Which Comes First – Digital Transformation or IoT?

Transformation

Where to start?

With businesses fighting to stay relevant in the digital economy, more and more companies are turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) as the first step forward. But while the IoT has played a breakthrough role in bringing forward the benefits of hyperconnectivity, it is far from a silver bullet that single-handedly acts as the driving force behind a digital transformation.

Similarly, the fabled ‘digital transformation’ that empowers businesses to reinvent themselves and keep up in today’s world through digitization is far from a one-and-done fix. The collective elements of digital transformation span from changes in products and services to customer service upshifts and even rethinking a company’s core business model. This evolution encompasses numerous technologies and can even include IoT in a variety of forms and functions.

As interdependent strategies and solutions vie to transform business as we know it, determining where to begin can pose a mighty challenge. In this chicken-or-the-egg scenario, it’s actually a foundational component that must be implemented first. Before an IoT strategy or full-on digital transformation can effectively reshape an organization, businesses need to select a sturdy base to build upon, most often an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

Both enabling the digital transformation and supporting IoT initiatives call for a sturdy backbone in order to succeed. Without a unified ERP solution in place to underpin and link moving parts, data collected from connected devices and newly digitized channels may remain siloed and effectively useless for many within an organization. In order to maximize both the actionable value of data and the return on an IoT investment, connected products should be backed by a comprehensive ERP solution that incorporates cloud computing, data analytics, mobile sensors, and machine-to-machine communications. An optimal ERP platform will incorporate in-memory analytics to power real-time data processing and a flexible database infrastructure to collect, manage and process data from any number of devices and systems within minutes.

A well-rounded ERP transformation strategy is also vital to insuring investments in IoT and digitization don’t go unrewarded. A trusted partner like itelligence can help CIOs and other business leaders navigate the complexities of a hyperconnected world and determine how the IoT and solutions such as cloud computing, infrastructure management, integration services and data management and visualization tools can support a digital transformation.

A next generation ERP solution such as SAP S/4HANA can serve as a sturdy foundation for new innovation, connecting multiple technologies and integrating with business networks, supply chains and employees throughout an organization.

For more information on developing an ERP strategy to compliment your IoT initiatives, check out our on-demand webinar, Digital Manufacturing: Successful Steps on the Road to Transformation.

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