PTC Academic’s strategic relationships with companies helps to build a successful ecosystem for exploring and implementing digital transformation. Alexander Ouellet of PTC and Megan Fink of Rockwell Automation presented, “ThingWorx for Digital Transformation,” at the PTC Academic Summit at LiveWorx 2019. The presentation covered the strategic relationships between Rockwell Automation, PTC, and Microsoft and how their collaborative work using PTC’s digital transformation suite of products is defining and creating solutions for digital transformation in manufacturing.
Ouellet began the presentation by aligning the definition of digital transformation with PTC’s strategic business concept of people, products, and processes. Breaking down each category, Ouellet explained, “people have information when they need it… [and] when it’s convenient.” The “products are connected—we’re in the smart, connected age—and the data they generate, and the awareness of that data can help drive better products in the future. Those things playing together are essentially what create the processes.”
In today’s age of technology, “the more we know, and the more information that is available, we can start making more educated decisions with processes that become more predictive, and active, and less reactive,” said Ouellet. Having access to this information through a cloud-hosted IoT platform like ThingWorx and Azure gives real-time information so that processes can become more efficient and faster over time.
Fink then addressed why using ThingWorx is necessary and how it applies to industry. An example of how ThingWorx helped improve workflow efficiency with Rockwell Automation hardware was, “when a machine had an issue, there was no easy way for a maintenance technician to pinpoint the issue. When one was down, the whole production stopped,” Fink explained. She then discussed that, “the goal of this solution was to predict issues and provide maintenance to technicians to minimize downtime as much as possible.”
The strategic relationship of PTC, Rockwell Automation, and Microsoft becomes increasingly necessary to execute a successful initiative for improved workplace efficiency. Ouellet emphasized, “the reason you need a partner ecosystem is because industry is growing too fast. If you can’t leverage a solution with capabilities to help a customer, it will not be valuable—it will be wasteful.” Wasteful is a word no company wants to associate with, which is why Ouellet and Fink decided to use a framework to customize a solution for each of the companies involved: connect, contextualize, control.
As shown in the image above, each company has its own role in this framework. In varying use cases, Fink noted that a knowledgeable user input for the framework is important because, “there are a lot of skills and roles needed to make this successful… to know the people, processes, and products to make the product valuable.” The image below shows how the data is orchestrated from the machine to end user in the PTC, Rockwell Automation, and Microsoft relationship.
Creating a scalable system adds visibility and means, “the solution could be carried over in similar use cases. This is only possible because of the framework.”