Almost every day, it seems, a new technology comes to market with the potential to disrupt the way in which businesses design, manufacture, distribute and market their goods. From the Internet of Things to AI-enabled automation, 3D printing to Augmented Reality, the technology industry is continually innovating, and industrial firms are investing in trials and production rollouts of these innovations to ensure they remain competitive. But how effective are these investments? Look at your own business: Are you using digital technology to drive operating efficiencies or new business streams or both? Are you getting everything you hoped to from your technology? If the answer to this is "no," you’re not alone: In a recent Accenture survey of business executives, only 13 percent said their companies are getting both cost saving efficiencies and new growth from their investments in digital technologies.
Better coordinating investments
Why is this happening? At Accenture, we believe the answer lies in the way in which companies invest in technology. By and large, businesses have invested in a piecemeal way, and as a result the benefits of a given technology are only flowing to one part of the organisation. So, for example, a B2B manufacturer may well have invested in Industrial Internet of Things applications to automate its production lines, but still be carrying out marketing and sales in a traditional, "analogue" way. It’s like coming off a motorway: as soon as you hit that analogue slip road things in your supply chain will slow down.
If digital technologies are to live up to their promise, what’s needed is coordination and combination: a wide variety of customer-oriented, seamlessly connected technologies that enable an end-to-end digital supply chain from design to post-market. This is something different to "Industry 4.0" or the "Fourth Industrial Revolution": We’re calling it "Industry X.0" and it is a framework for ensuring your business can rapidly absorb all future technological disruption, and benefit from change as soon as possible.
Getting the mix right
Industry X.0 is about finding the right combination of technologies to enable the end-to-end digital transformation of industrial companies. The exact mix will vary according to industry, but our research shows that combining technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, Big Data, Machine Learning, Mobile Computing, Autonomous Vehicles, and Autonomous Robots in the right way can enable average savings of over US $85,000 per employee or help companies gain additional market capitalisation of just over US $6 billion on average.
Getting the right mix of technologies enables companies to efficiently and effectively transform their operating models, as well as their production and value chains. The Industry X.0 business is one that effectively leverages combinations of advanced digital technologies to continuously create new, hyper-personalised experiences. We’ve identified four key characteristics to the Industry X.0 enterprise:
Intelligence: Enabled by IoT, every product and production process is self-monitoring, data-generating, and aware of its ever-evolving business context.
Connectivity: Communications are end-to-end and multi-directional, while data-sharing among people, products, systems, assets and machines happens in real-time.
Agility: There’s an enterprise-wide cultural capability to act with speed, focus, and agility, to meet needs and seize opportunities.
Interactive: Adaptive interactions help create increasingly relevant and valuable user experiences over time.
A perfect example of an Industry X.0 business is our client Schneider Electric, an energy multinational headquartered in France. Schneider Electric has combined digital and IoT technology with B2C thinking around the customer experience to create a Digital Factory in which it can build, test and deploy new applications with ease. Through its Digital Factory, Schneider has launched a new predictive maintenance service. Analysing huge volumes of data on production, consumption and electronic-batch processing through a proprietary algorithm, the company can predict equipment failures and take appropriate action well in advance. Based on this intelligence, Schneider’s equipment can adapt to its environment at speed, reducing overall downtime and improving asset utilisation for its clients.
As mentioned, Industry X.0 is a framework: its application will vary from industry to industry. Over the course of the next three blogs we’re going to drill down into some specifics about how Industry X.0 will affect the key sectors of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and food and drink. Finally, in a fourth blog, we’ll look at some concrete steps you can take to ensure your business is Industry X.0 ready—so stay tuned.
If you would like to discover more about Industry X.0 now, then please read our report Combine and Conquer: Unlocking the Power of Digital