Cloud in manufacturing industry enhancing organisational momentum

“We have moved a significant chunk of our internal IT onto cloud platforms, built our own IP in specific industry-focus areas.”
– Ramesh Subramanian, Global Delivery Head, Blue Star Infotech
Cloud in manufacturing sector brings a long list of benefits for manufacturing sector. It reduces management bandwidth from support activities, and refocuses on business imperatives. Cloud also converts capital investments to operating expenditure, reduces spending and disruptions from asset and license refresh cycles. Such savings in cash flow can be recycled into other initiatives enhancing organisational momentum. Ramesh Subramanian shares how its pay-per-use philosophy allows growth and freedom from typical geographic constraints.
Misconceptions of cloud computing in manufacturing sectorThere is an array of misconceptions related to the cloud computing in manufacturing sector. These are security of data and IP, trustworthiness and longevity of a cloud services provider, business continuity risks, complex service level agreements (SLAs), and brittleness in commercial clauses.
Performance and achievementsBlue Star Infotech has undergone management restructuring and remodelled business strategies completely. The company is focusing on contemporary technologies and mobility. Apart from customer-facing initiatives, Blue Star has moved a significant chunk of its internal IT onto cloud platforms, built its own IP in specific industry-focus areas. It has also achieved 61 per cent revenue growth last quarter and shown consistent growth for the past four quarters. The company has grown inorganically and acquired Infostack Solutions PTE (Singapore) and established JV with Trisept Blue7 Solutions (US). It also has won major deals last year like Loyalty Partner Solutions and achieved the highest standards in software delivery, CMMI Level 5.Shortcomings in 2012The manufacturing industry had its share of shortcomings like internal process improvements, simplification of evolutionary complexity, improving ease of partnering, etc. Unifying transaction platforms for distributed teams, such as timesheets, sales administration, delivery governance, etc. didn’t help either. Even integration of organisations acquired through inorganic growth kept adding to woes. Turbulence arising from a difficult market scenario for most of its customers made it difficult to plan and keep within targeted cost ratios.
Steps to perform wellBlue Star Infotech has initiated several steps to perform well in the industry. It strengthens sales team, trusting its sales leaders with the time and support to pull through the difficult times. The company sets up a separate ATG (Advanced Technology Group) to focus on new age emerging technologies and practices. It also focuses on its own IP solutions in industries where it has expertise, credentials and long record of success. In addition to partnering with key technology providers in mobility, cloud, and BI platforms, Blue Star strengthens global delivery model across the board to reap better value for itself and its customers.
Strategies to deal ongoing constraintsBlue Star has shifted from a pure play services company to increase emphasis on in-house IP solutions. It’s long to grow organically and inorganically in areas where it sees synergy and potential, within its expertise. The company is to bring in efficiency in internal systems and processes, enhancing and fostering its long-lasting customer relationships. Blue Star also wants to focus on re-usability of its knowledge and assets across the geographies as well as better leverage its near shore operations in the United States and Singapore.
Innovation and Blue StarLast year’s joint venture with Trisept, Blue7 Solutions has enhanced its capabilities manifold in this sector. There has been a significant revenue growth. Blue Star also has launched a new solution for this segment — Mobile Vacation Planner (MVP) — which holds great promises from its concept-testing campaigns. The company also started focusing on product engineering and high revenue growth from PES clients, specifically because of expansion of a few existing accounts, and a natural flow from backoffice support to implementation and end-customer-management support.
Blue Star has sold BI solutions with QlikTech to a few customers. With regard to its mobility partnership with DSI, Blue Star Infotech has achieved Platform Certification for the DSI Mobile Enterprise Platform as part of the DSI Select Services Partner (DSSP) program. Its testing practice has grown considerably as few other initiatives are classifiable as “horizontal initiatives”. The company also has launched various communities of practices (CoPs) to strengthen knowledge sharing practices within the organisation. It has eight CoP groups, which have been designed keeping in mind the new age emerging technological practice.
India: future manufacturing hubA lot has been said about job-inclusive growth, which is possible only with manufacturing and other secondary-sector growth. Growth in manufacturing in India will bring tremendous opportunities for IT service providers. However, this may also lead to tight market conditions for talent, especially “experienced lateral hires”.
India is widely renowned for frugal practices, especially in manufacturing. Industry consumption of services as against products and commodities is perhaps the lowest in the world. This extends to the IT sector as well, thereby giving Blue Star the apprehension that a pure-services focus would not work for the domestic markets. It should also emphasis on flexible, pay-per-use product and services delivery.Indian manufacturing industry, barring a few notable exceptions, has largely adopted a “follow-the-leader” strategy, given the vastness of the country, the indifferent infrastructure and the nature of the industry itself. Such “me too” strategies are still largely successful and will continue to be so. For IT services providers, though, it means emphasis on country wide reach, focusing on local delivery partnerships in less-accessible areas (which are typically favoured by manufacturing industries) and emphasising on automation as a means to keep costs in check.
The trend in manufacturing has been to embed greater intelligence, collaboration, ease of use to everyday consumer products, and supporting changes in industrial products. The corresponding change in the IT industry may result in a shift from highly urgent mission critical real-time systems to systems delivering competitive advantage, such as knowledge management, artificial intelligence, and adoption of newer technologies. This clearly is a sign for IT services providers to keep investigating and adopting leading edge practices that can create efficiencies and differentiators for Indian industry.

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