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The Future of IT in the Manufacturing Industry—North America, Latin America, and Europe : An End-user Perspective

  • February 2015
  • 84 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2673129


Table of Contents

Research Objectives

The overall research objective is to measure the current uses of information technology (IT) within the manufacturing sector and future decision-making behavior toward this area—specifically, smart phones, tablets, cloud computing, video, audio, and Web conferencing, IP telephony, internal and external social media, unified communications clients (UCC), time-division multiplexing (TDM) phones, business grade and consumer softphones, headsets, and mobile device management (MDM).
The research service aims to accomplish the following:
•Analyze the IT-related challenges that organizations face
•Assess the current and future use of enterprise communication technologies
•Evaluate factors that drive investments in enterprise communication technologies
•Gauge mobility, cloud computing, social media, and communication infrastructure trends
•Appraise available IT budgets
•Measure the impact of the workforce on IT


Using a Web-based survey methodology in August 2014, 170 IT decision makers working in the manufacturing sector in North America, Latin America, and Europe were surveyed who were involved in the company’s IT-related purchases.
The survey methodology uses online panels to source only qualified respondents. Respondents must meet requirements set by a screening process prior to full survey participation. Online panels consist of individuals who volunteer to participate in Web-based surveys and typically receive compensation directly from their panel membership for participating in qualified survey research. In general, survey respondents do not receive direct compensation from Frost & Sullivan for participating in research projects.

Key Trends in Manufacturing

•Manufacturers have been among the top implementers of new IT solutions; according to the Manufacturing Leadership arm of Frost & Sullivan, more than x % plan to invest in transformative technologies (such as mobile devices, 3D printers, and robotics) in the next two years.
•Tremendous growth is expected for the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing—improved productivity, quality control, and safety are some of the benefits.
•Meeting customer needs and improving customer satisfaction have become a key priority. Social media allow manufacturers to take advantage of crowdsourcing.
•Collaboration tools are increasingly considered a valuable investment, with globalization and the need for communications throughout the ecosystem being key factors.
•Cybersecurity is a strong threat. Manufacturers are particularly concerned about intellectual property theft.
•Big Data and analytics is expected to be used to assess machine failings and productivity problems before they arise.
•Mobile devices and applications are likely to be prevalent in manufacturing due to the high degree of mobility in this environment. The ability to deliver information on machine defects, workflow difficulties, and operation efficiency in a timely manner would be crucial for controlling costs and remaining competitive in the global marketplace.

Key Research Findings

•Understanding the leading challenges for IT departments and the key drivers for investment in the manufacturing industry is crucial for IT companies.
•This study reveals that x % of manufacturing respondents find dealing with new regulatory requirements a strong challenge; x % of them find supporting mobile workers difficult.
•More than x % of the respondents invest in IT to reduce enterprise costs and improve productivity and marketing effectiveness. Transformative technologies and the Internet of Things are a part of this investment.
•Enterprise social media and consumer social media represent two of the top 3 technology deployments; this is likely to be related to the trend toward customer-centric manufacturing. About x % of the respondents find that using social media offers the ability to receive customer feedback quickly.
•Over x % of the respondents use room-based videoconferencing, desktop videoconferencing, and Web conferencing at least once a week.
•Social media and conferencing are powerful collaboration tools for global companies. The results from this study indicate that manufacturers are finding these solutions increasingly valuable.
•The leading restraint for the deployment of most enterprise technologies is that IT decision makers were not aware of the value of the technologies.
•Malware is rated as the highest security risk; cyber espionage and cyber crime are also perceived as high security risks.
•More than x % of the respondents consider security an important factor when selecting a cloud service provider.
•Android is the most supported mobile operating system in manufacturing.
•While BYOD is considered the second-highest security risk, the industry is quickly moving toward its use. The survey indicates that % of the manufacturing industry’s IT budget is allocated to network security and x % to mobile and wireless. Supporting mobile workers is discovered to be a top priority, and manufacturing companies are willing to spend to ensure network security.
•Overall, the data from this survey supports the IT trends observed in the manufacturing industry.

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