Industrial transformation stems from a company’s desire to acquire capabilities to predict and act, based on accurate and real-time data. We found this after having worked with various industrial companies to device a digitalisation strategy and implement items on their digital transformation roadmap.
The companies were not only interested in predicting physical occurrences on the manufacturing line and acting preventively – although that was played a big part – they were also looking to predict industry trends, and generate disruptive insights, new business models, and revenue streams.
We can separate our manufacturing customers into two categories: (1) traditional industrial companies, large, senior organisations with a heavy tech legacy, and (2) the new players; younger, disruptive organisations that challenge the status quo.
Regardless of the reason why organisations embark on IT and business modernisation, the process of industrial transformation is long and needs to be well devised from end to end. The process starts by putting in place the right strategy on one end, going over business development opportunities, technology implementation and organisational development on the other end, and finally preparing the company for the opportunities that will be identified throughout the process.
The IoT Customer Spectrum
Internet of Things and systematic gathering of data plays a central role in both of these customer groups’ desires to gain predictive and proactive capabilities.
In the image above, we have the “traditional manufacturers” that are looking for industry improvements and modernisation on the Transformation side of the spectrum. A well-architected IoT solution will help them move up towards the Innovation side of the spectrum. At this stage, the companies gain:
- Increased organisational efficiency
- Sales boost
- Future-proof business models
- Predictive maintenance models
- New revenue streams
- Steering clear of expensive pitfalls
- Minimised time-to-market
- 360o strategic and operational view of IoT
On the Innovation side of the spectrum, you find the companies seeking more opportunities to innovate in the digital arena. The role of the IoT system here is that of a vehicle for innovation. The vehicle is used to transport the organisations further towards the hyper-complexity at scale. The system benefits that we enabled in this part of the spectrum include:
- Being data-driven at all touchpoints
- Predictive and preventive capabilities
- API monetisation opportunities
- Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
About the Approach
To ensure that every customer’s journey suits their needs, we always start every process by identifying the customer’s business values, using a co-creation mindset. We do so based on our experiences from Business, Technology, and Organisational Development.
IoT Business Development
At Alite we listen to our customers, and one of the major concerns they have with IoT is the Return on Investment. All the technology is available but companies are often unaware of how to monetise from it. There are multiple ways in which a company can secure an RoI, and our experience has shown that often more than one way is necessary to achieve this.
We help our customers with their business development in conjunction with IoT and focus on how it will affect not only the company but their customers and the industry at large as well.
The work in the business development domain on IoT revolves around several important questions that need to be elaborated on. For example, “What is the business motivation for this initiative?” or “What is the business model today and do we expect IoT to influence or change it in the future?”, etc.
Finally, the following driving forces of the Business Development aspect of IoT should not be overlooked:
- Cost optimization
- Predictive maintenance
- Connected services
- SLAs & KPIs
- New revenue streams
- New business models
IoT Technology Development
The technology base will always take care of Device management and Data management. It should also be prepared for handling applications and services.
The solution infrastructure and operations should be automated as much as possible, both in terms of deployment and maintenance, as well as scaling and availability. The main pillars that we take into consideration when building the technology stack include:
Pay-for-what-you-use model (and only use what you need), thus reducing operational costs significantly.
Secure and protect the data and the infrastructure so that only authorised users and systems are allowed access at the right levels.
Scalability & Availability
Scale up or down depending on demands and availability of computing power.
Integration & Extendibility
Make it both easier to integrate and combine with other solutions and systems and to expand the solution with more functionality.
Ideally, the IoT Stack is constructed in such a way that it enables the customers to:
- Open APIs and monetise services towards buyers, suppliers, users, etc.
- Deliver proactive service and support.
- Use AI and ML and combine device data with other data.
- Predict orders, purchases, staffing, etc.
- Improve internal product development.
- Form a base for new services.
IoT Organisational Development
Finally, it is crucial to prepare the organisation to be able to tackle all the aspects of change that a digital project will bring about. The success of IoT and the digitalisation of a business is dependent on people from both within and outside the organisation.
At Alite we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution for all our customers. That is why we always provide the right people and skills at the right time, to ensure that the implementation of IoT and digitalisation goes as smoothly as possible.
The organisational impact is reflected in the simple process of Change -> Establish -> Coach. Some of the departments or stakeholders that need to undergo this process include:
- Support & Maintenance
The organisation needs to ask itself questions like: “What is the internal readiness for IoT and which departments will be affected?”, “How will the roles and responsibilities change within the affected projects/departments?” and “What organisational gaps do we need to fill to support the IoT project/department?”, etc.
During the processes with our customers, we witnessed the game-changing effects that the IoT created. The real-time data visualisation continues to help our customers today as they apply the same methods we established together with them on new initiatives.
Today, our customers can not only monitor their machines and predict maintenance situations, they can also predict industry trends and act as true market leaders.
Our holistic approach to implementing IoT in manufacturing companies has proven to be successful because we see that the companies continue to thrive with the help of our methods even after our work is done.
Alite International is a digital innovation consultancy that helps clients create human-centric experiences in a digital-first world. We help drive digital transformation and growth by converging the power of data, technology and business to create solutions ready for tomorrow’s world.
We are also an Advanced AWS Consulting Partner with Service recognitions in multiple areas, including AWS IoT Core.
By Natasa Pavicevic & Milos Kitanovic