Cloud Computing in Finance: Decision Guide to Choosing the Best Cloud Model for Finance Enterprises

Just about everyone is talking about the cloud. Cloud computing in finance sector is driving agility for enterprises, and everyone from business leaders to forward-thinking CIOs is using it to support their business strategies to improve performance and returns. The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industry are also leveraging the cloud to address specific requirements and unique challenges. 

Cloud is a game-changer for businesses, and COVID-19 has further accelerated cloud adoption. Today,  most finance enterprises have eagerly embraced cloud-based systems to enable remote working, upgrade customer-facing software, prevent frauds, and increase efficiency.  It aids operational activities such as new account opening, fund transfers, loan approvals, insurance advice policy renewal, and more.  All you need is a cohesive cloud strategy to realize its business value fully.

As per a Google Cloud survey1, 83 percent of respondents said they were deploying cloud technology as part of their primary computing infrastructures, with hybrid cloud being the most popular (38 percent),, followed by single cloud (28 percent) and multi-cloud (17 percent). It, therefore, becomes imperative to understand the different cloud deployment models and options and define your objectives to create a roadmap for cloud adoption

Adoption of cloud computing in finance and banking

The financial sector is far from full adoption as far as core, back-office workloads are concerned. BFSI companies have adopted cloud technology for various reasons, including Data and IT security, regulatory reporting, fraud detection and prevention, data reconciliation, and underwriting activity. 

Those who have embraced cloud adoption unanimously agree on its benefits that include:

Ø Adapting to changing customer behaviors and market trends

Ø Enhancing efficiencies and operational resilience

Ø Enabling innovation to upgrade product and service portfolio

Ø Enhancing data security capabilities

Ø Eliminating silos to ensure connectedness and transparency

Ø Scale up or scale down capacity to manage diverse workloads and activities

Ø Driving integrated decisions by integration of business units to share data and respond quickly

A cloud computing environment is just what you need in the current scenario. But you need to first understand the influencing factors and the cloud compositions and service models to decide which one’s right for you. 

Factors to consider

BFSI enterprises often embark on a cloud journey with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models to later evolve to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) models as they mature. To choose the right model and devise a strategy, you need to be very clear about your objectives. 

Your business case for adopting Cloud 

Critical applications are often built on legacy technologies, and moving them to the cloud usually entails high costs. Also, migration is not easy until they undergo a bit of a revamp. A detailed cloud strategy and roadmap, therefore, becomes essential to initiate cloud adoption. 

Intended customer experience & service differentiation

A differentiated service experience is a key to the success of a Cloud implementation. You can either build your custom solution for max flexibility or use an existing Off-The-Shelf (OTS) or SaaS solution with their out-of-the-box features. OTS and SaaS solutions are suitable when the time to market is key – A custom solution works better to deliver a differentiated CX

Government regulations

The modern regulatory framework requires enterprises to comply with stringent privacy, security, and regulatory standards in regards to the capture, storage, and sharing of customer data. Understanding these requirements is essential before choosing between on-premise, private, or public cloud to host systems.

Choosing the right cloud deployment and service models

Financial institutions vary in their business functions and technology priorities. Feasibility analysis, cloud migration assessment, and strong decision-making capabilities are necessary to choose the right deployment and service models. 

A leading investment bank is using a public cloud for its regulatory reporting solutions. In contrast, a prominent Norwegian bank has adopted the PaaS model to transform its peer-to-peer mobile payment application using microservices on the public cloud. The bank has captured nearly 80% 2 of the market, ensuring high application availability and scalability to service more than 2M customers.  While doing so, it was able to increase transaction processing throughput by 10x and reduce infrastructure setup time from 60 to 6 days and release time by 3x.

A major North American bank specializing in cards, wealth management, and investment services had spectacular results after migrating to the cloud. It leveraged the IaaS and PaaS models on the private cloud to modernize its channels by enabling digital identity, push notifications, e-wallets, behavioral biometrics, etc. The bank saw a 40% improvement in time-to-market, an increase in active mobile user base by 20%, and a drop in annual infrastructure cost by 15%.

Chinese banks3 such as Minsheng Bank, Ping An Bank, Industrial Bank, and Beijing Zhongguancun Bank are using cloud-native SaaS platforms to strengthen their anti-fraud systems and increase the responsiveness of the front-office and agility of the back-office. 

Clearly, cloud adoption differs significantly in scope and value for every organization. While some banks have adopted PaaS and SaaS models to modernize their channel and teller applications, many adopt low code SaaS offerings for sales, customer relationship management, onboarding, and enterprise resource planning systems.

Cloud computing deployment in finance

Cloud service models

Choosing the right cloud service model is easier if you recognize its potential in furthering your business objectives. The model you select should evolve based on your needs and the business functions you want to support. 

