Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 25 - Page 65

INDUSTRY WATCH NOW IT’S TIME TO DETERMINE THE GOALS FOR THE INVESTMENT AND TACTICS TO GET THERE. W ith a gradual approach, manufacturers can turn to edge applications, hybrid solutions and a phased roll-out to build confidence and gain buy-in from the various teams. A gradual approach also provides time to establish data security and ensure compliance with modern regulations, like the EU’s General Database Protection Regulation (GDPR). Now it’s time to determine the goals for the investment and tactics to get there. Most digital technologies, like IoT, are not out-of-the-box solutions you simply plug in. A customised approach is therefore critical. Setting a very well-defined plan with measurable milestones will help eliminate project ambiguity. Focus on building a plan that is practical, doable and cost-effective. Start with viable ‘phase one’ goals, such as preventing unexpected down-time and keep shop floor assets running, better manage inventory levels with fewer stock-outs and meet customer demand for highly personalised products. Avoid broad goals like ‘double profits’ or ‘increase sales’. Funding issues If the business isn’t ready for a huge investment in IT solutions, start small with a subscription-based cloud deployment, eliminating the need for a large capital investment. This allows you to reap the benefits of cloud computing while protecting critical customer data and moving forward while easing stakeholder anxiety. With no need for hardware and systems such as servers, security and back-ups, the IT team can focus on other issues, rather than continually worrying about upgrades and back-ups. Another way to overcome funding issues is to use the savings generated from phase one to fund phase two projects. From business intelligent tools for tracking real-time results, to CRM solutions, shop floor scheduling, planning and time-tracking, field service management, tracking warranties and service agreements and inventory management to improve accuracy, massive savings potential is offered. Building the business case to prioritise steps is important. There are some prerequisites that are must-have basics for modernising operations. These are the foundations for growth. Consider end-to-end visibility, mobility, attractive, easy-to-use interfaces, self- service reporting, workbenches and dashboards and non-modified software. Thankfully, these elements can be achieved with one modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. The size of the move often guides the strategy. Moving to a servitisation model is a good example of this. Offering the product as a service or outcome-based solution – rather than selling the product – is gaining traction in some industries (especially ones where the traditional product is high-value, like cranes, tractors and road building equipment). This often requires new strategic thinking and the integration of unfamiliar technologies. Deciding whether to increase services and/ INTELLIGENTCIO 65