Digital Infrastructure, Cloud Computing Transforming Fragmented Manufacturing Industry Value Chain, According to Microsoft Study

By Microsoft Corp., PRNE
Sunday, April 3, 2011

As industry calls for closer collaboration, Microsoft launches Reference Architecture Framework for Discrete Manufacturers Initiative to accelerate cloud computing, improved collaboration across value chain.

HANNOVER, Germany, April 4, 2011 - New technology advancements available in a digital infrastructure, such
as cloud computing and social computing, are transforming manufacturing
industry value chains, according to a Microsoft Corp. survey released today
at HANNOVER MESSE 2011 in Hannover, Germany.

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The survey results revealed a need to better integrate collaboration
tools with business systems (47.4 percent) and to improve access to
unstructured data and processes (36.2 percent). Almost 60 percent see an
industry wide collaboration that includes manufacturing products and services
providers, IT providers, systems integrators and in-house business analysts
as most capable of bringing about these improvements.

To support tighter collaboration across these stakeholders, Microsoft has
created a Reference Architecture Framework for Discrete Manufacturers
Initiative (DIRA Framework) to drive solutions based on cloud computing
across manufacturing networks while helping integrate processes within and
across the enterprise, extend the reach of the network to more companies
globally, and connect smart devices to the cloud. Microsoft partners involved
in the initiative currently include Apriso Corp., Camstar Systems Inc.,
ICONICS Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., Siemens MES and Tata Consultancy
Services Ltd.

"Globalization has fragmented industry value chains, making them more
complex and unable to quickly respond to increased competition and shorter
product lifecycles. Cloud computing is empowering today's global
manufacturers to rethink how they innovate and collaborate across the value
chain," said Sanjay Ravi, managing director, Worldwide Discrete Manufacturing
Industry for Microsoft. "As a result of these increasingly rapid changes in
technology and business, manufacturers are seeking guidance on how to best
plan and deploy these powerful technologies in concert with their business
strategies and priorities and how to achieve greater competitive
differentiation. Microsoft is leading a DIRA Framework in response to this
need while offering a pragmatic solution roadmap for IT integration and

Cloud Computing Survey Findings

The Microsoft Discrete Manufacturing Cloud Computing Survey 2011, which
polled 152 IT and business decision-makers within automotive, aerospace,
high-tech and electronics, and industrial equipment manufacturing companies
in Germany, France and the United States, found that the biggest benefit of
cloud computing is lowered cost of optimizing infrastructure, according to
48.3 percent of respondents. This was followed closely by efficient
collaboration across geographies(47.7 percent) and the ability to respond
quickly to business demands (38.4 percent).

"The survey shows current cloud computing initiatives are targeted at
cost reduction, but a growing number of forward-looking companies are
exploring new and innovative business capabilities uniquely delivered through
the cloud," Ravi said. "Manufacturers are exploring ways to improve product
design with social product development, enhance visibility across multiple
tiers in the value chain, and create new business models and customer
experiences based on smart devices connecting to the cloud."

DIRA Framework

Development of the discrete manufacturing reference architecture will be
an ongoing effort led by Microsoft, with close collaboration by participating
companies, including industry solution vendors and systems integrators. The
initiative defines six key themes to guide this development: natural user
interfaces, role-based productivity and insights, social business, dynamic
value networks, smart connected devices, and security-enhanced, scalable and
adaptive infrastructure.

Microsoft has developed the principles of the DIRA Framework in
conjunction with the technology adoption plans and solution strategies of its
key partners. Several Microsoft partners across multiple business areas in
manufacturing have endorsed the DIRA Framework because it helps them deliver
high levels of customer value through complementary solutions aligned with
the framework.

"We see the DIRA Framework, combined with the unparalleled discrete
manufacturing content and application solutions from Rockwell's FactoryTalk,
as an opportunity to help our customers leverage their IT investment by
accelerating the integration of manufacturing and enterprise information to
reduce the time-to-value for the enterprise," said Doug Lawson, chief
software strategist, Rockwell Automation.

"Siemens welcomes the new DIRA Framework- which is a good fit to its own
industry software offering and Totally Integrated Automation approach," said
Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO Industrial Automation Systems, Siemens. "We expect
this architecture to lever an improved interoperability information flow
between the shop floor and the enterprise functions, as well as increase
efficiency between enterprise systems and enterprises throughout the supplier
network. The Siemens MES product, SIMATIC IT, is just one example that aligns
well with this reference architecture."

"Apriso supports the (DIRA Framework) initiative because it echoes many
of the architectural principles that we currently practice - it is
essentially an extension of the global platform for manufacturing operations
that Apriso's customers currently utilize," said Tom Comstock, executive vice
president, Apriso.

"A comprehensive reference architecture is essential for dynamic,
data-driven applications to meet current and future challenges," said Scott
, chief technology officer and vice president of R&D at Camstar Systems.
"Customers will benefit from these technologies to assist in solving complex
business problems and meeting today's industry needs."

"At Tata Consultancy Services, we help the manufacturing industry improve
competitiveness with best-of-breed solutions that deliver business
functionality, integration and data synchronization. Our solution uses
industry best practices for all manufacturing enterprise roles," said Kalpan
, practice director, Enterprise Solutions, Tata Consultancy Services.
"The solution ensures full integration between shop floor systems, Siemens
MES, enterprise resource planning and other data sources, which enable lean
and traditional scheduling principles to be readily applied. Using this newly
released reference architecture, we expect to accelerate value realization
for our customers due to asset-leveraged, shorter implementation cycles."

"ICONICS provides to the discrete manufacturing industry HMI/SCADA
solutions and manufacturing intelligence solutions that assist our customers
in maximizing their productivity and efficiency," said Gary Kohrt, vice
president, Marketing and Product Marketing for ICONICS. "ICONICS supports the
DIRA Framework and utilizes many of the technologies referenced by it. For
example, by utilizing Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft SharePoint
Technologies, our GENESIS64 and PortalWorX products are able to deliver user
interfaces that are not only graphically rich, natural to use and role-based
to the many different users in our customers' enterprise, but also often
'excite' those that use and share information with them. By utilizing
Microsoft's mobile technologies, we can deliver information to our customers'
ever-shifting, on-the-go workforces, with no loss in functionality."

"The principles of discrete manufacturing reference architecture align
well with key offerings from Infosys, such as Supply Chain Visibility and
Collaboration product suite and manufacturing collaboration accelerators,"
said Sanjay Jalona, vice president and head of Manufacturing North America,
Infosys Technologies Ltd. "These offerings take advantage of Microsoft
technologies to solve business challenges like supplier collaboration,
innovation management and knowledge management."

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize
their full potential.

Wendy Grover, Microsoft, +1-425-705-7609, wegrover at; NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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