Product information and digital transformation

Product information and digital transformation

Konrad Horkeby is currently in Shenzhen, China, to explore the opportunities for how technology can re-invent the usage of product information.

As a consultant I work daily with change. Changes that are happening right now. The digital transformation. The next industrial revolution. Everyone is talking about it and every day we read something new about how technology is changing almost everything. Business models are re-invented, processes are re-optimized, and tools and equipment are nowadays uber-connected. Data is collected from everywhere the design, the manufacturing, the in-use performance and the voice of customers. Big data, smart analytics, internet of things and AI. Combined with experience data is used to make smarter decisions and to disrupt industries. I’m currently in Shenzhen, China, to explore the opportunities for how technology can re-invent the usage of product information. But, first things first.

Shenzhen is the home to over 15 million people in the south of China. The city is described as the future in the e-book by freelancing China correspondent Johan Nylander, titled “Shenzhen Superstars — How China’s smartest city is challenging Silicon Valley”. It is really a fascinating city. For instance, almost half of China’s international patent applications are filed by Shenzhen companies according to the Economist. I read it was more patents filed from here than by companies in the whole of Britain or France. The city is also home to the largest fleet of electric buses in the world and expected to electrify 100 percent of the public buses in the beginning of 2018. It will become the first in the world to do so.

What about product information?

Many with me agree that something is to change. 15+ years old technology with proprietary data bases to store product information in silos and check-in-check out functionality is not the future. With that said, the race is on and we see how traditional information ‘silos’ from various life cycle processes are slowly being connected to form what is nowadays called a ‘digital thread’. We are starting to share information, but is this enough, are we really changing in the pace that we are forced to do?

Information is authored, exchanged, and processed all the time. The increase of data is huge. More than 50% of all available data was created during last year and every day 5.5 million new devices are being connected. With all that data available we can get every insight and even foresight we need. Currently though, less than 0.5% of all data is analyzed or used.

Ultimately, a complete digital value chain will unify all the product information an organization needs. To succeed, data needs to flow agile from process to process, tool to tool, and from user to user. We know that it is extremely cumbersome to digitally describe aspects of products or processes. But we also know that product-ish information is critical to competitiveness. What data is needed and how to use it will form the future. That is one of the reasons why FiloProcess investigating the possibilities for a partnership with a tech-company in Shenzhen. We are confident that new processes, new technology and a new mindset are key elements needed to digitally transform how we work with and utilize all kinds of product information.

From our experience in working with leaders in the industry we know that there is a distinctive subset of companies that is already embracing the area of digital product information. We are also very excited to continue to work with you all during 2018. Let’s enable product information fueled decisions, for real.

Shenzhen, China

This is a collection of some mental notes plotted down here in Shenzhen where I am spending some months to further strengthening FiloProcess position as one of the leaders in product information value realization. 

Acknowledgements: Per Johnsson, CEO JWI and Bengt Sareyko, CEO FiloProcess