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The other day I told a group of manufacturing executives that due to the amount of hype and confusion we’re no longer using the terms “digital transformation” or “IoT.” They laughed and said that we’re off to a good start because they’re tired of hearing how far behind they are. I can’t say that I blame them. These terms have lost credibility due to over-used messages that don’t speak to the many considerations faced by manufacturers, including the implications and demands of the new world of smart, connected products.

The reality is that these solutions vary widely; but they are now affordable and accessible entry points for high value, data rich, connected products. This is particularly true for field service of industrial machinery and capital equipment.

One new insight that has helped leaders we’ve engaged with lately is to see and understand how critically important it is to choose the right platform – the foundational architecture, data services, security models and business applications to build a full-function, scalable, and well-integrated set of solutions. Another key insight for many is how well Microsoft have created that comprehensive set of platform-based services to support this future. At the core is a set of cloud-based common data services, business applications and low-code/no-code tools that offer a cohesive extensible array of solutions. How is this true? Under Satya Nadella’s leadership, no company has developed a more robust and complete cloud capability than Microsoft. By investing $15Bn in R&D, cloud infrastructure and launching new products/services at record rates, Microsoft are removing the inherent barriers of disconnected, point solutions for IoT and related business applications.

In the domain of field service, manufacturers can quickly and easily gain access to powerful cloud-based services like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, Customer Service, Sales, Power BI, Customer Insights, and Azure IoT. At eLogic, we extend all these platform capabilities specifically for the needs of manufacturers and equipment service providers. Our product, named equipment360™, is preconfigured with the most critical Field Service features for equipment service providers. It offers a complete field service solution built on Microsoft’s future-proof platform and services. We detail platforms and equipment360™ with a current customer in a recent virtual roundtable, which you can watch on-demand here.

What makes equipment360™ so affordable and accessible is that the solution is pre-built and in one place, from CRM data and cloud services, to connected products and field service applications – all pulling and connecting analytical insights seamlessly. We see too many companies running to standalone “IoT” platforms and “specialized field service software” to position for the future as they test their new offerings. They’re bolting on different applications from various providers, which takes more cost and time. Most of these providers will turn out to be dead ends. We chose the Microsoft Platform because it is already built on the Common Data Services and integrates to other critical enterprise capabilities needed to master a seamless, smart, and connected future.

As we said in the beginning, there is simply too much hype and arm-waving about how IoT is your answer to everything. But the reality is that we are on the edge of another seismic shift in our industry.

I’ve started to call the era of smart connected products ‘the arc of inevitability’ because every indicator is that two combined factors will reshape the future of manufacturing products and services:

  1. Product IQ – the increasing ‘intelligence’ being built into products as cost and accessibility of sensors and devices have reached even low-cost products.
  2. Data IQ – the capability to leverage elastic data scale and advanced data sciences to raise your organization’s capabilities in process, service, and product dimensions.

It is inevitable that manufacturers who master these capabilities will outperform competitors who can’t make this trip. The big challenges now are monetizing the emerging models and making this shift affordably and with minimal risk. And that’s where the Microsoft Platform becomes such a powerful and enabling pathway for manufacturers.

I invite you to watch our virtual roundtable on modernizing field service management, in which we  discuss future-proof platforms that are ready for the connected future. Click here to watch the event on-demand.


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