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Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing. Are You Excited?

  • Posted on October 18, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Intro: Microsoft Cloud Manufacturing

Like waiting for my next fly-fishing excursion, or looking forward to an upcoming family vacation, my anticipation and excitement for the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is palpable!

If you are not aware, Microsoft announced the next phase of the Microsoft Industry Cloud initiative, with a new Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing public preview in November and general availability planned for the spring.

Aside from the sustainability benefits of a standard cloud platform e.g., “Migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road”, the exciting news is that Microsoft Industry clouds are designed to go further, to be different and actually enhance the capabilities of a standard cloud platform, with industry unique features to enable industry innovation at scale.

So that’s it then, a no brainer, why wouldn’t you move?
Well as a 25-year veteran of helping manufacturers embrace technology to improve business results, I know that the world of manufacturing is amazingly complex, and never more so than in today’s digitally disrupted world. I am regularly asked by clients how moving to the cloud and, more importantly, how moving to a Microsoft “industry (manufacturing)” cloud could positively impact their businesses.

I believe there are 3 questions to consider when contemplating moving to the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing:

  1. How can I improve my operational and supply chain resilience to manage and evolve my business? Magnified by the pandemic, manufacturers recognize that the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing will allow them to rapidly respond and adapt to changing market conditions and deliver the resilience needed to adapt and thrive in an environment of continual change e.g. 94% of Fortune 1,000 companies experienced supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. There’s no question that future disruptions will occur and there is no question that manufacturers need to be better prepared to deal with the next challenge. The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing should help position manufacturers to absorb those disruptions.
  2. How can I continually change to attract and retain the best skilled resources? It is clear cloud adoption is becoming a priority for manufacturers. It is also clear that Manufacturers require unified, scalable and secure working models to attract and retain the best workers across their IT and OT organizations. One finding from a recent survey conducted by Accenture and Avanade determined that companies that invest in digital technologies, such as Cloud computing, not only improve financial performance, but also become more attractive to potential employees. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 50% of factory work will be done remotely and that connected workers are 66% more engaged and more than 4x as likely to be retained.
  3. How will I be able to enhance my organizational agility to renew and grow my business? In today’s ultra-competitive, rapidly changing marketplace, agility may be the most important characteristic for determining success. Manufacturing business leaders are beginning to understand that cloud platforms speed up both innovation and agility in order to deliver differentiated products and services e.g. 90% of executives agree that to be agile and resilient, their organizations need to fast forward their digital transformation with cloud at its core. Legacy, on-premise solutions are heavy with technical debt and not agile. Cloud computing is.

With a focus on solutions to transform workforces, build more agile factories, engage customers in new ways, create more resilient supply chains and unlock innovation, Microsoft has committed to working with its partner network to directly address the 3 areas raised above. One of the reason’s I am so excited is I work for Avanade, and we have a unique partnership with Microsoft. Avanade was founded by Microsoft and Accenture in 2000 and we have a privileged position to be working closely with Microsoft to help shape new industry relevant solutions on the new Industry Clouds.

The last few turbulent years have shown us how manufacturers rise to unprecedented challenges and adapt with new solutions, as exemplified in the UK Ventilator challenge. I fully appreciate transforming and adopting new technologies is often difficult, however, the case for moving to the Microsoft Industry Cloud is growing more compelling day by day. Microsoft with its partners, aims to help businesses accelerate change further, as industry clouds package together common data models, cross-cloud connectors, workflows, application programming interfaces and industry-specific components and standards. The Microsoft Industry Clouds are designed for use with Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform tools and other Microsoft services and are meant to connect front-end productivity tasks to backend data management.

In my role as Global Manufacturing Industry Director for Avanade, I lead a team of Microsoft certified professionals dedicated to helping clients Rethink their manufacturing business. As we get closer to the launch of the new Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, I look forward to sharing more information on how we will be investing in joint (Avanade and Microsoft) industry ready solutions, to help you renew and grow, become more resilient and enhance agility to embrace not fear the next challenge.

Contact us today if you would like to connect with me and my team or visit our new Microsoft Industry Cloud pages to learn more.

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