A little as a year ago, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were being told about the benefits of big data, but most didn’t know where to start or have the time and expertise to produce insights that actually impacted their business.
Today, SMEs are now actively implementing big data into their processes - extending the use of data collected from multiple departments throughout an organization and its supply chain. Being able to tap into data retrieved from their partners, suppliers, and end-users alike is a lot more common for SMEs today than you would think.
According to BI Intelligence, IoT (Internet of Things) devices connected to the Internet will more than triple by 2020, from 10 billion to 34 billion. IoT devices will account for 24 billion, while traditional computing devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.) will comprise 10 billion. The research firm also noted that businesses will be the top adopter of IoT solutions because they will use IoT to:
1) lower operating costs;
2) increase productivity; and
3) expand to new markets or develop new product offerings.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
New trends in data and the increasing presence of the IoT can be leveraged without sinking in terms of time, investment, and payback. The balancing act is to navigate this data with a minimal amount of resources to find anomalies in the simplest way. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software can help SMEs do just that. PLM offers the ability to retrieve valuable information including design data, product engineering, manufacturing, and field data and tie this information to a central product record to reference for new product iterations.
While the big PLM players have made acquisitions, tacking on expensive data analysis services to their pricing or additional fees for integration to other systems, there are PLM vendors out there looking out for the SME by providing a simpler, more streamlined way to leverage the IoT and big data trends in a more significant, beneficial framework. It won't seem like a tsunami crashing down but rather the kind of waves that you would want to ride and that would actually ride you to the shore – on solid ground and in one piece.
For starters, PLM technology that connects processes within multiple departments and active teams from engineering, operations, and manufacturing can create a closed-loop, enabling manufacturers to develop products that are able to leverage IoT data to improve product development processes. The IoT data gathered from a product’s real-world performance and quality could impact all stakeholders across the company in product design and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing, customer operations, and after-sales services. It can also make a difference for suppliers as well since this feedback can be circulated back to the suppliers of the parts being used in the product design. Suppliers can then make any adjustments to parts to optimize performance.