Ever since the term industrial internet emerged to indicate the extended reach of the internet to machines, it has revolutionized ideas on making industrial operations, maintenance, supply chain and production more connected and collaborative. Many technology companies are in the process of inventing solutions to make it a part of their industrial operations. In order to be in a position to turn around your business to ride on the new information power house driven by industrial internet, organizations need to align their IT architecture and connect the enterprise internally.
The first and foremost question that needs to be answered is what areas of the business will be benefited from industrial internet? Industrial internet use cases apply to supply chain, operations, maintenance, logistics, procurement, sales & marketing, etc. Industrial internet capabilities can also help contain the cost of R&D by realizing virtual or simulated test beds to examine new concepts or technologies before exposing them to the real world, which could prove to be more expensive to parameterize. There is enough evidence to prove that industrial internet brings together related departments to collaborate and act in unison with each other – demonstrating synergy and rapid response to the business environment.
There are various components that go into realizing industrial internet such as sensors, control systems, networks, storage technology, applications, algorithms, etc. Many components are already available but as the demand for industrial internet increases, the focus will be on handling substantially larger volumes of information. This challenges network technology, data storage technologies, processing powers and security solutions. There is indeed a lot of innovation required from technology vendors on the foundational aspects of industrial internet components but mature solutions in some areas are already emerging while others areas are catching up.
Despite the various technology solutions that are available and those that continue to emerge, for an enterprise to transform itself to effectively leverage industrial internet is not as easy as it seems. To build the capability, the enterprise will need to run the overall agenda along multiple tracks that converge into the final capability outcomes. To be prepared for this next big IT revolution, IT architectures of the enterprise need certain extensions and enhancements. There are some key areas that organizations should embark on to “be prepared.”
To benefit early in the game, you need to invest in an enterprise IT architecture that will deliver the power of industrial internet to decision makers. If your organization is struggling to adopt a zealous investment strategy to support “being prepared,” you should align the building blocks to immediate business benefits. The building blocks in this case would have to be ”extensible” and supported by an ingenious financial model that benefits key investors and at the same time delivers timely business value to ensure your enterprise is seen as a leader in running a profitable and customer sensitive business.