In brief

In brief

  • Cloud solutions enable manufacturers to seize benefits around cost reduction, flexibility, and new, digital and smart capabilities.
  • Companies seeking to make the most of all of these will likely have to review and rethink their manufacturing operations management strategies.
  • This Accenture guide aims to equip executives with key pointers for how to best start this exercise and ensure cloud success.

The three keys to cloud success

Cloud is far more than a virtual data center: It enables software components which can help companies to increase business efficiency and optimize IT operations - if they are planned, implemented, and run the right way.

So, how can manufacturers ensure they are migrating to the cloud in such a way?

Our guide outlines three key steps:

  1. Define your business objectives: Create clarity around how, exactly, you expect cloud solutions to maximize business efficiency. The idea here is that cloud should not simply provide a new way of provisioning IT resources – but enable better ways to operate.
  2. Clarify your IT expectations: Next, clearly define which kinds of IT benefits to optimize for. Your list might include things like reduced IT infrastructure footprints at manufacturing sites, better price-to-performance ratios due to the scaling flexibility of cloud solutions, better disaster-recovery capabilities, and automation.
  3. Prioritize cloud security: Finally, shape your cloud security strategy, governance, and infrastructure. Given how your cloud solutions will connect to business-critical IT and operational technology infrastructure, having these in place is a must.

How to execute your cloud-MOM strategy

Once a company has outlined its manufacturing cloud objectives and high-level strategy, it's time to start planning the execution. This is best done by thoroughly reviewing the business' existing portfolio of manufacturing apps - an excellent opportunity to eliminate "technical debt".

Often, there will be some systems which should not be moved to the cloud - like solutions reaching the end of their lifecycle, legacy systems no longer relevant for the business, or mission-critical plant-specific systems that run in remote locations without strong networks.

But reviewers will also find apps which are very suitable for cloud hosting (be it private or public), and likely identify entirely new organizational and business opportunities.

Cloud is far more than a virtual data center: It enables software components which can help companies to increase business efficiency and optimize IT operations - if they are planned, implemented, and run the right way.

The results from this review will help you map out the cloud-enabled infrastructure which is the best fit for your business, security, and reliability needs, and enable you to both plan and execute the next key steps in your journey to the cloud:

  1. Defining the migration scope
  2. Optimizing for "drop-and-shop" vs. "lift-and-shift"
  3. Steering clear of the "PoC petting zoo" (and prioritize scale)
  4. Defining your sourcing model
  5. Considering portability needs, and
  6. Creating your operating model

So, when to get started?

We believe the time is now.

Whether your company is facing abrupt changes in business conditions - think: data center exit, mergers, greenfield expansions, or divestitures, for example -, or you're pursuing continuous improvement programs (lean, six-sigma, etc.), the cloud will help improve your outcomes.

The same is true for manufacturers embarking on a larger-scale digital transformation - they, too, should take advantage of cloud as a gateway to access technology required for implementing the new ways of working.

If you're interested in following this recommendation, please read our guide to cloud-enabled manufacturing, or reach out to our experts directly (see right sidebar).

Thiago Martins

Managing Director – Industry X, Manufacturing Execution Systems Lead, North America

Maikel van Verseveld

Managing Director – Industry X, Digital Manufacturing & Operations, Technology Global Lead

Pascal Brosset

Managing Director – Industry X, Production & Operations Global Lead

Robert Pinkham

Managing Director – Industry X, Cloud Lead, North America


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