Happy Friday! It is a dream day and I want to continue the article I wrote a few months ago – PLM 2030 – the point of no return for the fax machine.
PLM 2030 is a giant online environment connecting people, companies, and services together in a big network. It might sound like a super dream. But let me give you an idea of why I think it is possible. We live in a world of connected information today. For many parts of our life, we are relying on online services as much more reliable system and we are trying to avoid everything that demands a high level of maintenance, local data storage, and tools.
In my previous article, I was talking about transformations that will happen to customers, the way industrial companies will be transformed to operate in a digital environment, how they will coordinate and collaborate. Today I want to talk about transformations of PLM products. What impact digital transformation will have on PLM – technologies, products, discipline. During the last few weeks, I had many conversations about the digital thread and the transformation of PLM into a discipline to support digital transformation. If you missed that, check this out.
I’ve been researching how companies these days are transforming themselves. My favorite two examples are coming from retail and sales.
Retail companies are becoming tech companies these days. The story of Microsoft and Kruger is a good example. The name of the game is RaaS (Retail as a Service).
Two Kroger stores will showcase the first round of RaaS digital technology, developed by the Kroger Technology team around Microsoft Azure and IoT sensors.
“By using Microsoft Azure to store and process the data generated in stores, near the smart shelves and on Kroger’s app, the digital stores will introduce never-before-seen shopping experiences,” the companies said.
The paperless smart shelves are called EDGE, for Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment, and use digital displays to showcase pricing, promotions, and nutritional and dietary information. And soon, the companies said, the EDGE shelves will use Azure AI to connect with Kroger’s Scan, Bag, Go app. Noting that Microsoft and Kroger will jointly take the new RaaS cloud solutions to market, the companies said the new cloud services are “enablement software built by a retailer for retailers, supporting modern retail experiences and harmonizing customers’ digital and physical shopping experiences.”
The systems to support marketing and sales activity is another industry that is digitally transformed for the last decade but recently starting to take interesting digital shapes by focusing on data. In the past sales were about making calls and sending emails. Automation was the name of the game and you remember the generation of CRM systems managing your prospect and email lists.
These days the name of the game is how to empower business by intelligence in sales. And intelligence is coming from the data first. It starts by collecting information that can be turned into intelligent fuel and become a foundation of your campaigns and customer digital experience. The sales and marketing tools are looking for intelligent services capable to collect contacts, accounts, activities, and engagement that happens in different places and to allow to company to interact with this data to find the best market potential.
Monthly forecast, total pipeline revenue value, or pipeline amount by sales stage present a one-dimensional view of the data. Sales analytics combines data points potentially from multiple systems to create a multidimensional perspective and deeper insight into sales performance. Taken at face value, one-dimensional data is essential to understanding and reporting the current state of the business, but provides little insight to the drivers of sales. SFA’s ability to capture, combine, and compare multiple data points as analytics enables salespeople, managers, and leaders to analyze the dynamics of selling.
Another example of how to develop a data-driven sales process.
The term “data-driven” refers to what data you collect, how you collect it, and what you do with it post-analysis. It means intentionally and deliberately gathering and utilizing data throughout the organization, and then using this information to guide decision-making. It’s not to be confused with “data-influenced” or “data-informed,” where you merely have data for data’s sake, or where you’re aware of the numbers but aren’t always using them to advise your processes and strategies.
Data-driven is actively coming to PLM these days. Think about the huge amount of data accumulated by industrial companies. What platforms will be able to turn this data into an actionable process? How to do so if data is stuck in Excels and siloed legacy PLM databases?
The recent development of SaaS PLM platforms is an interesting start of PLM 2030 vision I was talking about at the beginning of my article. To have a system capable to get intelligence from the product data and make it actionable – this is the next step for the SaaS PLM system after establishing a robust multi-tenant data foundation.
Think about the world PLM computer capable to process and analyze manufacturing information, supply chain, customer activities, and turn it into actionable data. I know, it might sound like a dream, but if you compare it with retail as a service and data-driven sales management (both relies on a huge amount of data analytics), you won’t consider it as a distant dream, but as achievable 3-5 years goals.
What is my conclusion?
Data-driven is the next game for PLM companies to transform products and technologies from data management to data intelligence. To help manufacturing companies choose the right technologies, contractors, suppliers, materials, to plan product development and manufacturing process is a big shift, but it will come sooner than you can think. And the foundation of this new digital environment is a new data management platforms combined with new business models capable to switch from data locking to data profit. Data will become fuel for future world PLM computer. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.