Distinctions exist among all, especially when you evaluate them with a risk-based approach. Here are the top 3 popular ones:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

It offers IT infrastructure (servers and storage) that can be managed online via a pay-as-you-use basis without getting into the complexities of purchasing and managing physical servers. It is dynamic and flexible, and the services are highly scalable. Resources are available as a service, and it allows enterprises to carry out automated administrative tasks.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

It allows enterprises to develop, test, run, and manage applications since it is accessible to multiple users through the same development application. It can be integrated with web services and databases and supports diverse languages and frameworks. Its ability to ‘auto-scale’ gives it an edge.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

It is an on-demand software that hosts applications. Applications can be accessed easily via an Internet connection and a web browser from a central location. It is hosted on a remote server and available for use on a pay-as-per-use basis. Users do not have to oversee hardware or software updates since updates are applied automatically.

Winning with Cloud power

As the needs of modern finance enterprises evolve, mature cloud services will continue to emerge to help manage different business functions. Cloud adoption can help deliver compelling value propositions to customers and innovate along the way. Cloud power is the way forward to enhance capabilities and enable end-to-end automated processing. However, the key to successful cloud adoption lies in the cloud model you choose and the service provider you decide to work with. 

Embrace cloud technology with Trigent

Trigent has been helping the BFSI sector minimize risks and maximize benefits with the right cloud transformation strategies. We help them approach cloud migration in an incremental manner to reduce transition risks and enjoy the benefits of cloud storage and compute power in a cost-efficient way. 

Our cloud-first strategy enables cloud transformation at speed and scale to help enterprises drive agility and collaboration. We can help you embrace cloud technology too to operate in an agile digital environment.

Call us today for a business consultation. 

References

  1. https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/inside-google-cloud/new-study-shows-cloud-adoption-increasing-in-financial-services
  2. https://www.tcs.com/content/dam/tcs/pdf/Industries/Banking%20and%20Financial%20Services/cloud-adoption-migration-bfsi.pdf
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bairongs-cloud-native-saas-platform-accelerates-china-bohai-bank-digital-transformation-301369690.html 

Stay away from the Headlines! Cyber Security imperatives for the new normal

95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error.” – Cybint

Rapid technology innovations on multiple fronts pose a complex challenge for those tasked with the security and availability of the IT infrastructure. On one hand, new devices such as mobile phones, smart screens, and IoT-enabled devices are deployed alongside computers. At the same time, IT policies allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and WFH (Work From Home) has now become the norm, which has compounded the security problem

The result is a significant increase in the threat surface along with the number of points from where the IT infrastructure can be compromised. Of all recent developments, the now accepted shift to WFH and the use of personal devices pose the biggest challenge. IT Managers now need to take measures to secure both the device and the access point from where employees connect to the Corporate network. But how can they ensure the identity of the user accessing the system and adherence to security norms while employees work from the comfort of their homes?

Many Enterprises have become soft, yet lucrative targets for hackers as a result of the increased threat surface that is as yet unsecured. Trends indicate:

  • Remote workers will be soft targets for cybercriminals
  • As a side effect of remote workforces, cloud breaches will increase
  • Cybersecurity skills gap, specially in Enterprises, will remain an issue
  • Growth of always on, connected devices will increase network vulnerability

The invisible threat to your IT infrastructure

When employees worked in offices, businesses were able to ensure that only authorized staff accessed critical infrastructure, in part through physical security measures. It was easier to ensure that staff complied with the established security norms. But with employees now working from home, businesses have to rely purely on the users’ virtual identity and trust that users comply with security processes

The probability that malicious users can compromise the System, either from within the organization or by taking advantage of unsuspecting employees, is very real. CIOs need to assign equal emphasis on securing the IT infrastructure from external threats and from internal vulnerabilities.

Indicators of Internal Sabotage

Internal Sabotage is when employees have access to the company’s sensitive systems, information and use it for malicious purposes. Most internal saboteurs come in two flavors – Players and Pawns.

Players – Are aware of the crime and have malicious intent.  They are typically disgruntled employees or people who have joined the organization with a certain motive. Research has shown that most of these have some kind of personal predisposition and hence get into this.

Pawns –  Are typically employees who do not have a motive but unknowingly participate in the act.  They are typically people who are helpful and enthusiastic. Their intention to help people or their ignorance gets exploited. 

It is important to understand the persona and motivation of the “Players”:

  • Most internal attacks are triggered by an unfavourable event or condition at the workplace. The motive generally  is revenge.
  • Largely the attacks happen after office hours and outside the office premises via remote access. Perpetrators find comfort in not being surrounded by people  or physically being present in the workplace.
  • Generally, it’s likely that peers are aware of the sabotage, or at least observed a change in behaviour even if they are not aware of the concrete plan.
  • Most attacks are carried out through compromised or shared computer accounts.
  • In several cases these indicators are observed but ignored by organizations due to work load or carrying on the age-old way of doing things.

Preventive steps / actions

Combating internal vulnerabilities and securing the IT infrastructure requires a coordinated approach on 2 fronts. Organizations need to take advantage of the latest technologies to monitor, analyze and identify threats in advance. Simultaneously, people processes also need to be updated to address security topics for the remote working scenarios

HR Initiatives

Align all teams who are responsible for data security. This includes HR, IT, Maintenance, and Security. Make them aware and educate them on the increased threats and the latest trends in cyber attacks. Educate employees about internal attacks and encourage them to come up with a collaborative plan.

