Cloud Computing: The future of collaboration

Besides PLM, another aspect to have really made its mark in the last few years is Cloud Computing. Traditionally, companies have bought dedicated IT hardware, depreciated over time, and paid for software licences to cover the number of users of the different systems. With cloud computing, multiple users access a shared cloud infrastructure to retrieve and update their data without purchasing large mainframe computers or licenses for different applications, but by paying for use of the ‘cloud’ as they use it.

“In the upstream / inbound apparel supply chain, cloud-based vendor integration is one of the most interesting topics in the industry these days. PLM-systems go cloud; SCM-systems do so as well. Add to this 3rd party services of forwarders (for logistics management) and of testing institutes (quality control) with their proprietary technologies. This heterogeneous IT challenge will see the development of central integration portal or gateways that enable brands and retailers to synchronize the tasks of order -, production- , logistics – and QC management on one platform. Many vendors will increasingly refuse to use various different cloud-based systems for one brand”. Guido Brackelsberg, Managing Director, Setlog Gmbh Apparel and Textile IT supplier

The clothing industry is global, the supply chain intercontinental, but by using the cloud, as with email which everyone now relies upon, businesses can gain company-wide access to all their applications and data via any inexpensive terminal or tablet linked to the Internet from anywhere, in any country, at any time. Just by paying a metered fee to a cloud computing company all access and storage of data as well as IT support is taken care of. Applications are practically limitless. With the right middleware, a cloud computing system could execute all the programs a normal computer could run from generic word processing software to customized computer programs designed for a specific company.

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