How IT/OT Convergence is Driving a Staffing Transformation

How IT/OT Convergence is Driving a Staffing Transformation

Edge computing is usually discussed as a technology issue, driven by the need to process data faster and serve more users up and down the organization. But it also has important implications for the Information Technology and Operations Technology (IT/OT) professionals who manage that technology.

Thanks to 5G, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and the Cloud, devices, and systems at the edge that were once isolated can now communicate in real-time, sharing data and converging their networks and infrastructures. The change is happening fast, too. The global edge computing market is expected to exceed 17 billion dollars within five years. Its impact will be felt across industries.

To deal with these changes, it may be time for manufacturers to rethink how they organize their technology staff.

Converging Organizations

Traditionally, IT and OT staffs have been separate departments, with IT running systems of record such as ERP and the OT team in charge of machines and systems in the factories. That approach worked because the technologies and systems themselves were distinct, with only limited and controlled communication between them.

Now, with IT and OT networks converging and users demanding access to manufacturing intelligence in real-time, enterprises should consider merging their technology teams to reap the full rewards of digital transformation. Experts warn that dividing IT and OT architecture limits performance and value, especially when your workforce is digitally proficient. And if the technology is becoming unified, it only makes sense for the organization to be unified too, at least to some degree.

Merging departments in an enterprise is never easy. It’s all the more challenging in this case because IT and OT are mission-critical functions. Security and even the ability to operate are at stake. What’s more, these two staffs have different skillsets and are experienced in different tools and technologies. But in the long run, delivering the best value to the enterprise will require most manufacturers to adopt a unified approach to their staffing as well as their technology.

What Manufacturers Can Do to Start

There is no single prescription for every company. You may already have closely-collaborating IT/OT teams. Or, you may only be starting your digital transformation journey. Regardless, here are a couple of areas where you can begin your staffing transformation to help ease a merging of your IT and OT departments:

  • Start with knowledge-sharing days – One way to begin this transition is to establish one day a month or every other week for different IT staff to sit with an OT co-worker for the day to “live a day in the life” with each other. This is a great opportunity to share a new perspective that likely will result in greater awareness of challenges – and maybe even identify a few opportunities for improvement on implementing edge intelligence infrastructure and capabilities.
  • Evaluating needs – Staffing and workforce needs should be looked at in the context of the overall technology ecosystem. Review your OT and IT architecture holistically from L0–L3 within operations to identify potential sources of weakness, such as in terms of bandwidth, redundancy, security, and availability of worker expertise. Other areas to evaluate might be around your industrial networks, historians, and SCADA systems.
  • Vendor selection – Vendors have a role to play too. By choosing vendors committed to forward-looking convergence, companies can ease the burden on their technical staff. As new projects come up, consider solution providers with an industrial specialization. These prospective solution providers should be well versed with Industry 4.0 strategies and already have experience in deploying converged IT/OT solutions.

One common thread that should be clear by now is the importance of starting to plan your IT/OT staffing needs today. Thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector are going unfilled right now. A study by Deloitte and the National Association of Manufacturers predicts that more than two million jobs will go unfilled by 2030. Talent will be scarce across the board, including high-paying skilled positions, as people are turning away from college in record numbers.


IT/OT convergence is at the heart of digital transformation across manufacturing operations. This applies to people and technology. An edge-based infrastructure can deliver the resilience, flexibility, and efficiency that manufacturers need – especially concerning data collection, processing, and analysis. But that potential can only be realized if the IT and OT staff can work effectively together.

As IDC explains, “IT/OT convergence is sometimes considered an amorphous topic, but the truth is that this convergence across staff, technology, and the process is at the very core of Industry 4.0 transformations. This is particularly true in the area of the convergence of OT and edge-based infrastructure and intelligence.”

