The Possible Innovation, in the Name of the Cloud

Production models that have driven so far the activity of manufacturing companies are supposed to be messed up by the deep transformations generated by factory digitization. The collaboration with the major IT players can be an important opportunity indeed, especially for SMEs. With Simone Marchetti, Digital Supply Chain Sales Development Manager at Oracle, we talked about such a changing scenario.

by Fabrizio Dalle Nogare

We often talk about the advantages of factory digitization, which implies that the IT and the OT are getting closer for manufacturing companies. What are the opportunities that such a scenario offers to an IT company like Oracle?
Quite big changes are happening. The disruption brought by “digital native” companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google etc. has shocked the models known so far. For the very first time, the manufacturing industry is chasing its customers. To keep the level of competitiveness high, it is necessary to make the most of all available resources. Factory information, added to all internal and external contributions to the company, are the main resource. This is where the IT finds its field of application. Oracle aims indeed to provide tools for those who are supposed to make strategic decisions for the business, based on knowledge.

What solutions can Oracle provide to manufacturing companies in terms of products? Are there solutions designed specifically for the SMEs?
Oracle has invested more than 6 billion dollars to build a flexible, innovative offering capable to support companies of all sizes in the epochal transition we are experiencing. The Cloud is the way we are tracing. Here we put all our innovation. And this is a competitive factor for SMEs that was previously unthinkable. Now, it is made possible by the possibility of using artificial intelligence or the blockchain to enable manufacturing, logistics and finance processes. All this without investing “in house”, or rather, “on premise”.

The issue of security in production data management, also, but not only, related to the Cloud, is still important in the experts perception. What is the state of the art in this regard? Have you noticed any particular development towards a greater security?
With objects capable of communicating – thanks to the IoT – and supply chain structures highly interconnected, the security issue is amplified. Access points become multiple. The Cloud helps to protect data thanks to tools specifically designed and to the available computing power that can be used in those applications addressed to security. It is then necessary to think of safe processes “by design” – that is to say, since the design stage – and train all the operators to have virtuous behaviours as for the use of IT work tools.

In your opinion, what can Oracle do to help train those professionals, including computer engineers or data specialists, who will be increasingly important in manufacturing companies?
Oracle participates in many educational/information projects with schools and universities, in order to spread culture for new technologies, especially in manufacturing.
When developing its applications, Oracle is always very careful to the user experience, with the aim to guarantee ease of use and enhance human capacities – in fact, we often talk about augmented intelligence – in order to create an optimal synergy with the machine.

Trade associations such as AIdAM play a key role either in spreading a new culture or in the exchange of information between companies working in a given sector. Why is it important for Oracle to work with an association like AIdAM?
For Oracle, collaborations like the one with AIdAM are vital to ensure the correct transfer of skills in both directions, so as to bring their contribution, on the one hand, meeting at the same time the needs of the market. n