Cloud Visibility: Accelerating Smart Manufacturing

In this blog, we will talk about smart manufacturing and how cloud computing plays an essential role in this process. Following this, we will discuss the importance of cloud visibility and how you can gain this by tracking your software license usage.

What is smart manufacturing?

Smart manufacturing is the transformation of the manufacturing process through the real-time coordination of data, physical resources, and smart technologies to increase productivity and efficiency in various manufacturing stages, including logistics, production, operations, and asset management. Gartner defines it as a way “to optimize current and future supply and demand requirements.” 

Smart manufacturing integrates:

  1. Data
    Harness historical and real-time data from multiple sources to adapt to different scenarios that affect decision-making throughout the value chain. IndustryWired wrote about the application of Big Data analytics in smart manufacturing through predictive analytics, data-driven manufacturing, predictive maintenance, supply chain management, and tracking.
  2. Physical resources
    This encompasses human capital, equipment, and products. For example, when creating a digital twin, it is important to clarify the involved processes, people, and assets to properly replicate the target object for digital construction. In this article, IBM elaborates on the topic of what a digital twin is and the four types of digital twins.
  3. Smart technologies
    These are technologies that optimize physical resources as well as the collection, analysis, and application of data. This includes automation, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics. 

Cloud Computing in Smart Manufacturing

Cloud computing plays a significant role as one of the key drivers of smart manufacturing. With Gartner’s forecast that global end-user spending on public cloud services will “reach nearly $600 billion” by 2023, manufacturing companies need to reassess their cloud strategies to attain their targeted outcomes.

Here are four reasons why cloud computing is important in smart manufacturing: 

  1. Cost reduction
    Organizations can cut costs through the reduction of expensive servers and migration of storage to the cloud. This also includes cutting down on energy consumption as well as labor and fees associated with the maintenance of physical servers. Some companies also leverage the pay-per-use model of cloud-based products enabling them to redirect a huge portion of their budget to other initiatives.
  2. Scalability

    Cloud computing provides organizations with flexibility through its on-demand feature. This allows manufacturers to be agile, scaling up during peak months or scaling back when projects need to be put on hold.
  3. Convenience
    Some cloud service providers (CSPs) take on the job of setting up and maintaining the environment, managing version updates, and enabling data recovery, which allows management to reassign employees to work on other critical tasks.
  4. Collaboration
    The ease of accessing applications and data on the cloud allows workers from different branches and locations to synchronize with one another, avoiding losses due to misaligned information. Collaboration can also be seen during the collection of IoT data and real-time integration of various systems needed in the creation of digital twins.

The Benefits of Cloud Visibility in Smart Manufacturing

Whether your organization is running on a full cloud (public or private) or a hybrid cloud environment, cloud visibility can accelerate the adoption of smart manufacturing.  

  1. Cost management
    Through cloud visibility, manufacturers can see which specific assets are being used over a certain period as well as the length of each session. This data can be used to improve their organization’s scalability, which leads to opportunities for cost savings. Companies can increase profitability by reducing expenses related to design and innovation.
  2. User experience
    Transparency in the cloud can accelerate the adoption of smart manufacturing by boosting collaboration and knowledge sharing among end users. Smart manufacturing relies on the aggregation of vast amounts of data from various technologies. However, there are cases when critical information is not shared with the right audience due to the lack of data or the lack of access to the said data. This affects the user experience throughout the value chain and, ultimately, the manufacturer’s time-to-market.
  3. Increase security
    The alarming increase in the volume of cybercrime cases over recent years can make some companies wary of the use of cloud computing in their organization. This is where the importance of cloud visibility comes in. You can see the movements and patterns of your organization, making it easy to identify irregular asset usage.
  4. Innovation
    Continuous improvement is a crucial factor in developing a competitive advantage. By gaining access to how assets are being used on the cloud, manufacturers can enhance their processes and systems and help their employees adapt to newly introduced technologies.

Track Software License Usage: Improve Cloud Visibility, Accelerate Smart Manufacturing

The continuous investment of manufacturing companies in cloud services also brings forth an increase in cases of shadow IT, underutilized software assets, and SaaS sprawl. These can lead to unbudgeted costs, compliance risks, and productivity loss – all of which can put a dent in your transition to smart manufacturing. These challenges can be avoided through a software license management program that can provide continuous cloud asset discovery.

  1. License cost optimization
    Companies that implement a software license management program can improve their cloud visibility by gaining access to the type of applications or specific features their employees are using on a day-to-day basis. Manufacturers can hit their financial KPIs through the negotiation of license agreements based on license usage. Effective scaling is made possible by identifying the true active usage of your software assets.
  2. Risk mitigation
    Smart manufacturing promotes the interconnectedness of various technologies. Therefore, it is imperative that companies increase their security against unauthorized asset usage. With the right solution, companies can track when, where, and for how long their software licenses are being used, regardless of whether they are license manager-enabled or cloud-based. License monitor portals and heat maps can provide administrators with a picture of the usage trend of their organization. 
  3. License denials reduction
    Lack of sufficient access to key applications can be a deterrent to innovation, impair end users’ experience and affect a manufacturer’s throughput time. One advantage of monitoring your license usage in the cloud is the ability to track cases of productivity loss brought by license denials. This is especially important to operators who are in charge of identifying different OEE factors

To maximize the benefits of cloud computing, you need to obtain a clear view of the assets you have deployed in the cloud, the people accessing those assets, and the activities that are being carried out on a day-to-day basis. Learn how Open iT can help you track your software license usage on the cloud. Connect with a representative today.

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