People, things and processes in seamless integration

– a successful approach to transform digital technologies into future business opportunities

23 August, 2018

By Thomas Offermann, SAP Business Expert

Many companies have taken the first steps towards digital transformation. Optimization, automation, and new digital services are top of the agenda. The challenge is, however, that companies piece together a variety of digital technologies from many IT vendors and spend time aligning different IT vendors’ different technological platforms and different software.

Such journeys have become too unnavigable, cumbersome and expensive, because who is responsible for the seamless integration of all the many different technologies that play a role in the corporation’s value chain? Who is responsible for over-arching processes such as security? Who ensures the integration of different software and components?

What is the winning formula for digital companies of the future? The answer is simple: The success of digital transformation will ultimately depend on the seamless integration of people, things, and business processes.

Digital transformation requires many different process, business and technology competencies. These range from business process consulting and design to ERP with real-time capability, vision, IoT, sensors, predictive analytics, machine learning, and AI. But while many IT vendors offer amazing concepts and great technologies, only a few provide true end-to-end solutions tailored to specific business needs.

New technologies enable new predictive power
At Atos, we asked ourselves a few years ago how we could bring all these new technologies into play and create real business value for companies. How could we enable individual corporations to derive value from different technologies, no matter how simple or complex their business processes are? How could we seamlessly integrate people, things, and business processes?

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So, we tested, experimented, and came up with a seamless integration flow. This flow integrates hardware (e.g. IoT devices) as well as cloudification and process applications. To validate our model, we started with a common and well-known use case: The lifetime management of a truck.

Like all other machinery and devices, trucks sometimes break down. The engine, the brakes or any number of other systems that keep the truck moving might fail. Only a few years ago, we were not able to foresee when and why the truck had to leave the road and enter the garage for repairs. But new technologies enable new predictive power.

With Smart Data Analytics and Predictive Maintenance it is possible to automatically detect faults and predict potential component failures on the truck based on sensor data and image recognition. SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo automatically trigger the necessary actions, such as service requests or the purchase of spare parts.

Thus, each stakeholder automatically receives real-time information that is targeted to his or her needs. The users, e.g. maintenance workers, receive the necessary information directly on their data glasses. The truck operator benefits from the prediction and optimized planning of required service activities, reduced downtimes and streamlined operations.
The truck showcase illustrates how it is possible to automate every process every step of the way – with relevant technologies.

The five steps of seamless integration flow
The seamless integration flow of people, things and processes can be broken down into five steps:

1) Awareness: Realizing people’s needs
2) Analyze: Identifying the relevant aspects, necessary changes and technologies to fulfill these needs
3) End-to-end: Understanding the implications of these aspects for the entire value chain
4) Involvement: Identify and address all relevant stakeholders
5) Speed: Implementing solutions in short-term, agile cycles

What our experiment with the truck taught us is this: Successful digital transformation depends on seamless integration between people, things, and processes. Successful digital transformation supports the entire value chain and brings high-flying ideas down to earth to make them work in real-life settings. But successful digital transformation also requires that companies dare to be ambitious, dare to experiment, and want to benefit from companies who have experience in end-to-end processes.

We’re convinced that the traditional, large IT consolidation projects we have known for years will eventually be phased out, and that digital transformation provides notable business benefits when based on an end-to-end view. Focus must therefore be on connecting all technologies on one platform and making them scalable. This will open for new intelligent business perspectives in all industries.

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Thomas Offermann

SAP Business Expert

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