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  • Tom McKee

3 Technology Trends Driving Modernization for Manufacturers

In recent years, manufacturers have developed an increasing appetite for technology, whether by creating it or using it to improve the lives and business outcomes of their customers.

With an absolute explosion in new and emerging technologies, we are in the midst of incredible opportunities to deliver manufacturing modernization. We are seeing field techs use Virtual Reality to improve training, repair, and service, artificial intelligence to improve the quality and speed of new product development, and IoT inform the entire value chain, from the customer to the factory floor and everywhere in between. Three of the most impactful trends right now are Industry Clouds, Industry Standard Data Models, and Consumer Driven Manufacturing.

Industry Clouds

An industry cloud is customized to fit a specific industry and accommodates the uniqueness of business, operational, legal, regulatory, and security considerations. Unlike the horizontal focus of general cloud computing, industry clouds focus on vertical integration and vertical solutions, designed to address industry-specific challenges. The delivered capabilities are both more precise and holistic, enabling faster speed to value in a scalable way.

For our customers, the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing brings together the full power of the Microsoft platform with industry data and business process models and features key solutions from the partner ecosystem. As a leading partner in this ecosystem, eLogic industry solutions extend the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing core capabilities to drive business impact across the Intelligent Enterprise.

We were joined by Ashley Haynes-Gaspar, COO of US Business Applications & Industry Clouds at Microsoft on a recent episode of the Intelligent Enterprise series. Watch the clip below to hear Ashley's insights on how industry clouds 'enable breathtaking customer and employee experiences'.

Industry Standard Data Models (ISDM)

Industry Data Models at their core provide a foundation that manufacturers can build upon as they navigate their Intelligent Enterprise journey. Industry Data Models are pre-designed to meet the needs of a specific industry, incorporating best practices, industry and government regulations, and common industry vocabularies. These models consolidate data from multiple sources, including ERP, CRM, CPQ, and PLM, as well as spreadsheets and other databases. Additionally, the models are designed to simplify the process of surfacing information that empowers all levels of the enterprise. This industry specific, real-time information enables actionable insights to make proactive decisions that deliver desired business outcomes.

With industry-centric models and solutions, manufacturers are starting to realize a laser-like focus on insights that were previously difficult, if not impossible to see. For instance, early warnings related to potential supply chain disruptions, shifts in customer demand and product mix, or alerts and real-time monitoring of the factory floor. Although the results are reflected in the improvements to functional KPIs and metrics, ultimately the improved business outcomes deliver increased revenues, margin expansion, higher returns on invested capital, improved cash flow, and elevated customer satisfaction.

Putting Customer Experiences at the Center of Technology Investments

Successful manufacturers understand the importance of aligning their products and services with fast-changing market needs and increasingly complex customer requirements. Manufacturers must get better at anticipating the needs of their customers and the rapid changes they may demand in products and services. They will have to become more agile and more flexible, but still deliver products and services in a high quality and cost-effective manner.

During our discussion with Ashley Haynes-Gasper, she spoke about customer-centric design thinking. This approach aims to develop solutions and products that are aligned with what the customer needs. Companies can then use the desired customer experience to prioritize technology investments that create the best experience for the customer, and by doing so, increase brand loyalty. In this next clip, Ashley discusses connected customer experiences.

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