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Cloud: The Currency for the New Normal

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Coronavirus
(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

The market has shifted dramatically due to COVID-19, and industrial companies are being forced to navigate new and sudden challenges. As a result of its economic repercussions, we are seeing more stringent and robust measures put in place to cope with uncertainties and mitigate damage. Still, while the speed and scale of the current crisis is larger than we have experienced in recent years, it will not be the last. Now is the time to invest in the technologies that will better enable businesses to adapt and maintain operational excellence.

As a tool that uses the internet to quickly deliver the resources required in today's data-driven world – servers, databases and storage, processing power, software, analytics, intelligence, and more – the cloud is a necessity for business continuity as companies continue to grapple with an ever-changing environment. It enables information to be consolidated from multiple sources and presented on any connected device to support faster decision-making and new ways of work. This is why the cloud is key in securing ongoing workflows, keeping operations, and people connected in times of disruption.

The Imperative for Cloud Becomes Even More Clear

Today's pandemic upended global business in just a matter of weeks, forcing many organizations to reevaluate their business continuity and growth plans. As we embraced a world of remote working, digital-led interactions, and increased uncertainty, the need to quickly transform digital processes became apparent, and it wasn't long before demand for already popular cloud-based tools skyrocketed.

When employees were required to work remotely, and operations were halted, cloud proved itself to be the avenue that connected people and businesses on a global scale. Without the cloud, businesses are not able to access real-time information to collaborate and execute processes between teams working remotely across the world. Cloud enables the availability, rapid deployment, and high scalability of IT resources for businesses across the globe, and, with flexible pricing, businesses spend less time on new IT capabilities and can add capacity as needed.  

Success in a post-pandemic world will be about more than connecting workforces and shifting operating models; it will be about how we approach business challenges differently. The current crisis has become a catalyst for accelerating cloud, AI, and the use of data in increasingly sophisticated ways to provide visibility and certainty into operations.

Empowering Workers and Safeguarding Future Business Success

Beyond its ability to connect people, cloud has a big impact on the assets that businesses rely on to conduct daily business. As the pandemic began to shut down businesses, organizations relied more heavily on the cloud to ensure they were able to reliably monitor and communicate with assets remotely.

For example, when connected to the cloud, AI’s unified smart analytics can more accurately span complete data stacks and help teams leverage mathematical thought processes across all their activities, providing scale and capacity that they would not otherwise have – knowledge, data-led intelligence and the ability to spot opportunities. When connecting AI modules from different products together using the cloud, users can strengthen asset performance management (APM) to generate more complex insights and recommendations.

By combining industrial big data, AI, digital twin, and AR technologies with the cloud, APM enables organizations to continuously monitor their assets to identify, diagnose, and prioritize impending equipment problems in real-time. More sophisticated, remote monitoring helps workforces prepare for more difficult situations such as factory closures and staff reductions. It enables companies to reduce unscheduled downtime, prevent equipment failures, reduce maintenance costs, increase asset utilization, extend equipment life, and remotely identify underperforming assets.

In other words, APM, empowered with cloud capabilities, can stop equipment issues before they occur while limiting physical contact with the site in question. As industrial operations move to autonomous or near-autonomous modes, the ability to ensure reliable and safe performance while delivering production objectives is imperative, and APM provides the framework and methods to ensure this.

AI is one technology that’s proven its ability to enable the move to independent operating models, but the cloud underpins the key technologies businesses have begun to implement to connect and transform the way their workforce operates, monitors assets and remedies issues. If there's one silver lining of this pandemic, it is that it has forced the hand of entire sectors to embrace the digital tools available and facilitate a way of working that keeps both people connected and businesses agile.