After a slow warming up to cloud-based computing, the manufacturing industry has begun to adopt cloud-based software as a response to the increasing need to for data collection and analysis. The software-as-a-service model, or SaaS, makes it easier for manufacturers to take advantage of cloud computing and the savings that come with it.

Manufacturing users don’t have to worry about buying an orchard, growing their own applications, tending to the grounds or planning for upgrades. They just purchase what they need as they need it, and continue bottling their liquids or assembling their widgets.

For example, the chief financial officer of one small company noted the estimated upfront investment in an on-premise solution for eight users was $150,000, Jutras says. This cost was primarily for implementation services, but also included hardware and software. The actual upfront cost for the SaaS solution chosen was less than $100,000 and allowed up to 25 users, she says.

Beyond the upfront cost differential, that same CFO noted that, with the on-premise system, the company would also have to invest in a database administrator/programmer. “We conservatively projected that cost to be $75,000 per year,” said the CFO.

“We compared that to the $45,000 per year subscription cost for the SaaS solution, with no IT staff required. So, on an ongoing basis we would save on the order of $35,000 to $45,000 a year. But the advantage of not having consultants living in our offices or an IT department is… priceless.”

In addition to the cost savings, the flexibility of the cloud-based software means that the increasing information requirements can be accessed from just about anywhere an internet connection is available.

Read more about cloud computing and manufacturing at automation world.