Survey finds supply chain costs cut in the cloudAccording to a recent report from the research firm Gartner, supply chain managers are increasingly turning to cloud computing - and saving money by doing so.

In a survey conducted earlier this year on 130 companies in the retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and high-tech sectors, Gartner found that 95 percent of the respondents were either using or were considering using cloud-based supply chain applications. The research indicates that suppliers have embraced cloud-based applications for everything from ecommerce to supply chain execution to planning.

So what are companies doing in the cloud? The Gartner survey indicated that customer relationship management (CRM) software is the most popular application, with 82 percent of the respondents either using or considering using a cloud-based solution. The second-most popular use of cloud-based services were supply chain execution programs, which were cited by 76 percent of the survey's respondents.

And companies are already enjoying the benefits of being in the cloud - 38 percent of the respondents to the Gartner survey reported that they had reduced their supply chain costs using cloud-based applications. For industrial manufacturers, most of the savings came from optimizing supply chain expenses, while consumer goods producers saw the biggest benefit in reducing their costs to serve customers.

However, not every company is having an easy time translating those savings into a quantifiable dollar amount. Only 41 percent of the respondents said they were able to measure the savings they had achieved through cloud computing - but of those that cloud, nearly three-fourths had cut their information technology expenses anywhere from 5 to 20 percent.
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