Last week I had the opportunity to attend and speak at PTC’s annual Live Service Exchange. I also had the chance to listen in on PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann’s keynote presentation at PTC Live (the overall conference focused more so on design, engineering and PLM) wherein he outlined PTC’s role in supporting the connected enterprise.
Past PTC events have focused on business segments such as PLM, ALM and most recently SLM or Service Lifecycle Management. At this year’s event the focus was much more on connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) and how these trends impact how organizations design, build and service products. The focus on connectivity is appropriate given PTC’s recent acquisition of ThingWorx (Our commentary here).
In his keynote, Heppelmann highlighted 3 major value changes occurring with organizations (primarily manufacturing organizations)
- Hardware and software now share the stage when it comes to innovation
- The need for connectivity is real
– Embedded vs. Cloud
- The rising importance of service in impacting customer interactions
Within the realm of smart connected products, Heppelmann stated that connectivity enables the organization to monitor, control, optimize and automate, all areas that can be supported by PTC’s technology. Instead of PLM or ALM or SLM, Heppelmann argued the need for Closed Loop Lifecycle Management that touches upon all those disciplines.
Heppelmann’s keynote was then followed by interesting case studies from ThermoFisher and Trane (an Advisory Board member at The Service Council) on how connectivity enables these organizations to optimize and transform their manufacturing and service processes.
At The Service Council (TSC), we see great potential in the marriage of the Internet of Things with service planning, delivery, and execution. There has also been a large amount of coverage on how connectivity can aid manufacturing and product development. The success of a connected enterprise however depends on the level of connectivity across various business functions – product development, design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, IT, service and more. The level of connectivity desired here amounts to more than just adhoc collaboration. It requires an end-to-end view of how products are designed, manufactured, sold, monitored, serviced, replaced, and more. Our research shows an increasing amount of collaboration between service and other business groups, primarily sales and engineering, wherein these teams connect in a more consistent manner to improve quality and the customer experience. More so, this collaboration is intended to be pre-emptive as opposed to reactive in order to address issues prior to their occurrence. Traditionally cross-functional task groups were only put together after an event or series of events that prompted a review. Collaboration between groups on a one-to-one basis is a good start but it doesn’t offer the cross-organizational connectivity required to truly enable the maximum benefit of a connected enterprise. Questions such as whose budget pays for the connectivity, who is responsible for selling connected services, and whose IT resources are needed to support connectivity cannot be answered with a function-specific look at connected products. This is taking the servicing organization’s perspective.
True acceptance of the connected vision also requires a change in the way customers look at purchasing and consuming products and services. Given that products have more software and need to transmit usage and performance information, buyers need to align with their IT and regulatory teams to reconsider information access and security protocols. Buyers and asset-operators also need to better understand the financial implications of a pay-per-use or power-by-the-hour consumption model vs. the traditional equipment purchase model. More so, product and service purchasers need to be aligned in order support a recurring cost that covers the usage, maintenance and management of the purchased product.
For PTC’s connected enterprise vision to take shape, both manufacturers and their customers need to transform and connect internally, a change that can delay the complete acceptance of the Internet of Things. Steps are being taken in that direction, but it is a slow transformation. Organizations such as Trane have transformed into solutions providers and are bringing together products and services, but they too are looking to overcome challenges associated with true connectivity. In their instance, connecting with legacy products is one challenge, something that Trane is looking to do in a cost effective manner while delivering the same level of experience as with their newer products.
Overall, there is a great appetite, especially within service organizations, to increase collaboration with other business groups such as sales, design, engineering, HR and IT. In fact, this was a focus of the TSC workshop attended by folks from Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Manitou Group and more. Each organization represented in the workshop identified ways in which they could improve internal collaboration:
With IT –
- Early inclusion in the development and scope of automation projects in order to identify concerns
- Securing IT resources early on in the automation planning cycle
- Improve education for HR on the evolving vision of the service business
- Measure outcomes that are aligned with service business objectives
With Sales and Marketing
- Align performance objectives and goals
- Focus on account management (pre- and post-sale)
With Design and Engineering
- Make both groups responsible for knowledge creation
- Leverage service operational metrics and feedback to measure the serviceability of products.
As collaboration yields better business results, it will be ingrained in the culture of these organizations. This is necessary to support an enterprise-wide focus on the customer value delivered via a connected business ecosystem.