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.
Gartner announced its “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2013” from its annual IT Symposium this week (see related Forbes article
). Most notable to the team here at Axeda was that the Internet of Things was #4 on the list - ahead of both Big Data and Cloud Computing.
Whether you call it Internet of Things or Machine-to-Machine (M2M), the strategic importance of companies connecting their non-IT assets is becoming hard to ignore. As Gartner laid it out this week, and according to Eric Savitz’s summary in Forbes:
- Over 50% of Internet connections are things
- In 2011, over 15 billion things on the Web, with 50 billion+ intermittent connections.
- By 2020, over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion with intermittent connections.
Over the last two years, Gartner has led the thought leadership behind the trend of IT and OT (Operational Technology) convergence. This matters to the CIO audience, because as Gartner predicted this week:
- By 2015, in more than 70% of enterprises, a single exec will oversee all Internet connected things.
This responsibility will most likely fall with the CIO. And it won’t only be the performance of these assets, but also how the flood of data coming from the assets is gathered, processed, stored, and utilized for the gain of their enterprises.
Gartner recently released a new report: Market Trends: IT Services for Machine-to-Machine Communications, U.S., 2012. It discusses how System Integrators and “vendors to watch” like Axeda are well positioned to help IT organizations successfully take on machine data management and integration projects. View the report for free at www.axeda.com.
Hot off the presses… a new M2M report from Gartner: Market Trends: IT Services for Machine-to-Machine Communications, U.S., 2012. The gist of the report is this: while the carriers, MNOs and MVNOs are making great progress in providing connectivity for machines, external service providers and system integrators (SIs) will provide the end solutions and deliver greater value to companies by enhancing business processes and integrating machine data into the enterprise. This makes total sense since M2M projects are becoming more strategic, more complex and larger in scope... teeing up the need for the program management and the advanced integration skills of SIs.
Historically, connecting machines was driven by a single point solution, often remote monitoring or service. Companies now realize that machine data can be leveraged by almost every functional organization. The real value in M2M comes from taking that data and integrating with enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP, or data warehouses — optimizing critical business processes and essentially M2M-izing organizations. For example, machine data flowing through a CRM or ERP 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 business processes such as consumables management, usage-based billing, and warranty management. SIs are in the best position to deliver these solutions.
In fact, here at Axeda, we are seeing tremendous momentum with our system integration partners who deliver integration with SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com and other enterprise systems. IT organizations are taking on machine data management and integration projects and relying on SIs for help. Axeda is providing the core platform for connecting, device management, and application enablement while the SIs are providing program management and implementation skills. More and more, M2M projects are becoming less about device management and more like traditional IT projects focused on data integration and end-user applications. Essentially, M2M projects have become focused on analytics, business process enhancement and new innovative applications… the result is delivering more value from connected products!
View a full copy of the Gartner report at www.axeda.com.
Axeda Connexion 2012 is only a month away and we are challenging our community of users to “Get Serious about M2M.” What does this mean?
A solution maturity curve is emerging in M2M that is taking the value of connected product data beyond the remote service, support, or tracking of assets. Companies that 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, or data warehouses — optimizing critical business processes and essentially M2M-izing their organizations.
Connexion 2012 will feature more than 30 content sessions focused on reinventing the product experience and optimizing enterprise-wide business processes with M2M data. More news coming out this week about the roster of industry all-stars that we have assembled, but you can check out the latest agenda here.
And in case you missed it. Axeda’s EVP of Product Strategy & Marketing, Bill Zujewski was on the Peggy Smedley radio show last week talking about this very topic. Hear his thoughts on what it means to M2Mize a company by listening in to the replay.