The Internet of Everything ( IoE ) is a concept that everyone in leadership needs to understand and appreciate. It needs to be a strategic discussion in the board room and in the C-Suite. Its impact, while seemingly obvious is not! Technology is changing on a daily basis (have you heard about Zigbe?) and for middle market companies, keeping tabs on the pace of change is competing for the attention of resources that are responsible for achieving the company’s growth objectives.
In our work with these companies, we have found that their digital and information technology infrastructure is often a patchwork quilt of add-ons: Software packages and hardware systems that have been bolted together. These include CRM, ERP, MRP. WMS, Accounting, Chat, VOIP, EDI, Cloud, Tablets, CNC, Engineering Software, AGV, Low Energy Blue Tooth devices, RFID, Zigbee, Bluetooth 5, HRIS…. Etc. etc. I could keep going on this list, but I think you get the point. How did that patchwork quilt develop? It is a result of two things:
- Continuously changing digital and IT needs: Today CRM, tomorrow, asset tracking and EDI
- Lack of a broader vision of business needs in technology early in its life cycle.
The Internet of Everything ( IoE ) broadly defined is the interconnection of people, places and things. The intersection of people, process and technology is the sweet spot for optimal business performance. Globally, we are interconnected like never before and the pace of change in technology causes interconnection with everything to increase exponentially as we move forward. Given this, middle market leadership is challenged with the following questions:
- How do these new technologies help us achieve our strategic objectives?
- How do we plan for and invest in what REALLY MATTERS?
- How do we create a platform that can leverage future technology?
- What do we do with our existing infrastructure and software systems?
- In our facilities, what do we do with old equipment that still provides value but isn’t interconnected?
- How do we get better information via analytics to our employees?
- How do we do a better job tracking our assets?
There are answers to these questions, but most middle market companies aren’t able to invest critical day to day resources in trying to answer them, so as a result, these companies end up with marginalized systems that don’t move the strategic needle forward. They aren’t capable of leveraging new technologies as they become available or, more importantly, understand what is important and what doesn’t matter.
That is where Group50’s digital assessments come into play. We start with the company’s strategic objectives and assess Business -It Alignment. This assessment focuses on establishing the strategic and operating gaps between the company’s strategic plan and its existing digital and IT infrastructure. Understanding Business-IT Alignment creates the base for the IoE assessment. It is a 5-step process as shown below.
The most important first step is to do an assessment of the current state, documenting the current workflow and doing a people, place and things inventory. Through cross-functional partnerships, Group50 has developed an IoE reference library of workflows, value stream maps, customer journey maps, and industry best practices. These are supplemented by assessment questionnaires that we can apply to specific client situations allowing us to quickly identify the strategic and operational gaps for a particular client environment or workflow. This also speeds up the process of designing the appropriate solution and selecting the right components and technology providers needed for its implementation.
The second step is to create an implementation roadmap that focuses on recommending workflow and technology changes that will minimize disruption, maximize ROI and help the client quickly achieve their primary goals and objectives. The implementation roadmap provided helps clients understand what to expect and when, further streamlines collaboration and communication and provides a change management strategy for implementation.
The third step sets up the infrastructure and develops a working prototype of all the components for a field assessment of the design. This step provides the ability to validate the assumptions made in steps 1 and 2. This is where we (Group50 and the client) begin to create a data layer to which analytics can be applied.
The goal of the fourth step is to verify that the analytics from the data collected are valid and actionable. During this step, the working team begins thinking about the appropriate KPI’s and formulate new workflows based on the analytics.
Step 5 consists of a series of Group50 led workshops that are designed for developing a detailed understanding of the results of the analytics, make any required workflow design changes to optimize performance and finalize all documentation and change management requirements. The process culminates with the delivery of an optimized workflow, an IoE design consisting of verified components and operating work instructions along with the measures and metrics for ready visibility into the efficiency of the process.
As experts in manufacturing, distribution and supply chains, we only offer IoE consulting services in verticals where we have deep domain expertise to complement our established capabilities in strategic planning and execution, organizational development, and digital and information technology. Clients don’t have to spend extra time familiarizing a vendor with the workings of their industry. They will always have a Group50 ombudsman from their field who understands their ecosystem and speaks their language.
If you would like to optimize your core processes, improve quality of service and reduce costs using the Internet of Everything, please join us in this discussion. Group50 can work with you to craft a solution and engage the right technology partners for the components and implementation.
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact the head of our Digital Technology Practice, Shirish Néné at email@example.com or call him at 703-201-3936. You can also talk to Jim Gitney, CEO and head of Group50’s Manufacturing and Distribution practice by calling (909) 949-9083, mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or requesting more information here.
About the Author: Jim Gitney is the CEO of Group50, a manufacturing and distribution consulting firm that specializes in business process improvement and strategic execution at every level of a business. Group50 focuses on leveraging the intersection of people, process and technology and optimizing the performance of critical business processes. Group50 consultants are operating professionals who have managed key business processes in every functional area. They understand how complex it is to successfully implement strategic change, implement change management programs, redesign business
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