The share of companies that include cloud computing in their IT strategy is on the rise. Big data is one reason for that. The notion that data that already exists in the company can be used to make the company more successful is becoming more and more prevalent. And the computing capacities needed to do that must be able to be flexibly called on. Cloud-based big data projects pay off the most, according to Michael Ziegel, Head of SaaS Service & Operations at Blue Yonder, when the forecasts affect core processes.
"Automation (in the) Cloud" was the theme of Automation 2013, where the industry came together in Baden-Baden, Germany, at the end of June. In CHEManager, Dr. Volker Oestreich came up with a good image to explain what cloud computing is: In terms of IT capacities, it works much like goods and materials warehousing. Both need to be neither too big nor too small. "Just like when a single family house can quickly be expanded to include a guest room with a bathroom for when a guest visits, and then the room can be emptied without a trace when the guest leaves", writes Dr. Oestreich, "in a company's own computing center, capacities can be quickly expanded. For example, when a big data project is getting under way, in order to track mysterious swings in production."
The computing capacity in the cloud is just as flexibly adaptable as a hotel room. The "Cloud Monitor 2013“ , published by KPMG in collaboration with German industry association BITKOM writes that the use of private and public clouds has increased in the past year. "Among the most positive effects of the use of cloud solutions is the faster scalability of IT capacities, the reduced IT administrative effort and the simple access to geographically distributed IT resources", states the report. In manufacturing shaped by Industry 4.0, that is critical: Production data and product data build up in large volumes in vertically integrated and networked, self-controlling manufacturing.
Cloud Computing and big data enhance and define one another. Both are an expression of a high degree of maturity in information technology. Both effectively enhance company success when they are used in a focused manner. Predictive analytics can thus forecast nearly everything. At the same time, the more directly the forecasts affect the core business, the more lastingly they add to the end result: Supermarkets increase their sales and reduce their costs by doing their material planning automatically, based on forecasts.
Online retailers achieve high profits with dynamic prices that are optimized in real time. Manufacturing enterprises manage their material procurement, their material requirements and maintain their machinery using permanently captured production data that is then related to external factors. And frequently, this all takes place in a cloud-based manner, in order to not burden the company's own computing center with software applications that are outside of the usual operative business. In this way, cloud computing combined with big data makes it possible for companies to become predictive enterprises and predictive factories.