This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record.
While the IT department certainly has a significant role in planning technology investments and securing and sustaining IT solutions for a multitude of enterprise customers, often the IT demand process does not reflect the priority and agility requirements of engineering in favour of other competing IT priorities such as finance, network infrastructure and other IT services.
The onset of Industry 4.0 brings cloud computing. Providers such as Microsoft, with its Azure cloud platform, that partner with engineering software companies such as AVEVA have opened the door to new possibilities by shifting the support model for engineering simulation for design and operations software. These partnerships also provide more security and put control in the hands of the engineering department, while relying less on IT organisation.
Cloud computing means that the actual software resides on a server (or multiple servers) and can be accessed via the internet from various locations. This results in many benefits. It provides a consistent always-on platform allowing users to run simulations at any time, location, or on any device. It allows users to begin optimising design right away without having to develop specialised skills. And it provides the benefits of engineering software without the overhead of installation, deployment, version control, and hardware maintenance.
What’s more, it increases engineering design agility, eliminates the long IT upgrade and computer refresh cycles and makes it easy to deploy models securely – allowing engineering models to be shared with partners and suppliers.
Cloud computing has brought about a fundamental shift in how software is deployed and how end-users interact with that software. AVEVA has embraced this trend and is working to remain ahead of the curve as our customers start to adopt cloud computing themselves.
This vision has reshaped the role of process engineering and simulation tools. In the past, depending on the project phase and the responsible party, a variety of different engineering tools were employed. This increased the engineering effort and cost, while inhibiting agility. The old way of process engineering also prohibited the effective use of concurrent engineering, which has been proven to reduce costs and help compress project schedules. Implementation of process engineering software in the cloud leads to a new way of doing things that streamlines projects and results in a much higher ROI.
Joseph McMullen is marketing director for Strategic Partnerships and Sponsorships at AVEVA