Cloud in Enterprises and Manufacturing

Cloud in Enterprises and Manufacturing

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4683-4.ch008
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Cloud computing has the potential to transform a large part of industry and manufacturing. This large transformation will have a big impact on the global economy and business in almost all industries. Industries will produce innovative products and services through this transformation enabled by cloud computing. Cloud computing is well suited to support business processes in any supply chain of manufacturing. With the help of new technologies, manufacturing processes can be done faster than before. A group of collaborators in a manufacturing sector could share their work, collaborate, and communicate through distributed infrastructure and services. In this chapter, the current trend and practice of cloud computing in industry and manufacturing sectors are presented. Then, by exploring the role of cloud computing in industry, the authors envision how cloud computing in these areas will evolve in the future.
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2. Emergence Of Cloud Industrialization

Still with high performance computing (HPC) and with the advent of advanced high-end computing systems, most manufacturers such as small and medium businesses (SMBs) are using just their workstations for R&D work (Gentzsch & Yenier, 2012a).

According to the UberCloud experiment1, “the most severe barriers to HPC adoption of workstation users are: lack of application software, lack of sufficient talent, and cost constraints. Therefore, buying their own high-performance server systems and HPC software to speed up each simulation run, do more frequent CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) simulation runs, or to analyze larger geometries, finer meshes/more cells, or better physics, are simply out of reach for many companies.” HPC in the Cloud solution addresses these requirements and constraints.

In Gentzsch and Yenier (2012a), researchers investigated how breaking the CAE jobs free from the restrictions of the workstation environment and moving them to the cloud could benefit the CAE engineers as well as the CAE software vendors.

According to a Microsoft survey2, cloud computing and social computing are transforming manufacturing industry value chains. This 2011 survey polled 152 IT and business decision-makers within automotive, aerospace, high-tech, electronics, and industrial equipment manufacturing companies in Germany, France and the United States, with 42.1% respondents from the United States, 30.3% from France and 27.6% from Germany.

According to 48.3% of respondents, the biggest benefit of cloud computing is lowered cost of optimizing infrastructure; this was followed closely by efficient collaboration across geographies (47.7%) and the ability to respond quickly to business demands (38.4%).

In addition, the survey results revealed a need (47.4%) to better integrate collaboration tools with business systems and to improve access to unstructured data and processes (36.2%). Almost 60% predict an industry-wide collaboration that includes manufacturing products and services providers, IT providers, systems integrators and in-house business analysts as most capable of bringing about these improvements.

In brief, according to the survey results, the biggest benefits with cloud computing technology in the order of importance are:

  • Infrastructure cost-reduction

  • Better collaboration

  • Agile response to business demands

  • Innovation and strategy improvements

  • New business opportunities

In summary, cloud computing is emerging as one of the major enablers for the manufacturing industry to transform the traditional manufacturing business model.


3. Industrial Transformation To The Cloud

The anatomy and ubiquity of cloud computing make it a key technology to advance and accelerate innovations in industry and manufacturing sectors.

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