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Posts from the ‘Cloud Computing in Manufacturing’ Category

Five Ways Cloud Service Providers Are Making Manufacturers More Competitive

  • manufacturing-execution-systemsEnterprises are only realizing 35% of the total potential value of their cloud deployments according to a recent Bain & Company study.
  • Companies that moved development to IaaS and PaaS clouds from Amazon Web Services (AWS) reduced downtime by 72% and improved application availability by 3.9 hours per user per year.

These and other key take-aways are from the recent Bain & Company study, Tapping Cloud’s Full Potential. The full report PDF is available for download here (free, no opt-in). The following graphic from the report illustrates the currently realized value of cloud deployments in enterprises today according to Bain & Company.

Capturing only one-third of the value of their workloads

The researchers found several critical drivers of cloud value with one of the most important being the strengthening and clarifying of a product and service focus. The following graphic illustrates the critical drivers of cloud value.

getting the most value

Cloud Service Providers Give Manufacturers The Ability To Stay Competitive

Cloud-first strategies designed to accelerate and strengthen shifts in emerging business models is paying off according to Bain’s research results.

Manufacturers choosing to pursue a cloud-first strategy are focusing on evolving their business models, processes, systems and performance quickly to stay in step with customers’ needs. For many manufacturers, their customers’ pace is faster than internal IT organizations can anticipate and react to.  CSPs are helping to close that gap.

Here are five ways CSPs are making manufacturers more competitive:

  • Bringing industry expertise to the shop floor level. The best CSPs serving manufacturers today have management teams that have decades of combined manufacturing experience in specific industries. The CEO of a specialty tools manufacturer remarked that his company’s cloud strategy was more focused on accelerating plant floor performance first.  Working with a CSP that had expertise in their industry, this manufacturer was able to gain greater supply chain visibility and improve forecast accuracy, all with cloud-based apps.
  • Solving legacy and 3rd party system integration problems so that cloud-based ERP, CRM, supply chain management (SCM) systems can scale quickly. When a rust-belt based manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems had the opportunity to grow their business by expanding into build-to-order customized products, their CSP partner made it possible to integrate an entirely new product configurator and cloud-based ERP system module to manage quote-to-cash. Today, 30% of corporate-wide profits are from build-to-order selling strategies.
  • Knowledge-sharing supplier networks are becoming more attainable for manufacturers thanks to cloud technologies and CSPs. All manufacturers have strategic plans that include greater integration of their supplier networks, with many seeking to create knowledge-sharing networks. One of the best studies of how to create a knowledge-sharing network is from Dr. Jeffrey Dyer and Dr. Kentaro Nobeoka based on their intensive work with Toyota. Their study, Creating And Managing A High Performance Knowledge-Sharing Network: The Toyota Case is a great read. The following graphic from the study illustrates the evolution of a knowledge-sharing network. Manufacturers are relying on cloud platforms and CSPs to enable shifts in network structures and nurture change management to create self-sustaining systems.

Evolution of network

  • Two-tier ERP adoption in manufacturing is growing as CSPs master cloud ERP systems. CSPs are moving beyond providing basic services, specializing in cloud ERP, CRM, SCM, pricing, services and legacy system integration to keep pace with manufacturers’ demands. In one high tech manufacturer, their CSP partner orchestrated the procuring and launch of their cloud-based two-tier ERP system integrated to an SAP instance in their headquarters. Today they operate production centers in Asia, North America and Australia, all coordinated through the main SAP instance in the U.S. headquarters.
  • Making Service Level Agreements (SLAs) more relevant to manufacturing business models. Instead of just getting SLAs for uptime, security and system stability, manufacturers are getting advanced manufacturing intelligence dashboards that provide visibility to the plant or production center level.

Bottom Line:  Manufacturers are increasingly relying on CSPs’ cloud, industry and integration expertise to support the transition many are making to new business models and get greater than 35% of the value from their cloud investments.

