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 Electronics. 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” entrenched positions or views, and begin to collaborate in highly sophisticated ways, with often very demanding and sometimes skeptical clients. Continue reading

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There is a growing force in Siemens MindSphere as it scales up in 2018.

The move towards open-cloud based IoT operating systems has been significant in the past few years or so. Most major industrial companies have set about building and offering to their clients their platforms, for more open design and engineering, automation and operational work, as well as increased emphasis on maintenance and utilization.

To power this, digitalization has changed everything. The smart factory, plant, and buildings, work alongside smart products and solutions and smart business services are all in the sights of those industrial digital platform providers. The platforms-as-a-service has become essential to many industrial organizations to exploit.

I have been following a number of these in recent years and recently began to have a more specific focus on three; GE & their Predix, Bosch through their BSI and more recently Siemens and their Mindsphere. Others beginning to appear on my radar of industrial platform providers are Dassault Systèmes, Honeywell Connected Plant, Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electrics

Getting to understand Siemens MindSphere.

I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to be invited to the Siemens Innovation Day. I really appreciated it  The day before the main event I was included in the Industry Analysts visit to the Siemens Technology Center. We were provided a variety of insights in different presentations and demonstrations of the technology they are working upon. Mindsphere was consistent in its presence but was not as specifically focused on as I would have liked.

I put some of my thoughts down on a post “Creating the Industrial Ecosystem” about my take aways from this Siemens invite recently. I have been attempting to unravel my thinking between that that greatly impressed and the parts that still seemed to have innovation gaps to fill. MindSphere had a particular focus for me. Continue reading

Innovation Platforms: the future way to go.

platform-buildingWe need to shift our innovation thinking, it needs to be digitally transformed. We need to accelerate our activity and engagement and to achieve this, we need to widen out our communities and connect differently.

This is where platforms come in, “they offer new business models that allow multiple sides (producers and consumers) to interact…..by providing an infrastructure that connects them” (source: Platformed.Info by Sangeet Paul Choudary)

The more I read, discuss and research platforms, the clearer the future becomes for innovation to really advance and achieve its potential, one so often spoken about yet so disappointing in most of its results to date. Innovation calls for the need of a radical change. Technology and its growing potential can make the changes to dramatically alter this.

Actually, technology is transforming the very nature of the firm. Continue reading

Managing digital knowledge adds value and growth through forming connections

fitting-it-all-togetherDigital technology is about to become the precursor for all the changes we have put off for years within our organizations.

We need to radically improve our abilities to engage, relate and discover new innovation opportunities at a completely different level of faster and more meaningful performance.

It is through new forms of collaborations that will allow us to connect, by combining the concepts of ecosystems, platforms and seamless customer experience through digital technology, that is allowing this to happen.

Technology is presently moving way ahead of the systems that our organizations have presently in place, many are failing to extract the value and insights that others are beginning to clearly see and capitalize on, through the connection of technologies and market insights.Many lack the ability to connect and gain valuable insights.

Continue reading

Innovating like it’s 1999

1999-partyTo borrow a phrase from the musician formerly known as Prince, we are innovating, at least in regards to platforms and ecosystems, like it’s 1999.  This isn’t to suggest innovation is making beautiful music, but to take you back to a specific point in time and think about the conditions.

In the late, late 1990s and very early 2000s, many individuals and corporations were experimenting with ecommerce, learning what the “web” would do to and for commerce.

Thousands of startups obtained billions of dollars in venture capital money to exploit the new idea of e-commerce.  We were assured that this would be the end of brick and mortar stores.  Every industry would be disrupted by the web.  Pet owners would go to Pets.com, famous for its sock puppet mascots.  The CEO of Accenture would leave his post to become CEO of Webvan, which would revolutionize grocery shopping and delivery.  And so on.

Mostly what happened in that period was a vast blooming of a number of experiments on the web, which led to the “dot com” crash only a few years later and drove many of these startups and some larger, established companies out of business. Most of these crashes happened because no one had figured out how all of this new ecommerce stuff was supposed to work, or because of vague promises of the ability to monetize eyeballs.

New technologies or capabilities will always create a “land rush” of companies, new and established, who seek to stake their claims.  Continue reading

The Building Blocks for Managing within an Ecosystem Design

building-blocks-for-ecosystems-2The recognition that most business organizations are in need to form both new and connect into diverse ecosystems is growing. These are offering the potential of new pathways to a greater ‘connected’ innovation, expected today, one that gives increased value to the consumer.

Yet the understanding of what this means in commitment and structuring  has some clear implications behind this. Managing in ecosystem arrangements I feel requires a far greater understanding of the potential design, so you can achieve a more robust, open, dynamic and highly collaborative environment.

Jeffrey and I have argued in previous posts that working in Ecosystems will change the nature of business activities.Let me take four of these:

  • Ecosystems will have the potential to expand capabilities and enable experiences beyond anything possible today in the present world that most of our business organizations operate in; one’s that are operating in their own ‘disconnected’ world, internally focused, constrained by limited technology connection and resources.
  • Ecosystems open up the world. They connect it for a richer access to diversity and different sets of discoveries not possible within one organization’s current capabilities or capacities. It is highly collaborative and interactive.
  • It is by this very nature of opening up and interacting building a growing interdependence in relationships, that is driving the new innovation potential. One, that is looking to create and explore new business value by acting together, that offers a potential for outcomes to be greater than the sum of the individual parts.
  • As our world becomes more complex, ecosystems offer ways to coalesce around those sort of challenges, that brings together within the ecosystem community the potential to build, solve, share and exchange around goals and concepts that help solve these complexities,  achieved in highly collaborative ways.

We presently seem to lack a process of evaluation on what forms the building blocks of ecosystem validation and why entering into one can be significantly different.

Let me offer some thoughts here in a fairly long, rather detailed post that explores six critical parts: Continue reading

Understanding the Customer Journey is the key to innovating in an ecosystem

evolving-innovation-a-new-formPaul and I have been exploring the interrelationships between innovation, ecosystems and platforms for a few weeks now.

Hopefully we’ve made the point that innovators must expand their horizons, because increasingly customers don’t want or need stand alone, discrete products as much as they want integrated, seamless, holistic solutions.

In fact I think we can easily predict that moderately interesting new innovations that integrate with existing ecosystems and platforms dominate disruptive new products that ignore ecosystems and platforms.

Why?  Customers don’t want to give up all that they have invested in the totality of their use of a solution or the experience when using the solution.  Even if the disruptive product or service delivers outsized benefits, if it causes the rest of the customers’ experience to suffer or degrade, many will choose to remain on a more integrated solution.

There’s a lot here to unpack. Continue reading