The manufacturing industry took a big hit at the start of the pandemic-imposed lockdown, mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, most manufacturing units require workers to be on-site and remote working was not an option, unlike certain other sectors. This meant that manufacturing came to a complete stop, at least until they were allowed to reopen with several regulations in late April. Secondly, in many manufacturing sectors, the demand went down due to the slowing down of overall economic activity.

While times have continued to be challenging over the past months, here’s how manufacturing companies are changing their approach to cope with the new normal:

Adopting automation

Before the pandemic, most manufacturing companies relied heavily on manual activities and intervention at every step of the manufacturing and distribution process. Today, wherever possible, companies are minimizing manual intervention to enable social distancing and create safer workspaces for employees and workers.

Automation and other digital solutions that help workers collaborate better also improve the speed of manufacturing, making up for months of lost time, work, and revenue. What’s more, automation can also improve production efficiency by 3-5% and increase the global manufacturing output by 1.3 trillion USD.

Rethinking the supply chain

A smooth and seamless supply chain is crucial to the success of a manufacturing company as it prevents bottlenecks, prevents the accumulation of manufactured goods, and reaches customers/end-users without delay. All of this, unfortunately, were affected during the pandemic.

To tackle this issue, manufacturing companies are building more avenues through which their goods can reach their end-users. For example, companies like Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, and Kraft Heinz have introduced direct-to-consumer sites, to shorten or even eliminate the long supply chain.

Undertaking contract manufacturing

With import and export being severely affected and international transport still limited post the COVID-19 outbreak, how are manufacturing companies delivering their products across borders? Through increased collaborative efforts within the industry!

Many international/overseas manufacturers have taken to local contract manufacturing to make sure their customers continue to receive products from the brands they prefer. Contract manufacturing is also helping some manufacturers diversify their company’s product offerings during this time, without having to make expensive investments. Here is an example from the pharma manufacturing sector.

Addressing immediate needs

The manufacturing industry thrives on a fine balance between demand and supply. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while supply was temporarily affected by movement restrictions, demand underwent a paradigm shift.

People were no longer buying cars – they had nowhere to go. Instead, as healthcare facilities struggled to accommodate the growing number of COVID-19 cases, the demand for ventilators and PPE shot up! Automotive companies were quick to identify the need and shift gears to supply exactly what was in demand. That’s not all – even beauty brands began making hand sanitizers! In this way, several companies have stayed profitable by repurposing existing manufacturing facilities to produce products that are in high demand or experiencing shortages during this time.

Staying innovative

Necessity is the mother of invention, but innovation is what will keep manufacturing companies thrive in the new normal!

If you are in the manufacturing industry, we have just the right tools to help you streamline your operations, so you can keep innovating without worries! Talk to us about our Business Continuity & Operational Resilience (BCOR) solution today.

Digital Transformation: Considerations for a Post-Pandemic World

“Digital transformation” has been a buzzword well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In those pre-COVID times, digital transformation was only seen as a fancy way of saying that a business was being modernized. Many assumed that digital transformation is a one-time effort; a new tool/technology is introduced and it is considered done. Often an initiative spearheaded and undertaken by a handful of stalwarts within the company, it didn’t often have the support or involvement of other stakeholders.

Shifting Perspectives

Today, we hear the term “digital transformation” once again. But this time, it sounds different, important, and even necessary! Did the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to this paradigm shift in perspective? Indeed, it appears so!

In the post-COVID world, the importance of digital transformation is coming to the forefront, as the pandemic forced people to stay indoors and search for ways to work efficiently from home. There has been a pressing need for the rapid rise in the use of technology across industries and around the world. Workers and employers are connecting digitally and learning new skills and ways to manage their responsibilities through the use of technology. And this is pushing businesses, institutions, and governments out of their comfort zones and into the threshold of digital transformation.

Several experts are also stating that digital transformation is the way to building a resilient business in the new normal, causing many businesses of all sizes to consider it seriously.

If you are one of them, here are three important facts you must first know:

Digital transformation is not easy

Over 70% of digital transformations fail. Although different organizations fail due to different reasons, mismatched goals among management teams, the lack of expert support, a top-down approach that doesn’t involve employees and end users, and “exhaustion” from attempting to scale/transform too quickly are among the top reasons reported by companies.

Commitment is one of the most crucial elements to kick-start a digital transformation. There will be challenges, but if you keep the end goal in sight, you can keep at it till you succeed.

Digital transformation is a journey

You can choose to call it a journey, a process, or a metamorphosis – but what digital transformation is not is something that can be achieved overnight. From strategizing to setting clear goals and finding the right technology that will work well with your employees and customers – there’s a lot that leads the way to a solid digital transformation.