Additional resources on Cloud ERP systems:

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Ten Ways Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing Aerospace And Defense

Jet Above The CloudsSynchronizing new product development, supply chain, production and Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) strategies across Aerospace and Defense (A&D) manufacturers while reducing costs continues to make cloud platforms a viable option in A&D.

With sequestration having an impact on these industries from both a budget and merger & acquisition (M&A) perspective, the economics of cloud computing are becoming even more attractive. Teri Takai, CIO of the Department of Defense (DoD) published the DoD Cloud Computing Strategy in July of last year and many of its findings are reflected in the current state of cloud adoption in A&D.  She recently published the presentation DoD CIO’s 10-Point Plan for IT Modernization, which is available for download from the department’s website.  The following is a summary of key DoD IT Modernization initiatives.

It’s ironic that two industries who are highly reliant on collaboration often have the most siloed legacy systems, processes and IT infrastructures.  As one aerospace executive told me recently, the industry sees cloud computing as solution to what many call “silos of excellence” that slow down progress.  Aerospace executives also speak of security concerns, especially in the area of globally-based defense support and logistics platforms.

Greater Collaboration, Lower Costs

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. was recently interviewed by Defense News, and his comments reflect what is often heard from aerospace and defense companies as well.  He says a more enterprise-wide approach to managing information systems is needed to break down functional and service-unique barriers of the past to increase collaboration.  He’s also leading the DISA in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to attain a 20% cost reduction in his agency, relying in part on cloud computing to reduce costs.  Consolidating down to one e-mail system, virtualizing applications in a hosted environment, and moving capabilities to the cloud are integral to achieving the 20% cost reduction.  Ultimately he sees the DISA becoming a cloud service broker.

How A&D Requirements Are Turning Into A Catalyst for Greater Cloud Security

Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins’ comments reflect the concerns defense agencies and their supply chains have regarding cloud security.  He highlights the need for close coordination with the commercial, private sector cloud computing vendors to ensure the cloud security architecture requirements of the DISA are reflected in future product designs.  DISA requirements apparently outpace those available from commercial, private sector vendors.  This is encouraging, because it means A&D’s requirements are a catalyst of continued improvement in cloud computing security.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held Aviation 2013 in Los Angeles this week where their AAIA Framework for Aviation Cybersecurity was presented. The framework shows why security is so critical to commercial and defense-related aviation in financial terms. For the A&D industry to get the full value of cloud computing, commercial cloud computing vendors have got to invest heavily in security research & development (R&D) to keep pace with this industry’s requirements.

How Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing Aerospace And Defense

In speaking with aerospace executives and following defense-related adoption of cloud technologies, these are the top ten ways cloud computing is revolutionizing the A&D landscape:

  • De-Siloing Quality and Compliance Management across production is leading to greater supplier audit consistency and reduced compliance reporting costs.  While visiting one defense contractor, the CIO mentioned how on-premise compliance and quality management systems had become siloed over time and of limited use except for one area of production.  He explained it would cost over $700K to get the on-premise system integrated to their enterprise-wide ERP system.  Clearly having a cloud-based quality management and compliance system would avert the $700K integration cost and reduce reporting workloads.  Today this contractor manages International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) compliance with manual workflows despite having a quality management system in place.
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) has moved beyond dashboard support for smartphones and tablets to being integral for product design and managing production.  The two facets of mobility most affecting A&D include designed-in support for situational and battlefield awareness systems including Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) support and increasing reliance on mobility platforms for streamlining production data management including Computer Aided Design (CAD) design files used as part of Bill of Materials (BOM) and work instructions on the shop floor.
  • Reducing tooling costs using cloud-based platforms is accelerating.  It is common to find up to 67% of total development cost for a given commercial aerospace contract being attributable to tooling costs alone.  Cloud-based systems have been able to significantly reduce tooling time and costs by saving prior configurations and by being integral to calibrating machine tools on the production floor.
  • Higher priority being placed on virtualized applications across the DoD including data centers with cloud-ready infrastructure supporting secured applications.  The DoD is planning for a transition state that includes consolidation and virtualization of legacy applications, many of which are very costly to maintain.  The following graphic shows the planned progression the DoD anticipates in migrating their data centers to an enterprise cloud infrastructure.

