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Strategy

Elegant Gathering in the Apricot Garden (Xie Huan Ca. 1437)

Made in China 2025 and Intellectual Property Protection

By | Electric Vehicles, Mergers & Acquisitions, Supply Chain | No Comments

China IP Protection Practices Snapshot and Predictions

Product companies and research organizations have long complained about theft of intellectual property (IP) and lax enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. Forced technology transfers have been another major grievance of foreign companies setting up local operations in China.

Despite the potential risks of IP leaks and bureaucratic limitations, the lure of the enormous Chinese consumers market is impossible to resist and for some companies it may very well represent an essential component of their long-term growth strategy.

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Airplane Over Train (Natalia Goncharova, 1913)

The Automotive Industry: On the Road to Autonomy — Automotive Industry Snapshot and Predictions

By | Automotive, Autonomous Cars, Connected Cars, Electric Vehicles, Strategy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Value Chain Disintermediation: Electronics and Software are the New Automotive Supply Chain Kings

The auto industry’s century-old drive to gain efficiencies, accelerate production output, reduce waste and recoup working capital through lean techniques has also led to a strong cultural bias towards inside innovation and complex love-hate relationships with a network of select suppliers of mostly mechanical and electrical subsystems.

But today, electronics and software are the key to brand differentiation, customer affinity and market competitiveness. Electronics manufacturers are quickly becoming the new kings of the automotive value chain as the center of gravity is shifting from complex mechanical systems and passive safety features to sophisticated electronics and software. New entrants and outside innovators are redefining the traditional roles in a value chain structure that has changed very little in decades and are changing the familiar landscape.

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Wine is a Mocker (Jan Steen, 1663–64)

The Industrial Internet of Things: When the Party is Over

By | AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Mergers & Acquisitions | No Comments

IoT Industry Snapshot and Predictions

The industrial Internet of Things community is finally beginning to sober up from the bacchanalia of counting connected IoT devices and terabytes of cloud data storage that has dominated the IoT narrative for too long.

IoT platform vendors and consultants are shifting their focus from the lower rung of the IoT technology stack that focuses on device connectivity to the other end of the stack, to technologies that provide meaningful business value: multidisciplinary data aggregation, complex data analytics and higher capacity for optimal decision-making.

Robust articulation of the business value of industrial IoT has been absent from much of the narrative, in the vein of “if you build it, they will come.” Many IoT platform vendors provide tools to draw snazzy dashboards, plot complex data graphs and display virtual gauges. But their data analytics tools are not as robust and trending and predictive capabilities are over optimistic. And the recent rush to add statistical analysis tools (often linear regression tools masqueraded as artificial intelligence and machine learning) will face real-world challenges of data biases, inconsistency and scale. Read More

Triple Self Portrait (Norman Rockwell, 1960)

Digital Twins: Is More Better?

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy, PLM | No Comments

The Digital Twin

A digital twin is a live digital representation of a physical asset. It is a cyber-physical mockup that represents both the physical instance and its broad business context in which it operates, from inception to end of life.

The digital twin acts on behalf of connected physical objects by receiving alerts and notifications, sending instructions and updates, and providing real-time information on their state and health to the owners, operators, and maintainers of these assets.

The digital twin is an integral part of the assets’ lifecycle activities. Beyond enabling remote connectivity and control flow, a digital twin must be able to curate a rich decision-making context of a broad spectrum of information and lifecycle activities such as configuration, service entitlement, and maintenance and upgrade history.

Can I Get One, Too?

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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