Clearly document and consistently enforce policies and controls. Ensure all the employees who have access to data are also educated about the new threats and vulnerabilities.

Encourage employees to provide insights on the new policies and take inputs for threats that could potentially come from within.

Incorporate malicious and unintentional insider threat awareness into periodic security training for all employees.

Disgruntled employees are a major source of internal threat. Create an HR plan to identify and track potentially disgruntled employees.

One of the best ways to track personal-level issues and problems is to use peers themselves. Create strong and well-crafted whistleblower policies where the employees feel empowered and responsible for the well-being of the company.

Technology-led Initiatives, Systems, and Approach

The Zero Trust model

Created by John Kindervag back in 2010 based on “never trust, always verify”. It is a concept where organizations should not automatically trust any research or individual inside or outside. It suggests a fresh start by revoking all access and providing access on a case-by-case basis with a clear understanding of the need. Technologies such as Identify and Access Management (IAM) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are complementary to this approach.

It is just not enough to implement these technologies alone. There should also be a strategy and a clear SOP in place to manage the operations of the organization. However, this strategy is a little aggressive and requires a complete overhaul of the security policies and ongoing work which is not always practical and more often than not, could potentially break the system or make it brittle by holding it together with bandages.

Security Mesh

Most traditional security systems are designed and inspired by the castle-and-moat layout where all systems inside the moat are secured. This was an effective strategy in the traditional ecosystem. Over the years though, certain adaptations such as cloud and distributed workforce have created new challenges. Security mesh is one such approach where the focus is on securing every node of the network and not the traditional approach of building a boundary around the entire network.

Identity-first security and Identity Management

Identity management (IdM), also known as identity and access management (IAM) is the security practice that enables the right individuals or machines to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.

Identities are the most vulnerable threat surface of every organization. Identity includes people, machines, IoT devices, and an active device or a group of devices on the network that needs to access a resource or service. Identity Security is one of the primary implementations of the Zero Trust model where all identities used in the organization are secured and managed using technology.

This enables providing fine-grained access to resources and data at an almost individual identity level and prevents Privileged Account Compromise. One example of this is the IAM security provided by AWS. Most solutions in this space span multiple technologies and platforms.

There are several products in the market that cater to this need:

  • IBM Security Verify Access
  • Cisco Identity Services Engine
  • CyberArk – Idaptive
  • Okta
  • OneLogin – Access

Remote worker Endpoint Security

With remote work becoming the new normal, securing remote access nodes poses new challenges especially with them being present outside the firewall. This problem is further compounded with infrastructure moving to the Cloud.

Breach and attack simulation

Is a continuous fire drill performed typically by independent vendors where they simulate sophisticated attacks similar to techniques used by cybercriminals to find vulnerabilities and report the same. 

Cloud security breaches

Refers to the compromising of data or nodes on cloud infrastructure. With more companies moving to the cloud, this has only snowballed in the past few years. Most of the data breaches can be attributed to configuration errors, IAM permission errors, re-use of identity. 

Best practices to reduce these vulnerabilities are

  1. Encrypt all data that is persistent (databases, logs, backup systems). Build this process in the QA checklist for all releases. Classify systems and data into sensitive and others. Ensure that sensitive data is secured and encrypted
  2. Prevent re-use of resource identities in the infrastructure and ensure each identity’s permissions are allotted on a need basis. Use tools like Centrify, Okta and CyberArk to manage these permissions.
  3. Routine audits on identity permissions, firewalls and cloud resources can help prevent these breaches. 

Securing your infrastructure

Over the years as companies have moved to the cloud, we have seen only an increase in cyber attacks.  With remote working becoming commonplace,  the line between internal and external attacks has blurred.  It is better to preempt the company’s defenses than be a victim.  Get in touch with us for an inside on how you could secure your company’s business and infrastructure. 

Want to know more? Contact us now

Cybersecurity Mesh – Key Considerations before Adoption & Implementation

The infamous Botnet data leak that took place recently exposed a total of 26 million passwords, with 1.5 million Facebook passwords among leaked data. In another cyber-attack incident, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. Colonial Pipeline Co. was hit by ransomware. Hackers gained entry into its networks with the help of a compromised password and caused shortages across the East Coast.

Incidents of cyberattacks continue to jeopardize data security. With remote work becoming the norm during the pandemic, threat actors have an expanded vulnerable surface to target. TechRepublic predicts more ransomware attacks and data breaches as threat actors continue to explore new vulnerabilities.

Not surprisingly, then, enterprises are now focusing on strengthening cybersecurity. A Gartner survey reports: “With the opening of new attack surfaces due to the shift to remote work, cybersecurity spending continues to increase. 61% of respondents are increasing investment in cyber/information security, followed closely by business intelligence and data analytics (58%) and cloud services and solutions (53%).

In response to these infrastructure attacks in recent times, President Biden’s administration enacted a cybersecurity executive order wherein the federal government will partner with the private sector to secure cyberspace and address the many concerns through its far-reaching provisions.

