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Cloud Technology Drives Faster Manufacturing Business Growth After Pandemic

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, good manufacturers are accelerating their digitization strategies in 2020. The most successful companies are leveraging cloud capabilities to increase productivity; thus enabling collaboration among remote and frontline employees connected via smart devices, data, and platforms.

Frost & Sullivan's 2020 survey of global cloud users reveals progress and challenges for manufacturers. Among the interesting findings from this year's survey:

65% believe they are more digitally advanced

Manufacturing firms feel positive about their digital journeys. 65% believe they are more digitally advanced than their competitors.

58% implemented collaboration tools

Manufacturers cite collaboration tools as the technology they implemented most in 2020. Such tools enabled them to improve productivity across remote and frontline workers.

62% are concerned about securing data

Security remains a top priority, as manufacturers seek to secure their solutions edge-to-cloud.

26% growth in hybrid cloud adoption

Hybrid cloud adoption has increased by 26%. Intelligent apps require flexible infrastructure environments (on-premises, edge, and cloud).

Customer Experience and Efficiency Prioritization Process In Challenging Conditions

Improving customer relationships is at the top of the manufacturer's list of goals for 2021. Companies are looking for ways to personalize customer requirements, including adding new services and products, expanding customization capabilities, offering multiple contact channels, and enabling always-on, booking-based remote services and portals. and account access.

Other things are increased operational efficiency, speed to market, employee productivity, and business agility. To meet this important goal and stay competitive manufacturers are turning to digitization: by investing in intelligent solutions that combine advanced automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence, and cloud technologies.

Strategic Business Goals Rated “Crucial” or “Very Important”

83% Improve customer experience

81% Improve business process efficiency and quality

80% Deliver products, services, and applications faster

80% Increase in business agility

80% Improve employee productivity

79% Become more innovative than competitors

77% Rely more on data analytics

76% Reduce costs

Manufacturing Companies Embrace Cloud

In recent years, more manufacturing companies have opted for “hosted private clouds” over multi-tenant public cloud services. Hosted private cloud options, which offer dedicated or isolated infrastructure, can provide greater control over compute and storage resources, a valuable trait for manufacturers deploying sensitive or critical applications in the cloud.

Manufacturers use an average of two public cloud providers today, compared to more than 3 across all industries. This suggests that manufacturers prefer to develop deep relationships with providers that best serve their needs. On average, manufacturing companies have placed just under half of their workloads in the cloud (publicly or privately hosted), and that number is expected to grow faster than any other industry over the next five years.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Adoption Grow

Hybrid Cloud Adoption

2019: 31% - 2020: 39%

Multi-Cloud Adoption

2019: 23% - 2020: 37%

Cloud vs. On-Premises Workloads

Workloads in the Cloud

2020: 49,6% - 2025 plans: 53,1%

Workloads on Premises

2020: 50,4% - 2025 plans: 46,9%

Manufacturing Companies Rely On Azure To Accelerate Digitization

According to the survey, 45% of manufacturing firms use Microsoft Azure to run their cloud applications and data. 94% say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their Azure services.

Their reasons for choosing Azure over other cloud service providers reflect the unique challenges of the industry. Over half of manufacturers say their top criterion is the access Azure provides to advanced functionality in the critical technologies they need most, such as security, AI, and analytics. Such capabilities enable them to remain competitive by continually improving operational efficiency and productivity.

Azure also helps them close the cloud skills gap. Respondents value Azure’s extensive help desk options. They also cite managed and professional services available from Microsoft and partners, to help them implement and optimize their clouds

Reasons for Choosing Microsoft Azure

  • 62% Functionality or tools, e.g., AI, analytics, security

  • 51% Help desk support at low or no charge

  • 46% Ease of migration/ integration with other public clouds

  • 43% Ease of migration from the data center to the cloud

  • 43% The open-source platform, open APIs

  • 43% Cloud provider’s ecosystem (e.g. marketplace, partners)

  • 41% Easy to use developer tools/platform

  • 38% Value-added managed or professional services

  • 35% Availability of dedicated cloud options (e.g., single-tenant, bare metal)

  • 32% Ability to deploy cloud servers on the customer premises/edge

  • 30% Support for containers, Kubernetes

  • 24% Low rates

Tips for Manufacturing Companies Who Want to Improve Their Business by Optimizing the Use of Technology

1. Don’t try to do it alone.

Most manufacturing firms need assistance designing, implementing, and managing their hybrid multi-clouds. The number of manufacturers planning to add managed and professional cloud services is expected to increase by 38% in the next two years. Firms would do well to partner with a cloud provider or managed services provider with services designed specifically for the manufacturing industry.

2. Choose the right cloud platform.

Robust cloud management and orchestration platform are what separates a true hybrid, multi-cloud from chaos. Look for a platform that consistently supports the full range of hybrid, multi-cloud environments (on-premises and edge servers, co-location, all major cloud service providers). For manufacturers, the greatest value will come from converged functionality; e.g., collaboration, AI, IoT, data protection and management; security, and compliance, from the edge to the cloud.

3. Stay prepared for the next transformative technology.

Not long ago, technology projects— such as a software installation or hardware refresh—had a defined beginning and end. Today, an organization’s technology must continually evolve to keep pace with the changing market and competitive landscape. Manufacturers must seek out cloud platforms with partner ecosystems that can help them make sense of the onslaught of technology options, lest they become either overwhelmed or complacent.


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