Today’s era of digital innovation has brought with it enormous benefits in terms of efficiency and production, as organizations adapt to new ways of operating and develop strategies for growth in a mobile-first, cloud-based landscape — one that is constantly evolving as innovations such as the IoT and artificial intelligence come to fruition.
As we have discussed in our previous posts, examining the first three pillars of digital transformation, the world is changing and companies must change with it, if they want to survive and thrive. In fact, according to market research from Report Buyer, the digital transformation market is estimated to reach $392.15 billion by 2021 as the demand for the Internet of Things (IoT) and increased penetration of mobile devices soar.
This final post in our digital transformation series will examine the fourth pillar, Transforming Your Products, and will explore how businesses are utilizing the latest technological advances to move their companies forward.
Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Mobile and the Cloud
Big data is having a tremendous impact on almost every industry. As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said, “Transforming the products and services companies offer is happening because of data intelligence. All companies everywhere are becoming data companies — from farming to finance, from New York to New Delhi — businesses are using data to connect everything from cars to cows. We as business leaders don’t work in isolation. We live in a multi-constituent world.”
Thanks to the advent of the cloud, big data and machine learning, corporations now have the ability to act proactively rather than reactively. Whereas manufacturing companies once used data to try to determine when certain equipment would be obsolete, they now have the ability to use data to precisely predict when certain equipment will fail. Not only that, but because of machine learning, the equipment itself can send an alert to operators when it is about to malfunction, significantly reducing the potential for equipment downtime.
Predictive analytics is being used by businesses across verticals, to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. Liebherr, for example, “is using intelligence to predict a potential breakdown of commercial refrigerators and freezers, with service tickets generated automatically so the problem is fixed immediately, crucial for maintaining proper storage,” according to Microsoft. And at Rolls-Royce, “advanced analytics and the cloud are being used to help commercial jet engines improve aircraft efficiency, drive up aircraft availability and reduce engine maintenance costs.”
At Hitachi Solutions, we recently launched the Predictive Service Hub which relies on Microsoft Azure’s machine learning software to offer predictive insights. Built primarily for businesses that manage industrial assets, the IoT Predictive Service Hub delivers autonomous predictive service capabilities, with the ability to intelligently predict possible failures before they occur, suggest corrective actions and facilitate the repair process preemptively, minimizing downtime. By leveraging this software, service businesses can create a data-driven approach, moving from a model of repair and replace to predict and fix.
As Microsoft explains, “By embedding technology into your products, you can start using shared data and digital intelligence to generate new insights, products and business models — and discover new revenue sources.”
Similar to how predictive analytics and the cloud are positively affecting businesses, anywhere and off-line mobile access is giving companies — especially those in the field service space — the ability to greatly increase productivity, improve collaboration and maximize employee time.
But in order for predictive analytics and machine learning to work and for mobile to be most effective, businesses must have access to an aggregate of data. Today, certain platforms, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, are making the consolidation of data easier than ever before. By offering businesses the ability to run their CRM, ERP, BI and field service software all on one platform, Dynamics 365 provides a single, consolidated data source that is easy to access. When an organization can access sales and service data, financial data, inventory data and any other piece of data all in one place, they can easily provide the fuel (aggregate data) that is needed to effectively power machine learning.
Moving Forward with Digital Transformation
By leveraging integrated software systems such as CRMs, ERPs, Business Intelligence and more, companies can engage customers, empower employees and optimize business processes, all while utilizing and gathering immense amounts of rich data. Employing business intelligence tools to visualize the aggregate data collected, organizations can then leverage it to transform their products — fueling machine learning, predictive analytics and the Internet of Things. As a result, corporations can expect to benefit from increased productivity, improved efficiencies, lower costs and a complete transformation in the way they operate. It’s not just the products that are transformed when data-driven systems are utilized, it’s the entire corporation.
The Microsoft suite of software, built on Dynamics 365, offers businesses across all industries the tools and apps they need to effectively gather and utilize data, transforming the way they do business. To learn more about this innovative suite of software or to simply discuss how to move your business along the digital transformation journey, contact one of the implementation experts at Hitachi Solutions.