"Business Intelligence for the 21st Century (Part One): The Cloud" IndustryWeek


Manufacturers are turning to the cloud to extend their global reach and to develop the flexibility they need to make it work.

This flexibility is a key feature for cloud services, said Mark Bernardo, general manager of automation software at GE Intelligent Platforms. "The interesting thing with cloud... is it's imminently and infinitely scalable," he said. "So I don't need to architect this magnanimous system to deal with all of the possible data sets that I may ever need to use in my manufacturing plant."

Rather, he said, "I could take an approach to say, I'm going to key up 25% of the investment right now, understanding that at any given point and time, if we need to consume more, whoever we are subscribing to will be able to expand out to meet my needs." With this kind of flexibility, the future seems clear, he said: "I think the cloud is certainly one of those things that, just like mobile, everyone will adopt at some level." So it's a creeping inevitability that soon all small and midsize companies (at least) will employ.