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Hybrid Cloud To Help Manufacturers Drive Digital Growth, Says Study

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Manufacturers plan to more than double their hybrid cloud deployments to 45% penetration in two years; outpacing the global average by 4 percent, says a new research report by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by cloud firm Nutanix.

The research that polled over 2300 decision makers globally, including India, shows that manufacturing industry is at an “innovation impasse.” Today, most manufacturers are having a desire to innovate and drive transformation. But legacy IT systems have the potential to constrain their ability to do so. The opportunity to embrace digitization efforts can break the impasse. The study recommends executives to focus on new opportunities to create value and not only prioritize traditional business operations.

Hybrid cloud: Opportunities amidst challenges

Manufacturing organizations face the constant challenge of trade-offs, the report shows. They are under pressure to meet current productivity and operational goals in the global and highly competitive marketplace. However, they are also under the pressure to invest in future growth.

This challenge has created a demand for new technology solutions that can help balance the trade-off between current and future goals. IT leaders in manufacturing must avoid the beaten path of finding short-term fixes for increasing revenue. Instead, they should look to long-term solutions that enable automation, enhanced use of data and improvements in customer experience.

The Enterprise Cloud Index findings indicate that manufacturing leaders are aggressively adopting new technology to embrace modernization instead of getting left behind with legacy systems. The distributed cloud model offers a solution that delivers speed, flexibility, and localization, allowing manufacturers to improve efficiency without compromising quality.

While 91% of survey respondents reported hybrid cloud as the ideal IT model, today’s global average hybrid cloud penetration level is at 18.5% — the disparity due in part to challenges of transitioning to the hybrid cloud model.

Manufacturing industries reported barriers to adopting hybrid cloud that mirrored global roadblocks, including limitations in application mobility, data security/compliance, performance, management and a shortage of IT talent.

Compared to other industries, manufacturers reported greater IT talent deficits in AI/ML, hybrid cloud, blockchain, and edge computing/IoT.

Other key findings of the report shows that 43% of manufacturers surveyed are currently using a traditional data center as their primary IT infrastructure, slightly outpacing the global average of 41%.

However, manufacturers currently use a single public cloud service more often than any other industry. 20% of manufacturing companies reported using a single cloud service, compared to the global average of 12%. This is  testament to the fact that manufacturers are starting to turn to the cloud as a solution, given that they deal with legacy IT systems and cannot handle workloads on-premise.

Manufacturers are also advancing the movement to private cloud: 56% of manufacturers surveyed said that they run enterprise applications in a private cloud, outpacing the global average by 7%.

Manufacturers are struggling to control cloud spend. One motivation for deploying hybrid clouds is enterprises’ need to gain control over their IT spend. Organizations that use public cloud spend 26% of their annual IT budget on public cloud, with this percentage predicted to increase to 35% in two years’ time.

Most notable, however, is that more than a third (36%) of organizations using public clouds said their spending has exceeded their budgets.

Security and compliance a concern

Manufacturers chose security and compliance slightly more often than companies in other industries as the top factor in deciding where to run workloads: while 31% of respondents across all industries and geographies named security and compliance as the number one decision criterion, 34% of manufacturing organizations chose security and compliance as the top factor.

The bullish outlook for hybrid cloud adoption globally and across industries is reflective of an IT landscape growing increasingly automated and flexible enough that enterprises have the choice to buy, build, or rent their IT infrastructure resources based on fast transforming application requirements.

“Manufacturers are investing in modernizing their IT stack, and adopting industry 4.0 solutions to keep up with ever-changing business demands in areas like production and supply chain management,” said Chris Kozup, SVP of Global Marketing at Nutanix.

“A hybrid cloud infrastructure gives manufacturers a fresh approach to modernizing legacy applications and services, enabling manufacturing IT leaders to focus on their long-term investments in big data, IoT, and next-generation enterprise applications,” Kozup said.

According to Kozup, while the manufacturing industry is still facing obstacles in transitioning to multi-cloud use, this study shows us that manufacturing organizations are ready to accelerate growth and take the lead in IT innovation in the future.

Indian companies have already taken the lead in this respect and we are quite proud of our association with these visionary companies.

Muthukrishnan G, GM-IT, Ramco Cements, commented “Technologies such as Automation, Cloud, IoT, AI and ML, are being used by manufacturers in production, supply chain management as well as in customer and employee experience management.”

“Like most manufacturers, the traditional infrastructure at the core of our datacentre operations was too complex. We moved to Nutanix HCI to remove the complexity, silos and friction from our IT operations, and build a next-gen infrastructure, in our journey towards digital transformation and Cloud adoption,” he said.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at