Cloud Software TransitionCloud Progress Report with Siemens VP Bill Boswell (video)

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How is the industrial software cloud transition coming along? This episode of Tech-Clarity TV focuses on the cloud progress report for industrial software including the cloud priorities and value in the new normal. Tech-Clarity’s Jim Brown and Siemens’ VP of Cloud Marketing Bill Boswell discuss the unique and strategic value of industrial software and give a broad overview of cloud progress, including the steps manufacturers and Siemens are taking for their cloud transition.

Get more information about Siemens Cloud Solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Transcript:

Jim Brown:

Hi and welcome to this edition of Tech-Clarity TV. My name is Jim Brown, President of Tech-Clarity, where we make the business value of technology clear. Today I would normally be at Siemens headquarters to get an update on the cloud and the transition that Siemens and their customers are making, but we are being socially distant because of the pandemic. I am going to be joined remotely today by Bill Boswell. Bill is Vice-President at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and we are going to get a bit of a report card on the transition to the cloud. Let’s get some clarity.

Jim Brown:

Bill, it’s great to talk to you today, always good to share ideas about the industry with you. Today, we see so many companies looking for cloud value, whether that be implementation value of being able to implement faster with lower risk or operational value to operate with less resources. But also, some unique value for industrial software and strategic value. Today may be one of the things people are more appreciative of is the collaborative nature of the cloud and how easy it is to connect people. We are connecting remotely today, whereas normally we would be doing this in-person. We are operating differently than we have in a while, and I think that is something people are really appreciating now. I’m curious what you see as the biggest value that companies are appreciating about the cloud right now.

Bill Boswell:

Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right Jim. I think the biggest value that we see of companies that already started to make that digitalization journey and that move in the cloud is more flexibility and more options. Just like we’re seeing in this personal environment where we use videoconferencing a lot more, another tool in the cloud that we may not have used a lot in our daily lives, having the ability to do that is a big benefit. With industrial software, the ability to do things like remote monitoring, predictive vs scheduled maintenance, being able to have access to the tools in the office but from home, and using the cloud to do that makes it a huge difference. Having the options as a company to take the ability to scale the cloud up and down that way is a huge benefit.

Jim Brown:

We obviously saw the transition to the cloud start well before the pandemic and certainly has probably prepared certain people better other than others. We believe that work moving to the cloud is inevitable, whether its companies refreshing their entire IT infrastructure or whether companies are moving to gain access to some new piece of functionality, or industrial IoT, whatever it may be. But also for strategic things, we see that over a third of companies tell us that digitalization is critical to achieving their business strategy – and actually over a half say it’s at least important to achieving their overall business strategy. Bill, what do you see as customers’ priorities today?

Bill Boswell:

When we talk to customers, Jim, we hear a lot of the same things. Companies are making the journey starting at different points, for different reasons. That ability to have someone like Siemens to have their back with their expertise on the cloud and the experience, not just being a software vendor but having the industry domain knowledge ourselves from the industries that we work in as a manufacturer makes a big difference. We can help them with not only the mechanics of the tools in the application but really the strategy for how to get their best. And we’ve been on that journey ourselves, Siemens is now using the cloud for everything and that’s been a big change in the last five or ten years and it’s technology from digital industry software that has Xcelerator portfolio has really helped make that change.

Jim Brown:

Yeah, and I think that change is really accelerating and we definitely see a tremendous amount of progress towards the cloud. Some work just inherently requires the cloud: IoT, for example, Industrial IoT, some of those big data analytics. Some are just better on the cloud, something like a generative design or stimulation because of infinite computing. And then sometimes, it’s just the general benefits of reduced cost, reduced resources, and lowering the barrier for solutions. One of the things that we’ve seen as bit of an inhibitor is when we ask companies, “How much functionality, how much of the risk-capabilities of their industrial software are they willing to trade for the benefits of the cloud, for those sort of generalized benefits of the clouds”, what we see is that companies are willing to trade very little if any at all of the capabilities that they need to run their business in order to gain cloud benefits. Given that though, what do you see as solutions as companies move to the cloud? What’s the process?

Bill Boswell:

I think that’s a really good point, Jim. We don’t think companies need to give up functionality to move to the cloud. Typically, what we see is, whether it’s through comprehensive digital twins or moving to kind of a more personalized and adaptable, modern kind of approach to things, companies are going to want the functionality they need to support the use cases they’re doing today. So today some of that software might be running on premise, connected to the cloud or managed by the cloud. Some of those things may be cloud ready or shifted into the cloud, some may be native SaaS applications. Behind the scenes, the company they’re working with, like Siemens, will constantly be evolving that software, so there’s new SaaS applications that are tailored towards more personalized workflows and more adaptable to what’s happening everyday. And what’s running on premise today may be running in the cloud tomorrow, but the users may not even know that difference. Everybody is on a journey and the idea is that you’re able to be more productive and do more things in the cloud, not less.

Jim Brown:

Bill, what’s your philosophy in terms of how quickly companies need to move through the cloud?

Bill Boswell:

Yeah, I think when we talk to customers all the time, we talk about one of the differences in our approaches is that it’s the customers own pace. It’s their way, their pace. With our expertise and our knowledge in the cloud, along with the technologies and applications and solutions to get them there, we have the solutions to get them there. We have the knowledge to help on that journey, whether that’s a move of a certain functionality on the cloud or whether it’s essentially looking at how they are going to do their strategic architecture for their company. We have the ability to bring in expertise and technology to help get them there, or with our global partner ecosystem to bring partners as well that can help them on all aspects of that journey.

Jim Brown:

Bill, thank you so much. It’s always good to catch up with you and really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.

Bill Boswell:

Thanks Jim, stay healthy.

Jim Brown:

You too, thanks so much.