Saturday, September 20, 2014

Repost, with Comments: ATK CIO Says Metrics-Driven IT Paves the Way for Innovation

This is a very timely and relevant article from CIO Magazine, interviewing ATK's CIO,  Jeff Kubacki. The article discusses his activities to make IT a partner, and drive business value, through technology.

If we look at the changes that have occurred over the past 10 years in industrial software, we see several important milestones:
  •  An overlap and blending of technologies to create "composite" apps that provide not only visibility, but reporting, analysis, data acquisition and storage.  More functionality with less apps means time saved in installing, but more importantly, a faster learning curve, cost savings in both hardware and software, and greater productivity by leaning out your software stack.
  • More predictive capabilities in software and solutions.  It is one thing to analyze after events occur, but the big win, and the reason Big Data is so necessary, is the ability to not only analyze, but predict events concerning maintenance needs (proactively issuing work orders for asset overhaul, or anticipating additional maintenance based on environmental or condition factors of surrounding equipment); or using Operations Intelligence solutions to identify opportunities for improvements in material, labor, energy or equipment usage.
  • "On-demand Computing" fueled by mobile solutions.  No longer do workers need to be tethered to desks or buildings.  Insight Research reported that 67% of all workers now use mobile technology, and it's only increasing as form factors and cost of devices are reduced.
  • Ubiquitous access to applications using Software as a Service. One of the banes of IT has been the cost of acquiring and implementing complex manufacturing solutions such as #MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) since they touch so many other enterprise applications, and are normally implemented using a multi-plant architecture.  Using SaaS solutions reduce the cost of maintenance, upgrades, and infrastructure.
The outcome? IT has become an important stakeholder in determining which applications will be used, how they will be used, and what the impact on the organization will be.  It is a necessary and important change that brings large enterprises forward, and we certainly support it.

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