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Innovation in the Warehouse. How Did We Get Here, and Where are We Going? 

Keep expectations realistic and consider that the movement to dark warehousing is the layering of numerous technologies. Start with small projects, build a good team and work with the right vendors.

By Keith Moore – Posted February 17, 2022

Some warehouse management software (WMS) vendors use the big selling point of never having to upgrade your WMS again because you use their system. To think 20 years later that the use of cloud technologies to make upgrades seamless is just now becoming prevalent in any industry is astounding. When was the last time you had to upgrade Facebook, Amazon or Netflix? The answer is you don’t -- it just happens without you caring, and that’s been the case for a long time for most modern software systems.

To put this in perspective, when Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) automatic upgrades became the standard for software in other industries, the best commercial laptop was offering a single CPU with 64 MB of RAM. You’re most likely reading this on a more powerful machine than that, so you’ve successfully adopted technology faster than warehousing software groups (or vendors). So, how did we get here, and where are we trying to go?

Cloud computing

High-level concept to know. First comes the cloud. This gives access to all your data in real time. Software that lives here doesn’t need to be updated. Compute is infinitely scalable. Your IT team must deal with significantly less (but still some) headaches on a day-to-day basis. With good design, costs go down.

What you really need to know. Finding people that are experts in managing the hardware infrastructure needed to run the software world is really challenging. Luckily, larger software companies have made it easy for the industry as a whole to migrate to the cloud. Yes, you do need people who are experts in doing this, and you’ll start to hire folks with “DevOps” somewhere in their title. The good news is that they’re way easier to find than database administrators these days.

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