You’re already familiar with the growing influence of cloud computing within the manufacturing sector. Global spending on cloud solutions by manufacturers is estimated to reach £22.4 billion by 2028. It's important to understand the benefits of cloud computing for OT networks.
With the industry moving towards the cloud, are you at risk of falling behind the rest of your competition? Here’s a look at why cloud computing is here to stay and whether it’s right for you.
- Why Cloud Computing Is the New Normal
- Is the Cloud Right for OT?
- Why Now Is the Time to Introduce the Cloud Into OT
Why Cloud Computing Is the New Normal
There are four key benefits to cloud computing that are difficult to overlook.
- Commercial Benefits
Unplanned downtime can be disastrous. Whatever the system in use at your plant, you need to ensure it’s reliable. Cloud solutions with remote data centers provide guaranteed up-times with disaster recovery procedures built into SLAs.
Cloud solutions are less rigid than their traditional counterparts. It’s far easier and faster to implement a cloud-based computing solution which means a quicker ROI too. As you expand and grow, you need solutions in place which can adapt as necessary.
Thanks to the nature of the cloud infrastructure, there are no restrictions on hardware as systems are automatically provisioned. Cloud solutions can scale as and when you need them to, reaching more people in the process.
Cloud systems are inherently easier to plan a budget for because there’s no huge outlay needed to pay up-front. Plus, the required fees would typically come from an operational expenditure too. They’re system and device agnostic, so there’s no extra spend needed on hardware or machinery on top of your current systems.
These are just some of the key benefits that are tempting manufacturers towards implementing cloud computing services. But are these virtual machines right for OT systems?
Is the Cloud Right for OT?
All of the previously mentioned benefits translate to the OT world. Take APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces), for example. They allow manufacturers the flexibility to scale strategies faster than ever and make cloud systems forever extensible, depending on their requirements.
They’re driving the rapid increase of cloud applications across multiple plant sites. They connect applications, databases and systems from all different vendors, providing real-time integrations. These integrations enable more efficient data sharing across previously disconnected silos without having to do a rip and replace. They improve overall data accuracy too.
They also have an enormous impact on supply chain performance. Cloud-based systems make inventory planning and management more streamlined which leads to fewer costly errors.
Once implemented, you’ll start to generate data that outlines key consumer demand patterns. With these valuable insights, you can better understand and adapt to market demands and carry out forecasting at a greater level of accuracy.
This is just one example of the cloud providing wider visibility of critical OT information. The easier it is for key decision-makers to access this data, the more you’ll reap the benefits.
Why Now Is the Time to Introduce the Cloud Into OT
Modern manufacturing is transforming rapidly and it’s because of cloud computing. By 2023, cloud computing solutions are expected to make up nearly half of all organisation-level software used by manufacturers. Your competitors are already harnessing the cloud to innovate, reduce costs and explore new information technologies.
It’s important you take action to ensure you don’t fall behind the curve. Introduce the cloud and you’ll benefit from faster implementation times which reduce awkward bottlenecks. Take advantage of this speed to get the edge on your competition.
Similarly, the cloud gives you the platform you need to test new ideas and technologies. It might have been that on-premise overheads prevented you from considering exciting projects in the past. Now, you can easily test these changes and discover the positive impact they could have.
Most importantly, the cloud offers data transparency across the whole organisation. From the plant floor to the control room and beyond, the right people can access vital information in real-time via the most relevant device.
Continuous Improvement Managers can access the information they need to make informed business decisions wherever they are. They choose where to invest and who to implement next to help the business. This process is easier, faster, and more accurate when they have full visibility thanks to the cloud.
Not only does this visibility improve productivity but it also improves team morale. Cloud computing solutions remove many of the frustrations staff regularly face. Thanks to the cloud, they can work quickly and provide more value - so everyone’s happy.
Introducing the cloud can be part of a wider move towards a more integrated factory. To see what that looks like in practice, grab a copy of our guide.
From Edge to Enterprise
Download your copy of the guide using the banner below. It outlines what an integrated factory looks like and the steps you’ll need to take across the organisation to get there. There’s also a handy illustration that makes it easier to visualise how your plant will look in the future. Download the guide now to get started.