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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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

Digital to the rescue or has the opportunity past for GE?

It does seem every time you read about GE it seems to be under a relentless barrage of negative news coverage.Then the stock is continuing to get a hammering perpetually.

Mistakes will be also made going forward, as the current management tries to “right the ship” after so much mismanagement. Digital course correction might be one of these mistakes.

For me watching the current GE story unveil itself it, just fills me with a real sense of sadness. Clearly, it now seems GE lost its ability to listen, reflect and adapt, its management was cutting many governance corners, pushing for performance that was not as much in the ‘tank’ as they thought and placing bets on the future, that was very bearish and as it is now revealed, possibly reckless.

GE as a group business was being pushed on, regardless, it sort of ploughed on as a supertanker does, unable to make the course corrections it was required to do, as its steering was jammed in ‘full speed and forward drive’, regardless, ignoring dangers, possibly sealed in its own bubble, one of believing it was invincible.

Yet one of the boldest moves made in the reign of Jeff Immelt that might have been a substantial transformation was the shift to digital that he underpinned, although there have been comments I have seen by outsiders of “the endless checkbook.” All I can say is that you have to invest in opportunities like this, they are so transforming. The ability to spot the industrial internet was one of his positive signature moves, taken I believe nearly a decade ago – a lifetime in the digital world. So lets update where we are.

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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

Gaining speed, perspective, inspiration and agility the Schneider Electric way

Schneider Electric’s platform

I just wish I had reviewed these guys a lot sooner. Schneider Electric has been on my radar for reviewing their platform for some time.

Schneider is in among the leaders in the digital transformation of Energy Management and Automation of homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and a range of industries.

They hold a commanding position in Power Management in Medium and Low voltage, Secure power, in critical power and cooling, grid automation, industrial and building automation and controls and providing discrete automation process systems.

Schneider Electric has been constantly providing integrated efficiency solutions for many years, well before platforms became fashionable.

They are constantly seeking to combine energy, automation, and software. They have adopted a very open ecosystem approach collaborating with partners, integrators and the developer community to build an open platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency

Schneider Electric is not set up as a glamorous company, they provide the essentials; such as boxes, enclosures, protect relays, cabling, control, switchgear, metering, racks, breaker switches. The list goes on and on. They operate in 100 countries and set out to find the most efficient and agile ways to foster innovation.

I get the real impression they have taken innovation to the core of what they do and I often can’t say that for many companies I review – more’s the pity. Continue reading