The manufacturing sector relies on information technology to control production and logistics operations, manage communications with customers, supply chain members and channel and outsourcing partners, and support collaboration with many different parties.

Managing those operations on a day-to-day basis can be extremely time consuming and resource intensive. And, when a manufacturer operates on a global scale, the problems simply multiply. Similarly, a manufacturer that grows through mergers and acquisitions can find itself trying to manage a number of incompatible IT systems with separate teams at each location. Productivity and efficiency are difficult to achieve.

Coping with cloud

Many manufacturers are considering moving their infrastructure and services to the cloud. In fact, analysts IDC forecast that by 2017 manufacturers will channel 25 percent of their IT budgets through clouds that support flexible collaboration. However, migration can be a complex process that has the potential to cause disruption to the business.

Business decision makers see the benefits of cloud in terms of cost, mobility, agility and flexibility, but, for the IT team, this represents a major challenge. How do they maintain service to the business through the transition period and how will they manage and control their infrastructure resources in the new, unfamiliar cloud environment?

Delivering value to the business

IT teams are also under pressure to deliver greater value to the business by developing new applications or deploying new services to improve productivity or reduce time to market. More than 40 percent of the respondents to the 2015 KMPG Global Manufacturing Outlook said that their primary strategy for innovation was to produce breakthrough resources. To achieve that they need to spend more on IT resources that support new product development – an area in which cloud can provide real agility.

Harnessing data

Manufacturers are also struggling to cope with huge volumes of data, and finding more efficient ways to store, secure and provide access to the data. As the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to give manufacturers the benefit of more real time data, those information management requirements will increase even further. IDC forecast that 30 percent of manufacturers would make substantial investments to increase visibility and analysis of information exchange by 2016.

Dealing with skills shortages

Faced with the challenge of managing IT resources on a day-to-day basis, many IT teams find that they have no time for more strategic tasks. And, some recognize that they do not have the in-house skills to manage newer technologies effectively.

To relieve the pressure and focus on delivering value, many manufacturers have turned to Managed IT service providers to take on day-to-day infrastructure tasks and deliver significant time, cost and resource savings.

The Managed IT difference

Managed IT service providers bring together highly trained, qualified professionals with the advanced skills and experience to remotely monitor and manage IT infrastructures in the cloud or on a manufacturer’s premises. Many service providers have the capability to manage infrastructure on a global scale, so that a manufacturer with international locations can benefit from consistent standards across all sites.

They deliver this service against stringent service level agreements using industry best practice. By providing proactive monitoring, service providers can minimize the risk of downtime and maintain continuous operation of critical infrastructure. And, they can provide this highly-skilled resource at a predictable cost that is significantly lower than employing full-time staff on site.

With a Managed IT service in place, in-house teams can focus their efforts on strategic tasks that deliver greater business value, confident that the infrastructure will support current and future demands efficiently and cost-effectively.

If you need Managed IT support for your organization, professional Service Providers like Virtual Tech Gurus have the skills and resources to meet your requirements.

For more information, please check out the articles and infographics on our website.