Manufacturers that prefer legacy operations are now faced with evolving, in an effort to find new ways to modernize processes and optimize operations. Some of this is because most of the tools and technologies are making a push to digital, but also because partners, vendors and various parties are also making the move. This facilitates the need to synchronize and update your own operations to keep up.
Traditionally, many in the manufacturing industry are not tech or IT-savvy which makes it more difficult to update and digitize operations. Not only do you need the knowledge and skills to adopt these systems, but you need the same resources — along with more expansive resources — to maintain them. Keeping an in-house data center, IT service or various tech operations local means also bringing on the necessary professionals to keep it working, maintained and up-to-date. This can be particularly burdensome for a segment of the industry not already familiar with modern technologies such as this. To make matters worse, IoT and connected devices now make a significant impact in the industry. By equipping existing hardware and machinery — or buying more modernized equipment — these connected devices and sensors can better monitor operations.
Luckily, the rise of cloud computing and remote technologies means you don’t have to manage all of this on property. According to the Cloud Security Alliance, 33 percent of organizations share a “full steam ahead” attitude toward cloud adoption, while 86 percent spend at least part of their IT budget on cloud services. Positive sentiment and adoption of the technology are both growing with an estimated $162 billion to be spent on globally in cloud computing by 2020.
What Is the Cloud for Manufacturers?
The cloud essentially refers to a remote server system or hardware configuration that can be used for data storage, system management, software processing and much more. The remote system is called the server or server side, while devices and machines tapping in from elsewhere are called clients. A server configuration can be hosted and maintained in-house, or on another property, presumably owned by the company — this is called the private cloud. However, it can also be housed and maintained by a third-party service provider, in the public cloud sector. This allows organizations — particularly manufacturers — to outsource IT service and operations to a third party or another team, more capable and willing. Generally, cloud services see enhanced security, better operations and reliability, more up-to-date configurations and incredible customer or troubleshooting service(s). This is because a remote party often has the necessary resources, more manpower and more capital to devote to this end. Aside from the convenience benefits of outsourcing IT to the cloud sector, many more benefits exist.
The Cloud Improves Agility
As a whole, outsourced IT systems and configurations are more streamlined simply because you don’t have to worry about regular maintenance and upkeep yourself. Cloud systems are generally faster to roll-out than others, and the providers maintaining them have more resources and experience. This also makes it more viable for the remote party to scale up or down as needed, with little to no delay as a result. That explains why 73 percent of manufacturing companies find it important or very important that cloud-based supply chain solutions can scale and establish collaboration, to help reduce risk and increase the overall agility of the involved processes.
The Cloud Offers More Powerful IT Solutions
With outsourced operations, you’re not forced to limit yourself to tech that can easily be hosted and managed in-house. Instead, you gain access to the full power and glory that is your provider’s system. In many cases, cloud IT services have much more powerful and robust solutions in place. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), for instance, allows teams’ access to virtual computing resources and solutions, including processing, servers and storage. There’s also Platform as a Service (Paas), and Software as a Service (Saas), both of which also offer improved configurations over in-house systems. The raw processing power of remote hardware can deliver through exceptional connectivity and streaming speeds.
Unprecedented Security Support
Cybersecurity is one of the major concerns in today’s landscape, and that’s true for any industry, manufacturing included. As companies roll-out more advanced, and more connected hardware, that also means more data will flow back and forth through open connections and the greater internet. This means more information and potential targets for the unscrupulous. But it also means many more systems remain vulnerable and open to corruption. Maintaining all the necessary hardware, components, configurations and even your systems will be time-consuming, resource and manpower intensive, and exceptionally expensive. With remote computing and cloud technologies, however, a lot of this responsibility is outsourced. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook completely, but cloud providers are generally better equipped to handle the security of their networks. In 2018, 60 percent of enterprises implementing cloud visibility and control tools will see security failures lessen by a third. These security systems and protocols are almost always supported by third-party vendors and providers “out-of-the-box” when you adopt their cloud solutions.
You save money on all fronts by adopting cloud technologies. For starters, you don’t have to maintain and operate the necessary hardware in-house or on-property. Servers, processing hardware and storage systems conserve lots of energy over time, and they must remain operational almost indefinitely. You also don’t have to hire or accommodate large IT teams and groups of professionals to keep your system operational. A smaller team is viable and helps conserve funds, too. They just need to maintain the on-property equipment, and can receive support from your cloud provider. After moving to the cloud, 82 percent of companies report they save money.
Automatic Disaster Recovery
Ultimately, every organization should be interested in maintaining their own disaster recovery system just as a separate backup solution. Important documents, files and data can be lost due to a simple hardware or power failure. The beauty of outsourcing IT solutions and adopting cloud technologies, however, is that your provider can automate most of this. They already have the necessary backup solutions in place to protect their own systems and their client’s data. That doesn’t mean you should rely solely on them, yet for smaller businesses and teams where resources are limited, this is a great benefit. For many in manufacturing, cloud is the way to go. As you can see from these three major benefits listed, you might be better suited to adopting cloud technologies, as well. This article was written by Guest Contributor Nathan Sykes. He enjoys writing about the latest in technology and its effects on business. To read more check out his blog, Finding an Outlet
Photo Credit – The Alternative Board