Disclaimer: This article is published in partnership with Siemens. Siemens is paying for my engagement, not for promotional purpose. Opinions are my own.
The Covid-19 crisis has been massively changing the way we live and work. As a consequence, it has also fundamentally affected how companies engage with their customers and how they operate their businesses. The recent weeks and months have clearly unveiled one key insight: the outbreak has greatly amplified several major requirements for industrial operations that were already critical before and have remained so as companies have been shifting towards recovering their businesses and preparing for a Next Normal. Three key requirements that industrial companies and their operating models are now forced to meet more than ever:
- Availability – despite largely disrupted supply chains, industrial production of e.g. food or pharmaceuticals must be able to deliver and, when needed, quickly ramp up to meet soaring demand.
- Flexibility – highly volatile customer demand and increasing preference for customization and personalization makes adaptation to frequently changing environments imperative.
- Speed – constantly changing customer needs calls for the capability to scale up and bring new offerings into the market quickly.
There is one crucial measure that addresses all the requirements above: Digitalization. It has become obvious that companies with a higher degree of digitalization before the crisis have tended to exhibit greater adaptability and better performance throughout. And what’s more, research based on historical data shows that companies that keep on investing in innovation and digitalization not only increase their odds of outperforming during the crisis, but also in post-crisis years.
Siemens guides industrial companies in their digitalization efforts
Siemens Digital Industries, being innovation- and technology-leader in the field of industrial digitalization and automation, guides and supports companies in their ‘Digital Transformation’ quest. The Digital Enterprise solution portfolio enables industrial companies of all sizes to implement current and future technologies for the automation and digitalization, consisting of:
- A world’s leading automation concept
- Automation and industrial software for process and discrete industries
- Leading cloud-based, open IIoT operating system MindSphere, enabling platform- and ecosystem-based solutions and business models
- Powerful communication networks, holistic industrial security concepts and a wide range of various services offerings.
By employing a digital twin-based ‘closed feedback-loop’, Siemens is the only company that can bring the virtual and the real world together in a seamless way – thus continuously optimizing product and production. Moreover, Siemens draws on a suite of cutting-edge technologies, including Cloud/Edge Computing, Additive Manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence that help make industrial production more resilient and adaptive.
On top of offering horizontally- and vertically-integrated solutions along the entire value chain from product design to operations and services, Siemens has partnered with SAP for further integration. Jan Mrosik, former COO of Siemens Digital Industries, outlined:
The partnership between Siemens, industry leader in Product Lifecycle Management, and SAP, leading in SCM and Asset Management solutions, aims at creating a true digital thread across all involved disciplines within a company.
By doing so, both companies offer their joint customers a unique solution many of whom have been looking for: the holistic digitalization from Design to Operations and Business.
Why is Siemens’ role and integrated strategy forward-looking?
This integrated strategy and approach to digitalization virtually makes Siemens Digital Industries a ‘one-stop shop’ for industrial companies and their individual digital transformation endeavors. The holistic portfolio enables them to combine foundational technologies (see visual below) in a tailored way to future-proof their operations in the Next Normal.
Beyond this immediate, business-related purpose, there are two major overarching reasons why Siemens is likely to play a key role in the future and its integrated strategy appears forward-looking:
Digitalization pull from Orchestrators: Industry- or area-wide digitalization seems to be driven by thought- and technology-leading orchestrators which provide digitalization platforms and influence associated ecosystems – case in point: China. Siemens may play such a role for global process and discrete industries as well as the European region.
Winning the B2B digitalization race: Studies indicate that USA and China with companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent or Haier are leading when it comes to B2C platforms and digitalization. In contrast, Europe and its companies seem to have a fair chance to win the B2B digitalization race. This can mainly be ascribed to distinctive requirements in this sector: deep domain expertise, specialized application know-how and detailed customer understanding prove key for getting a foothold in B2B markets. The partnership between Siemens and SAP, two European-based leaders in their fields, can be seen as a strategic step towards this ambition. By integrating their portfolios, both companies rise their impact in creating dominant platforms and shaping common standards in their industries and markets.
Takeaway: Siemens occupies a unique position to lead global industrial digitalization
Siemens pursues a holistic strategy by offering a seamlessly integrated portfolio. It is characterized by a couple of outstanding elements, such as
- end-to-end digitalization
- platform basis
- ecosystem approach
- complementary partnerships.
For one, this provides a basis for industrial companies to keep investing in innovation and digitalization to cope with the current crisis and the requirements beyond. Moreover, this foundation enables Siemens in large part to influence Europe’s role and adoption rate in B2B and industrial digitalization. Taken all together, it puts Siemens in a unique position to lead and shape Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0.
There is certainly more to come!