Industry is going digital in a big way, but that means more than just piecemeal investments into new computers and technology. As an operation adds connected elements to its workflow and business processes, it's investing in its digital ecosystem - and just like other business ecosystems, the digital ecosystem needs to be nurtured.
Operations which grow their digital ecosystem this year are likely to pull ahead, and those who continue to stick to older processes are likely to fall behind. If you haven't started paying attention to your digital ecosystem, now is definitely the time to start.
What's In A Digital Ecosystem?
SImply put, a digital ecosystem is everything in a business operation which is online and connected to other elements. It spans a factory's automated robots, to their internal data collecting/tracking system, to the digital outlets they use to communicate with their partners and customers.
Too often, companies don't think about these technology investments in a big-picture or holistic way. They invest in technology in an ad hoc fashion, buying when they see something which looks useful, without thinking about how a new purchase will integrate into the rest of the ecosystem. The result is a bunch of online products and services which may have difficulty "talking" to other digital components in the system - and in turn, that can radically reduce the effectiveness and ROI of the technology purchases.
Data should be able to flow as freely as possible across a digital ecosystem, so it can be leveraged for use in multiple ways. For example, customer tracking data isn't only useful for sales. It can also be utilized by marketing, QA, R&D, even partner recruitment. But if those other departments can't get access to the sales data, its utility is limited.
Grow Your Industrial Operation Through A Well-Integrated Digital Ecosystem
1. Gain vital insights into your operations' overall status and behavior
One of the hardest things about managing a large business or other industrial operation is simply keeping a 'big picture' overview of everything going on. A well-integrated digital ecosystem makes this far easier! An executive could have information on everything from factory performance to sales numbers at their fingertips, updated in real time, allowing them to act quickly on hard information in times of need.
2. Enable closer integration with your business partners
The information flow enabled by a digital ecosystem isn't limited to your own internal operations. The ecosystem encompasses every business connected to yours, and that two-way flow of information helps both sides. In the case of sales partners, for example, you can benefit from the customer sales and usage data they gather, as well as their insights into customer needs, while you can supply them better access to the information and materials they need to make a sale.
3. Streamlining operations
Better data flow leads directly to better business insights, and smarter use of resources. Combined with good investments into 'smart' technologies such as factory robotics and AI oversight, a company can significantly reduce production costs while improving QC at the same time. However, such upgrades must be done with a mind towards the overall digital ecosystem to derive maximum value.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Are you looking for an entry point into better digital ecosystems, but aren't sure where or how to start? For over a decade, we've been pioneers in helping operations improve their digital presence while creating closer-knit business communities which span every element of their operations. Contact us today to learn more about our consulting services, or click here to check out our free communications and training platform FUSE.