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Announcing the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing preview

By Çağlayan Arkan, VP, Manufacturing Industry, Microsoft

November 5, 2021

These last 18 months have been a time we will not soon forget. Filled with unimaginable change caused by the pandemic, the manufacturing industry has witnessed complete disruption in terms of business continuity, operational visibility, supply chains, remote work, employee safety, and the list goes on.

Manufacturers who were already embracing digital transformation have been more agile in weathering these challenges. And now, more and more companies are realizing the urgent need to accelerate their move to digital. As we shared in the 5 manufacturing trends driving the need for an industry cloud, 62 percent of manufacturers are forging ahead with their smart manufacturing investments, increasing by 20 percent this year alone.

These investments in digitalization are also generating an explosion of data. For example, a smart factory can generate 1 petabyte of data per day. All of this data offers opportunities for new services and business models, but most companies are not even using 1 percent of their data, let alone extracting net new value from it such as new business models. To truly understand your data and drive the right outcomes from it, you need capabilities that empower intelligence at the edge and in the cloud. I think Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said it best: “move from systems of record to systems of reality.”

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the fourth industrial revolution is no longer hype. Every business is on a digital journey and the old ways of doing business will no longer suffice.

That is why I am thrilled to announce the availability of the  Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing preview.

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing brings the best outcome-driven solutions and capabilities from Microsoft and our partners to accelerate time-to-value for our customers in an end-to-end, holistic, and scalable way. By connecting intelligent, integrated cloud, and edge capabilities of the Microsoft stack to the highest value manufacturing scenarios, we are creating a flywheel of innovation that helps businesses increase asset and frontline worker productivity in safe and secure factories, enable remote selling and always-on service, and unlock cloud-based innovation—all with the utmost trust, compliance, privacy, and transparency.

For example, few manufacturers have the budget or infrastructure to “rip and replace.” The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing starts with a modular framework so manufacturers can innovate as they go. This modular and extensible solution activates both end-to-end cloud services like supply chain visibility or edge services for securely connecting factory devices or deploying core production and supply chain execution capabilities for mission critical factories and warehouse locations.

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is designed to give manufacturers the flexibility to adopt the capabilities they need to address their most pressing business needs, be it building more agile factories, creating more resilient supply chains, empowering the hybrid workforce to engage customers in new ways, or unlocking innovation and delivering new services.

Johnson & Johnson building NextGEN Manufacturing with Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing capabilities

Johnson & Johnson is working with Microsoft on its digital manufacturing transformation with tools like Microsoft Azure, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), and Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing capabilities. The company aims to drive cloud and other digital capabilities to enable business innovation, improve agility, reduce cost of ownership and improve disaster recovery. With a solid digital core, findable and accessible data, and agile platforms, Johnson & Johnson seeks to shape the future of healthcare through technology.

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing at-a-glance

The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing connects experiences across the end-to-end product and service lifecycle.

You will find capabilities like Asset Productivity, Learning and Knowledge Management, Always-on-Service, Supply Chain Visibility, and more showcased on our Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing preview website.

diagram, schematic

I am particularly excited about how we are integrating Microsoft Teams frontline workers and mixed reality across these capabilities. This will increase productivity in hybrid work scenarios, and allow insights from securely connected IoT assets and products to be integrated into workflows and business processes in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Applications and partner solutions. 

Let us expand upon just one of the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing’s modular capabilities.  With our new Supply Chain Visibility capability, manufacturers can create a digital supply chain twin, a digital representation of the physical supply chain to predict disruptions and proactively overcome them. In the event of a global disruption, manufacturers can analyze both upstream and downstream impact and perform simulations and model scenarios at scale to determine the best resolution and then automate that response. 

A rich partner ecosystem

Addressing the industry’s need for a platform that enables co-innovation and collaboration, our incredible ecosystem of industry partners expands the value of the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing with additional solutions to address today’s most pressing challenges. Leading partners extending Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing core capabilities include: 

This is just a glimpse of the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, built to adapt to you on your terms and modularized to enable the digital transformation of your unique business. To learn more, I invite you to register for Microsoft Ignite, and join our breakout session, Manufacturing a Resilient Future, on November 2, 2021. The recording will be available on demand afterwards. Satish Thomas, Microsoft Vice President of Industry Clouds + Solutions and I will present additional details on the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing. We will also hear from Johnson & Johnson around how they are leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing capabilities in their next-generation factories. You will also have the opportunity to chat with some of our manufacturing subject matter experts during our “Ask The Experts” session that follows our keynote. We look forward to seeing you there.

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