We are still in the early stages of Industry 4.0 and the future is not cast in stone. What is clear is that the IT and OT worlds are on a path toward a unified information system. Now might be the time for manufacturers to start unifying their technology staff as well.

becoming a digital enterprise starts with a digital thread

iBase-t Announces Model-Based Enterprise Offering

iBase-t Announces Model-Based Enterprise Offering

Program extends the value and capabilities of iBase-t’s Manufacturing Execution System by providing customers a roadmap to achieve their MBE vision. 

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. – Nov. 18, 2021 iBase-t, the company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, today announced the launch of a Model-based Enterprise (MBE) offering that can accelerate a manufacturer’s Industry 4.0 journey. The first version, based on Solumina iSeries i050, provides a way for manufacturers to start operating as a ”Validated, Model-Centric” enterprise, as referenced at the Model-Based Enterprise Summit that was hosted March 31-April 2, 2020.

Manufacturers challenged with intelligent change management are implementing model-based programs to extend model-data connectivity between engineering and manufacturing operations. Companies can’t easily capture this relevant data, which often requires manual inputs or duplicate work, to generate digital continuity or a digital thread. iBase-t’s MBE offering overcomes these challenges by easing how this data is shared between design and manufacturing to simplify the complexities caused by design changes inherent in model-based engineering. 

NIST has provided guidance on how an MBE strategy can yield substantial business value by:

  • Pursuing new revenue opportunities, such as offering manufacturing-as-a-service
  • Lowering business risk by agility when shifting to serve different industry sectors
  • Reducing costs with more on-demand, pull business processes, such as those in maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations

“Manufacturers are looking to become more resilient in today’s uncertain world. This objective has now become mission-critical, with the pandemic and ongoing supply chain and business disruptions,” said Julie Fraser, Vice President of Research for Operations and Manufacturing at Tech-Clarity. “A structured MBE program can move companies toward greater efficiency, quality, and reliability – even those manufacturers with limited IT resources and budget.”

“iBase-t is pleased to launch this new MBE offering, which underscores our knowledge and commitment to leading customers on their Industry 4.0 journey,” said Naveen Poonian, CEO, iBase-t. “Whether it’s enterprise manufacturers challenged with picking the right partner, or midsized manufacturers implementing an agile strategy, we look forward to guiding each of our customers to achieve these goals.”

iBase-t’s iSeries-based solutions are built on a microservices, cloud-native architecture, which provides a better approach for manufacturers to advance their Industry 4.0 strategy. This MBE offering can accelerate the realization of becoming a data-driven business void of paper-based or manual processes. 


About iBase-t
iBase-t is a software company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained. Founded in Southern California in 1986, iBase-t solutions ensure digital continuity across manufacturing, quality, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations on a global scale. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, is a cloud-native platform that establishes a digital ecosystem to drive innovation and improve operational performance. With offices in the U.S., UK, France, and India, iBase-t drives the manufacturing operations for customers that include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at

How Can Data Monetization Drive Growth?

How Can Data Monetization Drive Growth?

According to market research firm Gartner, Data Monetization is one of the top ten trends in manufacturing, so CIO’s need to be aware of it.  Research firm Forrester also has multiple reports on this topic.  A quick Google search of the term yields over 200,000 hits in ½ a second. It is no wonder why so many manufacturing CIOs are now trying to better understand if data monetization can drive growth.

For decades, “making IT relevant to the business” has been a key CIO objective. Will data monetization finally provide an opportunity for manufacturing CIOs to achieve this vision? Or is this topic just more hype that will soon fade away?

Better Access to Intelligence Increases Profits

Manufacturers have long struggled with quickly and easily extracting intelligent business metrics from operations. This challenge has been a big driver in justifying the investment in Industry 4.0 programs. As more and more manufacturers move through their digital transformation, the necessary visibility to production data is now happening. And, with this access, the door is opening to see a new level of intelligence. This is a good thing.

