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Manufacturing Industry is undergoing significant transformation driven by consumers, connected experience, changing demographics and globalization among others. With clear shift of power towards consumers, industry is continually looking at ways to engage not just with customers but across the entire value chain and develop agility to ever shifting business needs. Clearly the shift is from outside-in with today’s consumers expecting more from their connected experience. For the industry, it is not just about manufacturing but to deal with global footprint it touches today. They are also thinking about talent and how to create an environment that attracts new millennial and yet build on the knowledge and experience of the enterprise.

In this context, vision of today’s workplace is that of a dynamic workspace – where physical and technical boundaries have blurred, with overlapping professional and personal lives, and with ability to access information anywhere anytime. We also recognize how individual’s experience as a modern consumer is influencing their day-to-day work activities. A modern worker today uses multiple devices and looks toward extending the connected experience within the business environment. The following diagram illustrates an example of day-in-the-life of a plant manager…

Microsoft’s approach to Reimagined Workplace in Manufacturing evolved around role-based workspace. The key requirements for such workspace includes the following functional capabilities –

• Role-based productivity bringing people, process, asset & insight together
• Broad enterprise information access including LOB data and apps
• Timely insights and visualization for better decisions
• Collaboration & communications anytime, anywhere and any device
• Social platform for cloud-sharing, collaboration and knowledge management

Here are few of the benefits –

• Increase Operational Efficiency: Part of the improving operational efficiency in any manufacturing organization includes bringing people, process, assets and insights together. It enables visibility and effectiveness, process improvements, assets and equipment uptime and analysis and insight into aspects of operations itself.
• Empowering production/line Workers: Plant floor and deskless employees when enabled with information and productivity related to their work environment, contribute significantly to operational efficiency. It provides them with the ability to look for best practices and expertise and at the same time enable reporting in a timely manner. For the enterprise the benefits are derived from expanded corporate knowledge, effectiveness and enhanced bottom line.
• Attract and retain talent: Enterprises needs to attract and retain the best talent by offering engaging social and collaborative tools that enable them to do their best work with current technology. Employee onboarding, ability to ensure proper training and health and safety compliance are few of the processes that are key to success.
• Reduce costs: Cost reduction can be at many levels. Improving efficiency in reducing equipment downtime by timely handling of exception and getting right resources is one such example. Providing a device combined with improving operational and manual processes also lead to cost reduction.

With Office 365, Microsoft has modernized office and introduced innovation in four key areas – natural expression, social workplace, self-service insights and responsible empowerment. Office 365 provides clean, fast and fluid experiences enabling users to the best of touch, pen, mouse and keyboard across range of devices – be it Windows 8, Windows Phones, Android devices, or iOS phones and iPads. For the reimagined workplace, Office 365 provides new Enterprise Social capabilities and experience to enable people to work in new and more productive ways. Real-time collaborations through voice, video and chats is one such example. Office 365 also provides tools to discover, analyze, and visualize data. Combined with SQL Server and Azure, Windows Azure HD Insight Service, the parallel data warehouse, enterprises today can build a comprehensive platform and set of tools for information management that supports all types of data and that too without compromising business’s privacy, security, or control.

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