Tag : Digital solutions

Digital solutions refers to digitalizing legacy processes revisiting customer experience and reducing costs. These are directly commissioned by line of business owners to achieve short term goals and to deliver rapid payback to their enterprise. Time-to-market and short-term success are therefore the drivers behind the investment.

Time-to-market coupled with proven success is what drives investment in new solutions. Line of business owners commission Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that have proven experience in implementing such solutions. They are looking for expertise from both business and technology perspectives to help them implement these solutions.

They are 3 keys to success factors to deliver digital solutions:

  • Digital Platform: platform that can run alongside existing digital silos
  • Low-code tools: tools to customize solution
  • Professional Services: Expertise in ISV technology and solution delivery.

Today, digital solutions generate relatively low turnover compared to hardware and service sales, but this is set to dramatically change. As more and more digital products enter the market, companies are starting to consider them a strategic growth field for upscaling business. But how can we separate the jargon from the products and services that will actually change the way we do business?

From predictive maintenance, virtual manufacturing, and autonomous robots, to smart factories, augmented reality, and digital twins, the list of buzzwords seems endless. Digital solutions can actually be classified into six solution categories:

  • Digital machine option- Digital enhancements are made to standalone hardware to create added value for customers. For example, thanks to Trumpf’s Smart Collision Prevention, customers no longer need to worry about significant downtime or high costs for laser head collisions with cutting fragments. The software is pre-installed on every new Trumpf machine and can be activated with a key that is sold by the company. The key characteristic of this type of digital solution is its closeness to the existing hardware equipment offering and that most of the times no additional hardware or integration service is required.
  •  Digital system- Digital systems bundle hardware (e.g. sensors), integration services, and software to function as a system that creates extensive additional value for its customers. For example, the STILL neXXt fleet is a powerful web portal that tells fleet managers everything they need to know about their trucks. Commercial and technical data from SAP are combined with information directly retrieved from the fleet, and users can access this data from anywhere with an internet connection via their laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Software platform- These multi-sided (cloud) platforms manage processes and devices, connect users and companies, and develop and run applications. For example, Siemens’ MindSphere is a gated IoT platform that connects “real things to the digital world.” It acts like an operating system and stores Big Data from millions of physical devices, all of which are connected to sensors. The collected data is converted in numerous different ways and customer value is created by a wide range of applications.
  •  Process optimization software- Cloud-based or locally installed software is applied to the whole production process. For example, Körber teamed up with hygiene paper products company, WEPA, to develop K.Edge solutions, a data-capturing solution that captures data from production machinery and contextualizes it through analysis and visualization. This software program enables employees to better communicate information from one shift to another, or compare it to production figures to optimize their processes.
  •  Digitally enhanced service- To improve their existing service portfolio, companies add a digital component to their service contract. ThyssenKrupp successfully achieved this with Maxx, the elevator industry’s first real-time, cloud-based predictive maintenance solution. It “takes elevator availability, reliability, and efficiency to new heights” by predicting maintenance issues before they occur and flagging the need to replace components and systems before the end of their lifecycle.
  • Digital consulting- Companies set up autonomous units to provide consulting and engineering for digitally enabled process optimizations. These units have self-feeding business models and their own profit & loss responsibility. Krones’ subsidiary, Syskron, serves as a digitalization partner for beverage and liquid food companies in the Industry 4.0 environment. Their experts specialize in the digitalization of production and communication processes, as well as supply chain optimization. Whereas from an external perspective “digital consulting” can be seen as a business on its own, from a vendor perspective it also allows for significant cross- and up-selling of the companies’ own digital solutions.

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