If you are reading the Digital Playbook online or as a PDF, you might sometimes find that not everything is perfect, like in a fully edited book. The reason is that the Playbook is constantly evolving, so the decision was made to use a Wiki as the foundation for the playbook. The other book formats are derived as snapshots from the wiki, and the conversion is sometimes not perfect. Additionally, some content might sometimes still not be quite ready. This was a tradeoff between having the perfect book versus the timely delivery of an open, digital content collection that can evolve over time. Since the book formats are published in the open access format, this should hopefully also be acceptable to all readers of the offline versions.
To ensure that you will get the most out of the Digital Playbook, we will provide a short overview of the structure of the book, describe its key plays, and provide recommendations on how to best read it.
Structure of the Digital Playbook
How can smart, connected products and solutions be enabled with AIoT? The Digital Playbook addresses this on two levels. First, AIoT 101 provides an overview of the relevant core concepts and technologies, including AI, data, Digital Twins, IoT and hardware. This helps create a common understanding and common language within a team. Second, the Digital Playbook provides a rich set of good practices and templates to help master business strategy, business execution and technical execution for AIoT-enabled products and solutions. These three areas need to be closely aligned, which is also supported by the playbook.
Heiko Löffler and David Monzel from mm1 have the following take on this: In the development and operation of AIoT-enabled systems, many new issues have to be considered, especially for traditional product companies. As a result, new competencies and skills must be acquired, which represents a central challenge. The Digital Playbook gives companies a clear overview of the topics that need to be added to the physical product component to identify individual competence gaps. Underlying these, there are then a number of challenges that companies must address to ensure successful implementation. Examples include adapting the business model, building scalable hardware, software and AI architecture, and transforming sales. The Digital Playbook specifically addresses these challenge areas and serves as a comprehensive framework for the realization of smart connected products and solutions.
Key Plays of the AIoT Playbook
The Digital Playbook aims to support a holistic and realistic approach for creating and operating AIoT-enabled products and solutions, including:
- AIoT: Provides common language and understanding of key concepts, including AI, IoT, Digital Twin and Data
- Business Strategy: What is a suitable strategy for AIoT-enabled products and services, addressing the market perspective as well as key internal aspects such as innovation management and target organization?
- Business Execution: From design to procurement and operations - how can an AIoT initiative be executed on the business side?
- Technical Execution: From agile to architecture and DevOps - how can an AIoT initiative be executed on the technology side?
The figure below provides an overview of all the key plays of the Digital Playbook. It is in essence the visual Table of Contents of the playbook. The only sections not shown here are the AIoT case studies, which can be found in the last part of the Digital Playbook.
How to Read this Book
To successfully manage a digital transformation initiative utilizing AIoT, it is important for many stakeholders, such as project managers, product managers and solutions architects, to have a high-level, 360 degree understanding of what is happening in their project or product organization so that they can manage all dependencies and provide a matching structure. The Digital Playbook aims to provide a comprehensive, 360 degree overview for exactly this purpose. However, this sometimes means that there is too much content. The playbook is kept as visual as possible, which should enable the reader to browse through the entire playbook by focusing on the diagrams, maybe reading the detailed descriptions only where more details are needed. It can be a good idea to start with a lightweight skimming of the entire structure from A-Z, before then taking more time for the details.
If you are already familiar with the basic concepts of AI, IoT, Digital Twin, and so on, we recommend still browsing through the 101 chapters: everything is kept very visual, and the different images help make some of the basic assumptions we are making transparent. Also, this section helps with creating a common language.
The business execution and technology execution parts are both kept on a level where they hopefully make sense to both business/domain-focused experts and technology experts. Having a general understanding of both sides seems important for all the aforementioned stakeholders, to ensure that the key perspectives can be closely aligned and that a general understanding of the problems of the other side exists.
For example, in one of the previous AIoT trainings, one of the more technical students asked why he should bother learning about the challenges of sourcing and procurement. It is very easy: first of all, the sourcing team will need input and guidance from the technology experts. Otherwise, the technical team will not obtain the tools and resources it needs. Many projects that neglected those aspects failed due to sourcing-related issues. Conversely, more business-oriented people should also at least skim the technology execution side of the playbook to understand how their counterparts on the technology side are working and what kinds of problems they are facing. The Digital Playbook aims to create a level of abstraction that supports this, without becoming too generic.
Enjoy your read, and let us know what you think!