For small and midsize manufacturers, the ability to adjust to the ever-shifting trends and demands of today's global market is essential to stay afloat. It is therefore vital that they utilize a business intelligence (BI) program that is flexible enough to adapt to these changes and robust enough to provide the real-time, actionable intelligence such an environment demands.

Increasingly for these manufacturers, this means stepping fully into the 21st century -- into cloud-based BI systems.

To Roman Bukary, general manager of manufacturing and wholesale distribution for NetSuite, the advantage of such a step is clear: manufacturers are adopting it "because it makes sense. Because it saves you money. Because it works. Because it makes you more competitive as a manufacturer."

Bukary explained that NetSuite -- a cloud-based ERP system provider in Silicon Valley -- has targeted these small and midsize companies because they stand to find the greatest profit from the services it provides.

"When we talk about manufacturing, some people think of Boeing (IW 500/15) and Caterpillar (IW 500/27)," Bukary said. "But that's not exactly who we have in mind."

Rather, he said, cloud services are aimed at midmarket companies on the rise. This includes companies across the industry, ranging from such diverse extremes as mobile audio producer, Aliph, to synthetic oil producer, Schafer Oil.

What these companies have in common, he said, is that they are "multinational in their DNA -- global in their DNA. Companies that have to respond to key market trends quickly."

In other words, he said, "21st century manufacturers."