The 3rd Annual Internet of Manufacturing South is a very important conference for the construction and support of the industrial ecosystem.
It’s the destination for you to build on your competitive edge, engage with other manufacturing leaders and meet the solution providers disrupting the market.
In the build up to Internet of Manufacturing South 2019 we caught up with Peter Bourne the CEO of Bright Wolf about the hurdles in starting your IoT initiative and what solutions to adopt and how people are key to the success of deployment.
What technologies do you recommend for building industrial IoT solutions?
I’d like to redirect that question. The first thing you need to understand is that you’re not just facing a technology problem. In fact, the biggest hurdles to creating new value through industrial IoT and AI aren’t engineering problems at all. They’re people problems. They’re product management problems. Start there instead. For example, does everyone in your organization understand and feel aligned with the goals of the project? How will you define success? Have you developed a unified set of requirements, responsibilities, and value propositions? Talk to your supply chain partners. Interview your customers. What do they think is most important? Just getting OT and IT to work together on a data collection program on your factory floor isn’t going to move the needle against your competitors who are developing whole new business models and fully integrated solutions. Identify your desired outcomes first, and then build a plan with each stakeholder to iteratively test for value at each step. Build up from there. That’s how real digital transformation happens. The right technology for your solution will be the one that best matches your unique goals, requirements, and constraints. So you need to figure those out first.
What advice would you give traditional industrial enterprises who realize the world is changing around them and are looking for ways to maintain their leadership in a connected future?
The first step to solving a problem is realizing that you have a problem. So you’re off to a good start. And you’re right about the urgency. IoT and AI technologies are opening up a whole new world of data-driven possibilities, and transforming the competitive landscape at an increasing rate. It’s not an exaggeration to say you’re going to need to adapt or die. But data and dashboards don’t always equal dollars. Simply replacing analog processes with digital equivalents isn’t leadership. There’s a company out there who spent millions of dollars building an amazingly complex solution to replace three guys and a notebook. And you know what happened when they launched the new system? Productivity went down. Sometimes the analog approach provides the optimal blend of reliability, cost, and benefit. You don’t have to connect absolutely everything to succeed in a connected world. Look for ways to evolve and improve, don’t rip and replace. Find opportunities to create new value that just wasn’t previously possible. Then, build only what you need to validate your ideas before making a significant investment. Value is king. Always design for learning. If you think you can save money in your operations with automation, or generate new revenue through data-driven services, what’s the smallest thing you can build to test this out? If the answer is an Excel spreadsheet, use an Excel spreadsheet! Once you’ve proven the value in the data, then you can think about how to fully operationalize and scale the solution. Regardless of market position today, companies with this evolutionary mindset are going to dominate the future.
How should engineering and IT teams think about “build vs buy” when it comes to IoT solutions.
It’s not really “build vs buy” at the solution level. You’re always going to need to build some things yourself, and there are always parts that make more sense to buy from specialized vendors. The real question is how to decide which are which. Remember, in most cases your goal is to become an information company, not a software company. Definitely not a software infrastructure company. Every industrial IoT system requires a secure and scalable infrastructure. Authentication, encryption, computation, storage – there’s almost never a good reason to create these primary components from scratch. The most flexible, reliable, and least expensive source for these is the major public cloud providers. Then, look for places where it makes sense to innovate, to do things that will give you a competitive advantage. Here too, you can separate out enabling technologies from the unique functionality and experiences that will drive new revenue and cost savings. Data management services and analytics engines are great examples here. Both are critical for generating useful insights, and are basically just more infrastructure. You can buy these too. Focus your engineering efforts on your business goals and how to leverage these tools in ways that matter for your specific operational needs and business goals. Buy your infrastructure. Build your value.
About Internet of Manufacturing
Internet of Manufacturing South 2019 takes place on 19-20 November 2019 in Dallas, Texas, as the USA’s leading event for the Industrial Internet of Things. The end user led conference program, is split into three streams of content for business strategists and technical wizards. From tried and tested knowledge on building the business buy-in for new digital applications, real-life examples Edge, Cloud and Data Analytics, building technology to deliver your business dreams and the capabilities of data analytics, AI, AR, VR, robotics and more; Internet of Manufacturing is your one stop shop to drive your organization forward. This is the destination for you to build on your competitive edge, engage with other manufacturing leaders and meet the solution providers disrupting the market.
About Bright Wolf
Bright Wolf is a provider of enterprise IoT technology and solutions for large-scale industrial connected systems deployed globally by Fortune 1000 companies. Broad industry experience has made Bright Wolf a trusted IoT integration and technology partner for some of the largest organizations in the world.
About Peter Bourne
Peter Bourne is the CEO of Bright Wolf, a digital strategy, system integration, and technology partner for industrial enterprises in manufacturing, energy production, supply chain, and other sectors. Peter’s career covers a breadth of industries experiencing digital transformation, and spans all company operations including P&L, sales and marketing, and R&D. He has spent 20 years in CEO, COO, EVP and GM roles at both public and private companies.