In 2010, when Netflix was still early into its shift from DVD rentals to online movies and shows, it started using Amazon Web Services, the retailer's cloud computing division. Now that Netflix streams 100 million-plus hours of video every day, it's sticking with Amazon partly because of Amazon's scale and features, and partly because switching vendors "would be a significant multi-year effort," says Yury Izrailevsky, Netflix's vice president for cloud and platform engineering.
While recent innovations in the software sector have significantly boosted capabilities for most software products, free open-source software solutions have made an even bigger splash. More than half of all data mining tasks are now conducted using open-source software, displacing the purchase of proprietary software.
The growing complexity of products, along with the continued globalization of business, has made the supply chain more sophisticated and difficult to manage than ever before. Add to this the threat of unexpected natural disasters - such as the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan last year - and suddenly manufacturers face challenges that are so complicated they warrant re-thinking the fundamental principles of supply chain management that have guided businesses for years.