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.

Continue reading

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

Mapping our Innovation Future through Ecosystems and Platform Design

Why do we need a new innovation architecture?

We are witnessing a very radical change, driven by technology, increasingly disrupting and breaking down the past traditional boundaries and market positions of many incumbant organizations. Mostly these were built so as to defend positions to achieve and maintain economic scale. There is a new economic logic to build even greater scale through technology design, it involves greater complexity, yet its value proposition is to strive towards offering greater customer experience and satisfaction. The solutions are valued far higher, in social and economic value. We need to recognize this is a new business model design with the arrival of engagement platforms that connect all the ecosystem of partners in its design, to gain this scale and value.

A new economic logic that get closer to the connected customer expectations and daily needs for innovative solutions to solve, in ways far better than that are being presently being offered. Connecting technology, digital and human understanding brings radically different soutions. A different innovative design has become paramount to these new offerings, so they can be capitalized upon, releasing this increased value creation understanding of opportunities.

The market dynamics are also changing; we are seeing greater disruption and blurring of traditional boundaries of competition, yet the reality is that innovation systems, structures and processes are badly lagging, in design and approach, to react and respond to this new dynamic. A dynamic where the start up can undermind the established encumbant, mostly large organizations that are less nimble and agile, in radically different and dramatic ways, in short time frames, from pilot, testing to scaling those solutions, moving them from local to global through the power of technology applications. Continue reading

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

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