Last week I had the pleasure to attend a round-table discussion which focused on Cloud adoption in the chemical industry at the Best Practices for Chemicals Event in Houston. Here are the key takeaways:
There is still a broad diversity in terms of cloud adoption readiness. Some companies have a clear “Cloud First” strategy, some are in the process of moving their test systems into the cloud, others have not made a decision yet on their path forward at all. However, there was overall consensus about the fact that moving to the cloud should be part of system migration considerations targeting at Total Cost of Ownership and complexity reduction through standardization.
Cybersecurity is still a major concern in the chemical community but also here companies have different opinions – some feel that they’ll be better off in trusting cloud vendors as those have to develop cybersecurity as a core competency, others feel more comfortable in keeping mission critical applications, like e.g. Manufacturing, in house. The cloud vendors may also have a better chance to attract the limited talents in this space.
Another question which was heavily debated was public vs. private cloud with the latter offering more flexibility but compromising on cost advantages, typically available from a multi-tenancy architecture. In this context the possible needs of multiple cloud instances, driven by legal requirements to have the cloud in the region or even in the country, was discussed, ultimately calling for integration between different cloud instances.
Last but not least, from a service perspective the optimal length of service contracts and change intervals, driven by the rapid changes in technology and solutions, was discussed.
Overall there was no clear answer for topics and issues above, however, there was a common understanding about 2 key facts:
- Cloud vendor services and relationship are critical to success
- There is a strategic need for a Cloud Platform which orchestrates different clouds and manages integration as well as necessary solution modifications to enable differentiation
Share with us your thoughts on the future and direction of the Cloud in the Chemical Industry!