Tom Leeson

Tom Leeson
Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

Analytics is Key to Digital Transformation in UK Manufacturing

digital transformation

When TS Elliot famously wrote ‘Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ he could easily have been speaking about the vast amounts of data produced by every manufacturing organization today. It’s the new lifeblood of business, but only if it can be properly harnessed. Recently research from OpenText and Sapio Research suggests that knowledge of data analytics is still in its infancy and is holding back Digital Transformation efforts within UK manufacturing companies. Manufacturing is one sector where Digital Transformation will have the biggest impact. It goes far beyond the process of digitization to improve productivity and efficiency. It provides the opportunity to embrace product and market innovation in a way that drives completely new revenue streams. Little surprise then that 80% of respondents to our ‘Digital Transformation in Manufacturing’ survey placed it as a key priority for their business. Change is accelerating While the transition to digital processes is disrupting the sector, it has taken companies some time to put in place the plans to respond. In fact, a full 90% of respondents who had plans admitted that they have begun implementing them within the last 24 months. Worryingly, almost one fifth of respondents didn’t have a plan. It’s very clear from our research that companies understand the value in the data created with any Digital Transformation program. When asked what they considered the key benefit of Digital Transformation, the ability to improve decision-making based on big data analytics came top of the list. Strategies are becoming actions Companies have started work on creating the environment where big data analytics can be fully exploited. Our survey showed that over 50% of respondents has already begun digitizing unstructured information into a contextual framework with a further 34% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In addition, almost half had introduced processes that filter and analyze internal data to help optimize business insight, with 47% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In terms of business operations, the ability to organize and analyze data is already producing benefits for manufacturing companies. When asked, almost two thirds of respondents said they were already using analytics to improve productivity. Over half the companies surveyed were using analytics to achieve supply chain efficiencies. Yet, more business oriented objectives are still lagging behind with only 40% of respondents said they were using analytics to enhance their levels of customer engagement. Analytics skills is still a barrier While our research report shows that real progress has been made in both Digital Transformation and the implementation of data analytics, it remains a barrier. In fact, handling and analyzing the vast volumes of data create ranks as the second and third most significant hurdle to the adoption of Digital Transformation. Manufacturing companies are struggling to gain visibility of all data held in various silos within the business. It is very interesting to note the affect that survey respondents see these legacy, non-integrated systems spread throughout the organization having on their business. Over 70% said that disparate and legacy systems had a negative impact on scalability, 60% said it impeded business agility and 70% felt it held back business innovation. There is an urgent need for organizations to consider implementing a robust infrastructure that supports data analytics as an enterprise-wide capability. With investment a major challenge for Digital Transformation programs, manufacturing companies need a centralized system that can provide complete control and visibility across all its information – both structured and unstructured – and allow advanced analytics to be applied for real-time business and operational decision-making. OpenText™ Content Suite is a Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system that provides the building blocks to underpin an organization’s Digital Transformation while connecting with legacy systems and information silos to maximise investment and speed the transformation and implementation processes. It includes the powerful OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA),  whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, analyze and display data. Want to find out more about how Digital Transformation is affecting UK and Nordic manufacturers? We are presenting the results of our Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Survey at the OpenText Innovation Tour in London (March 21) and Stockholm (March 29).   Join us at either event and find out more.

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What a Difference a Year Makes, Here and in IoT

Internet of Things (IoT)

This is my first anniversary at OpenText – and what a year it’s been. I’ve travelled the world and met some amazing people doing some amazing things. Special mention has to go to the 2016 Enterprise World, OpenText’s flagship event, and the IDC Manufacturing Summit  in Lisbon where we discussed the role of Digital Transformation in the sector. But, let’s talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). I wrote a blog in early 2016 predicting that it would be the year that IoT went mainstream in manufacturing and I thought it might be good – unlike so many other analyst predictions – to go back and take a look at just how right I was! A year back, my argument was that IoT was beginning the move from theory to practice. Organizations were building IoT ecosystems that would fundamentally change the way they operated. My particular interest is the Industrial Internet of Things – or Industry 4.0 – which is about enabling manufacturers to work smarter and attain business goals such as: Doing more with less by increasing the use of smart data to power business efficiencies Open up new market opportunities that were previously inaccessible before disruptive technology was available Grow their business by increasing to value of their product through full life support by enhancing products with added life long services Increasing quality of product through real time and virtual monitoring and predictive maintenance and thus retain customer loyalty for life. Glance at recent research and my predictions are looking pretty good. According to McKinsey, the economic impact of IoT applications could be as much as $11 trillion by 2025 – up to $3.7 trillion of which will happen within factory environments. By 2019, says IDC, 75% of manufacturing value chains will undergo an operating model transformation, with digitally connected processesthat improve responsiveness and productivity by 15%. More impressively, Tata Consulting has found that manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014. Indeed, OpenText’s own 2017 research has shown that 38% of European manufacturers surveyed have already implemented IoT solutions with another 48% planning to within the next twelve months. Look out for more on this in a future blog. One company I highlighted as a great example of how IoT is already beginning to change everything was Tesla. I had the luck to test drive the Tesla S on its introduction to the UK and the motoring and customer experience was like no other. It demonstrated functionality and capability that are real differentiators for the industry. Add to that a very unique go to market, service and ownership model this car is an automotive game changer in so many ways. Now, Tesla says it’s pretty close to having a driverless car that can travel from New York to Los Angeles without any human intervention. This is an incredible example of how quickly things have progressed in such a short period of time – and it’s only one of many. We are now at the stage where it is easy to point to factories that are already moving away from traditional centralized production process to an integrated, highly automated network of devices and machines. Companies are already beginning to create flexible production processes to move from mass production to individual runs that can be achieved cost-effectively and just in time to unique customer demands. So, we’ve made a great start but I’m not sure we can call IoT mainstream just yet. As the World Economic Forum points out, there are still some important challenges to be overcome: How to assure the interoperability of systems How to guarantee real-time control and predictability, when thousands of devices communicate at the same time How to prevent disruptors, or competitors, taking control of highly networked production systems How to determine the benefit or return on investment in IoT technologies This echoes exactly my thoughts. You can watch a webinar here that I held in partnership with The Manufacturer magazine in the UK. At the time, I made the point that organizations had to take much greater control of their data. By adding the technology that collects that data and channeling it through an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system like OpenText, they have been presented with suites of information on which to base much smarter and faster business decisions. To this I’d add the need to for a powerful and easy-to-use analytics engine  that can deliver both predictive and operational insight into the vast amounts of data created within any IoT ecosystem. Placing IoT at the heart of business strategy is also essential – and companies that have done this are starting to reap the rewards. One of my first engagements when I joined OpenText last year was to take in the inaugural IoTTechExpo Conference in London. Patrick Bass, CEO of ThyssenKrupp NA, gave an excellent presentation of how successful transformation projects need to be part of your business strategy. One year on,  Andreas Schirenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevators spoke about how IoT is now transforming their industry. I’ll come back to this in another blog soon. So, I’m going to take credit for being half right! The trend towards IoT implementation is coming on in leaps and bounds but, while organizations focus on building the interoperability of networks and devices, they must also make sure they have a platform to ensure they mazimise the value in their data and information. And, if you’d like to wish me a happy anniversary, you can send me a tweet!

