Cloud services are on the verge of strong growth in more ‘traditional’ industries, such as manufacturing and processing, as the benefits become harder to ignore for such firms.
Richard Martin, executive vice president for engineer and operations solutions at Rolta, told V3 ahead of our Cloud & Infrastructure Live summit on 20-21 April, that cloud had not been a top priority for traditional industries in the past.
“Process industries have not progressed like some industries in the cloud because a lot of what they do is very driven by intellectual property and they are protective of that and not keen on putting this sort of information in the cloud,” he said.
However, Martin explained that major business software suppliers like SAP and Oracle have started offering services in the cloud which has helped firms realise that they could benefit from the cloud across their business.
“We are starting to see the first uptick on the hockey stick [for cloud uptake in process industries]. CIOs have to have an answer when shareholders say: ‘What is your strategy [for cloud]?’,” he added.
Martin said that manufacturing firms are ripe for embracing the cloud owing to the huge number of applications they have in use, not just from big box vendors like SAP and Oracle but from more niche, industry-specific providers.
“Most people don’t realise that a typical processing and manufacturing company can have as many as 800 applications, of which maybe 50 are back-office related, so there’s an amazing amount of knowledge that is hidden,” he said.
Making this information easier to access and deriving insights from it becomes much easier when everything is hosted in a central environment, according to Martin.
Performance management is critical for manufacturing and process companies, and can have huge financial and operational repercussions. However, as Martin noted, it is not enough to have just information. It needs to be actionable.
“The devil is in the detail. Dashboards are just indicators of performance, but if you ever see any kind of aberration that you want to understand you have to drill into that and understand what has actually happened,” he said.
“When you do that you are dependent on the applications you are using because performance management is based on the metrics you calculate and how you are able to analyse and understand them.”
Rolta offers a tool called OneView to help do just this, bringing together data from numerous applications and offering as many as 500 different metrics to provide more insight into data at a top or more granular level.
“OneView allows people to access information anywhere and ensures a consistent approach to data to help drive performance. This is vital because if you can’t measure your performance, you can’t improve it,” said Martin.
Martin will be speaking during the V3 Cloud and Infrastructure event on 21 April. Registration is free and provides access to end user presentations and our two live panel debates, so make sure you register now.