The rise in digital interactions and remote work arrangements has compelled enterprises to find a way to curtail cyber attacks. Besides, cloud-based ransomware attacks have put them in a pickle as the shift to the cloud had accelerated during the pandemic. Amidst these vulnerabilities and circumstances, cybersecurity mesh has emerged as a viable solution to circumvent cyber threats and secure digital assets everywhere.

Let’s delve deeper to know what it’s all about and how it’s changing the IT security paradigm across the globe.

Why adopt cybersecurity mesh?

A 600% uptick in sophisticated phishing email schemes since the pandemic began shows how vulnerable our IT systems are. Ransomware attacks are predicted to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021; a new organization is falling prey to ransomware every 11 seconds. 98% of cyberattacks are based on social engineering and new employees are often the most vulnerable. Emails constitute 92% of all malware attacks, while Trojans account for 51% of all malware.

The accelerated shift to the cloud to meet the growing needs of customers and the ensuing weaknesses in cloud security have led to frequent attacks. Explains Michael Raggo, cloud security expert at CloudKnox, “One of the systemic issues we’ve seen in organizations that have been breached recently is a vast amount of over-permissioned identities accessing cloud infrastructure and gaining access to business-critical resources and confidential data. We’ve seen when an attacker gains access to an associated identity with broad privileged permissions, the attacker can leverage those and cause havoc.

Cybersecurity mesh facilitates scalable, flexible, and reliable means to ensure cybersecurity across all levels to protect your processes, people, and infrastructure. Considering that a vast majority of assets now exist outside the traditional security perimeter, a cybersecurity mesh helps you stretch its boundaries to build it around an individual’s identity. So rather than having one large perimeter to protect all devices or nodes within a ‘traditional’ network, we now create small, individual perimeters around every access point to heighten its security. A centralized point of authority will manage all the perimeters to ensure there are no breaches.

Key benefits

Cybersecurity mesh helps you adopt an interchangeable, responsive security approach that stops threat actors from exploiting the weaker links within a network to get into the bigger network. When employed correctly, cybersecurity mesh offers the following benefits:

  1. Cybersecurity mesh will support more than 50% of IAM requests by 2025

As traditional security models evolve, enterprises will now rely on cybersecurity mesh to ensure complete security. Identity and Access Management has been a bit of a challenge for enterprises for some time now. Akif Khan, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner, elaborates, “IAM challenges have become increasingly complex and many organizations lack the skills and resources to manage effectively. Leaders must improve their approaches to identity proofing, develop stronger vendor management skills and mitigate the risks of an increasingly remote workforce.”

Cybersecurity mesh with its mobile, adaptive, unified access management model is expected to support more than half of all IAM requests by 2025.

  1. IAM services will be largely MSSP-driven

Considering that most organizations lack the necessary resources and expertise to plan, develop, acquire, and implement comprehensive IAM solutions, the role of managed security service providers (MSSPs) will be crucial. Where multiple functions will have to be addressed simultaneously, organizations will leverage their services.

Gartner expects 40% of IAM application convergence to be driven by MSSPs by 2023, thereby shifting power from product vendors to service partners.

  1. 30% of Enterprises will implement identity proofing tools by 2024

Vendor-provided enrollment and recovery workflows have often posed a challenge in building trust as it is difficult to differentiate genuine users and attackers. Multifactor authentication via email addresses and phone numbers has often proved to be ineffective.

Gartner predicts 30% of large enterprises will use identity-proofing tools from the beginning, embedding them into the workforce identity lifecycle processes to address these issues and make way for more robust enrollment and recovery procedures.

  1. A decentralized identity standard will manage identity data

The traditional centralized approaches have been futile in managing identity data when it comes to the three main focus areas that include privacy, assurance, and pseudonymity. A decentralized approach based on the cybersecurity mesh model and powered by blockchain ensures total privacy necessitating an absolute minimum amount of information to validate information requests.

Gartner expects the emergence of a truly global, portable decentralized identity standard by 2024 that will address identity issues at all levels – business, personal, social, societal, and identity-invisible use cases.

  1. Demographic bias will be minimized everywhere

There have been several instances of demographic bias based on race, age, gender, and other characteristics that iterated the need for document-centric identity proofing in online use cases. Face recognition algorithms became part of the ‘ID plus selfie’ to ensure identity through photo comparison of customers with the ones seen in their identity document.

However, it’s important that the face recognition process is foolproof to eliminate bias and keep damaging implications at bay. By 2022, 95% of organizations will expect vendors responsible for identity-proofing to prove that they are minimizing demographic bias.

A building block for zero-trust environments

Contrary to the traditional approach of building ‘walled cities’ around a network, cybersecurity mesh paves the path for password-protected perimeters to secure networks. Devices are allowed into the network via permission levels that are managed internally. Such an approach minimizes the risk of users’ devices or access points being hacked or compromised.

Organizations are increasingly leveraging the cybersecurity mesh as a building block to create zero trust end-to-end within the network to ensure data, systems, and equipment are securely accessed irrespective of their location. Unless verified, all connections and requests to access data are considered unreliable according to the principles of zero trust architecture.

