IT in Manufacturing

Unlock the real business value behind the cloud

April 2023 IT in Manufacturing

Navinder Singh.

To be competitive today, businesses need to be more agile, efficient and proactive than ever, a feat that can only be successfully achieved using the enhanced intelligence that digital technologies can help to unlock. The intelligent cloud can help businesses achieve these goals, powered by the intelligent edge, which allows data to be collected and analysed where it is generated. The result is faster, more accurate decisions, which support agility and efficiency goals. The intelligent edge is key to unlocking the true value of the cloud and enabling businesses to be competitive in a digitally transformed world.

Defining the edge

The intelligent edge allows data to be collected, processed and analysed at the ‘edge’ of IT infrastructure, in other words where it is generated. With no need to centrally collect, store and process the data, much of the workload is taken off the central processing hub. This results in faster and more efficient time to insight. It also opens analytics up to a range of connected devices, including the vast array of objects that make up the Internet of Things (IoT).

Aligning with cloud strategy

Looking at the intelligence that is incorporated into devices collecting and processing data at the ‘edge’, we are seeing advancements that align with cloud strategies and one of the most challenging elements – integration with the cloud. Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps to solve this challenge. It provides information on what is required from these applications to integrate with and migrate to the cloud, and these requirements can be predefined, creating seamless integration.

As an example, companies are often compelled to integrate their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions with cloud service providers. However, achieving seamless integration requires significant effort and resources. With AI gathering information from the ‘edge’ applications and with integration requirements predefined, the integration process is significantly simplified. This reduces costs and eliminates bottlenecks where processing and analysis were done centrally, with data alignment across multiple applications. Processing becomes faster and more efficient.


A compelling case

As cloud and hybrid cloud environments become increasingly the norm, the benefits that the intelligent edge delivers make it a compelling technology procurement decision. It helps in streamlining business processes, data alignment across multiple applications, easy integrations and more. The intelligent edge also helps businesses to optimise operations and drive efficiency, and reduces the costs and complexity associated with integrating and migrating applications to the cloud.

With intelligence at the edge, businesses experience fewer bottlenecks with cloud integration, improved efficiencies, reduced bandwidth consumption, minimised latency, lower cost and complexity, improved reliability, simplified compliance and enhanced security. If data is processed and analysed at the edge, it also means that it doesn’t have to ‘travel’ and there is less risk for data to be intercepted.

Getting the return

As with any technology initiative, to realise ROI this needs to be defined and understood up front. Your IT partner can assist with defining realistic ROI expectations around business outcomes with the intelligent edge, and proof of concepts can prove instrumental in providing a sense of anticipated outcomes and what type of ROI can be expected.

Implementing intelligent edge technologies can be costly at the outset and a fast ROI is very seldom achieved. However, the long-term ROI can be significant. Quick wins are achieved through the simplicity of integration, but the benefits of the large capital outlay required will often only be seen in years to come. The reality though is that intelligence at the edge can give businesses a significant competitive advantage. Those companies that invest earlier will reap the benefits down the line.

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