Why Manufacturing IT Needs a Future-Ready, Next-Gen Infrastructure

Those of us working in manufacturing IT understand the value of a future-ready infrastructure to foster agility and innovation – and boost factory output. But getting there is easier said than done.

Every week, I talk to manufacturing CIOs about new expectations and old challenges. The statistics are familiar: you spend about 80 percent of your IT resources on running the business, leaving only 20 percent left for innovation — and an insufficient investment budget keeps you from adapting to rapidly changing business needs.

At Dell Services, our goal is to get customers to a point where they spend 50 percent of their resources on running the business — and 50 percent on innovation and R&D. That’s a game changer. By shifting resources and funding from day-to-day activities to more strategic initiatives, you will operate ahead of the speed of the business and transform manufacturing into a digital enterprise.

But how do you get there?

It takes time

You can’t go from running the day-to-day business to a running a digital enterprise overnight (or even in one budgeting cycle). A well-thought-out plan will get you where you need to be, and help you avoid missteps.

Your transformation journey begins with standardizing IT to get the most value out of your strategic assets. When you standardize IT, you simplify hardware and software platforms, processes and tools to reduce operational complexity and costs. A standards-based environment allows IT to better-meet business demands, and lays the groundwork for innovation.

Your next step — optimizing IT — drives business outcomes. Optimizing IT is not about the technology; it’s about increasing plant productivity and enhancing customer experience. In other words, you’re working toward the overall simplification of IT.

The final step is transforming IT. In this step, you create new modern consumption and operating models for your customers. IT is recognized as a service integrator, as opposed to an internal IT provider, and your organization drives thought leadership. You’re spending less resource time and capital investments on running the business and more on innovation. And that’s the end goal.

Understanding transformational technologies

A next-generation infrastructure allows your organization to rapidly adopt new technologies such as mobile, social business, cloud and big data/analytics — collectively known as the third platform of computing — as well as innovation accelerators. These technologies offer new ways to design, manufacture and deliver products and services, and give you the ability to foster innovation in business operations and growth.

Dell Services can help you determine which technologies you need to succeed. They include:

  • An elastic cloud model to provide greater agility and cost savings
  • A software-defined infrastructure which virtualizes and automates entire operating environment—server, storage, and network to build capabilities and technologies to thwart evolving cybersecurity threats.
  • A mobility and IOT strategy that allows end users to perform their business critical work on any device, anywhere, and anytime
  • Innovation accelerators for manufacturing including next-gen security, Internet of Things, cognitive robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality

Start your journey now

The culmination of this transformation journey is becoming a true digital enterprise. IT operates faster than the speed of the business, and your manufacturing operations will see increased productivity and quality, new channels of revenue, faster time to market and an optimized supply chain.

This is when you become a true strategic partner.

Want to learn more? You can start by reading “Speeding the Digital Transformation Journey in Manufacturing: A Guide to Transforming Your IT Operations,” a recent IDC report. Synthesizing in-depth research on the topic, the report offers insight on IT trends in the manufacturing industry today, and how those trends might affect you tomorrow. The report also outlines and justifies priorities in digitally transforming your business. You can download it here. Or, you can plan on joining us for this on-demand webinar, exploring the topic in detail.

You can also read about Dell Manufacturing Solutions and Modernization Services. Follow us @DellAppMod

About the Author: Tim Mannschreck