Thanks to the growth in IIoT devices and software systems to collect and aggregate manufacturing intelligence, manufacturers now have a wealth of data to mine and turn into direct and indirect revenue streams. This is a core concept behind how data monetization can drive business growth, which can be best illustrated by examples of Data Monetization use cases.

1. After-Delivery Service Offerings

The most obvious mechanism to extract value from data collected during the manufacturing process is to use detailed product and production information as the basis for an after-delivery service offering.  With better knowledge of a product manufacturing genealogy, a manufacturer can better offer extended warranties, prepaid service contracts, or impending issue alerting services all of which are incremental revenue streams.  

Learn more here, Why Traceability is Essential to Offering Enhanced Field Service and MRO.

2. Detailed Service Documentation

Another potential revenue opportunity is to offer detailed service documentation and manuals, produced with actual assembly data incorporated on a serialized basis. Such a service manual could not only advise that when relacing a bolt that it should be torqued to 65 inch-lbs +/- 1 in-lb, but also note that the original toque value during assembly was 64.7 in-lbs. The value of providing this type of service extends well beyond an immediate gratification of seeing and documenting the work that has been completed, but to start building a digital history of work completed, which can be a valuable source of future process improvement – both from the manufacturer’s and end user’s perspective. 

3. Equipment as a Service

Numerous examples now exist of how manufacturers are creating new revenue streams by selling the consumption of their product as a service over time instead of an outright sale. The opportunity here is substantial in that manufacturers can further segment their products by the value provided. Additional services could be included that previously were not practical to consider or execute upon. But, with a data intelligence infrastructure in place between buyers and sellers, it becomes possible to offer new premium services, such as different warranties, support programs, or even quality segments. 

Looking Beyond After Market Services

The increase in available information also provides ways to indirectly impact profitability through lowering costs or increasing market share. One example would be to include some of the above features in the base product as a competitive differentiator. When faced with the choice of a product with additional information, even in a controlled price environment such as a commodity market or where there is a fixed price delivery contract all suppliers must meet, the ability to offer more for the same price generally will tip the scales in your favor.  

Data monetization can also lower warranty costs. If you recall just a few impacted units instead of an entire product category, because of the information you have, then the cost of a recall can be substantially reduced. Even if you can’t use data monetization to increase market share, if you increase customer loyalty you will lower your cost of sales.

The Downside of Data Monetization

CIOs that see data monetization as the ultimate solution to proving IT business value, however, will likely be disappointed in the long run. Each of the benefits described above is only going to deliver value if it drives revenue, increases customer loyalty, or improves market share. The unknown variable is the competition. If a key competitor devises a way to deliver what you intend to charge for at no cost, at best, you will have to match them just to maintain market parity. This might result in losing the incremental revenue stream – but the consequence would be direr from losing market share overall.

Also, data monetization won’t drive growth overnight – as if it can be just switched on as needed. You need to make investments to collect, aggregate, and utilize the information.  Connectivity is an essential element. So too is the commitment to maintaining the infrastructure so the data remains current and accurate. This means that operations (OT) security will require an investment to ensure production systems are not subject to intrusion and upset.

Data privacy laws have evolved considerably over the past few years. In some geographies, such as the EU and California, personal data in production records might not be accessible or could require additional security to avoid violating privacy regulations. 

Yet despite these challenges, it is difficult to ignore data and the potential value that can be unlocked to grow your business. The market is continually moving forward. What is considered an advantage from data monetization today will eventually be considered the minimum you must do to remain competitive. 

Make sure your manufacturing operations are managed with a modern manufacturing execution system to ensure the necessary agility and responsiveness exists to modify how data is collected, stored, and processed. An MES that has the flexibility to capture, store and process an ever-increasing volume of data is quickly becoming a “must-have” for any data monetization strategy, which is rapidly now becoming an increasingly important element of any manufacturing strategy.


iBase-t Partners with Purdue University to Expand Manufacturing Research and Education Capabilities

iBase-t Partners with Purdue University to Expand Manufacturing Research and Education Capabilities

The agenda is to help drive further innovation at the University’s IN-MaC manufacturing center by demonstrating how complex manufacturing processes can be simplified

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. – Nov 16, 2021 iBase-t, the company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, today announced it is partnering with Purdue University to usher in the next generation of manufacturing operations innovation. As part of this program, the company’s Solumina iSeries software will be implemented at the university’s Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) in West Lafayette, IN.

