Manufacturers are under increased pressure to reinvent themselves digitally.
They not only have to navigate issues like increasingly complex supply chains, global competition, and new business models, they also have to find the "perfect" IT environment that will help them realize business goals and initiatives. With the ushering in of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, adopting the technologies and strategies that allow manufacturers to operate more efficiently, gain actionable insights from data, reduce the time-to-market, and deliver superior products or services is a forgone conclusion.
Hybrid IT Enables Modern Manufacturing
At its most fundamental level, hybrid IT is the approach or strategy that allows manufacturers to combine their traditional/legacy infrastructure with the cloud. Its goal is to provide you with the right tools—whenever you need them. This is a feature that transforms—for the better—how you operate your business. The blend of on-premises and cloud-based services facilitates the distribution of enterprise applications, data, and services that will keep your enterprise competitive in a crowded industry and that will accelerate innovation.
One of the main appeals of hybrid IT for manufacturing is that you can continue to get value out of your existing or legacy infrastructure and applications until it is necessary to replace them with a cloud-based alternative, such as when you significantly change certain business processes or there is a major upgrade for software of hardware. A manufacturing enterprise that implements a hybrid IT structure will have:
- Flexibility that can facilitate continuous innovation using systems that can be shared or scaled as needs dictate
- Improved business agility from leveraging data, regardless of where it stored or where it is going in in your supply chain, allowing you to obtain real-time insights for immediate action and to modify your IT needs to respond to the market
- Enhanced security by establishing the appropriate level of secure access for all users
The unique needs of your manufacturing enterprise will determine what hybrid IT solutions are needed. Tailored solutions for manufacturing may include:
Enterprise Application Management
As a manufacturer, the ERP system you use is a fundamental tool in streamlining your business operations and managing your workflows across the various operational areas of your enterprise. It integrates essential business processes with manufacturing processes, providing you with a bird's eye view of your enterprise.
In order to get the maximum value from your ERP system, you should be able to leverage its business-critical applications to lower costs, enhance business and manufacturing processes, and provide support for informed decision-making. Enterprise Application Management encompasses a wide range of application processes and practices that can help ensure your ERP system works as it should all the time across private, public, and hybrid clouds. This means day-to-day monitoring, administration, maintenance, and more of your ERP applications. Your workers can work smarter while maximizing productivity, lowering costs, and accelerating time-to-value.
Manufacturers are not only heavily targeted by cybercriminals, but they also have to safeguard their assets against rival companies' nations engaged in corporate espionage. As they continue to digitally transform, their IT environment becomes more complex, which increases cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This complexity also renders the old ways of implementing security inefficient.
Hybrid IT solutions can enhance your manufacturing enterprise's security position by providing a comprehensive visibility of the environment. Where the data is stored is important, but being able to protect the data as it moves to and from on the various on-premises and public/private cloud infrastructures is just as important. You want to be able to secure access data and applications across various production sites.
A multi-layered security strategy, or defense-in-depth, is best, with the right mixture of security layers and controls in place to provide protection throughout your entire IT infrastructure. It is a proactive stance against cybersecurity threats that take into account both network security and security at the end-user level.
Hosting and Cloud Solutions
What do cloud-based solutions like platforms and apps provide? Speed, agility, scale, and the ability to obtain the real-time insight needed to react quickly to market demands. The increased insight means that manufacturing cycle times are faster and you can gain a closer look into overall equipment effectiveness levels to determine how they are affecting productivity and workflows. Cloud-based applications can also automate compliance and reporting, which saves valuable time.
It is not necessary to restrict yourself to a single cloud model. Hybrid cloud models can be used for cost-effective and successful digital transformations. They offer the best features of public and private cloud deployments and can be applied directly to manufacturing needs.
Multi-cloud deployments can help manufacturers match the right cloud to the appropriate critical workloads. The deployments can be hybrid, private-private, or public-public. The distribution of workloads across multiple clouds increases reliability and availability and helps fulfill regulatory compliance requirements.
To remain relevant in the manufacturing industry, you have to maintain a mindset that change is a continual process in which you always have to consider how you can do things better. As your manufacturing enterprise's needs change and continue to evolve, you should make sure that the systems can keep up. Hybrid IT has become the new normal for manufacturers who want to remain competitive. Seek expert advice on how you can align the right technologies with your business strategies.