Since the early 18th century, the global industrial landscape has been in the throes of rapid transformation and modernization. From Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0, the four sequential revolutions brought forth a paradigm shift in the way enterprises manage and operate their industrial processes. The latest Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, emerged about a decade ago and marked an enormous shift from a physical to a digital connection.
Today, the complexities and business objectives of the industrial environment have changed drastically. The focus has shifted from achieving operational excellence, cost-efficiency, and productivity to making sustainable choices, addressing geopolitical shifts, preparing for unprecedented disruption, improving worker well-being, and adopting disruptive intelligent technologies. The dynamic market environment and a greater need for accelerated digital transformation demand businesses to transcend to a new ecosystem-focused phase, called the ‘Industry NeXT’ by HCL Technologies.
Industry NeXT builds on the innovations and foundations of the latest industrial revolution, the Industry 4.0 to catapult businesses to a future-ready purpose-centric, value ecosystem. It focuses on integrated ecosystems that connect people, stakeholders, enterprises, operations, products, services, data, and assets by a digital thread to rethink the entire value creation process and reinvent customer experiences. It marries the prevailing Industry 4.0 technologies with new-gen intelligent technologies such as 5G, Cobots, Hyper-Scalers, etc., to redefine business models and efficiently tackle new challenges. Whether an enterprise has already invested in Industry 4.0 or is in the infancy stage, it can still unlock the powerful Industry NeXT advantage.
Industry NeXT map: Laying the path to unlock the Industry NeXT vision
As the new waves of changes continue to reshape the industrial value chain, the Industry NeXT Map proposed by HCL provides a detailed view of Industry NeXT’s domain-specific objectives for businesses. This helps them to accelerate the adoption of the Industry NeXT vision. Enterprises can pursue the objectives defined in the Industry NeXT map by leveraging HCL’s extended partner network and ready-to-deploy software solutions powered by state-of-the-art technologies and advanced frameworks of the Industry NeXT.
Following is the breakdown of Industry NeXT objectives across key Industry NeXT action areas:
Figure 1: Objectives for key business areas enabled by Industry NeXT
- Product NeXT: Product development needs to be centered around creating smart and sustainable products powered by intelligent technologies that can interact seamlessly within a larger connected ecosystem. The continuous data flow across the product lifecycle via digital thread enables a collaborative development environment and uncovers valuable insights to improve future product releases and foster product innovation.
- Services NeXT: Delivering connected experiences and maximizing customer value through superior service is quickly becoming an essential part of the manufacturing value chain. Chatbots, service applications, and Extended Reality (XR) can pave the way for service-related innovations that help businesses remotely monitor connected products, automatically plan preventive maintenance, and offer real-time omnichannel customer support.
- Manufacturing NeXT: Industry NeXT brings many opportunities for the manufacturing industry to meet evolving business needs. Leveraging digital thread, digital twins, intelligent sensors, cobots, and 5G will enable next generation manufacturing enterprises to create a data-driven connected factory backed by a solid IT/OT architecture with complete autonomy over manufacturing equipment, operations, and product attributes.
- Supply Chain NeXT: Given the uncertain market scenarios, supply chain resilience has come into sharp focus. End-to-end visibility, situational awareness, and blockchain-based smart contracts are key capabilities that can build a secure next generation supply chain system. A resilient supply chain will successfully weather an unprecedented crisis, adapt to customer needs, maintain operational effectiveness, and foster close collaboration with supply chain partners and stakeholders.
- Aftermarket NeXT: Focus on aftermarket and experience plays a crucial role in fostering strong customer relationships in the era of a value ecosystem. XR technology can power smart assets to run and automate service operations, integrate self-healing capabilities for autonomy, and offer remote support to improve energy optimization, availability, and operational efficiency.
- Operations and Workforce NeXT: Enterprises must enable new ways of interaction and collaboration across workspaces to increase operational efficiency while maintaining worker well-being. IoT, digital thread, AI, etc., offer real-time data analysis to improve situational awareness at the organizational level and make better business decisions. The coexistence of humans and cobots in modern workspaces can transform human-machine interactions, close skill gaps, and boost employee productivity.
- Facility and Sustainability NeXT: Businesses must integrate circular processes across the value chain that reuse, reduce, and recycle resources to attain Net Zero goals and sustainable operations. Data-driven technologies powering innovative products, assets, and buildings will help businesses revamp their production processes, optimize resource consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create green products.
- Ecosystem NeXT: The primary focus is on co-creating customer value in an economy through a connected ecosystem rather than just products and services. Enterprises will have to reimagine their operational model to switch to a robust ecosystem of physical products and digital services merged seamlessly by a digital thread. This will enable sharing of data, insights, applications, and expertise, helping them respond better to customer demands and drive revenue growth.
Summing it up, the industrial environment is at the heart of digital transformation to Industry NeXT. By serving as a vehicle of growth, opening new opportunities, and encompassing a robust transformation roadmap, Industry NeXT helps businesses build resilient operations and co-create immense customer value through agile, connected ecosystems that converge data, people, stakeholders, process, and insights.
To know more about Industry NeXT by HCL Technologies please visit https://www.hcltech.com/Internet-of-Things-IoT/industry-next
About the author
Ralf Schulze, Associate Vice President is the European head for Manufacturing vertical at IoT WoRKSTM. Ralf is a business leader who brings valuable insights to multiple industries, most importantly, enabling Business Model Transformation particularly for manufacturing organizations to leverage digital technologies and strategies and drive sustainable future growth. In addition, Ralf is a part time lecturer at the Northern Institute of Technology Management (NIT) in Hamburg, Germany on the topic of Digital Transformation.