ZTR39s Michael Tidy says digital strategy will be a major differentiator between corporations in 2017

2017 and the Dawning of Digital Strategies for the Industrial IoT

Jan. 3, 2017
Michael Tidy, vice president and general manager of the Industrial IoT Division at ZTR Control Systems offers his predictions for the new year.

2017 will see continued, aggressive, double digit growth in Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in North America. Over the previous five years, companies have focused on "how" or "how many" types of conversations when it came to connecting remotely with their equipment leveraging telematics and sensor data. The technology advances and cost decreases over the last several years have improved to a place where companies can broadly adopt data driven programs for both their own internal systems and their customer's benefits in 2017. 

The missing element to push the Industrial IoT forward has always been a company’s ability to answer the question ‘Why?’. Most companies are comfortable that Industrial IoT hardware, software and services will technically work but are now asking what it means for them to embrace Industrial IoT broadly.

2017 will see the advent of the digital strategy as a key driver of corporate differentiation. Many executives have made digital strategy a priority and are looking to deliver on that strategy over the next 12 months.

The digital strategy is a key element of overall business strategy and it makes data and connected asset information available to the broader organization to supercharge a number of key business drivers. Increased customer intimacy, better or more consistent dealer/branch quality and execution, better product reliability, product differentiation, marketing and sales efficiencies, adding services to a product or hardware based on the company’s bottom and top line.

Every organization has a unique and different reason for connecting and using their data better and the digital strategy will articulate that. What has changed for 2017 is that this is not just the realm of the IT department but embraces executives across the industrial enterprise. People, process, partners and product/services are all open to the reach of the digital strategy and will require new systems and thinking to drive them through the organization. In 2017 people are realizing that their company is not an island of information and that data and programs must interconnect with many different systems, suppliers and partners to be efficient. These business networks must allow for easy connections and two way flow of data between different users as well as an openness to sharing through the company's food chain of customers, resellers, suppliers and customer channels.

To fully leverage the massive amounts of data that are becoming available inside organizations requires a commitment from the top and a vision of what makes each company unique followed by a plan to execute on this new information. Leaders who develop a digital strategy and adopt new data driven processes will see the benefits in 2017 and will look for suppliers to support them. Standards like the Association of Equipment Management Professionals in telematics as well as technology companies that make it easy to integrate to their company's ERP, supplier, customer and CRM solutions, will be critical in unleashing the power of the Industrial IoT in the coming decade.