Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MANUFACTURING IN THE CLOUD. Part IV: Present and Future of Cloud Computing

By Goran Novkovic, CQA, CSQE, ITIL, APM, PMP, PEng

This blog is part of a series called Manufacturing in the Cloud. This series aims to assist manufacturing organizations to evaluate how they can overcome challenges and maximize cloud computing benefits. As cloud computing services mature both commercially and technologically, this is likely to become relatively easier to achieve.

From the previous blog ‘Part III: CloudComputing and Virtualization’ we looked at how intertwined virtualization is with cloud computing. In this blog, we will examine the present and future of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is viewed as a significant change to the platform in which business services are translated, used and managed. The adoption of cloud computing have a significant impact on the way in which manufacturing organizations operate. The transition from in-house managed computing to a cloud computing model brings significant changes at all levels. Manufacturing organizations need to form shared service and security approaches that may be unable to fit easily within current structures. Successful transition to the cloud computing requires organizations to embrace change in their processes, policies, roles and responsibilities. This can be a challenge in itself.

Cloud adoption is spreading rapidly and represents a new opportunity that manufacturing organizations should not ignore given its profound impact. Manufacturing organizations deploying cloud computing models can scale up or down their IT services (applications, platform or infrastructure) on demand, enabling the delivery of a comparatively more efficient, streamlined IT service than in a traditional outsourcing model.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

As cloud computing becomes prevalent within manufacturing organizations, there will be a diminishing need for internal IT infrastructures as well as the resources that manage that infrastructures. Organizations will need to manage this change effectively to minimize the impact and disruption to normal manufacturing operations. Organizations that fail to execute a change strategy effectively may overlook one or a number of organizational issues. In terms of cloud computing, failure can lead to models of computing that are inefficient, over budget and do not meet business needs.

Cloud computing makes sophisticated technology solutions and data centres with their resilient infrastructure and trained staff available and affordable especially to small and medium sized manufacturing organizations. In other words, these businesses with limited IT budgets may look at cloud computing as a far more resilient solution than they currently own. And they may move to cloud computing on the basis that it increases their resilience from nothing to something. This may be a significant improvement to the security of many manufacturing organizations.

WHAT YOU SHOULD BE GETTING IN RETURN

Cloud computing has been brought to the attention of manufacturing organizations for multiple reasons. Depending on manufacturing needs, there are many benefits that could be enough reason for any organization to consider a cloud computing solution. Some of them are:

        Optimized resource utilization – use what you need
        Cost savings on IT infrastructure and personnel
        Better responsiveness
        Reduced time for implementation of manufacturing solutions
        Manufacturing data and software applications available anytime and anywhere
        Faster innovation cylces - great for startups
        Platform for IoT/IIoT, Big Data and AI initiatives
        Improved security features
        Resilience and capability to recover quickly

Manufacturing organizations can see several benefits including the flexibility to keep pace with growing data storage demands, strengthening disaster recovery resources, enabling faster time to market for new products, and making better use of staff time for important manufacturing initiatives. Cloud computing promises better IT resource usage, virtually unlimited scalability and greater flexibility, all at a contained cost. Furthermore, cloud computing offers an opportunity to simplify production and improve recovery times for manufacturing organizations.
Manufacturing organizations can also benefit from portability of cloud services. This means that a manufacturing organization has the capability to switch to different cloud providers and any application they have been using with a previous cloud provider will be available with the new cloud provider. This way, manufacturing organizations are not tied in or locked in to a specific service provider.
With cloud services, manufacturing organizations don't need to have the IT services running on local on-premises equipment. Cloud services are leased and therefore manufacturing organizations do not incur capital costs of IT resources and equipment as they would in traditional in-house models. With cloud computing it takes less square footage in office space. There is less power consumption and less cooling required. This leads to power consumption cost reduction, because manufacturing organizations don't have to keep much of the physical computing equipment. And finally, less IT staff is required on-premises.
With full utilization of cloud computing and mobile technologies -- manufacturing processes can be available anytime from anywhere using any type of device. This will drive further development and innovation in manufacturing sector.

Has your experience with cloud been successful? Have you run into issues? Email me or start a reply to this blog or in MESA’s LinkedIn Group to voice your experience or concerns.


Goran Novkovic, CQA, CSQE, ITIL, APM, PMP, PEng


Goran Novkovic has over 15 years of experience in various regulated industry sectors. His expertise is in industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity, control systems engineering, computer systems validation, software security and test management, cloud security and regulatory compliance. Goran has a formal education in Electrical Engineering and Project Management and possesses a master's degree in Information Technology. He has number of professional licenses and designations. He is holder of CQA (Certified Quality Auditor) and CSQE (Certified Software Quality Engineer) certifications with ASQ (American Society for Quality). Goran is certified ITIL, certified Agile Project Manager and Project Management Professional with PMI (Project Management Institute). He is licensed Professional Engineer with PEO (Professional Engineers Ontario). Goran is focused on ICS cybersecurity and he is helping organizations to establish ICS cybersecurity governance and develop effective ICS cybersecurity programs from scratch. E-mail contact: gnovkov@toronto.ca. 
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