Navigate your security landscape with Trigent

Trigent offers a multitude of solutions to support your cybersecurity initiatives. Our team of technology experts can help you level up with modern cybersecurity approaches and best practices to strengthen your IT security defenses.

Fortify your security stance with Trigent. Call us today to book a business consultation.

Effective Predictive Maintenance needs strategic automation and human insight

New-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of things (IoT), and predictive analytics are automating processes and augmenting human capabilities. Together, they set the stage for innovations in different sectors. Manufacturing is leveraging Predictive Maintenance (PdM) that takes preventive maintenance several notches higher.

PdM changes the approach from reactive to proactive maintenance, empowering enterprises to anticipate changes in the system and preemptively manage them. In other words, it helps enterprises predict and avoid machine failure and resultant downtimes. These analytics-led predictions optimize maintenance efforts and facilitate frictionless interdependence.

According to Deloitte, PdM increases equipment uptime by 10-20% and reduces overall maintenance costs and maintenance planning time by 5-10% and 20-50% respectively. With a CAGR of 25.2%, the global predictive maintenance market is set to grow from USD 4.0 billion in 2020 to 12.3 billion by 2025. The growth is fueled by the continued demand for reducing maintenance costs and downtime.

In the current Industry 5.0 environment, the role of maintenance has evolved from merely preventing downtimes of individual assets to predicting failures and creating synchrony between people, processes, and technologies. Predictive maintenance plays its part well, though it does bring along certain challenges that necessitate human intervention.

The PdM advantage

As mentioned earlier, predictive maintenance helps eliminate unplanned downtime and related costs. In an IoT-driven world where sensors, devices, systems, etc. are connected, McKinsey believes that the linking of physical and digital worlds could generate up to $11.1 trillion annually in economic value by 2025.

Maximized runtime also means better profits, happier customers, and greater trust. Predictive maintenance can ease logistics by choosing maintenance time slots outside of production hours or at a time when the maintenance personnel is available. It contributes to supply chain resilience, material costs savings, and increased machine lifespan.

However, PdM is only as good as the data it relies upon. Due to IoT technology, data comes from different sources and needs to be duly analyzed before it can be harnessed to make predictions.

The PdM limitations

We need to consider several elements to translate the information PdM provides into positive outcomes. For instance, depending on usage and maintenance history, it may advise you to replace a certain part or component. But this information can lead to further questions. You may need help in deciding which brand and vendor to consider, whether replacement of the component is a good option, or would it make better sense to replace the equipment entirely.

The forecast is often prescriptive and based on statistical models. While optimizing the operational efficiency of a particular line of business, PdM often fails to consider how it impacts other lines. For instance, when it suggests particular equipment is due for maintenance, it may not be able to offer advice as to where the production/processing needs to be shifted when it’s down. The value it offers will therefore be shaped by how decision-makers respond to predictive data.

Data quality and coverage are critical to make predictive maintenance work for the organization. For data to be suitably collected, integrated, interpreted, and transformed, we need dashboards, notification systems, and a bunch of other things to get started. This requires considerable research and planning to go into its implementation for it to start providing the insights we need.

The key lies in the way you respond

Decision-makers typically respond to predictive data with either hypothesis-driven or data-driven responses. The former stems from past business experiences and determines the plan based on a limited scope of response actions. Data-driven responses, on the other hand, aim to find solutions based on real-time business realities and consider several optimization scenarios to determine the way forward.

In contrast to hypothesis-driven decision-making, optimization ensures that all possible paths are explored and evaluated, relevant constraints are taken into consideration, and cross-functional interdependencies are looked into. A workable scenario based on business realities is thus created with no scope for purely intuitive responses.

Despite the analytics-driven insights, predictive maintenance is incomplete without human judgment. Smart decisions come from the ability to visualize the physical and financial outcomes before enforcing them. High-risk situations might arise, and thus they are best left to human discretion.

A predictive maintenance model for Industry 5.0

Manufacturers need clarity on several variables to understand the implications of failure. A false alarm triggered due to inaccurate predictions can result in a lot of unwarranted chaos and anxiety. However, a missed detection might often prove to be a costly error, sometimes resulting in loss of humans and property. Therefore, while understanding variables, they need to first know how often the variable behaviors occur on the factory floor. Strong domain knowledge along with solid data based on previous failures and scenarios is the key to understanding a machine.

Prediction accuracy will improve if we have adequate data on the behavior of machines when they are very close to failure. Only skilled personnel can determine this; some data sets, despite being important, are harder to collect and yet very critical for decision-making.

If we need data on a machine that breaks just once in a year or two, we need to work closely with machine makers who already possess a large pool of relevant data. Alternatively, we may choose to create a digital or a simulation model to create relevant data sets. The most expensive failures are usually the ones we never expect and hence relevant testing for different scenarios should also be considered.

Looking ahead

The way forward into Industry 5.0 is to create a predictive model that uses analytics, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in conjunction with human insights.

