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At the beginning of my journey towards Digital Transformation, I started to look at Cloud technologies and how they benefit our business. Still, there is much more to Digitalization than the Cloud . New digital business models are probably the most important aspect of Digital Transformation. See my article, “Why Digital Optimization And Industry 4.0 Is Not Enough!”
Cloud technologies are, however, key to any aspect of Digital Transformation. One year ago, I wondered what systems would be eligible for movement to the Cloud. Using ERP, CRM, ECM, and other systems in this manner seemed easy. SaaS (software as a service) does not pose a problem in this case, but what about CAD and simulation? To find an answer, I contacted our Autodesk regional manager, Dennis Lemm. He invited me to visit HMI (Hannover Messe Industrie) in Hanover last year.
I was really amazed to learn that Autodesk’s Fusion 360 was already available in the Cloud. I downloaded Fusion 360 to try it with my Microsoft Surface tablet. It performed very well on such a small machine. This is when a close, multi-level discussion with the Autodesk team started. Last year, Karl Osti invited me to speak at the Financial Times Executive Meeting in Berlin about my digital journey and how the Mittelstand can benefit as a result (find my experiences HERE).
Christel Dinkel Dear Alexander, this was impressive presentation, with great content and insights. Thanks for sharing. I hope I will be able to join another presentation soon. Thank you! Christel
Dr. Ralf Freund I also like to thank Alexander Buschek for his insightful and inspiring presentation. We all learned a lot about the view of a forward-looking CIO/CDO about cloud technology and the digital transformation. Really excellent!
The speech I gave (you can download the German presentation HERE), covered the following issues, and focused especially on SMBs:
- Our data on premises are not as safe and secure as we may think (see my article HERE).
- Complexity of IT systems (especially at SMBs) are hard to manage even with given manpower
- A high level of IT security can only be maintained with high expenses; many SMBs are not willing to spend the money necessary
- Scalability is not an option, or is too expensive; adding more computing power requires disproportionate expense
- Running your own data centers is more expensive than using Cloud technology in the long run
- Strategic advantages of Cloud technologies
- Scalability is an essential aspect of Cloud technologies , as you pay per use—you can either add more computing power or minimize it at any time’
- Mobility—systems in the Cloud are accessible from literally anywhere; I have chosen Autodesk Fusion 360 as an obvious example in the context of the event
- New technologies that rely on Cloud technology:
- Generative Design
- 3D Printing
- An SMBs guide to the Cloud
- Find strategic partners you want to work with
- Office 365 is a good starting point to learn and get rid of the complexity that running your own Exchange Server environment brings
- Learn Cloud technologies on an experimental basis , i.e. start moving non-productive systems to the Cloud (MS Azure or AWS), and see how they behave there (vs. on premises)
- Identify SaaS systems that can be run in the Cloud , e.g. your ERP system, prepare Cloud readiness (see my article HERE)
- How can your design department benefit from the Cloud by using Fusion 360?
I ended my speech with a remark that disruption is everywhere. Channel partners from Autodesk are subject to disruption, as is any other industry.
- Inventor requires a lot of technical knowledge to install or deploy in a bigger environment. With Fusion 360, these skills are no longer in demand.
- The same is true for server skills. When businesses don’t use on premises software, there is no need to install and maintain servers.
In order to keep from following Kodak’s downward path, businesses in all industries need to assess their situation and understand whether the products or services they offer—some, for many years now—will be in demand down the road. See my article Why Digital Optimization And Industry 4.0 Is Not Enough!
After my presentation, we had a vivid discussion on various aspects of Cloud technology at Autodesk. It was a thought-provoking speech, and many from the audience approached me after the session, either in person or via LinkedIn.
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The purpose of this blog is to start a discussion. Please leave your comments, whether you agree or if you disagree. I hope to hear from you!