders and those whose reliance on IT is more one of data storage and statistics gathering than market dependent are now taking to cloud computing indicates that the technology is making inroads both in terms of its overall usability and its cost savings.