Technology Record - Issue 28: Spring 2023

124 FEATURE Manufacturers are facing a ‘digital transformation mid-life crisis’. That’s the view of Greg Gorbach of ARC Advisory Group, one of the authors of a new report on digital manufacturing commissioned by Microsoft. The industry has been “battered by the pandemic, conflicts in Europe, and economic instability; seen its supply chains slow down if not completely shut down; and confronted a labour shortage as one generation of workers retires and another generation has not yet filled the gap,” adds Alfonso Rodriguez Lepage, Microsoft’s director of product marketing for manufacturing. To build a greater understanding of manufacturing transformation, Microsoft commissioned ARC Advisory Group to conduct a factory digitalisation study. Released in December 2022, The Digital Manufacturing Journey – An ARC Global Analysis provides insights from a survey of 1,024 information technology, operational technology (OT) and engineering technology (ET) decision-makers from North America, Asia and Europe – all of whom have deep knowledge of their status and plans for factory digitalisation over the next three years. “The main takeaway is that most manufacturers are well on their journey to digitalisation, but continue to face complexities to scale out,” says Rodriguez Lepage. The ARC survey follows hot on the heels of the IoT Signals: Manufacturing Spotlight report by IoT Analytics, Intel and Microsoft published in August 2022, which provided a scope of manufacturing insights. With the Digital Manufacturing Journey survey, Microsoft wanted to take a deeper dive into the factory-specific challenges. “The ARC survey provided us with a way to see where there was alignment between the various geographies and decision-makers, and the different views on their digitalisation efforts,” Rodriguez Lepage told Technology Record. “We also wanted to know their thoughts on future investments as well as what is holding back scaling efforts across factories.” The industry cloud platform aims to simplify and accelerate manufacturers’ transformation journeys. It brings together leading-edge solutions and expertise from Microsoft and its partners, enabling manufacturers to bridge skills gaps and benefit from the opportunities the cloud facilitates. Since its inception in 2021, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing has made it easy A new survey has provided insights into how manufacturers can accelerate their digitalisation efforts BY RICHARD HUMPHREYS transformation Taking next level to the