  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs) realize they must become strategists and move beyond being the caretakers of legacy systems if their careers are going to survive and thrive.  Resistance to change is very strong in many A&D companies, and often the systems running production can be decades old.  CIOs and their staffs fall into a rut of being caretakers of legacy systems when what’s best for their careers is to push themselves past that role and into being strategists. CIOs confided in me that keeping legacy systems running can get pretty boring; several want a new challenge and a chance to contribute more.
  • The silent majority of cloud implementations in A&D are in highly secured vault areas and hidden from view in denied environments.  These systems are contained in secured clouds and are most often used in project management of advanced aerospace and defense engineer-to-order projects.  They also often have project-based management systems running entirely secured within a given work area.  Consortium and global-based product and program development projects are entirely managed on cloud-based systems behind multiple layers of security as well.  These are the silent majority of cloud adopters in A&D.
  • The A&D industry is losing patience with its “cylinders of excellence” as sequestration brings urgency to make collaboration pay.  Breaking down the silos that slow down collaboration, cross-project reporting and limit supply chain visibility are a high priority for many aerospace executives especially.  As one jokingly called the “cylinders of excellence” the greatest impediment to growth, others have mentioned how cloud computing applications and platforms break these down by making data locked in legacy systems available project, division and company-wide.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for cloud security are outpacing what commercial providers offer today, forcing a faster pace of innovation that benefits everyone.  Based on the comments from Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins and from the many discussions held with CIOs and CEOs of aerospace suppliers, it’s clear that many of their requirements surpass off-the-shelf cloud security platforms today.  In many cases they surpass Service Level Agreement (SLA) levels as well, requiring custom development.  This is good news for cloud computing overall as the DoD will continue to push for higher levels of security over time.   SLAs, ITAR compliance, and AS 9100 REV C. compliance are just the beginning.
  • Cloud-based consolidation of collaboration applications is the “low hanging fruit” of cost reduction in defense agencies.  As Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins said, he looks to e-mail consolidation and reliance on the cloud computing to assist with a 20% reduction in costs for DISA.  The DoD Cloud Computing strategy also mentions this as one of the key strategic objectives for the department over the long-term.
  • Automating Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) workflows using cloud-based systems that include mobility support are leading to reduction in inventory levels while service levels increase. MRO is where the majority of A&D manufacturer make their highest gross contribution margins yet also have the greatest exposure to customer churn and attrition.  Cloud-based MRO systems are being used today to enable MRO process performance gains by reducing inventories, increasing service levels, improving the design of service strategies all leading to more integrated MRO strategies corporate-wide.

Best- And Worst-Performing Cloud Computing Stocks In The First Half Of 2013

Cloud computing stocks continue to show wide variation in performance throughout the first half of this year.

Ten of the twenty companies in the Cloud Computing Stock Index delivered returns to shareholders with NetSuite leading with a 37.30% share gain, delivering $13,730 on $10,000 invested on January 2, 2013.

To more fully define the stock performance of these companies, I’ve added Earnings Per Share (EPS), Price/Earnings Ratio, Year-To-Date (YTD) Total Gains or Loss, Annualized Gain or Loss, and Total Dollar Value of $10,000 invested on January 2, 2013.  You can download the latest version of the Cloud Computing Stock Index here.  The filter applied to these companies is that 50% or more of their revenues are generated from cloud-based applications, infrastructure and services.  Additional details of the index are provided at the end of this post.

 

Best Performing

Name

Symbol

(1/2/13 – 7/5/13)Total Gain or Loss

Annualized Gain or Loss

Total Dollar Value of $10K invested in this stock on Jan. 2, 2013 as of July 5th:

NetSuite Inc

N

37.30%

87.55%

$13,730.00

Keynote Systems, Inc.

KEYN

36.18%

84.53%

$13,618.00

CA, Inc.

CA

26.67%

59.83%

$12,667.00

Workday Inc

WDAY

23.81%

52.77%

$12,381.00

Cisco Systems, Inc.

