Manufacturers are working hard to unlock the value of information that comes from their own operations, partners, customers, suppliers, and social networks. Based on that information, the most advanced can optimize business decisions, predict or guide outcomes, and develop new capabilities and products with sophisticated analysis and embedded intelligence. We've developed the IDC MaturityScape for information digital transformation in manufacturing across five key dimensions:
•Knowledge and collaboration
•Information architecture (IA)
Integrating Data and Analytics into the Business
Manufacturers are already using information and analytics all across their organizations – for demand forecasting, inventory optimization, asset management, production scheduling, and performance management, just to name a few. But most manufacturers recognize that there is tremendous opportunity to use, analyze, and apply information in many more ways. We've often noted the fact that manufacturers have data, data, and more data for many years. Even so, they are collecting more every day, from more sources, more types or varieties, in greater volumes, and at increasing velocity.
The increase in IoT and sensor data and how to maximize the value of that data is top of mind. Sensor data can help them create new connected products and services and change how they interact with their customers and their customers' customer. Innovation accelerators such as 3D printing and robotics depend on a significant amount of information to direct or fine-tune their performance, not to mention the fact they generate large volumes of potentially valuable data as they operate.
Information transformation also makes sense given the industry's changing workforce, to capture the knowledge of the (increasingly few) experienced workers and support the tech-savvy workers coming on board. In large manufacturing organizations as well as in geographically dispersed manufacturers of any size, information is often the glue that keeps the company working as one. Consider the fact that knowledge workers — those employees who primarily rely on data and information to do their work — currently represent about 40% of the manufacturing workforce (IDC's 2015 Vertical IT and Communications Survey of 600 manufacturers). Generally, manufacturers are looking for "truth in data", to improve their confidence in their data and transition from intuition to fact or evidence-based decision making.
Changing IT Tools and Requirements
There are IT related factors that are also driving information transformation, such as the increasing use of business process platforms like the product innovation platform, and of course, advancements in business intelligence, analytics, and big data tools and technologies, including cognitive computing. But information transformation requires much more than technology.
In our report, we've outlined the path manufacturers to move through the stages to achieve the business outcome we define in stage 5 as embedded intelligence that can drive continuous innovation in processes, products, and services; enable revenue streams; and fuel enhanced customer engagement and experiences.
Manufacturers that are leading the way in information transformation are making investments in people, processes, and technologies. They have a road map to maximize information's contribution to the business' success. Manufacturers must adapt their classic data management approaches to master a differentiated information value chain. We detail essential guidance for information transformation in the report, but for now, consider these two key points:
- Treat data and information as you would any critical business asset. This means measuring, documenting, and managing essential attributes such as value, risk, and cost.
- Prepare the organization. Establish organizational competencies focused on data-fication, led at the executive level and possibly by a chief digital officer or a chief data officer.
Already underway with your information transformation? Let us know what has worked for you by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message on our community.