How to keep pace in tomorrow’s industrial landscape

Roland Busch, newly announced as future CEO of Siemens AG, tweeted the above a few months back during the World Economic Forum. For companies of all sizes and in all industries, the pace of innovation and change is faster than ever as the world becomes more digital and connected. Paradoxically, another hallmark of industry today is a persistent growth in the complexity of developing, manufacturing and deploying products to market. Whether it’s consumer electronics, connected machinery, or next-generation vehicle platforms, product design increasingly is characterized by the integration of electronics, software and mechanical systems.

Meanwhile, how we manufacture products is also rapidly evolving. Companies are connecting product design with manufacturing to enable product optimizations through design for manufacturing techniques. This also allows companies to prepare for new industrial technologies such as 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing). Then, as products move into the field, they are being connected to the IoT to analyze product performance data with real and virtual sensors, creating a closed-loop feedback cycle with design and manufacturing.

All of this is changing the way design and manufacturing work together, adding another dimension to complexity. Many different elements of industrial and technology organizations are being brought into closer collaboration to produce and deploy today’s products. These elements are inherently different, and face unique challenges driven by their capabilities, differentiating IP and strategy.

Digitalization makes the concurrent rise of speed and complexity possible, and manageable. Through digitalization, we have seen that the previously hard limits to scaling and coordinating across vast organizations and value chains are falling away. Likewise, the rigid boundaries between engineering domains and vertical specializations are blurring as the power of leveraging data and analytics horizontally across previously siloed categories becomes better understood.

Digital transformation is the focus of Siemens Digital Industries Software and the Xcelerator portfolio, both of which were announced last fall in New York. In the weeks and months to come, I’ll be writing more about Xcelerator – what it is and how it’s used by customers. The name Xcelerator is a nod to the reality of the digital age encapsulated by Dr. Busch’s tweet – the accelerating cadence of nearly every aspect of the design-manufacturing-utilization flows in the industrial economy today.

A catalyst for digital transformation

Siemens is the leader in driving digital transformation through market leading software, services and impactful collaboration among peers. With these capabilities, Siemens provides the catalyst to not only enable, but also accelerate digital transformation for companies of all sizes and in all industries. The Xcelerator portfolio encompasses Siemens’ capabilities for digital transformation and supports three key facets of the digital enterprise:

The Xcelerator portfolio supports digital transformation through software, services, the IoT and an application development platform.

Comprehensive digital twin. The comprehensive digital twin is at the center of digital transformation. It is made of many digital threads at varying levels of abstraction from product design, manufacturing and in-field utilization data gathered through the IoT. By combining these digital threads, the comprehensive digital twin enables cross-domain engineering, virtual validation and continuous product and process improvement through a closed feedback loop supported by cloud-based analytics.

Personalized, adaptable solutions. Every organization faces unique challenges and, therefore, demands tailored solutions and a customized point-of-entry to digitalization. These solutions must adapt to each company’s digital roadmap and unique characteristics, such as geographical distribution and organizational experience with specific tools.

New low-code and no-code application development platforms are a critical component. These platforms open up the ability to drive business transformation through custom software applications. Now, employees of all experience levels can create applications to fit their needs. This fosters a network of internal citizen developers, deriving insight and speeding digitalization by connecting new and legacy systems, automating processes and facilitating data analytics.

Open, modern ecosystem. As products become more complex, companies will need to create new connections both within and beyond their organization to leverage technology and experience from around the industry. This industrial network effect brings buyers, developers, designers, production houses, sub-contractors, suppliers and more together in a global ecosystem with hubs of innovation and collaboration. Tight integrations with this industrial network will be a key characteristic of thriving future companies.

Xcelerator has already generated excitement from the media. Verdi Ogewell, in an article for Engineering.com said, “The point with Siemens is rather how astonishingly close to its specific vision they can deliver ready-to-use solutions. No other player in the market has an equally strong set of tools, as effectively connected seamlessly between the tools and the equally rich digital software portfolio on the product development and manufacturing side. In light of this, Industry 4.0 is not just a distant dream – it is a real opportunity.”

Allan Behrens from Taxal wrote, “The days of dystopian, monolithic (apps) is no more! Hurrah! The future is open, co-operative, collaborative and ecosystem… Newly announced Xcelerator aims to simplify and improve user/company experience and to reduce digital complexity, especially during a company’s evolution to the digital enterprise.” Behrens also caught up with Brenda Discher, our SVP of business strategy and marketing, at our fall analyst event for this video interview:

Become better together

By using Xcelerator, companies are better able to embrace complexity and use it to their competitive advantage. More than engineering software solutions and services, companies also gain a trusted technology partner in Siemens Digital Industries Software to help guide and support their digital transformation. A reliable partner like Siemens can provide infrastructure and a wealth of industrial experience to support transparent, efficient and effective co-development between engineering and process domains. Working with Siemens enables companies to achieve enterprise digitalization faster and more securely as each company becomes better together.

I see Xcelerator as one way Siemens delivers on the challenge in Dr. Busch’s tweet. Our customers use Xcelerator daily to scale and thrive in the digital age, even as timelines accelerate and complexity grows.

Tomorrow, companies will need more than advanced engineering and IT solutions to thrive in the new industrial landscape. They will need to undertake organizational transformation and engage in peer-to-peer collaboration to drive success in the future. With the Xcelerator portfolio and a breadth of industrial experience, Siemens Digital Industries Software is unique in its ability to drive digital transformation and foster collaboration in all industries and companies, regardless of size. This is where today meets tomorrow.

To learn more about Xcelerator, please visit https://www.sw.siemens.com/portfolio/

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