I’ve extolled the benefits of digitalization before, but as Groucho Marx inferred, a good story bears repeating.
It all began with a comment from an executive concerning digitalization. He said, simply: “I didn’t know you could do that!”
This stopped me in my tracks as I re-acknowledged the transformational aspect of today’s software industry; mainly the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence.
As simple as the executive’s utterance may be, it was a brilliant synopsis of the challenges facing today’s industrial sector. It was said by the CTO of a major German industrial conglomerate after a meeting with Software AG’s executive team. In our process of what we call co-innovation, we bring to the table the possibilities of what software can do and our potential or actual customers bring their deep sector expertise. Then we let our imaginations run riot.
When we hear “I didn’t know you could do that” (with wonder in their voices), we experience the fun and the thrill of today’s digitalization industry. It is a joint voyage of discovery where something wonderful can be unveiled.
It is the little things - in digitalization terms, the small enhancements - that could save thousands of hours of unnecessary, repetitive, tasks (i.e. work of little intrinsic value) that sets my pulse racing. These small digital steps will result in game-changing digital transformation, making every company a software company.
One of our customers in the US, a major energy provider, substantiates our position on digitalization. The customer wants to become “a software company that delivers energy.” This means using software to predict consumption and fully utilize alternative and renewable new energy sources to meet the exact demand. That is the big picture. The smaller picture, one of the smaller steps, involves correlating real-time weather patterns with power disruptions or outages. With this, for example, the company can identify exactly where tree branches might be too close to power cables (and cut them before a storm), eliminating thousands of wasted hours of people driving around performing visual inspections.
Another example comes from the winner of Software AG’s startup innovation competition – how best to use data from the European Space Agency. The solution addressed a familiar global problem: train delays. Using Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) as a pilot case, the project focused on issues outside of Deutsche Bahn’s control such as fallen trees or landslides.
Today Deutsche Bahn employs special trains and teams to regularly inspect the entire railway network - 33,380 kilometers long (nearly the circumference of the Earth). The winning solution used government, private and satellite data to identify key hazardous points the special teams could target directly, resulting in enormous time and cost savings.
It is therefore no surprise that digitalization is now pervasive – just enter the word in Google. Here is a selection from a recent “digitalization” search: Shipping in Denmark, the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa, digitalization and Europe’s energy system, or India’s, Slovakia taking the digitalization jump or even professional sports!
Every industry, every continent or country and almost every enterprise are realizing the game-changing nature of these transformational technologies.
What has amazed you today?