Monday, June 23, 2014

Repost, with comments: Report: SaaS Usage up 500% Since 2010; Second Cloud Front on Its Way

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It's no big surprise that cloud has been thoroughly embraced by IT.  Given its ability to scale with demand (elasticity, going up or down in capacity), offer cost conscious means of using expensive software, and lessening IT burden onboarding new software and technologies, it's a boon to both users as well as vendors of these products.

What is interesting is the lag factor when it comes to industrial automation. 

I think back to the early 90's, when Human Machine Interface software running on Microsoft was just getting going.  The strong backlash was "what?  Not Unix?" and yet, within 10 years, it became the defacto operating system.  However, this isn't the 90's anymore, and frankly I am surprised by the lack of interest, and uptick, in cloud-based solutions for manufacturing.

We are not talking real-time control here--I'm talking reporting and analysis, applications that are not impinging upon the operating functionality of the enterprise, but rather a roll up of information into applications that can summarize and beautifully present status, quality, throughput on a variety of devices that are fueled by cloud-hosted applications.

You may be aware that Invensys (now Schneider Electric) and Microsoft announced a partnership to bring Azure-hosted applications to industry back in 2011.  The primary purpose of this development was to adopt a cost effective, well tested technology to industrial manufacturing, allowing them easier access and use to products without requiring infrastructure and high capital outlay.

It isn't so straighforward though.  The cloud has drawn a lot of other technologies through, so a simple decision of "cloud" also lugs "mobile" and "big data" into the same conversations. It requires enterprises to make decisions on infrastructure that they may not be prepared to make, such as security, finances (where do you pay taxes on cloud products?) and a host of other decisions that a vendor may not be prepared to answer.

So here we are, a few years later, waiting.  The good part is that we are all still investing--so the solutions are better managed, better priced, and tested. We just need industry now to give us a chance, and start to take advantage of the market momentum...

What do you all think?  Have you taken the plunge?  Am I wrong?  (I hope!).  Would like to hear some of your feedback.  Write me at

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