FinancialForce recently announced a partnership with Rootstock, a specialist in cloud manufacturing solutions. We are excited about this partnership because finally manufacturers – even complex ones – will have a real cloud-based option to run their organizations.
This will bring massive benefits that no-one has yet managed to deliver, because a cloud solution based on Force.com technologies overcomes some age old problems for manufacturers.
- The first is the ability to customize/tweak the applications easily. This has always been a big issue for manufacturers of all sizes. ‘Big ERP’ has become a straitjacket for many big manufacturers whose businesses have changed significantly, but their software cannot keep up. With cloud solutions flexibility is key.
- Second, we think there is synergy to be had by building the application close to CRM, as we’ve done. The link between sales, service, the shop floor and finance can be tighter than ever with our combined solution. CRM is still an island at many manufacturing companies today, especially if they use Salesforce and have an on-premises based manufacturing app.
- Collaboration is increasingly important for manufacturers – with their supply chain, their partners and their customers. Tools like Chatter and customer portals that come with Salesforce will allow manufacturers to take a more collaborative approach internally, as well as with customers and their whole supply chain. This is an area where I think we’ve just scratched the surface of what enterprise social media applications can do.
- And finally, we think the ecosystem approach of leveraging the AppExchange will be a winner in the long run. Instead of being locked-in to a single vendor – the reality for many stuck with ‘Big ERP’ solutions – they have the ability to easily select from the ever growing range of large and small apps. As these cloud applications mature and the ecosystem builds as we have seen lately, we think manufacturers will start moving in higher volumes.
What do you think? Are there other ways in which cloud will benefit manufacturing companies? What would you advise them?