"The big deal is connected to the challenges the modern business leaders must solve. One of the most crucial questions the decision-makers face is this: How can we make our business more agile? How to, for example, increase the innovation rate, and how to reach existing and new markets faster," states Enfo’s Nordic Alliance Manager Magnus Strömer.
In order to reach these targets, the company has to have the right information in the right place at the right time. More often than not, this calls for IT and data integrations, and the most agile way for modern integrations is by using cloud technologies.
"When businesses need to change, cloud allows for smooth integrations and offers completely new possibilities. You need your IT to be an enabler instead of a bottleneck. If you succeed, your business will increase."
The main value of cloud services lies in supporting a fast-moving digital business transformation. Some of the most evident benefits of cloud services are scalability, flexibility and cost effectiveness – to quickly scale up or down when the demand for your products and services varies, not needing to have capacity in stock for your peaks, and being able to quickly develop environments in which to test new ideas.
"In a nutshell, the two main ingredient the cloud brings to IT integrations are speed and access to new environments. It’s all about reaching new applications, systems, services, initiatives and markets faster than what was possible in the old environment, when you had heavy on-premises platforms that needed to be painstakingly integrated to your backbone."
According to Strömer, it’s no wonder the change for more agile IT is now often driven from the business side. "Of course the company also has to take care of its existing IT environments, but more and more IT-related questions are also C-level questions. In my opinion, the cloud-driven business should also be in the CEO’s agenda. If you are not the in any way familiar with cloud technologies, you can’t understand the possibilities."
Cloud integrations can improve productivity and decision-making
One of the companies that has already taken cloud integrations firmly in their C-level agenda is ESAB, a world leader in the production of welding and cutting equipment and consumables.
"A few years ago ESAB and Enfo embarked on a cloud journey in order to make welding machines smarter. ESAB wanted to use all the information they can get from the welding machines, so we put sensors on the welding machines and took data from the sensors up to the cloud. The solution got the name WeldCloud," Strömer says.
Welding is a technique that has developed slowly over the past century, and the industry is heavily controlled by strict regulations. Even in this field, digitization opens new paths to improve processes and working methods as well as the development of the products. When all the data from the welding processes is collected in one and the same system, both more efficient working methods and optimized processes are made possible. As data will come from thousands of welding systems and customers, the overall picture becomes a rich source for development, research and analysis.
Today WeldCloud has evolved into an online management system that makes new performance improvements possible. It connects welding power supplies to a software platform that manages data to be analyzed for maximum productivity. Every time a welder completes a pass, a trove of data is infused in the weld. That data has the power to inform future decisions, improve productivity, and provide clients and users with the information necessary to understand how the weld was made.
"ESAB has developed the solution further, going more and more into the internet of things, and connecting more and more machines and systems into the cloud. This would not have been possible without their initial conviction and courage to begin the cloud journey."
How to make integrations easier to buy and implement
According to Strömer, ESAB chose Enfo because they had already been working together in integration projects. "They know we have skilled people and a proven track of capabilities in all kinds of integration projects."
However, there are many other companies that don’t know the benefits of cloud technologies and integrations as well as ESAB. How would Strömer convince them to take a deeper interest in cloud integrations?
"One thing IT companies must do is make integrations easier to buy. For this purpose Enfo has been offering integration as a service for a few years now. Through this service you can order integrations and we will deliver them with a defined time frame to a cloud platform, where we will manage and support your integrations. It is our responsibility to make sure everything works smoothly. The customer doesn’t have to invest in an inflexible platform, manage consultants or deal with expensive migration projects."
Strömer points out that many SMEs don’t have enough skills and IT people to take advantage of the possibilities of integration and cloud on their own.
"We have been working with a portal where companies can order integrations online. There we have fixed prices and also delivery times depending on which integration the client wants to develop. For example: you want to integrate your CRM SalesForce with your backbone ERP, so you order it, the work goes to our integration factory, we develop and make the integration and put the request back to the customer. This is all quite smart."
Strömer also emphasizes that IT companies have to make modern cloud and IT solutions more approachable to companies that don’t necessarily have the skills to implement them.
"We do it with several integration partners, cloud vendors and standard clouds, and by adding our services on top of them. We both build and run digital solutions, and help our customers in mastering the complexities of data and various public and private clouds."