Why Manufacturers Need to Adopt Cloud or Risk Being Left Behind

Ryan Spurr

Recent studies have found that 60% of manufacturing employees prefer cloud solutions over on-premises and 74% of CFOs indicate cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their businesses. So, what’s preventing your business from developing a cloud strategy to promote business growth, digital acceleration, and improved employee productivity?

Why Are Manufacturers Choosing Cloud?

Manufacturing leaders are reimagining their enterprise infrastructure in terms of flexibility, capacity to support scaling strategies, and deliver on business outcomes. More specifically, they’re thinking in terms of how cloud offerings support the modern day workforce, power next generation processes, eliminate silos, and contribute to productivity improvements. Consequently, supply chain, production, and non-essential business applications are all being transitioned to cloud offerings in an effort unleash organizational potential. Cloud impacts don’t end with internal employees; moreover, they have the capacity to reach outside the organization to transform collaboration with suppliers, partners, and in delivering a better customer experience.

Cloud Isn’t Just for Line of Business

It’s not only business stakeholders who seek or may benefit from cloud adoption. With already stretched information technology organizations, growing business adoption of next generation technologies, and a constantly expanding tech estate, it’s important for information technology to take stock of what must remain on-premises vs. what may be offloaded to cloud.

With so many cloud offerings available today, it’s easy for manufacturers to get excited about starting their cloud journey with the most risky or highest value business process and technologies. Think engineering PLM, production MES, or other business assets with significant intellectual property or process knowledge. Of course, your company doesn’t have to start here to bring value to the organization.

Most manufacturers can reap significant value and a lower total cost of ownership by transitioning basic information technology services or non-critical department workloads. Lower risk actions allow information technology to shed complexity while taking meaningful steps toward cloud adoption. Delivering early cloud wins improve upon employee experience, reliability, and overall service delivery while gaining the necessary skillsets and trust when it comes time to tackle higher value initiatives.

On the flip side, the reality is most organizations still struggle to take early steps towards cloud despite awareness, excitement, or leadership support. This is a result of common obstacles such as skillsets, security, cost model complexity, and data or workload transition. Among manufacturing companies, 50% lack necessary technical skills and 43% cite lack of trusted technology partner as obstacles holding back adoption. You do not need to do it alone. These obstacles can be avoided with the right guidance and expertise from partners, ensuring manufacturers select the best fitting services, usage optimization, and services that can jumpstart early transition of workloads.  


On the whole, manufacturing organizations are among the top three industries with above average adoption of cloud. With good reason—manufacturers are constantly seeking to counteract an array of headwinds, eliminate waste, and speed up their business. In order to accomplish this, manufacturers must reconsider their tech estate and how it aids in meeting business goals. With ample use cases and proven adoption rates, cloud offerings exist to deliver on both individual department and overall corporate objectives of growth, profitability, and improved customer value.

To learn more about the benefits of cloud for manufacturers and how Connection supports our customers in their cloud adoption journey, read our Azure Checklist for Manufacturers.

Ryan Spurr is the Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Connection with 20+ years of experience in manufacturing, information technology, and portfolio leadership. He leads the Connection Manufacturing Practice, go-to-market strategy, client engagement, and advisory services focusing on operational technology (OT) and information technology that make manufacturers more digitally excellent.