Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPOI recently returned from a several days-long tech convention in Florida where nearly 6,000 Infor customers rapped on everything mobile, social, and overall product innovation. It’s not always easy to get a room full of people excited about IT, but Inforum 2013 succeeded in doing so. But it wouldn’t be a conference on enterprise solutions if there weren’t cloud cover—and Infor has a few new cloud initiatives with big ramifications for manufacturers, including a partnership with IBM and a new big data solution called Sky Vault.

Infor’s Sky Vault is a cloud Initiative using Amazon Web Services to tackle big data with Amazon Redshift. Corporate data is fragmented across diverse commercial, legacy, and custom applications, but by using Infor ION, customers can extract transactions formatted in industry standard XML documents and send that normalized data to the cloud for further analytics. Infor is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to enable customers to accelerate time to insight from various transactional data streams. Sky Vault is planned to launch in the second half of this year.

Infor software is also getting a boost from IBM. The two companies have an expansive agreement for Infor to offer its software through IBM's public, private and hybrid SmartCloud services. According to Infor, “Many organizations are eager to leverage the advantages of cloud computing to run business critical applications but may require around-the-clock customer service, security and high availability, as well as greater resiliency for mission-critical operations. To address this, the two companies have agreed that Infor's industry-leading CRM, ERP, financial management, human resources, business intelligence and other offerings will be available on the IBM SmartCloud, which is optimized for mission-critical, enterprise workloads.”

Infor isn’t the only IT company with cloud on the brain. According to a recent study for Plex Systems, cloud users are extremely satisfied with their implementations.

Conducted by the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI) on behalf of Plex Systems Inc., the study assessed implementations of enterprise resource planning ERP systems, satisfaction with those implementations and the extent to which ERP systems have benefitted organizations. In fact, said the study, “Overall, 73 percent of respondents agree that SaaS/cloud solutions are better or significantly better than traditional on-premise ERP platforms. Also, 75 percent of SaaS/cloud users express increased customer satisfaction. The ease of use, security and access to mission-critical, real-time data, anywhere at any time, are some of the reasons cited for the satisfaction.”

According to Plex CEO Jason Blessing, 2012 saw the widespread acceptance of cloud computing, “including the validation of the model by some of the largest software companies in the world.”

So as leading vendors continue to invest the resources in making this technology smarter, more reliable, and easier to use, manufacturers can do their fair share by giving these innovative solutions a little attention as well. For a focused look at new technologies – including cloud-based – we invite you to attend our free webinar on enterprise solutions tomorrow, April 25th, at 12pm Central time. Click here to register.