Manufacturers are now relying on predictive models to facilitate smart manufacturing as they struggle with quality issues more often than machine failures. Unusual temperatures, random vibrations, are all telltale signs that a machine may be in dire need of maintenance. Simple data sets can be a good starting point as we scale up with the right predictive maintenance solution. But, in the end, it’s the human insight that can give predictive maintenance its winning streak.

Predict business success with Trigent

At Trigent, we are helping organizations benefit from Industry 5.0 We help them build value with predictive analytics and rise above maintenance challenges. With the right guidance, we help them foster the man-machine symbiosis to harness new levels of operational efficiencies.

Call us today for a consultation. We’d be happy to help with insights, solutions, and the right approach to predict better business outcomes.

6 Most Popular RPA Use Cases in Manufacturing Industry post-COVID

The role of RPA in manufacturing post pandemic

As markets continue to grapple with challenges posed by the pandemic that shows no signs of receding, organizations are now pinning their hopes on technology with robotic process automation (RPA) that can take care of repetitive routine tasks. RPA ensures tasks that earlier required days and weeks can now be completed in a matter of just a few hours or minutes.

The benefits of RPA use cases in manufacturing industry include better productivity, efficiency, accuracy, less wastage, and greater focus. No wonder almost 80 percent of global corporate executives that participated in the Deloitte LLP survey1 last year agreed to have implemented some form of RPA in their organization while 15% said they planned to do so in the next 3 years.

Expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024, the global RPA software revenue is predicted to touch $1.89 billion in 2021 indicating a whopping 19.5% surge from 2020.

The pandemic has fueled enterprise interest in RPA as Cathy Tornbohm2, distinguished research vice president at Gartner explains, “The decreased dependency on a human workforce for routine, digital processes will be more attractive to end-users not only for cost reduction benefits but also for ensuring their business against future impacts like this pandemic.”

RPA is making great strides in diverse sectors including manufacturing. Applied Materials Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based company, has begun using bots to automate different areas of financial accounting for increasing productivity and plans to have 255 bots to improve workplace processes.

Top 6 RPA use cases benefitting the manufacturing industry

1. Bill of Materials (BOM)

Employees rely on a lot of information when it comes to the development of new products and commodities. They need to have the exact details as to what to purchase and when, the vendors/dealers that need to be contacted for the purchase, and how to go about the purchase.

Surge Transportation leveraged our expertise to create a pricing engine that offers real-time pricing to stakeholders based on a predefined strategy. The strategy can be modified in the application custom-built for them. RPA facilitates the set up of automatic alerts for changes in the system, thus improving regulatory compliance and supply chain performance. This makes our client stand tall among the top 1% of competitors to have this capability.

Also Read: Automating pricing operations enables 3PL to grow revenue by 40%

2. Data Migration

IoT equipment is now an essential part of the manufacturing fabric. But the challenge comes from the fact that legacy systems are ill-equipped to share data with others within the manufacturing ecosystem. RPA comes to their rescue in achieving this complex and time-consuming feat since bots can work independently of APIs.

RPA integrates different applications by acting as an intermediary between the old systems and the new thus facilitating seamless data migration. What makes RPA so empowering is its ability to correct and fix inconsistencies along the way in real-time. Insurers have leveraged RPA to lower its onboarding costs by 91% even as it experienced a 600% improvement in processing time. In turn, this boosted its service quality and customer experience that was held back by backlogs previously.

3. Customer Care and Service Desk Support

Delayed response or long resolution times can harm the trust you have built with your customers. To be able to help them promptly in real-time, you need to swiftly navigate through multiple business systems which are often laborious. But things can change dramatically by automating customer service with RPA.

US banks have harnessed RPA to improve their average handling time at their customer service center by 30%. This resulted in a monthly savings of 8000 work hours, enabling employees to use the freed time on value-added services.

4. CRM and Sales Order Integration

While sales thrive on relationship building and communication, it is a known fact that sales order integration does not stop there. It involves a mix of activities like creating estimates, checking product availability, processing orders, managing logistics, etc. Not to mention the coordination between many departments these processes call for.

Also Read: How automation is improving order and inventory management in logistics

A restaurant group used RPA to automate sales reports resulting in a 65% decrease in daily time expended on generating reports from across over 40,000 locations. This helped them nurture customer relationships and increase sales revenue.

5. Regulatory Compliance

The safety protocols constantly evolve in the manufacturing domain. There are individual product regulations to look into along with a whole lot of compliance requirements to adhere to. RPA takes away the stress from regulatory compliance ensuring your manufacturing outfit is audit-ready with accurate data processing and detailed records.

All bot activities are constantly monitored and available for inspection through a central log. RPA enables quick and effortless process updates too so that you are always up-to-date when it comes to compliance regulations.

6. ERP Automation

Bots play a big role in invoice processing and inventory control both of which involve elaborate paperwork, identifying deficiencies, and fulfilling customer demand at the earliest. Due to its ability to enhance operational efficiencies, RPA gives manufacturers an edge to manage tasks like sending invoices, creating purchase orders, computing shipping costs, taxes, or discounts, and driving overall financial processes that would otherwise require a high level of human intervention.

