October 12, 2016

Industry Cloud – the best advice you should act on this year

Johan Schelin

Sales Executive Machinery and Equipment, Tieto

What makes manufacturing companies great? Within the next couple of years you can expect cloud computing to become an essential part of the answer to that question.

According to the findings of our Cloud Maturity Index Report, which Tieto published in early 2016, only one in ten organisations can be considered “mature cloud users”. But now things are taking a turn for the better. No one will be more delighted than customers who will benefit from shorter lead times, improved flexibility and accurate real-time information.

While business leaders in manufacturing are not shouting “Eureka!” from the rooftops quite yet, the growing interest is unmistakable. Cloud is becoming synonymous with flexibility, speed to market and cost predictability and, according to analysts, is showing signs of entering into a state of normality. But there is perhaps more to explain the new momentum.

As Johan Schelin, Customer Manager, Tieto, recently pointed out in an article published by the tech media outlet Ny Teknik, the Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to materialise and shake up established ideas:

“The possibility to harvest and analyse huge volumes of data with IoT and develop predictive capabilities is creating a whole new incentive for cloud,” he explains.

A slow awakening

Is has been a long-awaited and slow awakening. The adoption of cloud in manufacturing has been sluggish and severely lagged behind telecom, retail and finance. Schelin turns the spotlight on a root cause:

“IT has traditionally not been a part of core business operations in manufacturing. That is why it has been the last sector to adopt cloud solutions. As global competition soared and the economy was put under greater pressure, companies took steps to boost core operational efficiency but not when it came to IT, which continued to be viewed as a support function.”

Another aspect worth noting here is that the IT landscape at many industrial companies has been heavily fragmented. Nonetheless, the biggest nut to crack continues to be security – no one wants to be the first to locate business critical systems “outside the gates”.

Interestingly, today’s hybrid options have made that argument largely redundant and it is now more of a psychological challenge.

Moving forward with Industry Cloud

Neither security nor connectivity are obstacles to progress. For Industry Cloud usage to expand further there is growing consensus that the future lies in taking a modular approach.

Data security concerns are valid and perfectly understandable, but to get “over the hump” in manufacturing, a recap of Industrial Internet developments will be helpful.

It is now a fact that highly secure data centres and underground facilities are opening up across Europe that support interconnected private and public cloud IT operations going forward. This should offer some reassurance that cloud – tailored to manufacturing – is not something which is detached from the physical world of gates, locks and concrete walls.

Why invest in a hybrid cloud model? Because it provides you with the best of both worlds. More specifically; speed, transparency and innovation readiness on the one hand and, on the other, complete control of business critical data. Not least, the hybrid model is an insurance policy against being relegated to second division by competitors in your field.

But here’s the thing: planning is essential. The journey to Industry Cloud begins by developing a strategy that defines requirements, goals and answers to your company’s specific data security needs. The good news is that it is easier than you think to get up and running.

By setting the wheels in motion today your company can have a roadmap that is ready to be implemented by January. As you adapt to the speed of digital business in 2017 and start to close the technology gap, it is likely to become a year to remember.

Read more about Tieto’s Industry Cloud services here.

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