Platform Providers need to think more about Ecosystems Principles and Design

In my opening post (here) I was thinking where platform providers seem to be, in their current value proposition. I cannot see their approaches as sustaining. Now, this is a personal opinion and observation but let me lay out an alternative view.

I believe we are at an inflection point where the design of IIoT platforms needs to be integrated into a new way of Ecosystem Design.

There is a real need for a more shared value, breaking through the old traditional boundaries of single companies working with ‘selected’ providers of service and highly selective platform providers.

Ecosystem design is about being open in all potentially valuable proposals and co-creation possibilities. It is using multiple platforms as being part of a very different future design. You go where the best collaborations can take place not get .locked into one.

We need to stop and start to think about Ecosystems and their design for platform providers. Platforms have been amazing in their design, recognition, and value in a very short time. They are changing the way we undertake business. We have passed through the early phase of their design. It is now time to bring platforms into there place within a greater Ecosystem design.

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The case for changing the IIoT platform providers value proposition

I have been reflecting recently on where we are in all the efforts, focus, and resources, that have been going into the building of our IIoT platforms. This has mainly been around the questioning of where they should fit within the needs of an ecosystem, the end outcome of our new industrial design in my opinion.

Let me offer up an initial case of why there is a need for a change in where we are in on IIoT platforms and their current emphasis and focus How we need to change the value equation out in the future in our solution designs and positioning of platforms, as a need to achieve. This is based on considering a greater ecosystem perspective.

Here I attempt to lay out the current position and suggest there is a case for change. The IIoT platform provider needs to change their value proposition urgently in my opinion, or move along a faster evolutionary curve certainly, to get clients seeing their own value-add endgame not just the IIoT providers race for dominating the platform space.

So let’s look at where IIoT platforms currently are and in my related post where we might consider some changes in how we are evolving the platform story. Continue reading

When is a partner not a partner?

As I have been focusing on the Industrial platform providers like Bosch, Siemens, Schneider Electric and GE, you constantly see part of their partnership validation has been with Microsoft Azure, or Amazon and AWS or even both in some form or another. Comforting, reassuring perhaps, or is it?

Both Microsoft Azure and AWS are building their own platforms also. Where would you put your money or fee’s to join?

Now if you are offering solutions that are focused specifically on solving industry problems where do you go, sign up, pay significant fees into and learn?

Would these decisions to join a platform take you towards those within an industry, the industrial builder of platforms, that build the physical assets and increasingly defining their digital services, or the providers of the digital kit, in the form of cloud, applications, data storage and security and the base platforms? Both have value but are the offerings clear enough in value or are they still leaving many potential clients still ‘sitting on the fence,’ not sure, watching what ‘plays out’

I am not sure how those within Partnership arrangement on platforms presently separate their knowledge and contribution but with the recent “slew” of Microsft Azure announcements, I wonder who is working for whom in some of these relationships?  Is the one with the digital architecture just piggybacking on the industrialist back, so as to understand industrial problems and then bring out their own ‘stand alone’ solutions? Where does that leave the industrial platform providers like GE & Siemens if the likes of Microsoft and Amazon seperately offer their own platforms? Take a read here and let me know your thoughts, please? I want to understand the dynamics going on here a little better. Continue reading

So are clients resisting IIoT platforms- Why?

IIoT platforms-as-a-service are gaining ground. In my first part of a two-part post, I was raising a number of questions. That questioning continues here in part two, at a deeper level. I do recommend you read the first post to place this more into the context required.

IIoT Platform providers are building new digital solutions. There are constant daily gains. A new client win here, a new contract there.

Yet the battle is one of attrition, client by client. Do you win in this approach? To gain traction, all the IIoT platform providers seem to have pressing needs to overcome massive client resistance at this present time. Platform uptake is gradual, it needs a higher depth in resolution, in the value of platforms, in their momentum. What is its value proposition to the client, the one who buys that solution? Is it still too early in their own digital transformation journey? Actually, clients are having a hard time in this and many other digital decisions. Continue reading

There are dark clouds surrounding IIoT platforms

I am getting fascinated by platforms and ecosystems. Does it show? This is why I am increasingly spending more time in this area as it is highly innovating in its potential.

