With a recession looming at a time when hybrid work is still the norm, businesses need a transformative approach to maintaining value and staying in the game. Rob McGreevy, chief product officer at AVEVA, offers three ways Industrial Intelligence as a Service (IIaaS) is transforming business operations and improving sustainability.
You would be right to think the business operations landscape is evolving faster than ever before.
On the one hand, the global economy faces recessionary headwinds that could affect business this year and next. In addition, regulatory changes and consumer demands are pressuring us to make operational changes to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Fluctuating energy prices, supply chain disruptions, volatile prices and local talent shortages are additional systemic issues.
On the other hand, businesses are grappling with several fundamental shifts in the way we work. Hybrid models are now a reality. Companies now use more enterprise data than ever before, in varying forms and from multiple endpoints. Sharing this data with internal and external teams is crucial to supporting the best possible decisions and delivering value in a fast-paced and dynamic operating environment.Â
Simply staying in a good place in business is harder than ever before.
It’s no wonder businesses are turning to the cloud â€“ and cloud-enabled tools such as Industrial Intelligence as a Service (IIaaS) â€“ to tackle these challenges.Â
The majority of executives at global companies with a minimum annual revenue of $50 million see augmenting their existing industrial engineering and operations workflows with cloud capabilities as essential, according to 2022 Wakefield Research data. The pollster surveyedOpens a new window 650 executives in the chemicals, manufacturing, and power sectors across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. More than three in five respondents said cloud computing (63%) and analytics and artificial intelligence (62%) were among their top priority areas for investment over the next 12 months.
IIaaS enables remote and cross-site teams to see and securely share real-time data and analytics with the right colleagues anywhere. Tangible results accrue in the form of businesses’ agility and resilience from maximized IT resources, increased operational efficiency, expanded workforce connectivity, and perhaps most importantly, sustainability gains.Â
Use It Systems More Efficiently To Improve Margins
With new IIaaS models, companies benefit from greater scalability and flexibility while improving operational efficiency and cutting unnecessary costs. The cloud’s game-changing quality is how it supports economies of scale, which in turn, improves sustainability.Â
Companies don’t need to run vast, on-premise data centers anymore. Staff can simply work off cloud-based mega-data servers. These systems often run off renewable energy sources and are optimized for energy-efficient operations. Additionally, you only pay for what you use, minimizing hardware and storage and cutting both financial and environmental impacts without compromising security.Â
In action: Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off, uses a SaaS application to connect its existing remote workforce and minimize its IT maintenance and software-upgrade overheads. As a result, project time has been reduced, and IT overheads and delays have been eliminated.Â
Promote Cross-border Collaboration and Increase Productivity
As an infrastructural platform, IIaaS supports the creation of a single digital source of truth that spans the enterprise. With the same data insights available to workers wherever they are â€“ even at home in a different country â€“ collaboration becomes easier and quicker, in turn raising efficiency and productivity. For example, when engineers create and collaborate around an accurate model of a plant, the need for design rework is reduced, leading to quicker results while reducing material waste.Â
In action: Aker Carbon Capture helps hard-to-abate industries fight climate change. But with engineers in multiple time zones needing to work on the same carbon capture facility concurrently, a cloud-based solution to support collaboration and avoid rework became a necessity. After implementing just such a unified engineering solution, Aker CC experienced improved operational efficiency with a 50% reduction in time to market.
Scan Data To Improve Sustainability Metrics
Businesses now have more data available to support decisions. However, the norm is to silo that data at the point of collection, which limits its extractable value. By contrast, if those silos are broken and the data shared across the organization â€“ and perhaps even with trusted partners â€“ the entire ecosystem unlocks valuable new insights that drive greater efficiency and sustainability.Â
Adding digital twin technology â€“ a cloud-based virtual replica of a plant or process â€“ further enables you to run models based on AI and machine learning (ML) on this data to analyze different scenarios and choose the best possible outcomes. With IIaaS, creating, maintaining and scaling a digital twin for your global business has never been easier.Â
In action: Energy multinational BP deployed a cloud-based solution to simplify and standardize its downstream oil and gas business. In a dynamic market, real-time information supports accurate models so refinery processes can be optimized and margins improved. With the new software, model runtimes have dropped from seven hours to three minutes, while feedstock purchase decisions that formerly required two days are now made in two hours.
Establishing Competitive Advantages in the Digital-first Economy
As we have seen, IIaaS is already supporting value delivery for industrial businesses by way of efficiency and productivity insights, routes to business innovation and enhanced agility, and lower energy and resource use. The technology will drive significant transformation in every industry, sector, and domain over the next five years.Â
From a big-picture perspective, McKinsey estimates that there is $3 trillionOpens a new window of EBITDA value at stake from cloud adoption for Forbes Global 2000 companies. The evaluation is based on cost-optimization levers and value-oriented business use cases.Â
The companies that leverage cloud applications to improve their value chains are likely to establish a competitive advantage in the emerging digital-first economy, all while hitting the bold sustainability goals they set.Â
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