As CIO of a mid-market manufacturing organization, I have been paying a lot of attention to the specific ways that cloud technology is being adapted to fit the needs of modern factories. I attended Cloud Wars Expo in San Francisco, where cloud technology providers had the opportunity to showcase their solutions in an event called Industry Cloud Battleground, a new CXO-peer-driven approach to accelerate the time it takes to make the right business technology cloud decisions.
If you missed the Industry Cloud Battleground live at Cloud Wars Expo, it will be available on demand starting July 20th, so be sure to sign up for access now.
The battleground was divided into six different categories:
I acted as a host for the manufacturing industry, so I got the chance to meet each of the speakers and attend their presentations. Each of the cloud companies was asked to answer the same five questions, which were based on research into the top questions that CXOs in manufacturing wanted to be answered:
- How do your industry-specific solutions help interconnect the formerly disconnected worlds of IT and OT?
- Manufacturing operations and optimization are strategically dependent on having all appropriate materials, components, and people on hand to get finished goods from the assembly line to customers on or ahead of schedule. How do your solutions integrate supply chain data to deliver great customer experiences?
- How does your Manufacturing Cloud enable customers to pull together data from across all facets of not only manufacturing but also related operational areas such as supply chain, demand planning, logistics, and shipping?
- Cybersecurity is becoming a board-level priority. With this in mind, please describe the cybersecurity capabilities within your Manufacturing Cloud solutions.
- Please describe some of the new digital-era business processes that your Manufacturing Cloud helps optimize for customers.
Key Takeaways From Microsoft
Colin Masson (Global Industry Marketing Director, Manufacturing) and Guy Bursell (Business Strategy Leader, Manufacturing Industry) presented for Microsoft.
Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing focuses on creating the agile factory of the future, bringing together Microsoft’s top cloud products including collaboration, AI, IoT, ERP, and MES systems to make informed decisions quickly that can improve and optimize the global supply chain
Azure cybersecurity products provide a wide range of capabilities to protect IoT-driven manufacturing systems.
Key Takeaways From Oracle
Geoffroy de Carbonnel (Vice President, Product Management and Strategy, Supply Chain & Manufacturing) presented for Oracle.
Oracle’s Smart Manufacturing Solution connects shop floor data and IoT devices with manufacturing, maintenance, and planning business systems, and then uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to contextualize the information and provide actionable insights.
Key Takeaways From Google Cloud
Simon Floyd (Industry Director, Manufacturing & Transportation) presented for Google Cloud.
Google’s Manufacturing Data Engine and Connect add edge to cloud data visibility across manufacturing operations. Google’s AI solutions can aid in quality control and predictive maintenance.
Key Takeaways From IBM
Utpal Mangla (General Manager for the Industry Edge Clouds) presented for IBM.
Rather than competing with cloud providers like Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, IBM prefers to partner with them to provide unique solutions to manufacturing needs. Their focus on a hybrid cloud approach is particularly interesting to manufacturers who can’t always send all computing to the cloud, and need to combine it with edge compute assets.
Key Takeaways From SAP
Sayan Bose (Global Vice President, Industrial Manufacturing Industries presented for SAP in collaboration with Percy Stocker (Senior Vice President AR Americas, TeamViewer).
SAP’s Digital Manufacturing Cloud solutions are built on top of industry standards, with a focus on KPIs with harmonized, reliable analytics. Best results are achieved through a combination of SAP’s product line, including SAP S/4 HANA and SAP ERP.
This presentation was unique in that it showcased a collaboration between SAP and TeamViewer AR. They showed how field service management and asset management can be enhanced by using wearable AR gear, thus eliminating the need to send highly-trained experts around the world to visit facilities on-site.
Overall Impressions of the Manufacturing Industry Cloud Battleground
All the cloud companies brought their A-game to this event. We got to hear from executives at the top level of these organizations. In my experience, that is a rare occurrence at conferences. This level of business- and thought-leader is usually reserved for keynote presentations. To have them up-close and personal and accessible for questions and follow-up is an invaluable experience for any CXO.
It is getting harder and harder to choose among cloud providers, as they are all putting tremendous effort into expanding their capabilities. They were all able to answer the questions we proposed to them. So, in many cases, it comes down to which provider can best fit into your current ecosystem.
If you are starting from scratch, you could feel confident in choosing any one of them. But, assuming that you already have a significant amount of infrastructure and software already in place, you will have to determine which one will provide the best integration with your current systems now as well as the best path forward as more and more of the systems move into the cloud.
Watch the Sessions On-Demand
As you take these considerations into account, you should watch these sessions more than once. There is so much information packed into these short presentations that it may take a couple of passes to take it in and start to compare the differences in each company’s approach to providing a cloud solution for the needs of a manufacturing organization.
The Cloud Wars Expo experience and content don’t stop here — all of this is your PATH Forward from Cloud Wars Expo to unlock the Purpose, Analysis, Talent, and Hyperfocus needed to optimize your digital future.