I am constantly educating myself on this, as there is so much of this being new, or emerging, to make the connections for where innovation is going in “dual” tandem with technology and digital. A recent post I made tells of this growing connection for a new ROI.

I decided to become focused on business platforms and ecosystems for a number of reasons- firstly they are fascinating me ( I know I have to get a grip!) and more importantly for my business advisory work going forward in connecting innovation into this world.

So this posting site is a place where I share a number of strands of thought to provide increased understanding, to get others to become comfortable on their “learning journey” of new emerging industrial digital technology models, ones that offer a very exciting connected future but evolutionary in their nature.

I want to help shape, influence and amplify the breaking story of IIoT platforms-as-a-service as part of my advisory business model (as-a-service) and take them to the most important level of need to understand; the ecosystem building that is required.Taking on new journeys of understanding and potential for innovation is exciting, well for me.

Commercial break over so let’s get back to platforms and ecosystems…

At the moment I have been specifically looking at the questions that seem to be holding IIoT platforms back? There are a number of inhibitors. So how can a number of dark clouds dissipate for IIoT platforms to really become the future way of connecting up so much within your specific industry sector? This is first of two posts…. Continue reading

The ABB Ability to bring intelligence to industrial plants

I continue to look at the world of IIoT solution platforms that are being offered to their customers which are digitally enabled, requiring connected devices to improve efficiency, productivity and increase profitability, all being provided through digital platform offerings

I’ve looked at Bosch and its IoT suite, Siemens and its Mindsphere, GE and its Predix platform, and Schneider Electrics with its Ecostruxure to begin to explore and understand their digital platform offering. I do need to revisit GE and its Predix platform with recent changes occurring inside the company.

I then wrote a summary of the fact that Industry is lagging but catching up in its choices of platform offering, taking three of these examples and how just within a few months this seems to be accelerating into a real race of the IIoT digital platforms to seize competitive advantage as well as I term it “taking the IIoT hill” to make sure customers align with them. A digital industrial application offering has increasingly become central to growth for many of the infrastructure providers.

This post is about ABB and their ABB Ability™ to offer a common platform across the industries they serve of a digital end-to-end set of solutions.

ABB has been investing in building their ‘digital operations’ to control, interrogate and modify the operational task in response to the external signals, mostly through distributed sensors. The aim is to transform clients activities more into software-driven activity, where the operational results in identifying trends and possible failure modes and equally, how they can transform the whole maintenance regime, to reduce downtime and anticipate potential failure.

ABB has a fairly powerful business case for being a trusted partner. Continue reading

The Emerging World of Connected Industrial Ecosystems

Whenever I seem to read about Platforms and Ecosystems, it mostly seems to relate to technology-led organizations and how they are continuing to connect us all up in our private lives. We get offered, as leading examples of the disruption that occurs and the connected value, the likes of Uber, Facebook, Apple etc., all bringing new value to transform our world.

Yet for me, the area that is shifting as dramatically is where Industrial organizations are providing platform solutions to solve industrial problems. Good examples are Bosch, Siemens, GE and Schneider Electrics. They are transforming their solutions and clients businesses, through offering digital on top of the existing products, in some highly impressive ways. They are focusing on connecting up their solutions into their client network on platforms to build the industrial internet.

The building of these platforms has taken priority within specific industries to master and progressively transform their business, into a digital connected one. This seems to me, to be so much harder than those like Facebook, Google or Uber. Industrial solutions have had to deal with legacy “big time,” overcome entrenched positions or views and begin to collaborate in highly sophisticated ways, with often very demanding and sometimes, skeptical clients. Continue reading