Making Digital Transformation Work for Manufacturers
Author:CSC Town Hall
Digital, Third Platform technologies and IT modernization are changing manufacturing business models and value chains. Manufacturers must increase productivity, reduce costs and grow revenue through connected-product initiatives and enhanced customer experiences. But where do you start? How should an organization prioritize investments between infrastructure, information, applications, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT)? Experts from CSC, EMC and IDC Research explore platforms for IT modernization and discuss how to determine the right approach.
- Chris Fangmann, CTO, Global Manufacturing Industry, CSC
- Rod Gardner, Global Account Director, EMC
- Kim Knickle, Research Vice President, IDC Manufacturing Insights
- Jeff Caruso, Senior Managing Editor, CSC
Digital, Third Platform technologies and IT modernization are changing manufacturing business models and value chains. Manufacturers must increase productivity, reduce costs and grow revenue through connected-product initiatives and enhanced customer experiences. But where do you start? How should an organization prioritize investments between infrastructure, information, applications, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Kim Knickle, research vice president for IDC Manufacturing Insights, says that while manufacturers must continue to drive productivity gains and improve operational efficiencies, they must also master new competencies.
"Yes, we have to get better at efficiency and managing suppliers, but we also have to manage global operations, global customers and global value chains, and all the complexity that comes with that in terms of visibility, resiliency and predictability," Knickle says.
Knickle says IDC surveys show that top IT investment areas for manufacturers are in cloud, security and business intelligence and that combining these will help manufacturers realize new benefits. "For example, combining cloud and security will enable manufacturers to give employees secure access to larger pools of data, which can help drive other process improvements," she says.
Chris Fangmann, CTO for Global Manufacturing Industry at CSC, says that at a more granular level, it's about innovation and forecasting along the supply and demand chains. "If you can gain insights with more data in context, you can take actions in advance to maintain your own production," Fangmann says. "As another example, some of our customers are looking at sexy technologies like OEM-controlled 3D printing for spare parts. From a manufacturing perspective, it's all about predictive and preventive maintenance and improving mean time between failure and mean time to repair."
Rod Gardner, global account director at EMC, says transformation is not just about the technologies that manufacturers use to achieve improved business metrics, but also about how they acquire and use these new capabilities. "Delivering on these business metrics that Kim and Chris mentioned is taking on a new dimension," Gardner says. "EMC delivers horizontal solutions, CSC adds vertical expertise and then manufacturers can consume these services on a usage basis."
Knickle says roadblocks to transformation can be divided into strategic and tactical categories. "Strategically, there's a conversation that needs to happen about business objectives. What exactly is it that [companies] want to enable for the future?" Knickle says. "From a tactical perspective, companies need to understand what knowledge and skills their IT departments have and what they're capable of doing. I think that's why we're having this conversation, that there are external resources that can be really valuable to help with that."
Gardner says that digital transformation will be a business disruptor. "We'll see data used in a whole new way. Context will be added to data, and correlation from multiple sources will be critical. Companies that master that early on will be able to shape their market moving forward," he says.
Fangmann agrees. "I think that having data and not using it is a waste of money and time. But understand that when you begin this process, it's not an IT project. It's a business project."