Moreover, for a digital transformation to stay relevant, it is important for it to also adapt and evolve with the progress of your company.

Digitize, digitalize, then digitally transform

The road to digital transformation begins with digitization. In other words, the conversion of analog data and documents to digital format. Digitization is the important first step because the digitized data becomes the source for leveraging digital technologies; or digitalization.

Digital transformation goes beyond digitization and digitalization (but includes the two) to an organization-wide adoption of digital technology, accompanied by cultural change. Digital transformation, therefore, cannot be complete without the stakeholders.

There are Challenges, Threats and a World of Opportunities

While digital technology has paved the way for many employees to work from home during the pandemic, it has also underlined multiple challenges and barriers that people and communities may have. Uneducated people, for example, cannot enjoy the luxury of working from home. The case is similar to those who cannot afford a computer or stable internet connection and those in regions that lack proper infrastructure.

Another reason why technology is sometimes seen as an enemy in developing countries is the fear that robots and technological innovations will reduce the need for manpower. It is true that technology can replace low-skilled manual labor in a manufacturing unit to mass-produce products faster and, now, to reduce the risk of disease spread. It is also true that the rise of popular online stores that offer contactless shopping experiences can put physical shops at risk.

However, technology is also an enabler of jobs and opportunities, as it has led to the creation of many new occupations and jobs. It can create safer, more comfortable, and efficient alternatives. It can help companies grow and do business in countries around the world, without the need for physical presence. The digital world is also becoming a platform for people of all backgrounds to showcase their talents and get recognized.

Digital transformation can mean different things to different organizations and different people. What you need is the right vision, commitment, expert support, and the right tools that match your needs and are ready to journey from one stage to the next with you.

CloudNow’s Akku BCOR is a holistic solution that is designed to power your digital transformation, regardless of whether your business is struggling to survive, trying to revive operations, ready to drive productivity, or preparing to thrive in the new normal! Get in touch with us to know more.

5 Facts You Need To Know About Data & Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) is the process of using insights drawn from data to aid the process of decision making in an organization.

In as early as 2016, a survey by PwC revealed that data-driven organizations are three times more likely to experience significant improvements in the decision-making process when compared to those that don’t. According to the same survey, data-driven decision making brings together the right combination of “mind and machine”.

If you haven’t yet embraced data in the way you should for decision making, here are some reasons why you should:

Every organization collects data in some way or the other

Believe it or not, your ops staff are spending 2-3 hours a day collecting data of some kind. In most cases, the data simply goes into a folder, for reporting or record-keeping. In fact, almost 54% of the data collected by a company goes “dark” or unused. Why not leverage it instead? By putting your data to work, you will be amazed at how much it can help you improve your operational efficiency and fuel your business growth!

Start with the data you are already collecting to use in decision making and you can gradually expand your databases depending on the need.

Data can help you make informed, unbiased decisions

Usually, the process of decision making is highly influenced by preconceived notions, suggestions of superiors, our own intuitions, and your team’s past experiences. While MIT and Harvard experts agree that intuition cannot be neglected altogether (for in some ways, even intuition is data-driven), relying on data means that your decision eliminates bias and is backed up by hard facts. Reducing the effect of bias in decision making can help you achieve up to 7% higher returns (McKinsey). Your only challenge here is to ensure that the data you collect is accurate and without errors – a problem that can be solved by using automation instead of manual methods.

As long as your data is authentic, you can be assured that it will make a difference to your bottom line.

Data helps you learn from the past and make predictions for the future

The power of data is that it can not only be used to study historical trends for decision making, but also to build futuristic predictions with the right tools. While it is true that we cannot foresee the future, it is possible to make near-perfect estimations using predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Leverage the right technology to auto-generate data-driven insights through easy-to-understand graphical representations in intuitive dashboards.

DDDM contributes to increased productivity and profitability

The Wall Street Journal records an MIT study that proved primarily data-driven benefited from 4% higher productivity as well as 6% higher profits. If you do not collect enough within your organization to use for decision making, opt for big data resources. According to studies by BARC, big data can help increase profit by 8–10% and ensure an overall cost reduction of up to 10%.

In short, the effectiveness of using data in decision making is time-tested and proven.

DDDM can be used to enhance multiple areas of your business

From zeroing in on cost-effective measures for different processes to identifying the right channels for marketing your new product with maximum ROI, and enhancing turnaround time for customer service – data-driven decision making can be utilized to improve all areas of your business.