There are a whole lot of reports that need to be created and sent out via email or to be uploaded in a shared folder. SKUs need to be updated regularly too and Accounts Payable and Receivable have to be accurately managed. RPA takes care of all the reporting and related administrative chores to help organizations manage their business requirements efficiently.

The role of RPA is undeniably critical in the present manufacturing landscape. As Fabrizio Biscotti, research vice president at Gartner points out, “The key driver for RPA projects is their ability to improve process quality, speed and productivity, each of which is increasingly important as organizations try to meet the demands of cost reduction during COVID-19.”

Discover the impact of RPA with Trigent

Our RPA services are built for speed and scale. They make you agile to adapt in a fast-changing manufacturing sector and enjoy extraordinary cost savings along the way. We can help you minimize production downtime, optimize processes, and enhance your operational capabilities.

Our highly experienced business process consultants are eager to talk to you to help you automate with RPA without needing you to navigate through robot complexities.

Call us today for a business consultation.

References

  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/software-bots-multiply-to-cope-with-stretched-resources-11611615504?mod=djemCIO
  2. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-09-21-gartner-says-worldwide-robotic-process-automation-software-revenue-to-reach-nearly-2-billion-in-2021#:~:text=RPA%20Market%20Forecast%20to%20Grow,latest%20forecast%20from%20Gartner%2C%20Inc.

6 Examples of how Augmented Reality (AR) Transforms Manufacturing

Remember how the IKEA Place app allowed us to experience what it would feel like to have their signature pieces in our homes? Pokémon Go sent the younger demographics on a wild chase even as it gave the world a taste of what Augmented Reality (AR) technology can do.

The world of humans and machines is intertwined and symbiotic today. The reality around us has always been three-dimensional but for decades our understanding was based on two-dimensional pages and screens that fell short of what we wanted to know. Until Augmented Reality started narrowing the gulf between the real and digital worlds.

Such is its demand that MarketsandMarkets1 predicts the global augmented reality market to grow to $77B by 2025 from $15.3B in 2020 at a CAGR of 38%. From an estimated 598 million devices by the end of 2020, the number of AR active devices is expected to touch 1.73 billion by 2024.

AR is the convergence of the digital and the real world. AR has become mainstream and is being leveraged in all areas including manufacturing.

As demand for remote assistance and collaboration from enterprises continues to rise, AR-based apps are now being extensively used for monitoring, identifying, and fixing technical issues. They also play a pivotal role in various areas of manufacturing such as designing, retrofitting, assembling, manufacturing, repairing, etc.

Equipped with AR wearables, the manufacturing workforce can now achieve feats that were previously unthinkable. Here’s a sneak peek into the many roles this tech plays in empowering the manufacturing industry.

1. Offers Live Support and Equipment Maintenance

Caterpillar Inc. used an innovative augmented reality-based live support video calling platform to take its commitment to provide remote assistance to the next level. This helped technicians perform service and maintenance checks while taking pictures, having live support, and getting step-by-step instructions to complete a task.

AR enables customers, dealers, and technicians to interact with products and visualize 3D renderings of equipment, and collaborate in real-time. In the new normal of contactless interaction, AR presents the perfect solution to enterprises to offer expert support to their customers anywhere in the world. This not only saves time and effort but minimizes downtime significantly.

AR also helps identify problems and errors that may stop machines and equipment from working optimally. Mitsubishi also offers maintenance support using AR wherein technicians wear smart glasses to check the order of inspection of items on AR display and records results with voice entries. This method comes in handy in noisy environments and eliminates manual errors.

AR takes away the guesswork from maintenance and ensures methodical response and faster recovery time. AR devices enable the maintenance team to instantly see all the details such as operation times, date of the last service, potential points of failure, etc.

2. Facilitates Product Design and Development

The augmented reality when used for product design can accelerate workflows, reduce costs, and infuse precision. While we are familiar with prototyping, AR allows developers to evaluate concepts even before the prototyping stage with a concept called ‘pretotyping’. It allows them to critically evaluate product variants and ascertain if they are indeed building the right thing with the required precision. Explains Brenden Monahan CPO at Vusar, “Faster failings result in even more successes and also fewer missed chances. With AR your initial prototype could be your last.”

NASA too has utilized AR to speed up the construction of the Orion spacecraft while its Mission to Mars2 AR app is giving users a virtual ride to the Martian planet. With AR, it’s almost akin to seeing a product being designed and built-in real-time. Design teams can collaborate, deliberate, and offer insights to eliminate the tedious back and forth communications and iterations. With AR, manufacturing companies are now able to reduce turnaround times as well as delivery times.

3. Aids Complex Assembly

Boeing – the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners – managed to cut production time by a whopping 25% with a nearly zero error rate using AR technology to wire hundreds of planes. As Randall MacPherson, senior manager of Boeing’s Electrical Strategic Fabrication Center in Mesa, Arizona puts it, “We’ve seen significant productivity increases in our wiring harness facility from this technology where we’ve tested it, and it resulted in a substantial improvement to first-time quality. Wearable technology is helping us amplify the power of our workforce.”

