Over the last few years, we have witnessed the mainstream acceptance of hybrid and remote work environments across critical industries. It comes as no surprise that today the "hybrid-first" approach is shaping how the modern enterprise evolves. 

Amid this technological and workforce paradigm shift, desktop-dependent roles have transitioned to remote and hybrid work. However, the traditional, on-premises end-user computing technology supporting them is often inadequate, both from a performance and a security standpoint. As industries, such as manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain, aim to find new ways to streamline processes, improve productivity, and scale operations, innovative thinking must happen for businesses to gain new agility and stronger security while inspiring people with technology.

Virtual work delivers undeniable benefits

The reliance on “work as a place” has drastically changed since the forcing function of 2020. Digital transformation accelerated across almost every organization; enabling remote work was job No. 1, and, in doing so, IT and business leaders discovered unexpected benefits. During the “remote work experiment,” productivity soared for most companies, and employees discovered that work-life balance could be achieved, although boundaries had to be established; that took a little getting used to. 

We are also seeing cost reduction, continued productivity benefits, and the ability to expand the hiring pool to a global supply of great talent that can live and work anywhere. Of course, the cloud is playing a major role. Workspot’s 2022 State of Remote Work report found that over the past two years, the scope of cloud adoption increased by 35%, while 47% of leaders agreed that their timelines for implementation were accelerated in the same time frame. That said, manufacturing IT leaders are still seeing challenges when it comes to employee collaboration and support, with 72% reporting this concern.

To take their transformation road maps even further, manufacturing organizations’ leadership is turning to cloud-native solutions for on-demand compute power that delivers greater agility and flexibility — crucial capabilities during uncertain times. More specifically, choosing end-user computing (EUC) that allows employees to operate productively and efficiently from wherever they are, even in more traditional, facility roles such as warehouse distribution and call center functions, is essential. Consumption-based cloud resources that are instantly scalable is the modern way to empower people and drive business growth.

Cloud PCs 

Time to market is everything in manufacturing, and the decisions technology leaders take can make or break the competitive edge of the company for years to come. With the increasing need for solutions that enable hybrid work models, the industry is starting to trade the legacy end-user computing stack, including traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), VPN access, and physical PCs for cloud-native and SaaS options.

The legacy EUC stack creates a full set of challenges, including a lack of performance, unreliable user experience, and complex management. Legacy approaches also open the door to possible malware and ransomware attacks and performance problems for users far from the corporate data center. The result is lower productivity, longer project delivery times, and unpredictable cost overruns.

To keep up in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive landscape, and to support a variety of roles, manufacturing firms are turning to multi-cloud SaaS solutions for delivering cloud PCs and workstations that support delivery of exactly the right computing resources for each use case, including:

  • Task workers, such as in administrative roles or call centers, needing access to a few enterprise applications.
  • Knowledge workers, including finance, business development, and executive roles, needing a complete cloud PC that gives them access to documents and applications across departments.
  • Power users, such as CAD engineers using graphics-intensive applications, needing the ultimate in performance — a GPU cloud PC that looks and feels like a local machine.

The cloud solution selected must be able to support a wide set of requirements for different use cases without compromising performance, accessibility, or security regardless of where workers are based. To expand revenue, solidify competitive advantage, increase productivity, and reduce time-to-market, people need secure and seamless access to apps and data from anywhere on any device, whether corporate or personally owned. 

The right cloud PC solution will address all these requirements, providing manufacturing firms with significant benefits that can result in better use of their resources and budgets. Benefits to expect include:

  • Delivering the highest performance — Cloud PCs provide minimal latency. Taking advantage of global public clouds, cloud PCs enable companies to distribute their access through multiple clouds and multiple cloud regions. Placing cloud PCs closest to each end-user improves experiences and real-time collaboration even within the most demanding applications and environments (e.g., CAD/CAM/CAE and PLM).
  • Providing exceptional user experience — With cloud PCs, users have a fluid workflow. Employees and contractors can access applications and resources no matter where they are based, which, in turn, helps organizations engage the best talent in the world without needing multiple in-person offices. 
  • Improving overall security — Look for solutions with a highly secure architecture that ensures data encryption both in motion and at rest and features separation of the control and data planes, which strengthens and enforces zero trust security policies. Simply put, since there is no data at any edge device, sensitive data is better protected from theft, loss, malware, or user error. 
  • Automated provisioning — IT should be able to leverage existing ITSM workflows to orchestrate the provisioning and life cycle of cloud PCs. Cloud PCs also reduce or even eliminate the cost and complexity associated with sourcing, provisioning, and distributing physical PCs to new and existing employees while also allowing IT teams to scale with ease.
  • Real-time, global visibility — IT teams should expect a cloud PC solution that provides end-to-end insight into user access and cloud PC health across the world, using a single console. IT processes can be dramatically simplified.
  • Global, horizontal scalability —Cloud PCs can be provisioned, or de-provisioned, in minutes depending on the needs of the organization. IT teams can easily onboard new users during expansions and acquisitions as well as revoke access when projects are finished. 

Companies implement cost-effective, flexible and secure end-user computing through cloud PCs to increase productivity and maintain business continuity. Beyond the benefits stated above, they also experience reduced technology and operational costs that come from ease of deployment and management, as well as reduced hardware and service/support costs.

The Future is in the Cloud

Organizations are embracing a hybrid-first work culture today, and future-proofing this strategy with cloud-native, scalable, and secure end-user computing solutions is paramount for ongoing business success.

As we move forward, manufacturing and adjacent industries should consider leveraging new technologies and solutions that can help propel their digital transformations. Cloud PCs are part of that future, bringing innovation and modernization to end-user computing to drive business growth and stay ready for the next big thing.