We recommend that you begin with internal processes, such as reviewing employee productivity based on the number of working hours and then branch out to other areas gradually.

Getting Started with Data-driven Decision Making

  1. Find out what data you already collect, identify ways to incorporate it into your decision-making process
  2. Assess your data collection methods, improve it using automation technology to reduce time taken for collection, improve accuracy of data, and effectiveness of the overall process
  3. Use a data integration tool to bring all your collected data to one common platform in a readily usable format and maintain a master repository for easy access
  4. Incorporate business intelligence and use intuitive dashboards to make data analysis and visualization a hassle-free step in the process.

At CloudNow, we offer automation, data integration, data analysis. intuitive dashboards and much more for data-driven decision making through a holistic Business Continuity and Operational Resilience (BCOR) solution. To make the most of your data today, get in touch with us now!

Password Spray Attacks: What Are They & How To Avoid Them?

Ever wondered why organizations emphasize the importance of setting a complicated password as opposed to something convenient like ‘password123’? In today’s world, hackers are getting creative with their cybersecurity attacks. One type of attack that has gained a lot of traction in the past year is ‘password spraying’ – a type of brute force attack in the cybersecurity realm that goes beyond the traditional forms of hacking into an account. 

Picture this – in the past, hackers would attempt to gain unauthorized access to a single account by constantly guessing the password in a short period of time. But with organizations bringing measures such as locking an account when three or more attempts have been made, the user gets notified about any attempted security breach.  Continue reading Password Spray Attacks: What Are They & How To Avoid Them?

Can IAM Improve User Experience and Efficiency on the Cloud?

When an enterprise migrates to the cloud, it essentially opens the doors to a range of new possibilities for its business to flourish. When cloud capabilities are utilized to their full potential, several aspects of management are largely simplified, various processes integrated, and employees empowered to focus on their core roles.

However, many of these benefits to efficiency and convenience are often rendered ineffective by the roadblocks that tight security systems bring into the mix. That is why it is important to take into account the impact of your user, data and application security set up on user experience across your environment.

Continue reading Can IAM Improve User Experience and Efficiency on the Cloud?

Cybersecurity Trends 2020: What’s in Store

The year 2019 has been a significant one in the technology world, with several high profile cases grabbing headlines. In fact, according to a recent article by DataQuest India, there were at least four areas of interest which were highlighted this year – Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) threats, showstopper vulnerabilities like in the case of URGENT/11, speculative execution vulnerabilities such as Meltdown and Spectre, and finally the many ransomware attacks. 

As we move on to a whole new decade, it’s important to take stock of what the past decade has taught us and what the future has in store. In the cybersecurity world, experts bear past experiences in mind and routinely predict a number of innovative techniques that could be used to infiltrate security systems. Each year, different methods and new approaches are introduced or discussed, touching upon all those concerns about data protection and the challenges ahead.  Continue reading Cybersecurity Trends 2020: What’s in Store

Understanding Offensive Security

Approximately two billion records were stolen between July and October 2019. That’s just in one quarter of a year! This is several times more than what was stolen last year – half a billion records. Even as organizations continue to invent new technology and pump in more and more funds (an estimated $124 billion in 2019) to secure data, the number of breaches also continues to rise – at an alarming rate!

It’s becoming evident that cybersecurity software solutions alone are not enough anymore. There is an urgent need to train employees and bring in experts who can close the loopholes left by software solutions. Therein arises the concept of offensive security. Continue reading Understanding Offensive Security

Navigating the World of Data Security in the Cloud: Steps to Ensure Compliance

Compliance ensures that an enterprise maintains a minimum standard of security-related requirements in accordance with industry and regulatory standards. Its scope, however, goes beyond having regulations in place, to successfully implementing policies and contracts.

As security breaches, fraud, and theft of data are becoming increasingly widespread in the IT world, industry guidelines for compliance have become more complex, and enterprise policies more elaborate. Adding to the difficulty of achieving security compliance is the limited functionality of network security tools in dealing with the dynamic nature of the cloud. Continue reading Navigating the World of Data Security in the Cloud: Steps to Ensure Compliance

Access Management Across Different Devices and Browsers

In today’s technology ecosystem, a strong foundation for authorization plays an important role in the overall data security of a company. Controlling each user’s access to data, and monitoring this across devices and browsers is essential to your enterprise’s security. 

Implementing a strong device policy is an integral aspect of data security

With a strong device policy in place, it is possible to exercise highly granular control over which of the company’s applications, information, and data your employees can access– through the company’s devices, as well as through their personal devices. Continue reading Access Management Across Different Devices and Browsers