Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is on its way. It was announced last year as one of several new industry clouds that Microsoft is developing, and it is currently in preview mode. What can manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and technologies industries expect from this new Microsoft solution?
For us at SL Controls, Microsoft’s Azure cloud has been our platform of choice for some time now. We remain technology agnostic and have skills and capabilities across all leading cloud computing platforms, but we lean towards the Microsoft suite of services whenever it is appropriate to do so.
With this experience of delivering Industry 4.0 and digital transformation solutions using Azure and other Microsoft technologies, we have been watching the development of Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing with interest since it was first announced.
What is Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing?
Let’s start with what it is not – Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is not an alternative to the Azure platform, nor is it a unique instance of Azure. Like the other industry clouds in its suite of solutions, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing includes Azure and other Microsoft products, but they are extended and refined to have more relevancy for the manufacturing industry.
For example, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing will have APIs, workflows, templates, and standards designed specifically with manufacturers in mind. The aim is to make it quicker, easier, and more cost-effective for manufacturers to implement Industry 4.0-related solutions.
What You Can Do with Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing?
The capabilities of the Microsoft Azure platform make it possible to implement a vast range of solutions needed by the life sciences and technologies industries. Microsoft is highlighting five main areas in this preview stage of Cloud for Manufacturing:
- Agile factory of the future – improving IT/OT security, operational visibility, and OEE, as well as utilising machine learning to improve productivity, quality, safety, etc
- Supply chain resilience – optimising the supply chain and improving supply chain planning and visibility
- Digital innovation – using digital twin technologies to improve everything from product development and product quality to machine downtime and output
- Workforce transformation – connecting workers and improving collaboration, particularly between those on the factory floor and those in the office, as well as improving training and skills development
- Customer engagement – improving customer service and the sales process, particularly in relation to demand management
These five areas are crucial, but our experience at SL Controls tells us the above list is only part of what is possible in the Industry 4.0 space with the Microsoft technologies that are set to be included in Cloud for Manufacturing.
Accelerating Change in Pharma and MedTech Manufacturing
With Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, manufacturers will continue to have access to proven, enterprise-ready equipment systems integration and automation platforms that will transform operations. At SL Controls, we have the skills and experience to customise Cloud for Manufacturing to deliver fast, tangible results for companies in highly regulated industries.
With our capabilities and the suite of Microsoft tools packaged under the Cloud for Manufacturing umbrella, your entire operation will become more agile, with end-to-end visibility, an empowered workforce, and enhanced sustainability. Data-driven decisions will become the norm, you will be more competitive, and you’ll become more resilient even in the most turbulent of markets.
Finally, while Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing isn’t publicly available yet, the Microsoft products that will be a part of it are well-established. Examples include:
- Microsoft Azure
- Dynamics 365
- HoloLens 2
- Microsoft 365
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Power Platform
- Microsoft AI
- Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability
At SL Controls, our architects and engineers can also integrate systems and platforms from other vendors.
We are looking forward to the public introduction of Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing as we continue to use Azure and other Microsoft technologies to deliver advanced systems integration and smart manufacturing solutions for our clients.