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How end-user computing in manufacturing is being revolutionized

Oct. 31, 2023
By evolving VDI from on-premises systems that are impractical for enterprise needs to hybrids for the cloud, IT stakeholders at industrial companies are turning challenges into opportunities for growth.

Amid the rapidly evolving industrial landscape, business leaders, including in manufacturing, are shifting away from end-user computing solutions, such as on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure systems, or VDIs. Instead, a unified, cloud-centric approach, blending on-premises and cloud environments through modern VDI technologies, is gaining traction.

For those overseeing critical infrastructure, the prospect of embracing a hybrid multi-cloud strategy can be daunting at first due to the complexities inherent in managing diverse private and public clouds. These complexities are compounded by legacy VDI system issues. The key question now is: How can industrial IT departments overcome these cloud-centric challenges to drive profitability and enhance operational performance?

One solution lies in adopting contemporary strategies and technologies, including tailored cloud-first VDI implementations customized for manufacturing's unique requirements.

Challenges with traditional solutions in manufacturing

Traditional on-premises VDI systems have served as strongholds for on-premises workforces in manufacturing but have now begun to reveal mounting challenges for manufacturing leaders. These include vendor uncertainties as these systems may no longer align with evolving business needs, overextension of IT resources diverting from innovation, escalating operational costs, decreased productivity, particularly among remote workers facing latency issues, and hindered agility in scaling manufacturing operations.

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As an example, manufacturing companies often manage intricate projects that involve coordinating external resources worldwide. Organizations continue to rely on traditional VDI that does not allow for high-performance access and operation or cost efficiencies. Modern technologies, offering high-speed access to systems such as digital twin platforms, have the potential to greatly improve these aspects. An added challenge to sticking to legacy solutions is the potential risk that can compromise the security of sensitive information, highlighting the growing need for stringent data control.

In the current industrial landscape, organizations face mounting performance expectations, rendering on-premises VDI solutions impractical for enterprise needs. Enterprises today demand technology that can handle graphics-intensive 3D modeling, which plays a pivotal role in the design process, and low-latency solutions that are essential for swift and efficient project completion.

From IT expense to profit center

IT leaders in manufacturing can take proactive steps to turn ongoing industry challenges into opportunities for growth by embracing end-user computing solutions, such as cloud-first VDI systems. To illustrate the advantages of these modern solutions, consider Röhm, a global manufacturer in the methacrylate chemical business with 13 production sites on four continents that embraced cloud-first VDI systems, reaping substantial benefits.

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Röhm faced several technological challenges when planning a comprehensive and complex project. This project required the collaboration of external engineering resources spread across North America and Europe. It also involved highly sensitive intellectual property, making security a top priority. In the past, the company relied on on-premises data centers and internal project teams. However, a new approach was needed.

To aid in the project’s timely success, Röhm embraced cloud-first VDI solutions. Röhm recognized the advantages of modernizing their IT infrastructure to meet the project’s performance and security demands. The company transitioned to cloud workstations, which provided operational and cost-optimization benefits:

  • Reliability and minimal downtime: Switching to cloud workstations ensured continuous reliability, preventing significant downtime in critical manufacturing operations, and safeguarding from any profit and performance losses.
  • Scalability: The rapid deployment and scalability of cloud workstations enabled Röhm to efficiently meet the dynamic demands of their manufacturing environment. This adaptability was essential in an ever-evolving industry.
  • Security: Röhm was provided stringent security measures, including multi-factor authentication and Microsoft Information Protection services, aligning with a Zero Trust Security policy. This ensured that the highly sensitive IP remained protected.
  • Performance: Modern VDI systems were capable of handling the demanding requirements of graphics-intensive 3D modeling, which was critical to the project. This provided Röhm’s engineering teams with high-performance access, even from distant locations.
  • Collaboration and efficiency: Leveraging modern VDI systems, Röhm was empowered with seamless collaboration among geographically dispersed contractors from multiple companies, improving project efficiency. Travel was reduced, allowing the team to collaborate across time zones.

Organizations like Röhm, across the industrial fabric, are increasingly turning their traditional IT expenses into profit centers by embracing modern end-user computing solutions. This transformation allows them to optimize productivity, enhance security, and improve collaboration, ultimately making their manufacturing operations more competitive and adaptable in the ever-evolving industrial landscape.

About the Author

Matthew Davidson | Field CTO at Workspot

Matthew Davidson is the field CTO at Workspot. He has more than 20 years of experience in IT, have worked in the consulting, manufacturing, and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). He has spent the past 19 years in AEC implementing both tactical and strategic technology solutions that cut spending while increasing service, productivity, and profitability.