The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

140 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om M anufacturers face a dual challenge today: swiftly navigate the disruptions caused by Covid-19 while enabling a resilient and sustainable future. In both cases, digital transformation holds the key. “In the short term, worker safety and main- taining operations to ride out the current eco- nomic downturn are manufacturers’ primary concerns,” says Indranil Sircar, Microsoft’s chief technology officer for manufacturing. “They have the opportunity to accelerate exist- ing investments in digital transformation to respond to the need for remote work, social distancing and maintaining operations. “Longer term, the question is how can man- ufacturers innovate to create sustainable oper- ations that are resilient to unpredictable future events – whether they are political, natural disasters, pandemics or any number of other possibilities. In this regard, manufacturers are reimagining how they will transform their oper- ations to create a resilient and sustainable future by creating safer and more agile factories and resilient supply chains, unlocking innovation of sustainable products and services, and engaging customers and the workforce in new ways.” Microsoft and its partners are uniquely posi- tioned to help them meet those goals. “With Microsoft, manufacturers get a world-class partner and ecosystem with the modern pro- ductivity platform they need, the global reach to be where they are, and the security to help protect their intellectual property assets, oper- ations and data,” says Sircar. “By uniting pro- ductivity, intelligent cloud, intelligent edge, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data plat- forms and tools to solve business problems, we help the industry innovate fast, and achieve better customer and social outcomes.” Covid-19 made the value of that position clear. As the pandemic challenged compa- nies to reconfigure supply chains, rethink the shop floor and ensure worker safety, Microsoft brought the solutions. As soon as the crisis hit, for instance, the company made Microsoft Teams available to everyone to enable remote work and support safe and sustainable pro- ductivity increases. And as teams return to the workplace, customisable pre-built solu- tions like Microsoft Power Platform, internet of things solutions built on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams are helping As manufacturers look to a sustainable future, Microsoft and its partners are helping them optimise operations, develop skill sets and create new business models BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS F E ATUR E business Supporting sustainable