Business Execution

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The Business Execution part of the Digital Playbook provides guidance on how to actually implement the AIoT-enabled business strategy. In the following, C K Vishwakarma (CEO of AllThingsConnected & co-lead of the AIoT User Group in Singapore) shares some of his thoughts on this.

Dirk: The AIoT transformation program. Is that for real or is it a synonym for a generic digital transformation program?

C K Vishwakarma: It is indeed real because if we tried to understand slightly more specific, that is the definition of AIoT itself. As we know, AIoT is the combination of AI and IoT. This means that AIoT is applied to certain very specific use cases, related to physical assets or products. Digital transformation is very broad, and within your digital transformation initiative (which may have hundreds of such initiatives), we can identify those with a direct relationship to physical assets and products. Those I would say will be driven by the AIoT initiative. So the organization have to think of the bigger objectives, and then there are complex objectives within which will be categorized as AIoT in my view.

DS: What are the first steps for setting up an AIoT transformation program?

CK: When we are initiating the AIoT program, we need to think about what the business objective is, what are required process transformations or operational challenges, etc. It is not just because everybody else is doing it, so we should do it as well. The first step is obviously, what are the main points? What are the challenges that you are trying to address? What are the use cases in those initiatives? Then we will look at what kind of technology you need to put in place and finally, how to build a team together and implement the use cases. Understand what is in there for us as an organization, because the way we look at the way we design, manufacture, assemble, distribute, and operate products and services are going to change. So where are the opportunities specifically, what process gap problems do we have, and how can we convert that into opportunities. And then we can look into evaluating the right technology within the whole AIoT spectrum. Finally, how do we implement the required AIoT products and solutions, with an in-house team or with a development partners?

DS: That is a good point. In AIoT, nobody can do it alone. What's your take on co-creation versus sourcing?

CK: Yes, absolutely. Nobody can do it alone because if you just look at not just the business challenge of it, but also the technical challenges, AIoT requires many technologies to come together. I have not come across any one technology company who can claim that it can address the entire technical stack at the same time. It does not make sense for the solution seeker to do everything alone. It usually takes too long, and you risk losing the opportunities. So co-creation part is critical in AIoT initiatives. The challenge that most organization faces is who they should partner with. Partner evaluation and selection becomes critical. Where should you partner, and what are the selection criteria? It is important not to look well beyond the initial proof-of-concepts and pilots. While it important to show value creation very early, most AIoT initiatives are also very long-term oriented. Therefore, identifying the right areas for partnering and co-creation is important. And of course partnering vs buying. So we are going from make-vs-buy to make-vs-buy-vs-partner.

Dirk: Thank you, CK!