This sponsored post is produced by SPS Commerce.  

If you’re a supply chain organization looking at advancing efficiencies and cutting your IT budget this year, it’s safe to assume you’re investigating cloud services (and if you’re not, you should be). Over the lifespan of your regular software solution, cloud technologies can reduce customers’ costs by up to 50 percent. Cloud-based solutions keep proving themselves over and over again, and enterprise adoption rates are mounting as the result.

Today’s top cloud and retail executives are coming together at SPS Omnichannel 2014 this spring. Register now to join us and advance your retail knowledge.

Here are the top three ways cloud services support the nimble supply chain:

1. Connectivity

By their very nature, retail supply chains are a group of fast-moving parts, from retailers and suppliers to carriers, factories, and importers. Their many touch points to many different organizations form a community that needs to be connected, from the original order to the retailers’ shelves. The cloud is the best way to hook up these disparate organizations.

Communication and collaboration is happening in the cloud, eliminating all of the problems found in conflicting “in house” software solutions. Today, the supply chain can connect across countries and borders like never before. Individuals no longer face the headaches of having the right version of a specific –and expensive — piece of software to communicate with each other, a subscription to a cloud service provides the key. Communication is happening online because of the cloud.

2. Affordability

Cloud solutions and communities are subscription-based and more cost-effective because you pay for only what you use and only for as long as you use it. These services often have the capability to turn off a subscription and cease billing immediately. Instead of paying hefty fees upfront, cloud services can scale to accommodate growth and seasonality based on known monthly fees.

Further, rather than paying for upgrades (which can eventually render your existing software obsolete and unusable if you don’t get them), the cloud-based services will upgrade automatically without extra costs and work on your end. The service provider handles all maintenance and upkeep.

Here at SPS Commerce, our cloud-based retail services eliminate the need to invest in enterprise software and choose the flexibility of the cloud to support the nimble supply chain.

3. Scalability

A cloud-based services grows or shrinks as your needs do. For example, seasonal products — like lawncare items during the summer and fishing gear during the spring — that have sales volume and sales teams that ebb and flow. These suppliers shouldn’t get penalized with a one-size-fits-all solution that requires buying a full license, even for the three months they’re in use. A cloud solution that meets their specific needs in real time lets you increase or decrease the number of users without purchasing onsite software or committing to a long-term contract. With a cloud service, your subscription fee is based on your usage, rather than a forced expense not scaled to your actual usage.

Supply chains using cloud services can help companies connect with everyone in their supply, react more quickly to the digital consumer, and save money on a number of fronts as well as solving a lot of problems that usually required a large staff to manage. With a cloud-based solution, companies can improve their communication, which helps them reduce problems with orders — and ultimately improves profitability while reducing costs.

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