While attending the recent Infosys analyst event a number of thoughts arose regarding the opportunity services providers have during this time of massive innovation transformation due to the fourth industrial revolution (better known as Industry 4.0), the Internet of Things (IoT), and the digitization of the entire enterprise.
In this time of connected products, manufacturers naturally have to consider a number of questions related to innovation and service. Who will develop the applications for connected devices? Who will manage the services for these products, including collating of failure mode information for real time response, and analytics during new product development? Who will manage the terabytes of data that these devices will create, centrally in the cloud and disparately at the point of consumption, such as on the manufacturing shop floor to enable cyber physical systems to talk to one another, or in the field to better enable a service technician to fix a product? All of these questions present potential opportunity for Infosys and other services firms, who have long been focused on application maintenance, ERP, SCM, and PLM roll out, and system integration.
As we think about what it means to move from PLM in its current state to a full scale digital innovation platform that encompasses customer, supply chain, manufacturing, and of course product data, the natural question that arises is, who is going to make all of those systems work together? More specifically, how will data be cleansed and unified, a single user interface be created, and a reporting and analytics engine be layered on top of this to realize the benefits of this robust view of product and its impacts? Beyond this is the extension of an innovation platform into the value chain of partners, suppliers, and customers - necessary because the best innovations happen through partnerships, internally and externally. Potentially this could all be done by a manufacturer but not likely: they will need a team of industry experts, business consultants, and integration experts to help crystallize this myriad of data and processes.
Feel free to share your thoughts on product innovation, or the potential role of service providers with connected products, any time with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on IDC Manufacturing Insights please go to http://www.idc.com/prodserv/insights/manufacturing/index.jsp.