Connected agriculture, connected cities, smart homes, smart airports, and the list goes on when it comes to technology enabled people and process automation in a world of Internet of Things. Digital technology is becoming more and more of a key investment opportunity that can create a long-term competitive advantage in such interdependent ecosystems. Use of telematics, wifi mesh networks, robots in the outdoor rugged environments has facilitated several companies to reduce workplace accidents, increase productivity and drive predictable workflow. Collection of data at the core and at the edge has facilitation improved decision making at each step, thus empowering the floor managers, and department heads make real time decisions towards improving asset utilization, value chain portfolio, safety and compliance on heavy machinery, and several other business critical functions. Caterpillar (CAT) is a great example of digital innovation in this space.
Similarly, connected agriculture is an evolving opportunity in digital innovation. Use of mobile technology to improve agricultural productivity among the agricultural stakeholders and value chain is a fast growing practice with several integrated service companies worldwide. Examples of airports, smart homes, cities all are indicative of a very complex and interdependent eco-system when it comes to digitization.
Unlike digitally enabled business models like Uber, AirBnB which are B2C, strategy for digitization in such industries is very complicated. Its one thing to have a dream like vision on the impact of such technology enabled process, decisions and disruption of the business models, and a completely different beast to beat down this vision into strategic chunks of projects. A starting point would be to define a clear bounded strategy that will give way to a set of design principles for organizational alignment and execution. Decision support services will be embedded into such structural change to enable the key tenents that are important for success. Focus on improving the customer experience, enablig faster time to market on products and services, and finally on automation and agility of operations. Internally, the organization needs to focus on building the key talent at leadership and functional level, developing a culture and operating model that supports digital success with the metrics and developing capabilities to bring data and analytics into everyday process and decision making.