Getting Started with the Right Questions
That said, many manufacturing leaders already recognize the need for industrial IoT. They struggle, however, with the complex and siloed landscape of their manufacturing landscape, including processes, IT and operational technology. To that end, we advise decision-makers to conduct a self-assessment and organizational readiness analysis by answering the following questions:
- What changes do we need in our business processes, operations, people and business models to respond to rapid market changes, new developments and emerging technologies?
- What kind of talent do we need?
- Where can our organization benefit most from a deeper understanding of operations and efficiency?
- How can we assess our readiness for an IoT transformation, and how should we benchmark our peers?
- What budget should we set for additional computational capacities, and for security and storage capabilities?
- What is preventing us from a transformation? Legacy systems? Cost pressures?
- Besides cost, what internal barriers do we need to overcome?
To help with those answers, leadership must compare approaches, examine the readiness of its technical architecture, understand the organization’s capacity to change, and review available case studies. They must also engage with partners with the required domain expertise as well as hands-on experience in deploying industrial IoT technologies. In our experience, successful journeys take manageable steps such as designing and installing sensor technology; implementing faster and more efficient interconnectivity between the enterprise, business units and production facilities; developing analytics; and piloting use cases that not only demonstrate the promise of the industrial IoT but also realize its value at scale. In proceeding this way, manufacturers develop and grow the talent, skills and tool-sets necessary to build a connected ecosystem that seamlessly integrates digital, operational and information technology.
Organizations that align both IT and operational technology to create a “system of systems,” instrumenting every device in the extended manufacturing ecosystem, will be best positioned to harvest meaningful data at every touchpoint. Only then will manufacturers be able to benefit from the improved yields, additional value and greater efficiency that industrial IoT can produce.