CSCO

22.60%

49.82%

$12,260.00

Symantec Corporation

SYMC

18.84%

40.84%

$11,884.00

Amazon.com, Inc.

AMZN

11.10%

23.23%

$11,110.00

 

Worst Performing

Name

Symbol

(1/2/13 – 7/5/13)Total Gain or Loss

Annualized Gain or Loss

Total Dollar Value of $10K invested in this stock on Jan. 2, 2013 as of July 5th:

Rackspace Hosting, Inc.

RAX

-46.78%

-71.39%

$5,322.00

Fusion-IO, Inc.

FIO

-41.21%

-65.13%

$5,879.00

F5 Networks, Inc.

FFIV

-31.57%

-52.88%

$6,843.00

VMware, Inc.

VMW

-29.94%

-50.63%

$7,006.00

Riverbed Technology…

RVBD

-24.91%

-43.34%

$7,509.00

Red Hat, Inc.

RHT

-11.47%

-21.46%

$8,853.00

Key Take-Aways:

  • NetSuite leads the index with a 37.3% gain in their stock price, and $10K invested in their stock on January 2nd of this year would be worth $13,730 as of July 5th.  Cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems acceptance is accelerating, evidenced by the success NetSuite is having with their two-tier ERP strategy and recent announcement they are moving into manufacturing.  Their recent alliance with Oracle also shows upside potential.   A cloud-based ERP provider leading the index is good news for Acumatica and Plex Systems especially, the leader in cloud-based ERP systems for manufacturing and one of the most enthusiastic customer bases in enterprise software.  Both of these companies are privately held or they would have been included in the index.
  • The 20 companies that comprise the Cloud Computing Stock Index attained a 29.6% return from July 10, 2012 to July 5, 2013.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 18.83%;  Microsoft, 14.02%; Oracle, 7.17%; and SAP, 27.51%.  The following chart compares the performance of each. Please click on the index to expand it for easier viewing.

  • Widespread adoption of Amazon Web Services, success using the Kindle series of tablets as customer acquisition tools for digital content, market leadership of the online retail landscape, and successful pilots of the AmazonFresh online grocery business in Los Angeles and Seattle are all fueling Amazon’s stock performance this year.

Specifics on the Cloud Computing Stock Index

I used The Cloud Times 100 as the basis of the index, and included the 20 following companies, all of which are publically traded.  The latest edition of the Cloud Computing Stock Index is shown here.  Please click on the index to expand it for easier viewing.

 Note: I do not hold equity positions or work for any of the companies mentioned in this blog post or included in the Cloud Computing Stock Index.  

Five Ways CIOs Can Prepare For The Cloud: Lessons Learned From ServiceNow

ServiceNow2ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) is a global leader in providing cloud-based services used by enterprises to streamline and automate their IT operations.  They’re known for their expertise in IT Service Management (ITSM), speed of development cycles, and commitment to open source including MongoDB and NoSQL.  ServiceNow also has one of the most enthusiastic, rapidly growing and loyal customer bases in enterprise software.  Matt Schvimmer, VP Product Management at ServiceNow, credits the goal of attaining 100% customer referenceability combined with intensive focus on user experience design as contributing factors to their rapid growth, in addition to continuous feedback cycles they use for capturing and acting on customer feedback.

Update from ServiceNow’s Financial Analyst Day and Knowledge13 

On May 13th they held their Financial Analyst Day at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the same location they hosted Knowledge13, their annual user conference held May 12th through the 16th.  You can download a set of the slides presented at the Financial Analyst Day here, and view videos and presentations from Knowledge 13 here.   ServiceNow executives are calling the next phase of their growth ERP for IT. Both in the Financial Analyst Day presentation and the presentation given by President and CEO Frank Slootman at the Pacific Crest Emerging Technology Summit on February, 13th, this concept is shown.  Below is a slide from the February 13th presentation given at the Summit.  You can download the slide deck from the Pacific Crest Emerging Technology Summit here.

