A backbone for digital transformation
Our world today is unquestionably digital. New technologies from augmented reality to artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live, and the worldwide pandemic has only accelerated this reliance on technology.
This rapid rise in technology is requiring enterprises to transform from click and mortar to digital first. To understand this transformational journey, we need to consider the building blocks of this transformation.
Digital transformations start with the creation of a “digital backbone.”
A digital backbone enables an enterprise to react to the rapid changes and new requirements of a digital world.
It is the digital thread that weaves several systems, including networks, gateways, hosting services, user interfaces, cyber security, and middleware in a unified backbone to bring out digital insights for enhanced digital omni-channel engagements.
A digital backbone comprises of an enterprise-specific architecture built out of data services, next-generation networks, smart platforms, agile processes, and automation capabilities that enable digital insights.
Each one of these blocks encapsulates an important element of the corporate’s business. In this context, the digital capabilities of a company are mapped onto a set of building blocks, which in turn can easily be joined together to create new and specific solutions.
Figure 1: Digital Backbone
A digital loop is the connection between customers, employees, suppliers, operations, products, and services into a single digital fabric.
A digital backbone is vital to build digital loops that cover end-to-end processes and operations for organizations.
Figure 2 Digital Loop
Digital backbone in manufacturing
In the post-pandemic world, the manufacturing and supply chain have come under extreme stress and are challenged on multiple fronts. Manufacturers are going through a period of disruptive changes which require them to provide sustainable operations and bring innovation at speed, using service-based business models with a laser sharp focus on EBITDA improvement.
Using the digital loop, organizations can bring all the issues in focus and rely on the digital backbone to meet the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry.
In the context of manufacturing, the digital backbone enables a construct called “lights out manufacturing.” It represents a manufacturing paradigm where every action on the manufacturing floor is executed solely by automated processes and intelligent systems without the need of human intervention at any stage. Lights out manufacturing considers fixed (hard) automation, programmable automation, flexible (soft) automation, and totally integrated automation (TIA).
All process decisions are either handled by automated systems (IoT sensors, CCTV, robots, computers, AI, automatic assembly machines etc.) or remote controlled and monitored by engineers in another location.
Essentially, the factory floor becomes the proverbial “black box” where raw materials go in on one side and a finished product comes out on the other side.
Building the digital backbone
To build a digital backbone ubiquitous by design, manufacturers need to uplift their existing core services and capabilities in three areas.
Figure 3: Building manufacturing digital backbone
System of engagement
System of record
Bringing scale to the digital backbone
Fully automated, lights-out manufacturing can only be enabled by processing huge volumes of data at scale.
Figure 4: Bringing Scale to the digital backbone
Using cloud technologies, the industry champions are not only meeting but also beating the challenges. The cloud-based digital backbone acts as the foundation on which we can build and deliver the future capability that companies require.
Cloud enables and delivers on-demand SaaS services and applications that are easily accessible and rapidly scalable; in turn, this will enable companies to provide more services to their end customers, better customer experience, and build new products.
If the manufacturing processes are already automated to some degree, then cloud computing provides a viable next step for building the digital backbone.
Digitalisation of the core enhances financial performance and increases speed throughput in all parts of businesses, and reduces NVA (non-value-added) time and efforts.
Cloud-powered digital backbone essential for transformation
We are witnessing how a vast majority of the companies are looking to transform not only manufacturing operations but also all aspects of their business. This transformation focusses on their customer’s outcomes and changes manufacturer’s mindset and business from end-to-end.
A cloud-powered digital backbone helps organisations across industries in:
Thus, a cloud-powered digital backbone is critical for any industry looking to beat the challenges of hyper scaling in an EBITDA-friendly way of bringing forward rapid innovation and keeping customers delighted.
Director - Azure Business & Cloud Strategic Pursuits, iCORE – Europe
Gaurav is a Director at the Cloud Europe team at Wipro. Based in UK, he provides consultancy and advisory services to Wipro’s key customers. Gaurav has 22+ years of experience in international business and IT consultancy in cloud, open source, digital transformation, go-to-market, and business development.
He has been instrumental in launching multiple tech start-ups from ideation, build, to exit across cloud, 3D printing, and AI.
He holds an MBA in International Business from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chausses, Paris and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Bradford, UK. You can reach Gaurav at firstname.lastname@example.org