Solumina iSeries introduces a new way to manage how complex manufacturing operations are performed while meeting strict quality standards. Students can gain experience on what is involved when planning and controlling complex manufacturing processes. As a cloud-native application built on a microservices architecture, Solumina iSeries can be deployed as either a cloud-based, hybrid, or on-premises Manufacturing Execution System, providing valuable experience to the next generation of leaders tasked with continuing the industry’s digital transformation.

“We are excited to work closely with iBase-t to further strengthen an alignment between private industry and the academic community through IN-MaC research and technology adoption, where students and people from the manufacturing community can gain hands-on experience while helping to drive innovation in the industry,” said Nathan Hartman, Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing, Department Head of Computer Graphics Technology, and Co-Director of IN-MaC at Purdue University.

“One of the goals of IN-MaC is to improve collaboration between industry and academia so we can mutually solve today’s top industrial operations challenges, based on participation by our students, faculty, and partners. By deploying iBase-t technology at Purdue, we can create a realistic representation of the digital thread from design to production to assembly, with a return loop of information that reinforces digital twin techniques,” Hartman explained.

“We are honored to have been selected by Purdue to participate in this program and help prepare tomorrow’s workforce with the digital transformation of complex operations,” said Tom Hennessey, Chief Marketing Officer at iBase-t. “iBase-t is committed to partnering with the academic community to help drive innovation across manufacturing operations.”


About IN-MaC
IN-MaC is Purdue University’s response, in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University, to the economic challenge facing the United States and the State of Indiana in the foreseeable future: How do we create growth and sustain manufacturing competitiveness for generations to come? Many U.S. based companies face a shortage of trained workers capable of filling open positions. Technology is advancing rapidly, and must be transferred to industry quickly in order for companies to remain competitive relative to their peers. Investment in knowledge creation today will ensure future competitiveness for U.S. industry. IN-MaC addresses these needs with an integrated partnership among industry, academia, and government to enable the digital transformation of manufacturing and to help prepare our industry, workforce and talent pipeline to be more competitive and resilient.


About iBase-t
iBase-t is a software company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained. Founded in Southern California in 1986, iBase-t solutions ensure digital continuity across manufacturing, quality, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations on a global scale. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, is a cloud-native platform that establishes a digital ecosystem to drive innovation and improve operational performance. With offices in the U.S., UK, France, and India, iBase-t drives the manufacturing operations for customers that include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at

iBase-t Presents Award to Virgin Orbit at AeroDef 2021

iBase-t Presents Award to Virgin Orbit at AeroDef 2021


WHAT: AeroDef Manufacturing® is an aerospace and defense manufacturing conference that showcases the industry’s most advanced technologies. iBase-t provided an introduction to Jim Simpson, Chief Strategy Officer at Virgin Orbit, who received an award for innovation and manufacturing excellence, based on their unique satellite launch process.

WHEN: iBase-t is the exclusive award sponsor of the AeroDef 2021 keynote on November 17, 2021.

WHO: Naveen Poonian, CEO at iBase-t, is passionate about driving the company’s overall vision and mission by aligning organizational and departmental objectives. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its rapidly growing aerospace business across North America, France, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Naveen is actively involved with the OCTANEe Technology Innovation Forum and is a member of the Vistage CEO Roundtable. He is a strong advocate for bringing iBase-t closer to the local community and has aided in organizations such as the Mental Health Association of Orange County, Olive Crest, and the Working Wardrobes of Orange County. Naveen is also involved in the American Heart Association, where he helps promote greater awareness and preventative care for heart disease.