ERP for IT

Five Ways CIOs Can Prepare For The Cloud

HS_Arne_Josefsberg (1)I had the opportunity to catch up with Arne Josefsberg, CTO of ServiceNow during Knowledge13.  He shared insights into how ServiceNow’s core customer base, predominantly CIOs and their IT Departments, are driving greater business value into their organizations using the Service Automation Platform.  Arne mentioned that ServiceNow sees IT Operations Management (ITOM) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) as critical to their growth, in addition to enabling those without programming expertise (ServiceNow calls them Citizen Developers) with intuitive, easily used application development tools.

He also shared lessons learned and five ways CIOs can prepare for the cloud, which are listed below:

  • Adopt Cloud Architectures With An Open Mind And See Them As Business Value Accelerators.  Arne advises CIOs who are considering cloud-based initiatives to concentrate on capturing and communicating business value first, including time-to-market, cost and time savings advantages.  Getting beyond a purely cost-cutting mindset is critical for IT to become a strategic partner with business units.  He says that he’s seeing CIOs gain a greater voice in strategic planning initiatives by clearly defining the business value of cloud-based development while pursuing rapid application development.
  • Taking a leadership position in application development leads to gaining greater influence and involvement in strategic plans and initiatives.  This point galvanizes the entire ServiceNow executive team, they all speak of enabling the Citizen Developer to create new applications on their platform without writing a single line of code.  ServiceNow and their customer base have bonded on this issue of rapid application development.  And watching Fred Luddy, Chief Product Officer of ServiceNow move quickly through application development and deployment scenarios during his keynote showed how deeply engrained this value is in the company’s DNA.
  • CIOs need to realize that their resource and human resource management needs in five years will shift to business transformation away from IT alone.  There is a shortage of IT analysts and professionals who are adept at being business strategists, capable of leading transformational application development.  IT analysts and experts need to be trusted partners with business units, continually moving IT-related barriers out of the way while streamlining new application development.  Arne cited how General Electric is excelling on this dimension, consolidating 17 incident management systems into a single ServiceNow application.  All that was possible because the IT teams at GE are an essential part of business unit operations.
  • CIOs need to move beyond managing IT using cost and efficiency alone and think in terms of opportunity-to-cost instead. Arne’s point is that the most respected and counted-upon CIOs he knows today are either making or have made this transition.  They have moved beyond an IT legacy mentality of managing just to cost or efficiency.  Instead, the CIOs emerging as strategists and core members of the executive team are aligning IT as a core part of their company’s ability to compete.
  • Use cloud architectures and rapid application development to make IT more strategic in scope now.  The companies winning awards at Knowledge13 for their applications showed a common thread of anticipating and acting on the strategic needs of their business quickly, often delivering completed applications ahead of schedule and under budget.

Bottom line: Making IT strategic begins by moving away from the constraints of managing to cost and efficiency metrics alone.  Cloud-based platforms and rapid application development technologies are assisting CIOs and their staffs to be more strategic, less tactical, more responsive and focused on line-of-business needs and requirements first.

Disclosure: ServiceNow paid for travel to Knowledge13.  I’ve never held equity positions in ServiceNow, and they are not a client.

10 Ways Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing Manufacturing

manufacturing floorThe best manufacturers I’ve visited this year all share a common attribute: they are obsessed with making themselves as easy as possible to work with from a supply chain, distribution and services standpoint.  Many are evaluating cloud-based manufacturing applications including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and several have adopted cloud-based applications across their companies.

With so much interest, there is much confusion as well.  I recently spoke with Cindy Jutras, founder and CEO of MintJutras.  Her firm has recently completed a survey of SaaS adoption in manufacturing, distribution and other industries.  She found the following:

  • 49% of respondents in the manufacturing & distribution industries do not understand the difference between single- and multi-tenant SaaS architectures.  Overall 66% of respondents to the survey did not know.
  • SaaS-based applications are 22% of all manufacturing and distribution software installed today, and will grow to 45% within ten years according to MintJutras.
  • The three most important characteristics of a SaaS solution in manufacturing and distribution include giving customers a measure of control over upgrades, consistent support for global operations and allowing for rapid and frequent upgrades.

