Skip to Main Content
Access your saved content
Chemical operations that don’t embrace cloud computing risk losing customers and market share.
The chemicals industry has lagged behind the curve when it comes to using cloud solutions. But there are clear signs that these companies are taking notice, and making the move to the cloud. As in other industries, the most forward-looking chemical companies see technology as core to virtually every aspect of the business. This essentially means that every business is a digital business, and all senior leaders should be able to understand, embrace and drive value from new technologies.
Companies that take an integrated approach and adopt emerging technologies in concert with cloud applications are prepping for higher performance and honing a competitive edge. They are better equipped to seize rapidly shifting business opportunities—while enabling themselves to leap ahead of the competition—increasing market differentiation, deepening customer relationships and delivering differentiated growth and profitability.
To keep up with emerging industry trends, chemical companies around the world are looking for ways to boost agility, reduce costs and ramp up speed and responsiveness. And, increasingly, they are seeing a cloud-enabled digital business as a critical part of the journey.
Among the major trends driving this critical shift toward the cloud:
The increasing importance of emerging markets—Cloud computing allows companies to penetrate new regions more quickly and cost effectively, while also making post-merger integration in existing and new territories faster and easier.
Increasingly complex and diverse global supply chains—Companies that embrace cloud technology typically gain faster and more responsive collaboration and information sharing along the entire supply chain.
The rise of the green agenda—Cloud technology is asset-light, translating to lower and more controlled energy consumption and emissions.
Rising commoditization demanding differentiation through innovation—Cloud computing supports innovation through enhanced internal and external collaboration, and research and development.
Rising infrastructure investment, cost and time pressures—Cloud computing can help IT and the business as a whole “do more with less,” which means higher operational and cost agility across the enterprise.
Cloud computing will profoundly shake up the chemicals industry in six fundamental ways:
Real-time remote, predictive and mobile asset monitoring and maintenance. The cloud can help a chemicals company track and analyze the status and behaviors of thousands of pieces of equipment across a chemicals plant in real time.
The power to integrate, share and analyze big data along the value chain to transform visibility, speed and agility. Cloud computing’s scalability, flexibility and device-agnostic connectivity lets companies get a globally integrated view of their logistics in real time without massive up-front investment.
Enhanced employee health and safety, and remote medical monitoring and assistance. On-site and on-body sensors can monitor equipment safety and detect even minute amounts of hazardous materials.
“Community clouds” will allow more efficient, agile and secure IT using common industry platforms and utilities.
Cloud computing and mobile solutions will unleash faster, smoother and more effective skills transfer, knowledge sharing and R&D.
Lower barriers to entry empowering new entrants from emerging markets will unleash a new generation of dynamic chemical companies.
To prepare for the journey to a hybrid, cloud-enabled environment, chemical companies can start by looking holistically at their entire IT environment to find ways to simplify it. Rather than seeking ways to just cut operating costs, there is value in spending now to save money down the road. For example, companies can invest in the right architecture, tools and governance to take full advantage of the benefits the cloud has to offer.
The more a business can simplify its IT architecture and services—and the business processes they underpin—the better positioned it is to realize the potential benefits of cloud computing. This may mean virtualizing infrastructure as a first step, and dropping redundant or little used applications.
Pilot services can test the benefits of new cloud-enabled mobile and analytics platforms in specific segments or geographies with relatively low risk and cost. Then companies can globally scale up the pilots that they found to be successful.
Richard Holsman, managing director, Accenture. With more than 20 years of experience helping clients transform their IT landscapes, Holsman has supported clients in IT strategy and planning, mergers and acquisition integration, digital oilfield design, enterprise resource planning organization design, business process re-engineering and IT innovation. He is also responsible for Accenture’s technology consulting work with resources industries clients in Europe, Great Britain, Latin America, South Africa, Russia and Mexico.
Philip Lenders, manager, Accenture. Philip Lenders is a manager in Accenture’s resources technology group, focused on the chemicals industry. As a solution architect, he has supported clients in Belgium, France, Germany and Norway, implementing various cloud solutions across different business functions, ranging from human resources to customer relationship management.
Manish Panjwani, senior executive, Accenture. Manish Panjwani is the industry technology lead for the Accenture Chemicals and Natural Resources group. He is responsible for defining the technology strategy for the chemicals and natural resources industry for Accenture globally, driving investments in technology innovation and capability. During his 19 years at Accenture, he has led innovative and pioneering technology work at some of our largest global clients and has been involved in developing and deploying large scale global enterprise resource planning, commerce architectures and business systems.
November 7, 2013
Skip Footer Links