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Intelligence Is Driving New Thinking In The Future Of Business

The age of the Intelligent Industry is also an opportunity for leaders to redefine their strategic and competitive advantage.

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The future of industry is ‘intelligent’. Today, we are at the cusp of the next stage of digital transformation – the Intelligent Industry. It is the age of intelligent value chains with new ecosystems, offering a vast range of new potential products and services for businesses. In the world of the Intelligent Industry, the rapid development of disruptive technologies such as AI, 5G, cloud, edge computing, or IoT means every enterprise can, and should, do business in a new way.

In assessing the Intelligent Industry phenomenon, some questions arise: How do businesses strike the right balance between customer satisfaction, efficiency and sustainability? What does it mean for future business models? And what does it take to succeed? The answer lies in understanding that the roadmap toward the intelligent enterprise is about enabling new technologies and combining them to scale their impact, and staying informed of the impact of the Intelligent Industry on humanity as a whole.

Every Product is now a Service

The buying behaviour of customers, be it enterprises or end customers, has transformed. Consumers now want intelligent products and services customised for specific needs. Intelligent Industry is helping in this evolution. As the next stage of digital transformation, it is about building the ability for enterprises to provide solutions to end consumers than to merely give them a product.

The systemic changes enabled by intelligent technology have resulted in a better ability to ‘servitise’ all aspects of business and create more value for the entire ecosystem. John Deere equips its agricultural equipment with remote sensors to collect data on weather and soil conditions and uses analytics to help farmers improve crop yields. The reason? Farmers today want ‘harvesting-as-a-service’ and not just a harvester.

Michelin, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, is selling ‘tires-as-a-service’ and thus moving from selling a product to selling a service around a product. Taking the concept a notch higher, we find autonomous and connected vehicles are complemented by intelligent transport systems, IoT and Big Data. It fits in with the desire among people today who are now looking for ‘mobility as a service’ and not just want to own vehicles.

Master Data, Master the Industry

Data and analytics are now an imperative for success. As companies gravitate towards intelligent products and services by adding sensors or basic monitoring, it is enabling their movement toward intelligent operations where they operationalise services by leveraging data (for example, using data on the shopfloor and across the supply chain). This will eventually help move to an intelligent ecosystem – a mix of products, services, or operations – powered by data across all stakeholders.

BASF, the German chemical company, plans to use 5G to further digitise its main production facility. The plant already has 600,000 networked sensors and other control devices, and the number of networking elements is expected to increase tenfold going ahead. Stellantis (PSA Group + Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) plans to lower the cost of each vehicle by 700 Euros by leveraging data and digitally optimised processes per its ‘excellent plant’ program.

We are seeing a phenomenal increase in reliance on data in healthcare. For instance, during the Covid pandemic, big data helped to curtail the waste of precious vaccine resources. While vaccine shipments are en route, IoT-enabled sensors help to monitor the location and temperature of the vaccines constantly so that intelligent algorithms could optimize the routes to avoid potential disruptions like severe weather fluctuations that could compromise their movement.

Growth & Sustainability go Hand in Hand

Balancing manufacturing growth with environmental impact – economic, social, and environmental sustainability – is the key to success in today’s business environment. Organisations see strong advantages with sustainability – enhanced brand value, addressing consumer demands, and creating new opportunities. And sustainable development is leading to radical changes in the way manufacturing systems are designed and implemented.

Walmart’s smart digital transformations – the use of built-in IoT sensors and shelf-scanning robots – have greatly helped save energy and enhance customer experience. During the pandemic, BigBasket launched India's first unmanned cashless ‘smart store’. By providing QR code scanning and other ‘smart’ options, it enabled customers to shop from home and help reduce carbon emissions by preventing the use of transport.

Innovation, driven by digital technologies and data, can help manufacturers address both sustainability and economic concerns simultaneously. Further, these technologies allow designing for sustainability ahead of manufacturing and enable a feedback loop from operations to design, thereby allowing manufacturers to reconcile economic growth with environmental sustainability.

Roadmap for an ‘Intelligent’ Paradigm

As companies begin to leverage intelligent technologies and leverage data, they will see their businesses transforming for the good. This 360-degree approach to transformation means reshaping your outward strategy and inward operations. Companies with a clear vision and a sharp focus on the human elements of transformation will be better placed to pull it off.

The age of the Intelligent Industry is also an opportunity for leaders to redefine their strategic and competitive advantage. Their business roadmap should be based on the vision of leveraging digital transformation to benefit humanity and unleash human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
technologies buying behaviour Master Data

Ashwin Yardi

CEO - India, Capgemini

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