This past week I was out at the Offshore Technology Conference most of the week. I spent time talking with customers and partners. There were many that I talked with that are in the sketch stage of their Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT strategy while others are in the scale phase.
As an example I had a lengthy conversation with the President of a 220-year-old company that serves the energy, drilling and marine industries. What I observed is that the company has plenty of resources and talent on their perspective teams but they are looking for partners to help enable their Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT journey that has experience in this arena.
Their team is great at what they do but they are not a sensor manufacturing company, they are not a software platform company, they do not employ data scientist and do not have the inclination to do so either. What makes better sense is to partner up with key companies in the market that are specialist in the IIOT arena that have experience in sensors, software and large scale deployments.
I met with numerous other senior leadership folks at OTC as well. What I observed was very similar as with the company I mentioned above. They have been talking about Industrial Machine Intelligence but have not made any big moves yet. One of the things I observed is that they have been approached by the GE’s and PTC’s of the world but have not done any projects with them. Either they don’t want to expose their customer base to these mammoths or expose their internal processes and perhaps trade secrets but either way these companies have not made a move into Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT.
Thoughts on Industrial IOT Strategy
I work with senior leaders on a daily basis that are hired to solve business problems. Some are looking for a surgical solution while others are looking for ways to drive new revenue streams or unlock more revenue out of their existing operations. This is especially true right now with the sharp downturn in global markets for oil and gas players. Oil and Gas companies are looking for ways to get more out of their resources, people and investments. This includes reducing downtime or predicting failure so they can plan for scheduled maintenance versus unscheduled downtime.
A Khorus survey says 57% of CEO’s say capturing and predicting company performance is their top priority in 2016-17. An Accenture report shows that only 27% of C level has put a single resource into a strategy to try to achieve better results. All of the industry analyst are telling the senior leadership teams they have to invest in IIOT or risk being left behind or even be at risk of losing their jobs. The question is where do they start?
It has been my experience that the best place to start is with a conversation with internal teams and market partners that have a track record of success in helping companies not only map out an IIOT strategy but ones that have actual experience doing real work in the field with use cases and proven results. Pick a company that has received accolades and awards in the market. Look for accolades from the likes of Bloomberg, TBB Siemens, Deloitte, Frost & Sullivan, etc. Make the time on the calendar to have these conversations either monthly or quarterly to ensure progress is being made.
What I have observed is that the most successful industrial IOT deployments involve the CTO, CIO, VP of Engineering and their teams investing the time to collaborate with IIOT partners in workshop sessions. An experienced Industrial IOT company will have a solid blueprint for a workshop session between their business analyst, data scientist and senior leadership teams. By going through this exercise the internal team in the company begins to unlock and enable their people to start thinking about Industrial IOT. The workshops will dive deep into the granularity of the machine data, what type of hardware is required to collect the data from the machines and other areas of the business, how the IIOT platform will collect and process and translate the data into meaningful insights so that actions can be taken in real time. Topics should also include machine learning, autonomous algorithmic signals, UI that is specific to your team and what the company objectives are short and long term.
60 Day Proof of Concept
Once your teams have gone through the workshops they will have a much clearer path to an IIOT strategy but from there the methodology must be put to test. Start with a specific piece of machinery or a specific production line. Have the IIOT partner develop the application for these with a short time frame in place of 60 days or less. Your team should carve out one hour each week during the 60 day PoC. Each week the IIOT partner should be delivering on milestones clearly defined in the workshop. By the end of the 60 days your team should have a finished product to either take to market of use internally.
Earlier this year I had a conversation with a global manufacturer of industrial equipment. They mentioned that they had three different companies with brand recognition come in to talk to them about IIOT. They said it was a total waste of their time. Internally there was no vision and no strategy. The globally recognized partners provided no ideas, no path to scale and therefore no value.
Flutura is an Industrial IOT & Analytics Solutions Company based out of Houston with offices in Palo Alto, Bangalore and Tokyo. Flutura has a vision to transform operational outcomes by monetizing machine data. It does so by triangulating economic impactful signals from fragmented data pools. With a team of award winning data scientist and pioneering leaders in the Industrial IOT space Flutura prides itself on making deep and meaningful impacts in our customer’s businesses with turn key solutions that are built specifically for you.
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