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Industrial revolution 4.0 or increased use of digital industrial technology is significantly impacting the manufacturing industry. Business models and processes must be improved by manufacturing companies to remain competitive and navigate through this revolution.

Leaders in manufacturing are facing significant challenges due to digital transformation of business landscape thus, CIOs are trying to harness full potential of digital technologies like IoT enabled machinery, AI, Data Analytics, and intelligent automation.

Now unwavering focus on business outcomes is expected from manufacturing CIOs apart from delivery of IT infrastructure and services as they are also responsible for successes or failures of the business. They need to fuel business growth by using IT so, they must be business strategists along with being technical experts.

Key challenges faced by manufacturing CIOs and their solutions are as follows:

Lack of Visibility

Numerous applications must be managed by CIOs in the manufacturing industry. A large organization typically has over 3400 applications and it keeps on increasing day by day. Issue arises due to lack of visibility into these applications and their role in supporting the business.

Enterprise Architecture’s methodologies and frameworks can be used by manufacturing CIOs for solving this issue and getting transparent overview of data, its transmission between the applications and all dependencies.

EA can provide complete picture of company’s application portfolio management. It can help in determining important business applications, amount of functional redundancy in IT architecture, reducing costs through application rationalization, risk through better understanding of application landscape’s functional and technical risk profile, and increasing agility through better support of business demands.

Lack of real time decision making due to cumbersome legacy systems

Manufacturing CIOs must deal with legacy IT systems which are critical for operations while there is a need to adopt new digital technologies as well. This outdated technology produces silos of redundant data which hampers productivity and obscures relevant data.

Many manufacturing CIOs struggle to automate decisions to optimize output, to scale their IT capabilities to process data, and use that data efficiently to improve due to these legacy technologies. Manufacturing CIOs must rethink their systems, products, processes, business models, and services to enable their companies to succeed. Manufacturers must leverage EA to plan and prioritize future investments that are focused on efficient asset utilization, internal process optimization, and workflow design to remain on the cutting edge of digitization.

Data Security/Compliance

Securing the data, creating a single source of truth, and controlling access to that data is one of the major challenges for the manufacturing CIOs. Data flowing into the organization from supply chains, assets, and connected products creates a higher level of complexity than the CIO has faced previously. CIOs have to redesign the security architecture with reliable governance, preventive solutions, and robust threat detection to deal with this complexity.

Data security regulations are rising so, manufacturing CIOs should be aware about level of compliance in their application portfolios. CIOs can address security vulnerabilities and identify potential hazard areas before they become data breaches by having a transparent view of the technology environment. EA can help to avoid crippling penalties from regulatory authorities and to maintain compliance. Manufacturing CIOs can use EA for:

  • Reducing costs by eliminating and standardizing redundancies
  • Reducing risk through an understanding of the impact and compliance of technology lifecycle management
  • Increasing agility through supporting business capabilities quickly using defined standards and reusable patterns

Need of visibility into the company’s vendors

Manufacturing CIOs must know their vendors and about the opportunities to rationalize costs. CIOs must be aware about the money spent on each vendor by the business and the potential impact on users in case a vendor is changed. All this information can be managed by CIOs in one location with the help of an EA tool. EA management tools for vendor management can help in

  • Reducing costs through supplier rationalization
  • Reducing risk by avoiding dependency on a single vendor
  • Increasing agility by optimizing the service portfolio for better service levels

Manufacturing companies must have the tools necessary to align business goals and the technologies to remain competitive in the age of digital transformation. CIOs must modernize IT to support traditional focus areas, such as product development and manufacturing operations, while catering to emerging business needs while IoT-enabled technology changes the way the manufacturing industry operates.

Starting with EA seems daunting task as it requires dedication, resources, and buy-in from across the organization to build a sustainable program from scratch.

Microsoft cloud for manufacturing addresses the industry’s need for a platform which enables collaboration and co-innovation. Hanu can help manufacturing CIOs in connecting the end-to-end value chain, design and engineering processes, operations, workforce, and customer engagements with the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing.

Follow Hanu on social and visit our Cloud for Manufacturing to know more about the ways we can help manufacturing CIOs create a robust, transparent and secure Enterprise Architecture.