With public Cloud service spending expected to increase 18.4 percent to $304.9 billion in 2021 (up from $257.5 billion last year) and the Cloud expected to account for 14.2 percent of total global enterprise IT spending in 2024 (up from 9.1 percent in 2020), it’s only natural for warehouse management systems (WMS) to follow suit.
Early on, WMS spotlighted transportation management systems (TMS), global trade management systems (GTM), and other supply chain execution applications. The belief was that if a company’s activities were contained within its four walls—as in warehouse management—there was no need to use Cloud computing to “link” to outside business partners, clients, and other entities.
With this in mind, several businesses choose WMS based on its on-premise software distribution model. Fast forward to 2021, and WMS is becoming more reliant on the Cloud.
Even though many of these solutions are 10 to 20 years old and lack new “bells and whistles,” Clint Reiser, research analyst at ARC Advisory, says businesses are sticking with their current, on-premises WMS systems for the time being.
According to Reiser, companies would want to know more about payment structures, the ability to connect through platforms, and the system’s architecture before embarking on a full-scale march into the Cloud on the WMS front. These problems are still being resolved.
As with most Cloud deployments, the key benefits of this software delivery process are the quick deployment times and lower upfront costs.
Other notable benefits include less strain on internal IT departments (due to the vendor’s handling of fixes, upgrades, and other technical work) and the software’s support for remote and mobile work.
Klappich expects more WMS vendors to invest time and effort into creating a better user experience as they reposition themselves to take advantage of some of the newer trends listed in this article. Customer demand is driving this, and the fact that onboarding, recruiting, and retaining new hires have all become more complicated and costly in recent years. Any of that money will go into mobility options that will enable supervisors to work without being tethered to their desks and manage their operations while traversing the warehouse or distribution center.