How to move your business to the cloud with minimum down time and disruption
As with any new technology, cloud computing has been through the hype cycle, with inflated expectations giving way to disillusionment and moving further along the maturity curve toward realistic, practical and beneficial solutions. However, for many organisations, whether they have taken their first steps toward the cloud or are still contemplating a move, the journey can seem like an overwhelming task. In order to leverage maximum cloud benefit, whether organisations are just starting or are well on the way, a pragmatic approach is needed for the journey to the cloud.
The need for digital transformation within organisations is one of the biggest drivers for the cloud from the perspective of the CEO, along with the desire to transform the business and enhance the customer journey. However, the IT manager and the business typically have different cloud priorities, as the IT manager is tasked with improving processes and cutting costs. Another driver of the move toward the cloud is the need for improved agility in order to keep up with rapidly evolving technology. In order to address this, it is vital for IT to move from a tactical, reactive state to a strategic role, providing solutions that address business challenges and support business.
Moving toward the cloud requires organisations to break the journey down into manageable steps. The first step is to evaluate cloud maturity and then develop a cloud strategy that, at the very least, aligns with both business and IT objectives. Ideally, cloud strategy needs to become an integral part of business strategy, with the ultimate goal of adopting a full digital transformation strategy where cloud is the enabling technology.
Once maturity and strategy have been ascertained, organisations should select areas to migrate based on several factors. The migration must make sense from a cost or business enhancement perspective, and the information value must be ascertained. A plan for integration, including security, data volumes and the user experience, must be developed, and a roadmap for how the migration is to take place should be established.
The first step in the cloud journey is to understand the different dimensions of cloud services. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic level, with organisations leveraging the infrastructure of a service provider to take advantage of virtualised machines. All software and services remain the property and responsibility of the organisation. Platform as a Service (PaaS) includes solutions such as databases, operating systems and websites delivered on a services basis. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the full software product in the cloud, including email, sales force solutions, SharePoint Online and more. As one moves deeper into the cloud through these dimensions, so return on investment increases. However, the level of customisation available decreases proportionally. Organisations need to find the right balance of cost effectiveness and customisability to suit their business requirements.
The next decision is which model of cloud services to adopt. The private cloud consists of infrastructure owned by the organisation upon which cloud services are delivered. Public cloud solutions are delivered via the Internet, and all organisations own is their login or subscription and their data. Each of these models has its own advantages, with private cloud being more secure while public cloud is more flexible and agile and delivers greater cost benefits. As a result, hybrid solutions consisting of elements of both public and private cloud will be the standard for the next five to 10 years, particularly for large organisations. For the foreseeable future, given information security and privacy concerns as well as legislation, it will continue to make sense to maintain some services and data on premise.
Ultimately IT is no longer simply about keeping the lights on, and the cloud enables IT to effectively deliver greater value to the business. Following a pragmatic, step by step approach to cloud migration and integration will ensure businesses are poised to leverage the advantages of this evolving technology Partnering with an experienced, expert service provider at every stage of the process will help organisations to realise the full value of their cloud implementation, regardless of where they are in their journey.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.