The shift to the cloud is well under way in the manufacturing sector in the U.S. and around the world, according to new research from International Data Corp. (IDC). In the U.S. 41% of 593 manufacturing companies surveyed by IDC said they are accessing IT resources via the public cloud.

The study, “Worldwide Cloud Adoption in the Manufacturing Industry,” looks at current trends and future plans for cloud adoption among manufacturing enterprises worldwide, based on several IDC surveys, including the 2014 IDC CloudView Survey.

The research shows that nearly half of European manufacturing companies surveyed said they have adopted or will adopt enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the public cloud. In Asia Pacific, 49% of manufacturing survey respondents are using public or private clouds, or intend to use them.

Other key findings of the report are that a majority of manufacturers worldwide are now using public clouds (66%) or private clouds (68%) for more than two applications; 62% indicated their company's posture for new IT services is "cloud also", and the number is only slightly lower for replacing IT existing functionality (57%).

“Manufacturers are in the midst of a digital transformation, in which 3rd platform technologies are absolutely essential to the way they do business and in the products and services they provide to their customers,” Kimberly Knickle, research director, IDC Manufacturing Insights, said in a statement.

“Consequently, a strategic approach to adopting cloud is absolutely essential,” Knickle said. “Because of cloud's tremendous value in making IT resources available to the business based on business terms—speed, cost and accessibility—manufacturers must  ensure that the line of business and IT management work together in defining their requirements.”

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