The Treasure Trove (Anthonie Palamedesz)

SAP: How to Turn the Monkey on Your Back into an Asset

By | IT Strategy, Strategy | No Comments

SAP’s Enterprise Legacy

Software giant SAP boasts a rich portfolio of monolithic ERP applications that cover a broad range of enterprise business processes and policies. Over nearly half a century of continued growth, both organically and through acquisitions, SAP has established a strong presence across industries and business functions, and forged strong relationships with corporate top brass, especially in the CIO and CFO organizations.

But emerging technologies and changing business strategies are challenging the “Big ERP” market of yore. Enterprise digitalization, cloud computing, and Internet of Things-based business solutions are changing the way enterprises build IT systems and consume services. Traditional monolithic on-premise enterprise software is being replaced by cloud-based connected applications and mobile user interfaces.

In the era of lean and agile cloud-based applications threatening to displace worn-out on-premise systems, SAP needs to exploit new technologies and support cloud-based architectures and emerging business constructs. And in the eyes of some, it still needs to shake off the image of a provider of old-architecture software and stodgy mainframe-style user interfaces.  At the same time, SAP continues to support a very large installed base of more businesses and accompany them on the journey to adopt new technologies and business constructs.

This is a significant undertaking. Commenting on this, one SAP executive said: “our legacy is a great asset, but, at the same time, it can become a monkey on our back.”

How can SAP turn this monkey into a strategic asset? Read More

Alice Meets the Caterpillar (Sir John Tenniel, 1865)

Will The Rise In Computing Power Make Ubiquitous Artificial Intelligence A Reality?

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning | No Comments

Like the Internet of Things that shed its drab M2M image to become the centerpiece of the digital transformation of industrial enterprises, artificial intelligence is sprouting a new life from its 50-plus years old roots. (Yes, we’ve been doing AI, admittedly with limited success, since the late 1950s.)

Conversations about AI seem to follow a course similar to that of the IoT narrative.  Initially, IoT pundits were obsessed with the ability to connect billions of “things” to the Internet. Not only did most of these predictions proved overly optimistic, but the connection between sheer connectivity and meaningful business outcomes was loose, at best.

Today’s IoT narrative shifted to focus on business outcomes enabled by the data generated by connected devices. Industry matured from counting conduits to measuring the value of their content. Read More

An Old Woman Weighing Gold Coins (Rembrandt School, 17th Century)

The ROI of IoT: Quantifying the Strategic Value of IoT

By | Internet of Things, Strategy | No Comments

The Digital Transformation: From Conduits to Content

In the earlier days of the Internet of Things, the industry was obsessed with the magnitude of the network and forecasting how many millions and billions connected “things” it will encompass. As it turned out, those predictions were mostly overblown, vague and inconsistent.

But the hypothetical ability to connect billions of devices to the Internet is of little or no consequence to most industrial companies. Of course, telecom companies, wireless carriers, and semiconductor manufacturers see growth opportunities across many industrial sectors, but these numbers are meaningless to an organization that is trying to harness the IoT to optimize and grow its business and its customers’ business.

The fascination with astronomical number of connected devices is finally subsiding and the conversation is moving gradually from data pipes and conduits to utilizing their content to create business value. Read More

Edison Baker Electric Car c. 1895

End of Tax Credit is Looming: Implications for Electric Vehicle Manufacturers

By | Automotive, Electric Vehicles | One Comment

Did you put down money for a new bright red Tesla Model 3? (Or did you skimp and got the standard any-color-so-long-as-it-is-black car?)

Tesla’s Model 3 order book backlog has been growing longer. The company has confirmed having about 420,000 Model 3 reservations, which, at the current production rate, will take nearly two years to deliver. Tesla has been struggling for more than a year to ramp up manufacturing to meet the demand. The company is targeting production rate of 6,000 per week, which is a significant improvement, albeit still only about 65% of the factory’s capacity when it was co-owned by General Motors and Toyota.

To accelerate production, Tesla reduced the number of available Model 3 configurations from thousands to about 100, which means you will not be able to get the exact car of your dreams. And by the time your car is ready to be delivered to you, the federal tax incentive you were counting on may be gone. Read More

PTC Rockwell Partnership

PTC and Rockwell Automation Partnership: A New Era of PLM Competition Begins

By | Internet of Things, Manufacturing, PLM | No Comments

PLM software vendor PTC and factory automation equipment maker Rockwell Automation recently announced  a partnership agreement. As reported, Rockwell is making a $1 billion equity investment in PTC to acquire 10.6 million newly-issued PTC shares and will become its third-largest shareholder. Rockwell will also get a seat at PTC’s board of directors.

This partnership is significant and will change the balance among the top-tier PLM and factory automation vendors for years to come. Read More