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Montana-based Snowflake, a company known for handling the needs of a data warehouse and data lake with its unified data cloud, today expanded its product portfolio with a dedicated offering for the manufacturing industry.
The so-called “manufacturing data cloud” gives enterprises in automotive, technology, energy and industrial sectors a foundation to get started with Snowflake’s data platform and unlock the value of industrial data for business growth and competitive edge. It comes just a week after Databricks, Snowflake’s main competitor, debuted its own manufacturing-specific lakehouse.
What does Snowflake manufacturing data cloud offer?
Snowflake’s fully-managed data cloud helps enterprises centralize siloed structured, semi-structured and unstructured data to build various downstream applications, right from predictive capabilities to historical trend analysis reports. The platform offers unified governance with support for virtually any scale of storage, compute and users. Teams pay only for what they use.
With the new manufacturing data cloud, enterprises will get not only get access to the core Snowflake platform to consolidate isolated information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) data (including data from smart machines and sensors) but also prebuilt partner-delivered solutions, as well as datasets to handle various data-driven use cases relevant to their industry.
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This way, instead of starting from scratch, teams in the manufacturing sector could use the pre-built templates to jumpstart their Snowflake data cloud instance and quickly coordinate datasets for different vertical-specific downstream applications.
“The Snowflake manufacturing data cloud and our ecosystem of partners gives manufacturers and their suppliers access to the data, applications, and services needed to effectively manage end-to-end supply chains, create new shop floor efficiencies, and deliver better products and services to their customers,” said Tim Long, global head of manufacturing at Snowflake.
Currently, the packaged offering comes with solutions from as many as 50 partners, Long tells VentureBeat. This includes LTIMindtree’s shop floor visibility solution, Deloitte’s energy management solution, phData’s demand forecasting solution and EY’s spend insights solution. Users also get out-of-the-box integration with data movement platform Fivetran, analytics platform Tableau and Snowflake marketplace partners like FourKites and Yes Energy.
As the company explains, the integration with data tools provides a direct way to help manufacturers connect their data to the Snowflake data cloud and drive insights from it. Meanwhile, marketplace partners like FourKites provide live access to a variety of data sources to enable cross-team data sharing and collaboration for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) model development.
Notably, the offering also provides users access to certain ready-made applications powered by Snowflake such as Blue Yonder, Elementum and Avetta. These will help manufacturers manage their supply chain disruptions with control towers, data-driven workflows and measure risk across third-party contractors and suppliers.
Response to ‘strong demand’
According to Long, the manufacturing data cloud has seen early adoption from global manufacturers like Honeywell, Scania and ExxonMobil. The segment head didn’t share the exact number of adopters, but emphasized that they all are using Snowflake to establish a “data foundation” and power smart manufacturing and supply chain initiatives.
“We’re responding to a strong demand we’re seeing from this industry,” he said.
That said, this is not the first manufacturing-specific offering from a data player. Snowflake’s competitor Databricks has already debuted lakehouse for manufacturing — its own packaged offering that provides the lakehouse architecture with integrated AI capabilities, pre-built solutions and use case accelerators. This offers guidance and best practices for high-value industry challenges such as predictive maintenance, digital twins, supply chain optimization, demand forecasting and real-time IoT analytics.
“Databricks is very focused on IT data, which is critical, but is only half of the data that manufacturers need to unlock as part of their overall digital transformation efforts,” said Long.
On the other hand, Snowflake’s package operates on the convergence of both IT and OT data needed to power Industry 4.0 initiatives, he added.
Race for industry offerings
Both Snowflake and Databricks have been racing to launch vertical-specific solutions to drive the adoption of their respective platforms. Snowflake first made the move in September 2021 with financial services data cloud while Databricks joined the fray in January 2022 with lakehouse for retail.
With the latest announcement, both companies now cover financial services, healthcare, retail and CPG, manufacturing and media and entertainment as dedicated segments.
“Snowflake continues to verticalize its business model by having bespoke solutions catered at addressing the challenges of specific industries,” said Long. “It is enabling us to have deeper conversations with industry business decision-makers and ensure they are able to effectively adopt data throughout their organization and across the wider business ecosystem. We’ll continue to evaluate where additional industry Data Clouds would make sense and respond to demand we’re seeing from our customers.”
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