WHERE: Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA.



About iBase-t
iBase-t is a software company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained. Founded in Southern California in 1986, iBase-t solutions ensure digital continuity across manufacturing, quality, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations on a global scale. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, is a cloud-native platform that establishes a digital ecosystem to drive innovation and improve operational performance. With offices in the U.S., UK, France, and India, iBase-t customers include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at

How Traceability Directly Impacts Product and Process Quality

How Traceability Directly Impacts Product and Process Quality

In my previous article on traceability and its importance on Field Service Operations and MRO, I gave an introduction to the concept of the Model-based Enterprise (MBE). Conversely, in the NIST and DoD work on the MBE, much of their focus was instead on the fourth objective: creating a digital model to improve integration. Since the MBE research by NIST and the DoD was driven by DoD needs, particularly in the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry, their primary focus was on integrating engineering and design activities that occur in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications. Once again, traceability plays a critical role, this time on its impact on product and process quality, which I’ll discuss in greater detail in this article. 

The integration focus of MBE is on the PLM and engineering aspects of digital models and how that information can be shared with a production application or a Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

Four key product-related focuses are part of the MBE initiative:

  • Product definition 
  • Manufacturing capability definition 
  • Operations and logistics, including: 
    • Model-based smart manufacturing operations
    • Knowledge extraction and application for manufacturing operations
  • Enterprise integration 

As explained in the previously referenced traceability post, digital model performance is directly linked to the accuracy and quality of the data within the model. This begs an understanding of how detailed traceability and genealogy can contribute to engineering performance improvement.  

The Product vs. Process Engineering Challenges in Manufacturing

A key objective of the NIST MBE initiative is improving engineering performance. The design and engineering of products is a combination of both the specific product engineering and the specific assembly or manufacturing processes used to create the end product. This includes choosing or designing the components and materials that are brought together to comprise the final product.

When designing a new product, one of the big challenges engineers face is ensuring that the product is capable of being manufactured. Designing a world-class product or system must also consider the final cost. Creating the greatest product in its class is not meaningful if that product costs more than anyone is willing to pay for it. If the parts are too expensive or the processes to assemble or make the components are too complex to be done economically, then the product engineering effort will not be successful.

The Product and Process Traceability Link

To improve a process, you must first understand the process. Something as simple as torquing a fastener can drastically impact a product’s manufacturability. A component sourced from two different suppliers might respond differently during an assembly operation. One supplier’s components may require more time, energy, or effort to achieve the desired tightness. 

Anyone performing a process improvement project will need to have considerable knowledge and detail to understand why manufacturing variability is higher than anticipated. The only way to do the root cause analysis that identifies this variability is if you have information collected with enough accuracy and precision.

In many A&D programs, product lifecycles are measured in years and decades, unlike in the consumer market where lifecycles could be a few months or years. This means generational challenges may exist. New materials may be added over time. New processes may be utilized. 

For example, the B52 bomber first flew nearly 70 years ago. In 1952, additive manufacturing (3d printing) wasn’t available. Utilizing 3d printing as part of a support program could be extremely valuable when one understands the costs and processes associated with manufacturing these legacy parts. While the data isn’t available from the original manufacturing operations from the 20th century, suppliers supporting the B52 in the 21st century could have that information available to engineers if they have equipped their facilities with the tools to collect the right data.

Customers today demand higher quality, better performance, and near-perfect reliability from every product. Engineers must devote considerable time and focus on continuous improvement projects on every program or project to meet these elevated expectations. The only way to know what processes or components offer significant opportunities is with a deep understanding of how the product was made. That means knowing what variables exist within a product based on raw material sources, manufacturing processes, and other specific details on how the machines or lines were operated that the products were made on.  

