Challenges to adopting iIoT and Industry 4.0

AXULUS is an IIoT Operations Management Software, which consists of a cloud-based tool that manages your IIoT innovation cycle as one continuous digital process.

Greatest challenges in implementing IIoT Solution (% of respondents)

The use case and PoV purgatory

Given this background, there has been a lot of activity within industrial companies to close the digital divide and reap the benefits of industry 4.0. While many are driving strategic digitalization projects and Proof of Value efforts, according to a recent study of a 150 customer projects by Reply, 95% of companies today are struggling to use IIoT solutions at scale and or use it to generate a competitive advantage.

challenges to be overcome before companies can adopt IIoT and generate value at scale

One of the most consistent observations is that the vast majority of Industry 4.0 and Digitalization projects are driven based on a “Project Management Office” (PMO)-like approach. This means there are dedicated resources assigned to drive workshops, technology integration, and installations. This rather top-down approach runs the risk of IIoT initiatives being seen as “another project” by the rest of the organization, or even worse, as the next cost-cutting exercise, instead of a continuously ongoing change in innovation and value creation supported by the whole organization.

Within industrial settings, implementing Industry 4.0 technologies takes more time and effort, compared to applications in the consumer space, for a variety of reasons. Any industrial customer today depends on existing brownfield installations to run and operate their business—these are mostly highly complex and tailored to the targeted product. Managing this complexity manually would be a Sisyphean struggle. When industrial companies are integrating digital manufacturing and supply chain solutions with their customers, they need to continually adapt the solution stack to customer requirements. In addition, rolling out solutions in global production networks needs to be managed with digital, scalable workflows. Therefore, a scalable, structured solution and configuration management approach is essential.

Technological discussions are essential to provide a solution to a defined improvement area or challenge, but they are meaningful only after there has been a clearly defined use case with concrete and measurable value identified and captured within financial reporting systems. This means that each effort should start with an integrated value design, rather than technology. It needs to be integrated in the sense that the designed target value can be directly linked to an outcome —for example, process improvements enabled by the digital solution that generated a measurable value impact. Value and solution design need to be one integrated effort.

One of the most important observations is on how novel technology enables people in the right manner: digital solutions are only as good as the improvements they deliver in operations and processes. These operators do not care about the specifics of the technology stack – they care about the improvements it realizes for them. Therefore, involving these experts and operators in the process, enabling them to contribute effectively, and allowing them to be part of the solution design is essential.

HOW AN INDUSTRIAL IOT OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT CAN ADDRESS THESE ISSUES

Industry 4.0 Value Accelerator System

We believe that IIoT value challenges can and should be addressed by suites of digital tools that create scalable, continuous innovation and processes for rolling out novel solutions. These tool chains could be defined as Value Accelerators for digitalization and IIoT, as they focus on identifying and scaling value from a use case innovation, solution management, and rollout rather than the details of the technological stack itself.

Why do we believe that such a digitally guided process is viable? Because with a proper design, value accelerators fundamentally address the key challenges to industry 4.0 and IIoT adoption. They provide a platform for digitally managed innovation across all relevant stakeholders. The process is scalable to any number of users and can be centrally administered. The key benefits of value accelerators are:

Innovation and adoption depend a lot on acceptance by stakeholders. A digital value accelerator can tremendously reduce barriers with well-defined wizards that guide users through innovation processes. Predefined templates and solutions can greatly accelerate the definition of use cases and solutions.

Modular use cases and solution designers can help manage complexity and variance by providing users with a continuously extended library of solution elements and integrations that can be combined to deliver the target value as well as the technical solution stack. In addition, each use case and solution stack can have a digital workflow to guide operators through the installation process, allowing them to cooperate globally with solution designers and experts as needed.

Digital value accelerators provide a process and data structure that cover industry 4.0 and IIoT innovation and rollout, creating datasets that can be analyzed to continuously improve and accelerate digitalization in industrial environments. AI-powered recommendation engines can propose solutions to operators or give solution designers hints on how to improve their concrete technological stack

Structured use case, solution, and process information enables further automation of today’s tedious tasks. For example, providing cloud-based services can be automated so that operators can work independently, rather than following lengthy installation procedures in a joint effort with IT.

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