Manufacturing industry reaps cloud computing benefits

Cloud computing is designed to revolutionize the way manufacturing organizations implement information systems and manage critical production and business processes.

By Goran Novkovic July 29, 2017

Cloud computing is a key platform for succeeding digital transformation of manufacturing organizations. Cloud computing revolutionizes the way manufacturing organizations are implementing information systems and managing critical production and business processes. In short, cloud computing is a real thing. It is expanding and becoming the essence for improving manufacturing processes. But, how do we define this growing solution?

What is cloud computing?

There is, to date, no universally agreed industry definition of cloud computing. However, there are many descriptions of cloud computing. The industry is still searching for a clear definition to encapsulate this profound but subtle technological evolution. In general, cloud computing is a term used to describe a set of information technology (IT) services that are provided to customers over a network on a leased basis and with the ability to scale up or down their service requirements. Cloud computing services are commonly delivered by third party providers who own the infrastructure.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud computing means centralizing and outsourcing infrastructure, platforms, and/or software to the cloud service provider, so manufacturing organizations can spend less time worrying about technology and more time focusing on business and operational improvements.

Benefits so far

Harnessing cloud capabilities to harvest data from manufacturing processes and distributing this data to various users and stakeholders is a powerful tool that can save money, optimize production processes, speed up project implementations, and enhance safety and security operations. Cloud computing provides manufacturers with capabilities for implementing advanced software applications, expanding mobility and supporting new technologies and various Internet of Things/Industrial Internet of Things (IoT/IIoT), Big Data and AI initiatives.

The pressures to decrease IT costs and increase agility are driving manufacturing organizations to consider the adoption of cloud computing services. Cloud computing can help reduce both capital and revenue expenditure by replacing traditional packaged software and hardware procurements with the purchase of complete IT services which can scale and flex to meet changing operational needs.

The rate at which manufacturing organizations as cloud service customers (CSC) embrace cloud computing services is linked to the maturity and stability of the cloud services offered by cloud service providers (CSP). There is commercial pressure on businesses to adopt cloud computing. However, manufacturing organizations need to ensure that their cloud journeys are driven by their own operational needs rather than by providers’ interests, which are driven by short-term revenues and sales targets and long-term market share aspirations.

Cloud computing has recently moved beyond a conceptual notion and become a realistic option for manufacturing organizations wishing to reduce their operational costs and the complexities of managing their own IT infrastructures. This status is supported by increased clarity on the term ‘cloud computing’ driven by industry analysts, and providers striving for interoperability of their cloud services with existing technologies and business processes.

Goran Novkovic, MESA International. This article originally appeared on MESA International’s blog. MESA International is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Hannah Cox, content specialist, CFE Media,

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Author Bio: Goran Novkovic, MESA International.