AR is now being used by pretty much all modern manufacturing companies that need to put together a zillion pieces in complex assemblies at the speed of thought. There are assembly instructions to adhere to that can now be seen in the work field in real-time during conception as well as maintenance phases of manufacturing.

4. Ensures Quality Control

AR with its ability to overlay the real world with digital data helps manufacturers conduct quality control processes with precision. It informs technicians about defective product components and whether product components meet quality parameters with quick inspections. The findings can be further compiled in precise reports for future reference.

Automobile giant Porsche has already implemented AR to test processes in real-time, conduct quality audits with suppliers via video conference, and subsequently set new quality benchmarks. AR gives technicians a decisive advantage to analyze performance, compare systems, and detect deviations. Incorrectly installed parts can be visualized while missing parts can be identified. The results obtained using AR help manufacturers save time and live up to their promise.

5. Streamlines Logistics

Every time a customer places a new order, certain procedures need to be followed. From checking the inventory to scanning the product, to preparing it for delivery to actually delivering it – there’s an elaborate process involved. But with AR, it’s easy and quick. In fact, AR proved to be quite a game-changer for DHL that set new standards in order picking by allowing its workers to see things like picking instructions, locations of items, and exact placement on carts through head-mounted displays.

DHL claimed AR implementation in warehousing operations helped improve its picking process by 25 percent. Hands-free order picking has helped increase productivity and has played a big role in improving operations during transportation, last-mile delivery, and a host of value-added services that allow them to collaborate better with their partners and make their customers happy.

6. Aids in Training and Upskilling Employees

Often, putting someone new on the floor can lead to safety concerns since they are unfamiliar with the protocols and equipment. But AR ensures they can be trained without any compromise on safety by explaining the ‘why’ and ‘how’ pertaining to their jobs. AR-enabled apps can offer complete visibility that helps trainees to get hands-on experience.

With AR at the helm, trainees do not have to struggle with manuals all the time. AR works alongside to help them even in the most challenging environments providing them step-by-step guidance to understand documents, manuals, and other work-related stuff. This helps them get hands-on experience along the way.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) too leveraged AR in collaboration with Bosch to train their employees with a technical training app that digitally visualized an X-ray into the Range Rover Sport vehicle dashboard. Manufacturers are now using AR even for upskilling to boost the abilities of production workers for better performance, safety, and worker satisfaction.

Give your business the AR edge with Trigent

AR is helping the manufacturing sector improve productivity, decrease costs, and ensure a higher level of safety.

At Trigent, we have been connecting humans and machines through AR for many years now. Our highly proficient team can empower you with customized solutions to help you in diverse areas of manufacturing including production, maintenance, training, and QA.

Call us today to know more.

References

  1. https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/augmented-reality-virtual-reality-market-1185.html
  2. https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/space-astronomy/mission-to-mars-augmented-reality-app

Supporting Migrant Workers and Healthcare Providers During COVID-19 Lockdown

The COVID-19 lockdown has been hard on us all, but the migrant workers and daily wagers are among the worst hit. Stranded far from their village homes, without their daily income, they are exposed to hunger and destitution. The situation of the health workers fighting the virus on the frontline is fraught with challenges too.

Trigent’s CSR initiative, “Everyone Cooperating to Help Others” (ECHO), has contributed its bit to the ongoing effort in fighting COVID-19 by offering support to those in Bengaluru. Trigent volunteers collected contributions from Trigentians to fund the supply of food provisions to these workers displaced from their livelihood. Braving the odds amid the pandemic outbreak, these COVID-19 heroes took it upon themselves to alleviate the distress of the workers.

Initially, the team distributed 300 food packets across regions of Bengaluru. But upon seeing that many more people were still in need of assistance, ECHO made a renewed call for further contributions. Trigentians responded generously to the call and made donations that funded 400 additional food packets. ECHO distributed a total of 700 food packets across areas like Banashankari, Jayanagar, Chamarajpet, and Hongesandra. The assistance was extended to frontline health workers too. The total assistance translated to 2.1 tonnes of grains, food, and provisions that can help serve at least 7,000 meals.

In 2019, ECHO led an initiative to empower the girls at the Govt. Model Higher Primary Girls’ School, Davangere, Holalu. Earlier in 2015, the team had lent a helping hand to the people affected by floods in Cuddalore.

Commenting on the occasion, Ravi Kiran Kasi, on behalf of ECHO, said, “The effort was laden with challenges from the start. Even as stocks were rapidly running out, the retail outlets were uncertain of the replenishment lead time. However, we adapted to the fluid-situation and ground realities. We used our personal vehicles for transport as commercial transport vehicles were unavailable. We were able to get support from the local police department, Bengaluru corporator and other volunteers to find the most impacted people.  Despite many logistics issues, we felt greatly rewarded seeing the thankful faces of the workers.”

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis and it’s our collective duty to extend all possible support to the global response to COVID-19. Trigent employee volunteer organization, ECHO, is humbled to contribute its bit to this fight against COVID-19.