Today’s posting will focus on machine data integration with other enterprise business applications like CRM, ERP and PLM.
In my previous posting on what CEOs need to know about M2M, I referenced the Axeda value curve and discussed level 4, machine data analytics.
Today, we’ll discuss Level 5… business system integration
… how extending your ERP and CRM system with machine data can drive business process efficiencies and optimize processes with accurate machine data.
Companies who were early in bringing their products online are now realizing that the real “gold” in M2M is taking that data and integrating with enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, PLM or data warehouses. This machine data can be used for optimizing critical business processes and essentially M2M-izing their organizations. I use the term M2Mize to describe this notion… M2Mize essentially means to optimize a business process using M2M data from a connected product or asset.
In last year’s survey of our customers, we discovered that 67% of our customers have integrated or are in the midst of integrating machine data with an enterprise system. Why? What value is machine data to ERP and CRM? What are the benefits of making machine data available to these systems? The answer is simple: many business processes can be improved using machine data. In fact, here’s a list of the top 10 processes that were identified in the survey:
1) Field Service
M2M data from connected assets, in collaboration with other enterprise systems, can provide visibility and automation across organizations not previously possible. For example, product data flowing through a CRM system can also be sent to billing or into a supply chain management system — helping to eliminate error-prone manual steps and providing new sales opportunities for things such as consumable replenishment or warranty renewals. Additionally, integration with quality assurance or product management can help enhance product features based on real-world data that shows usage patterns or equipment issues — helping to improve customer satisfaction and streamlining Beta programs.
2) Customer Service
3) Usage-based Billing
4) Asset Management
5) Consumable Management
6) Warranty Management
8) Configuration Management
10) Product Lifecycle Management
So how does machine data get from the asset to these business systems? The data is first collected and transformed into formats that can be consumed by IT. Most of our customers use Axeda’s built-in Web Services and Integration Framework to access data in our cloud. Our integration framework allows for seamless two-way communications with other enterprise systems and makes it easy to pass asset data, alarms, files, and locations to applications like SAP, Oracle, or Salesforce.com. The platform includes 3 ways to integrate: 1) a modern integration message queue for handling asynchronous communication 2) SOAP or RESTful API’s to call into Axeda and extract data or 3) a scripting engine and APIs to call other external web services from within Axeda.
In my next post, I’ll give several examples of how machine data is working its way into our customers back office systems to improve efficiency or enable new services. This business system integration is a relatively new phenomenon. IT organizations are very good at dealing with traditional web-based business applications but have little experience dealing with machine data and M2M solutions. But M2M application platforms like Axeda are becoming very good at turning raw machine data into standard IT formats and web services that IT can deal with. This is driving rapid expansion of machine data into the enterprise.
A new year, a new perspective ... With all the hype around the Internet of Things in 2012 behind us, it’s time to think about what themes will emerge in 2013. One trend seems to be the acceleration of focus that corporations have on shipping connected products that include applications for end-users to better manage operational assets and equipment. I call this corporate ecosystem of connected assets the Internet of Corporate Things™. It’s the B2B subset of the Internet of Things.
Essentially the Internet of Corporate Things focuses on the management of the “things” that a corporation has to deal with. It is an approach to the management of the physical products that a company delivers to its customers and the management of a company’s corporate assets including facilities and plants, operational equipment, vehicles and goods being delivered. The Internet of Corporate Things begins with the fundamental understanding that supporting customers’ use of a company’s products requires connectivity, monitoring, remote service, usage analysis, ERP/CRM integration and value-added services that leverage connectivity and mobile devices. It also includes managing internal corporate assets and operational infrastructure which requires a deep, intuitive understanding of the complex web of interconnectivity between assets, places, people and information.
The Internet of Corporate Things embraces the reality that no asset is an island. All products, devices, equipment, goods being delivered, facilities, systems, processes, workflows, and people co-existing in a connected world are interdependent. It acts like a social network, connecting information and democratizing management tasks across organizations to leverage machine data to foster unparalleled collaboration. It tears down the silos between OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) …between customers and the enterprise. It connects equipment, facilities, vehicles and corporate assets to drive a new level of operational efficiency.
Axeda’s Role in the Internet of Corporate Things
The Internet of Corporate Things is the domain expertise at the heart of Axeda. It embodies Axeda’s expertise in managing connectivity to optimize the efficiency, agility, and availability of a company’s connected product and connected asset ecosystem. Axeda provides the technology and services to manage the Internet of Corporate Things including the administrative and management console for a company’s connected products and connected assets. It’s our unique skill set and “library of learnings” that help us drive business value quantifiably and continuously – unleashing the true potential of connected products and assets.
How are you Using your Machine Data?
It’s time to think big: R&D wants the right priorities. Operations wants real-time tracking of remote assets. Sales wants eyes everywhere at the customer site.
As machines get easier and less expensive to connect every year, companies are realizing that the M2M data they create can provide massive benefits beyond the service team. At Axeda Connexion 2012, we asked savvy M2M adopters about what’s next for their M2M strategies, and the answer was clear – Extend the Machine Cloud to the entire organization.
Two-thirds of the M2M innovators at Connexion said they are interested, planning, or scheduled to integrate M2M data with back-end enterprise systems, with the goal of breaking down silos and sharing valuable connected product data to business functions across their organization.
M2M metrics vary from product to product, and can impact reduced time-to-market, improved productivity, and lowered or avoided costs – the possibilities are endless. Our Machine Cloud Infographic highlights some of the processes where back-end integration can have the strongest impact.
These findings demonstrate why the M2M industry is so exciting right now. Organizations are finding ways to leverage business analytics, increase automation, transform their business, and, ultimately, deliver a superior experience for customers.