This Industry 4.0 technology enabler is real, so real that if you want to be competitive in the new digital ecosystem, there is no other option than to use the Cloud in your business strategy.
Article by Alberto López de Biñaspre, CEO de Lantek, published in El País Newspaper
When something is no longer held within the four walls of a company, the feeling of vertigo is inevitable due to a perceived loss of control, even more so when the reason for it is the migration of sensitive data onto the Cloud, a space we cannot see, touch, handle, a place we couldn’t even find on a map, one that many simply do not understand. And as we know, when someone doesn’t understand something, they tend to ignore it and act as if it didn’t exist. However, this Industry 4.0 technology enabler is real, so real that if you want to be competitive in the new digital ecosystem, there is no other option than to use the Cloud in your business strategy, not only because the need for data storage and processing is skyrocketing with the digital transformation, but also because it is a door to innovation. And all this is available without having to make huge investments, thanks to its pay per use model.
Indeed, on this platform, capacity and advanced technological infrastructure, which you may only need during periods of heightened workload or to carry out the occasional test on a few programs, are not purchased. The subscription model allows you to use the services based on your needs and to change from software to software automatically, which is a complete disruption of the business model as large sums of money no longer have to be paid out to purchase technology, maintain it, or update it. The cost savings and increased efficiency and productivity that the Cloud offers make companies more profitable. This is undoubtedly a competitive advantage that allows any organization, regardless of its size, to innovate. Now there is no excuse for not committing to R&D&i and, in the case of industry, for not moving toward advanced manufacturing. Moreover, if you would like to use Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, or the Internet of Things (IoT) you have no other option than to be on the Cloud, as it is the technology that supports these items.
The data leave no doubt about the Cloud’s financial projection. By 2021, the global cloud market will grow close to 60%, reaching 278.3 billion dollars, according to a report by the consulting firm Gartner, with Software as a Service (SaaS) being the segment to which companies are dedicating the most resources, as it is the door to solutions that connect machines, processes, and plants through data and help ensure the best decisions are made quickly and in real time. And all this in a highly secure environment.
This is precisely the thing that worries us most, given what I mentioned at the beginning of this article, because of the fear of keeping sensitive data outside the company. The investments made by the providers of this service in this regard are certainly enormous. It is, after all, their core business. However, it would be irresponsible to assert that their perimeter is impenetrable. In a world that changes so frequently at the technological level, crackers and hackers will always be on the prowl and there will continue to be security breaches, but it is much more difficult to have an attack on the Cloud than one that we may experience today online, where hundreds of attempts are made without us even knowing, as they are stopped by security systems. This is not always successful, as demonstrated by the ransomware that affected hundreds of organizations around the world or the data theft experienced by Facebook. Therefore, reverse coding, communication isolation, key encryption, and user authentication are used on the Cloud, making it quite difficult to reach data.
However, the paradigm shift is not only technological, it is also cultural. The organization has to understand what the Cloud is and the potential offered when it is incorporated into the company’s strategy. Both technology and business must work hand in hand and this new figure arising from the digital transformation, the CIO (Chief Information Officer), is the person responsible for leading the transition in collaboration with the CEO and the rest of the management team in order to facilitate a change in mindset and open the business up to this new ecosystem offering huge operational advantages and business opportunities. These are opportunities that we can’t afford to miss and that are available to everyone, even in well-established sectors like the metal industry, thanks to the collaborative model promoted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Because you have to start the journey of digitalization with the right partners who will guide your company in this transformation. Therefore, choosing a good partner for this journey to Industry 4.0 is crucial. Whether you’re able to optimize processes with advanced technologies to be more efficient and productive at a lower cost depends on it. In short, being competitive in this challenging digital world depends on it.