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Engaging With Manufacturing Customers at Enterprise World 2016

manufacturing customers

Well, has it really been two weeks since I attended the best customer conference event I have ever attended? That’s Enterprise World in Nashville where over 2,000 like-minded people came together. It really was a great event. Having only been in the company for 5 months it really accelerated my learning curve on so many levels. But for me the most important thing was connection; putting a face and a handshake to people who have “virtually” been so helpful to me since I joined, and even more so, the chance to meet so many dedicated manufacturing customers from around the world who have invested in being with OpenText. When companies like ours come together with their customers on any level, but particularly, at a face-to-face level it creates a powerful and empowering partnership. In pursuit of that the Industry Strategists at OpenText organized an Industry Group session for customers to connect, engage, and follow-up on Enterprise Information Management themes, in my case, around the manufacturing sector. So how did my first session go? Good considering I had to follow the best keynote I have ever heard, Commander Chris Hadfield, an inspirational speaker, and then there was lunch. So, many thanks to the customers and partners who attended the session. From the start I wanted to promote our manufacturing group as customer-centric so I suggested some topics for consideration: The manufacturing user group meeting should be a meeting between customers and for customers It should provide an opportunity to build a community for connection, engagement and follow up It should meet in person a minimum of once a year at Enterprise World as well as ”virtually” at other times The group should offer the chance to develop working relationships The meeting should provide a platform to kick off next steps for the year ahead And provide the opportunity for customers to present and share the business themes they are addressing with OpenText solutions The session was very productive with interesting discussions. Consensus was that the people in the room would like a forum on which to communicate amongst themselves and OpenText. The customers suggested a good, ready-made and already popular platform could be a Linkedin Group. And if you are thinking Connect, Engage, and follow-up it was a great idea. So OpenText in Manufacturing is about to happen! If interested please contact me at tleeson@opentext.com so you can be part of it from the very beginning – I hope you will join us.

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EIM – Roadmap For Manufacturing Transformation

EIM

I joined OpenText in February this year and the timing could not have been better. The company was only a few months away from launching the biggest release of our EIM (Enterprise Information Management) solution. And does time fly! OpenText Release 16 for Suite 16 and Cloud 16 is now available. But what is EIM? In my own words EIM provides data and process management that improves customers’ experience and performance through centralizing information, “one single version of the truth”. EIM possesses powerful transmittal and transactional mechanisms that allow data exchange in efficient, secure and compliant ways. EIM allows a company to harness data to provide valued information for consumers of the data, who by using embedded Analytics can gather insight and support better decision making resulting in better business outcomes. You can find a more formal description here. Research by the likes of Capgemini shows us that every industry is experiencing massive disruption through digitization and the research shows us that organisations that have a plan for information management, and who then execute against that strategy can out-perform their contemporaries and competitors by up to 26%. With my background in Engineering and Manufacturing I am particularly interested in the benefits EIM provides to help manufacturing companies digitally transform, and you can browse examples including Michelin, KUKA and more who have started that journey here. Manufacturing is living in exciting times, in an age that is being described as the 4th Industrial Revolution; the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Data is everywhere; being generated across the internet and by technologies which themselves have been described as transformational or disruptive. Examples such as 3D printing, cloud, drones and wearables collected data is transforming manufacturing. Many of these technologies are not new, however, when used in conjunction with each other and connected to the internet (IoT) new possibilities are being realized. Digital transformation of Manufacturing will be an ongoing discussion in my blog posts and will be a topic of my presentation at our customer conference Enterprise World in July, in the dedicated manufacturing track. See here  for further information on Enterprise World. For more discussion on the future of information check out CEO Mark Barrenechea’s blog.  

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