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On the road to the Smart Service World

20 October 2015

Dr. Peter Weckesser, CEO Customer Services, Digital Factory Division, Siemens AG, comments on how the company is addressing the changes in business activities of its customers due to digitalisation.

Excellent products will always be a strong pillar for our success and our customers’ successful businesses. Nevertheless, digitalisation is changing business activities in all industries globally. Digitalisation, for example, enables the holistic approach of an integrated Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) which extends from product design, development and production to service and also includes the seamless data integration of suppliers’ networks. 

Digitalisation will trigger a significant paradigm shift: From the pure ‘product-focused approach’ to the ‘user/customer-centered approach’ in which added value is sold through what are known as smart services. This type of added value could, for example, take the form of more intensive use of, or better capacity utilisation of, machines resulting in associated cost benefits. 

This is driving successful industrial companies to devise innovative business models which will set them apart from their competitors. 

Against this backdrop, IT and industrial companies are all now developing global platforms which are designed to pave the way to the Smart Service World. While different companies may adopt a different approach, the way in which they work is usually very similar: The first step is to make assets (factories/plants/products/sensors) digitally connectable, to allow them to be subsequently linked to service platforms. These platforms enable unprecedented access to data, information and knowledge. Smart analysis transforms big data into smart data – which, in turn, forms the basis for new business models. 

So, along with excellent products, in the coming years service and service platforms will also play a vital role, offering output and availability of products, systems and applications. 

Three pillars
It is for this reason that Siemens is now driving forward the development of its business with data-driven services for industrial corporations. This is based around three pillars. Firstly, Plant Cloud Services. Here, we are creating a cloud platform to permit the analysis of large volumes of data in industry. Siemens will create an open IT ecosystem which will allow OEMs and application developers to access the platform via open interfaces and use it for their own services and analytics. Applications could include, for example, online monitoring of machine tools, industrial robots or industrial equipment such as production machines located anywhere around the world. 

This paves the way for the type of business model which envisages, for example, an OEM not only selling their machine but optimising their service processes – committing to the availability and performance of their machine over its entire lifecycle or even committing to the production output of their machines. The second pillar takes the form of Plant Analytics Services. Here, Siemens will support customers endeavouring to optimise their systems by providing data analysis. This is based not only on intelligent algorithms but also on our comprehensive product and domain expertise – for example in the field of energy data management. In this way, predictive maintenance can enhance the availability and service life of drive systems, for instance. 

The third pillar is Plant Security Services. Here, Siemens uses a multiple-step concept to support companies keen to enhance the IT security of their factories and facilities – an aspect of crucial importance in the age of increasing digitalisation. 

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