Increasing revenue, expanding market share, and attracting new customers are the leading business drivers of manufacturers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), say International...
itIncreasing revenue, expanding market share, and attracting new customers are the leading business drivers of manufacturers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), say International Data Corporation analysts.

To this end, IT upgrades and new implementations will play key roles. The hard economic environment and cautious spending of the past few years have resulted in manufacturers’ efforts to make up for losses and postponed projects. Manufacturing operations management is needed to maintain quality and efficiency across processes.

According to a new IDC Manufacturing Insights study, CEE manufacturers realize that they need more than just a core enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite and manufacturing operations technology. To meet long-term strategic goals, they also need IT tools that tap into ERP solutions such as supply chain management (SCM) and customer/demand chain management, two areas that are expected to see a surge in demand.

“CEE manufacturers are becoming more mature in their use of IT,” says Martin Kuban, lead research analyst with IDC Manufacturing Insights. “Renewed industrial production and growing market optimism have translated into increased IT spending, which has helped to accelerate this process. IDC forecasts that 2014 will be a dynamic and exciting year in terms of IT deployments in the CEE manufacturing vertical.”

3rd Platform technologies will also be essential for success. According to the study, investments among CEE manufacturers in mobility, analytics, and cloud-based solutions are on the rise. That said, the survey also reveals that these are still niche IT areas. Mobility is regarded as the emerging technology with the most value for manufacturers, followed by Big Data analytics. Social business remains a marginal area of investment in the sector, while cloud computing is an inexorable IT force currently influencing new IT purchases, particularly those of smaller and more agile manufacturing companies that are setting up their IT environments on IaaS and SaaS delivery models.

The recently published study offers insights into CEE manufacturing value chains:

Asset-oriented manufacturers are conservative. Their IT investments tend to be lower and less flexible in terms of internal changes; yet, they show signs of transformation, mostly driven by the changing external environment and stronger competition.

Brand-oriented manufacturers are focusing on customers. This type of firm is implementing IT projects that strengthen client relationships. Supply chain collaboration is one of the more prominent areas of investment, as a means to boost revenue on the competitive and demanding consumer markets.

Engineering-oriented manufacturers seek quality and manufacturing excellence. Although the majority of key firms in the region continue to pursue quality and manufacturing excellence, vendors should note that cost is generally top-of-mind when it comes to IT decisions.

Technology-oriented manufacturers are the most dynamic. In CEE, this group of manufacturers recognizes the value of IT, which is reflected in their high adoption rates of 3rd Platform technologies.

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