MES & PLM – The Data Integration Opportunity

As noted above, getting information into PLM systems is a key goal of the MBE initiative as defined by NIST. The reality is most PLM and ERP systems do not have the right connectivity or architecture to support the collection of detailed product and process traceability intelligence. This is particularly true as it relates to process data collected from manufacturing operations. 

This shortfall has created a significant need for a modern MES to perform this function. As companies move to adopt the MBE approach, they need to keep in mind the quality of their models and how the value they can receive is directly linked to the quality of the data fed into the models. Only a modern MES with the right architecture, data structures, interfaces, speed, and capacities will enable them to derive the maximum benefit from investing in and becoming a Model-based Enterprise.

becoming a digital enterprise starts with a digital thread

Why Traceability is Essential to Offering Enhanced Field Service and MRO

Why Traceability is Essential to Offering Enhanced Field Service and MRO

In today’s economy manufactures are constantly looking for opportunities to increase customer loyalty, introduce new revenue streams, and improve margins. The adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies has become a prevalent approach that manufacturers have taken to pursue these three business opportunities. This has led to the pursuit of digital continuity based on a concept called “the Model-Based Enterprise” (MBE). The objective is to establish modeling and simulation systems, typically with engineering disciplines that are linked to business management and operations is to drive improved outcomes. An MBE strategy provides an ideal foundation for “cradle to grave” traceability, including establishing and maintaining digital models for field service and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) capabilities in complex discrete industries.   

As defined by NIST developed in conjunction with the DoD, the MBE is an approach to improve multiple aspects of product development, production, delivery, and support.  After delivery support or MRO is an area where many manufacturers, particularly in the A&D industry, are looking to address the opportunities identified above. A key to being able to realize the opportunity is ensuring that product traceability or genealogy is built into your production systems.

The Role of Models in Field Service and MRO

As explained in the NIST MBE work, a (digital) model serves four primary purposes:

  • A model is a representation of a product
  • A model is a representation of a process
  • A model is a predictor of behavior, and
  • A model is an integration enabler

The first three are directly correlated with improving field service or MRO capabilities and the subsequent opportunities. Deriving benefits from these models, however, is dependent on their accuracy and fidelity. 

There are two elements in achieving high fidelity: 

  1. The accuracy of the model itself, and
  2. The accuracy and precision of the data fed into the model for the subsequent simulations that drive the business decisions based on the models

This explains why traceability is so critical to deriving all the benefits from adopting an MBE approach to manufacturing and subsequent field service or MRO opportunities.

Traceability and Decision Support

Since a digital model is a representation of a product, the more detail that can be provided about what components were involved to make the product, the better the digital model will be. The same holds as to the process parameters involved in the manufacturing. 

When after-delivery reliability problems surface, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is often used to understand the root cause of the failure to then direct corrective or preventive action. If a certain component is prone to failure, but the information about that component is limited to only its basic identification, the corrective action would likely require retrofitting or repairing every product/unit with that component. 

Alternatively, if the FMEA activity can determine that the failure only occurs in parts from a specific supplier that delivered components between an exact date range and only when the installation torque was in the top 25% of the allowable range, then there is a big opportunity to reduce the cost of remediation by as much as 90% or more. However, the only way to accomplish this benefit is if each product’s or unit’s genealogy has the level of detail that you can identify exactly the ones that will need attention.

MES & Traceability

The key to capturing the data critical to this level of functionality is in having a production system, typically your MES, that has both the speed of response and the data storage capability both from a volume and a field definition perspective. Your MES must efficiently collect not only serialized product data but also relevant process data such as torques, temperatures, pressures, or other similar data with little or no operator intervention, especially in high-volume production environments. 

Further, by extending your digital thread of continuity to post-production field service and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul activities, the potential benefits and value from an MBE approach can be significantly augmented. It is this concept that is helping to drive the recent surge of MES investments and the accompanying merger and acquisition activity that has occurred this year. 

