The use of cloud platforms to host applications and bring data together in one location can dramatically improve business performance, but it requires careful planning to get it right.
Richard Martin, executive vice president for engineering and operational excellence solutions at Rolta, said at the V3 Cloud and Infrastructure Summit that many firms have yet to benefit from the insights data analytics can offer.
He cited manufacturing as one industry that could benefit given the amount of data that could be analysed but is not currently used.
“There’s supply chain information on raw materials, then there’s data on the materials once they're in the facility and the entire process with the manufacturing of it, the maintenance, the production data. You can literally have hundreds of thousands of values [that can be analysed],” Martin said.
This challenge is only going to grow as the Internet of Things becomes more established in major industries, so it is not something that organisations can ignore.
Using public, private or hybrid clouds to do this is often the best way for firms to tackle this problem, given the scale cloud offers and the ability to bring disparate datasets together and view them through a single platform, such as Rolta’s OneView product.
This lends itself to far better insights on this data by being able to see more accurately how everything is functioning, from manufacturing times to the performance of industrial machines.
“Performance management in the cloud is almost inevitable as it affects the cost and scale in a dramatic way,” Martin said.
However, getting to this point is not easy. Martin explained that firms thinking of the cloud have to consider many issues, not least how legacy apps being used to gather data can be moved to the cloud.
• Are the applications capable of being virtualised?
• Do you have a network capable of handling a migration?
• Is the organisation and culture ready for such a move?
He also noted that the idea of putting key data, especially intellectual property, outside a firewall could be unnerving for many companies.
“Taking information and beginning to scale it up beyond your own organisation [has lots of benefits] but lends itself to another set of questions on security that will need a lot of meetings to understand what information can and cannot move outside the firewall,” said Martin.
These challenges may appear daunting, but Martin urged those responsible for business performance to tackle them head on and set out an ‘operational excellence plan’ that fits in with their requirements.
This should ensure that firms are well placed to benefit from the cloud and the increased amount of data they will soon start collecting, rather than having to rely on legacy applications that do not offer the insights that can deliver real operational improvements.
Martin's session is available to watch on demand if you register for the V3 Cloud and Infrastructure Summit, as are all the other sessions, including our panel debates and end user presentations.
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