Cindy Jutras Research May 8 2013

Why Manufacturers Are Looking To Cloud Computing  

Manufacturers are under constant pressure to increase accuracy, make process speed a competitive force, and capitalize on their internal intelligence and knowledge to make every supplier, distributor and service interaction count.  The manufacturers spoken and visited with to gain the following insights are in the high tech, industrial and aerospace and defense industries, where rapid product lifecycles and short time-to-market schedules are commonplace.

Cloud-based strategies give these companies the chance to bring their own innate intelligence and knowledge into every sales situation.  While on-premise systems could also do this, cloud-based systems were quicker to roll out, easier to customize and showed potential to increase adoption rates across resellers.

One manufacturing manager explained how during a new product launch the speed and volume of collaboration was so rapid on between suppliers and distributors that an allocation situation was averted.  That he said, made senior management believers.  These epiphanies are happening daily in manufacturing.

Based on my visits with manufacturers, here are the ten ways they are using cloud computing to revolutionize manufacturing:

  • Capturing and applying company-wide intelligence and knowledge through the use of analytics, business intelligence (BI), and rules engines.  For the many manufacturers who rely on build-to-order, configure-to-order and engineer-to-order strategies as a core part of their business models, using cloud-based platforms to capture knowledge and manage rules is accelerating. A key part of this area is mobility support for analytics, BI and rules engine reporting and analysis.
  • Piloting and then moving quickly to full launch of supplier portals and collaboration platforms, complete with quality management dashboards and workflows.  Among the manufacturers visited, those in high tech are the most advanced in this area, often implementing Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and demand management applications that deliver real-time order status and forecasts.
  • Designing in services is now becoming commonplace, making cloud integration expertise critical for manufacturers.  From simplistic services integration on iPhones to the full implementation of voice-activated controls including emergency assistance in the latest luxury cars, adding in services integrated to the cloud is redefining the competitive landscape of industries today.  Revising a product or launching an new product generation with embedded services can mitigate price wars, which is why many manufacturers are pursing this strategy today.
  •  Accelerating new product development and introduction (NPDI) strategies to attain time-to-market objectives. Using cloud-based platforms in high tech manufacturing is growing today as time-to-market constraints are requiring greater collaboration earlier in design cycles.
  • Managing indirect and direct channel sales from a single cloud platform tracking sales results against quota at the individual, group and divisional level is now commonplace across all manufacturers visited.  Dashboards report back the status by each rep and for sales managers, the profitability of each deal.
  • Using cloud-based marketing automation applications to plan, execute and most important, track results of every campaign.  Marketing is under a microscope in many manufacturers today, as marketing automation applications have promised to deliver exceptional results and many manufacturers are still struggling to align their internal content, strategies and ability to execute with the potential these systems promise.
  • Automating customer service, support and common order status inquiries online, integrating these systems to distributed order management, pricing, and content management platforms.  Manufacturing industries are at varying levels of adoption when it comes to automating self-service.  The cost and time advantages in high tech are the highest levels of adoption I’ve seen in visiting manufacturers however.
  • Increasing reliance on two-tier ERP strategies to gain greater efficiencies in material planning, supplier management and reduce logistics costs.  Manufacturers are also using this strategy to gain greater independence from a single ERP vendor dominating their entire operations.  Several manufacturers remarked that their large, monolithic ERP systems could not, without intensive programming and customization, scale down to the smaller operational needs in distributed geographic regions.  Cloud-based ERP systems are getting the attention of manufacturers pursuing two-tier ERP strategies.  AcumaticaCincomMicrosoftNetSuite and Plex Systems are leaders in this area of ERP systems.
  • Reliance on cloud-based Human Resource Management (HRM) systems to unify all manufacturing locations globally.  This often includes combining  multisite talent management, recruiting, payroll and time tracking.  Contract manufacturer Flextronics uses Workday to optimize workforce allocations across their global manufacturing centers for example.

Bottom Line:  Using cloud-based systems to streamline key areas of their business, manufacturers are freeing up more time to invest in new products and selling more.

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