Capturing the Opportunity

In the example above, imagine the economic advantage a manufacturer could have by being able to offer a customer a potential order-of-magnitude reduction in field service downtime related to component failures. A similar value is possible to those providing field service as part of a sustainment or MRO contract. This is just one example of the size of this opportunity. Others center around the more timely replacement of life-limited components, identification of operational performance issues by staff and subsequent improved training, and improved supplier qualification and management.

But to capture these opportunities, your MES must provide your high-fidelity traceability capabilities and be seamlessly integrated with field service and MRO operations. If your existing systems infrastructure can’t support this vision, then perhaps it is time to consider an upgrade.

MRO Whitepaper

iBase-t Survey Reveals Boost in Post-COVID Spending on Digital, Cloud, and Supplier Quality Management

ibaset survey

Conclusions based on 203 complex discrete manufacturing respondents; investment focused on operational excellence, data collection, and analysis capabilities

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. – Nov. 3, 2021 iBase-t, the company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained, today announced the results of an original survey of more than 200 manufacturing executives. The findings revealed that complex, discrete manufacturers continue to accelerate investments in cloud-based applications, data collection and analysis, and supplier quality management. The iBase-t survey found that these investments were initially spurred by pandemic-driven disruption and continue to accelerate.

Investment in cloud technologies is top of mind, indicating that the pandemic has made a compelling case to leverage cloud infrastructure to not only create a more agile, flexible manufacturing environment – but to also support an increasingly distributed, remote workforce.

  • Over half of respondents (53.7%) have accelerated investments in cloud technologies
  • A quarter of respondents (24.1%) indicated they are “all in” on the cloud, migrating all key operations and analytics applications to take full advantage of the infrastructure
  • About one-fifth of respondents (18.2%) are taking a “wait and see” approach on the cloud; 3.9% said they have no plans to use a cloud infrastructure

“Complex, discrete manufacturers are embracing innovation and digital transformation on many fronts. These range from cloud adoption to better methods of supplier quality management to innovation surrounding data collection and analysis,” said Tom Hennessey, CMO of iBase-t. “Manufacturers are justifying this investment with better operational excellence and intelligent decision support that can be extended across the entire value chain.”

Considerable investment is taking place in technologies integral to digital transformation, with over half of all respondents indicating they are investing in:

  • Supplier quality management (59.1%)
  • Cloud applications (55.2%), and 
  • Data collection and analysis (56.2%)

Other notable areas of investment include the Industrial Internet of Things/IIoT, (48.8%), Industry 4.0 (42.9%), and supply chain collaboration (47.8%). Nearly half of respondents (44.8%) say they are completely digital regarding how operations are managed, reports are generated, and issue resolution is achieved, including audit and regulatory compliance documentation. 

More than half of respondents (53.2%) share a “strong confidence” in manufacturing growth prospects over the next 1-3 years, and 44.3% of respondents indicated moderate confidence for growth in the next 1-3 years.  Only 2.5% see growth as flat.

View the survey questions and responses in detail.

About the Research
iBase-t commissioned an independent market research firm to survey a random sample of 203 decision-makers within the manufacturing industry that was primarily focused on complex discrete manufacturing. Specific industry representation was as follows: aerospace & defense (8%); medical device (22%); industrial equipment (35%); electronics (32%) and shipbuilding (3%). The study took place in August and September of 2021 in partnership with Upwave (formerly Survata), a marketing analytics company based in San Francisco, California. Respondents included managers and above. Notably, 47% were managers or senior managers while 30% were C-level executives, or presidents/CEOs.

About iBase-t
iBase-t is a software company that simplifies how complex products are built and maintained. Founded in Southern California in 1986, iBase-t solutions ensure digital continuity across manufacturing, quality, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations on a global scale. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, is a cloud-native platform that establishes a digital ecosystem to drive innovation and improve operational performance. With offices in the U.S., UK, France, and India, iBase-t drives the manufacturing operations for customers that include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at