Selecting the right use case is critical to your Industrial IoT success. Start by exploring the factors driving the organization. Then identify the problems and opportunities that could bring the most value. Finally, design your use case to achieve that value.
To get the support your project needs, you must demonstrate how Industrial IoT supports your organization’s strategic goals. Early in the project, identify which factors create the most value for shareholders. How does your organization plan to remain successful and profitable in coming years? Consult executives about these high-level business drivers. Important business drivers may include revenue growth, asset utilization, or margin optimization.
Talk to business leaders about which challenges are preventing your organization from achieving its high-level business drivers. Ask departments about their biggest obstacles. Additionally, start learning how these leaders calibrate their goals and measure success.
For example, if your organization’s top business driver is asset utilization, your business challenges may include machine downtime or changeover time.
Do your best to avoid problem-solving and brainstorming. For now, you’re concerned with the challenge, not with potential solutions.
Estimate the effort, value, and applicability of solving the business challenges you’ve identified. Work with subject matter experts to make realistic projections. If possible, gather data about operations, quality, financials, and other factors that predict potential value. The numbers may surprise you: often, organizations have an Industrial IoT use case in mind, but later discover that solving that particular business challenge brings minimal value to the organization.
Compile your business challenges and data, then create a matrix. Rank each business challenge’s effort, value, applicability, and scalability.
|Business challenge||Effort to solve||Value||Applicability||Scalability|
|Improve equipment uptime||Moderate: Workers struggle to implement new processes, and may resist change||Moderate: 2 percent increase in uptime at Plant A delivers a 5 percent increase in output||Low: Plant B lacks internet connectivity and technology infrastructure||Unknown|
|Reduce scrap rate||Moderate: Workers struggle to implement new processes, and may resist change||High: 2 percent decrease in scrap will reduce costs by $800k as copper prices rise||High: Equipment includes proper sensors to connect data||Moderate: Challenge is relevant to 80 percent of plants in North America|
Ideally, your matrix will reveal challenges that are possible to address, present high potential value, and have infrastructure already in place. Also, remember to think about scalability.
Work with stakeholders to select the most valuable use case(s) for Industrial IoT. Don’t be afraid to tackle big challenges with big returns: if your use case supports your organization’s key drivers, you’re more likely to get the leadership support for your project needs.
Document your chosen use case and confirm it with project stakeholders.
To implement your use case, you will need a suite of technology solutions. For example, ThingWorx manufacturing applications and/or ThingWorx analytics, augmented reality technology, or other solutions may be required. To learn which software is best for your use case, contact your PTC salesperson.
Ensure all the appropriate stakeholders agree to the scope of your Industrial IoT project. For many organizations, the scope has substantial, rapid impact. Over time, the project leaders will learn and iterate—extending the solution to solve bigger challenges. Follow the plan and ensure the scope is appropriate for your use case.
Consider questions like:
For now, focus on the initial implementation—assuming the solution will scale rapidly in the future.
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