The Power of the Cloud at the Factory Edge


Prowess Consulting finds that Microsoft® Azure® Stack HCI can uniquely benefit manufacturers by extending hybrid and multicloud capabilities to the edge.

Manufacturing is the bedrock of the global economy. But manufacturers must digitally transform to stay competitive. Maintaining their competitive edge is no longer a matter of simply having better product offerings. Now, maintaining competitive advantage for manufacturers increasingly relies on applying modern technologies like advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), edge computing, and industrial IoT (IIoT). For example, a McKinsey & Company study showed that a majority of manufacturing opportunity for improvement is based on optimizing operations through transformative edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), which could represent USD 0.5–1.3 trillion in economic value created by the manufacturing industry by 2030.

Edge computing is required to drive the applications and use cases that power the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0):

  • By 2023, 30 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies will enhance their plant-floor efficiency with digital twins incorporating real-time sensor data; this will lead to an 80 percent reduction in production bottlenecks in shop floor and warehouse spaces.
  • By 2024, 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies will embed quality management across the value chain, including edge locations such as the supply chain and field service, reducing overall cost of quality (COQ) by 25 percent.
  • By 2024, 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies will develop industry ecosystem digital operation centers to monitor capacity, expertise, market, and environmental conditions, which are expected to yield 50 percent faster time to market.
  • By 2026, 70 percent of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use AI to develop guidance and insights for risk-based operational decision making, which will need to be deployed at the edge.

In light of the transformations sweeping manufacturing—and being driven by manufacturers—Prowess Consulting investigated the role of hybrid and multicloud solutions in the industry. For this study, we focused on Dell Technologies™ solutions and their enablement of Microsoft® Azure® Stack HCI in edge deployments in manufacturing. We examined Azure Stack HCI for its role in bringing hybrid and multicloud capabilities to edge deployments, such as those in manufacturing, because 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft hybrid cloud offerings.

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