Automating Data Management and Business Processes for Real-time Information Flow

Maurizio Canton, CTO, EMEA & Erich Gerber, General Manager, APJ, TIBCO | Monday, 26 September 2016, 09:42 IST

With a lofty goal of transforming India into a modern global high value manufacturing centre, the Make in India initiative is designed to improve doing business in the country by simplifying and aligning regulations, processes and compliance to enable ease in starting up large-scale investments and investing in India.

With the acceleration of automation and growing experimentation with technology, including 3D printing and robotics, as well as innovation on the manufacturing shop floor and throughout the supply chain; it's easy to see why India’s manufacturing sector will demand more agility and resilience.

The Industry 4.0 movement around the world has accelerated the exponential rise in the utilisation of data, analytics and business-intelligence capabilities to transforming the manufacturing environment. It is easy, therefore, to see that enhancing the technological capabilities within the Indian manufacturing arena is critical to not only for the Make in India initiative, but to ensure that India can keep pace with global competitors.

As India’s manufacturing sector embarks on a new phase, the explosion of real-time data – being able to react to thousands, sometimes millions of business events produced by people, processes and systems across the manufacturing enterprise in real time will be key to business breakthroughs and sustained success.

And with faster decision-making comes an empowerment, a drive that is fundamental to Revolution 4.0. To better understand how it can work in practice, look no further than the use of more accessible, self-service visualisation technology, enabling those without specialist knowledge to better understand information at their fingertips and drive their own analysis in order to make business decisions and answer key questions without IT support.

Manufacturers generate and collect huge volumes of complex data from a variety of sources: customer data, market data, supply-chain information, operational data, financial information, social media feeds, sensor data and so much more.

In order to understand and act on these constant streams of information, it is vital for manufacturers to have the ability to collect data sources together and provide decision-makers the ability to analyse it quickly. Historically, this has often been a challenge for many manufacturers that have had to rely on point-to-point integration between various data systems (ERP, CRM, transactional systems, finance, HR, etc.). Fast Data tackles these challenges by processing high-velocity, high-volume Big Data in real time through the use of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), enabling decision-makers to gain immediate understanding of new trends and customer/market shifts as they occur.

These efforts are further improved through the use of an event server which takes event data off the ESB and moves them into an in-memory grid with event-driven rules that enable business leaders to identify customer and market events in real time.

It is not just real-time data that executives need access to. Real-time data needs to be blended with historical data to provide decision-makers a broad and deep understanding of not only what happened, but why it happened (root cause) and most importantly, understand the correlation between past activities and current trends—to be better prepared for the future.

Having a holistic view of the business that includes data about customers, market, partners, operations and other related internal and external data is integral for business leaders to make fully informed decisions in a timely manner. For instance, a discrete manufacturing plant floor manager can immediately be informed about abnormal operating conditions generated from sensor data that a piece of equipment is operating hotter than accepted thresholds. These types of insights can enable the plant floor manager to take immediate action to correct the equipment issue before a breakdown occurs, leading to extended downtime and lost productivity.

Thanks to a more accessible makeover, statistics are morphed into clear graphics that provide an instant snapshot of a story usually buried in the data, so that anomalies in performance can be spotted and insight gained in real time. The result is greater independence for the individual, which will undoubtedly challenge traditional hierarchies and mark a shift in the kind of dependency culture that relies on a select few to extrapolate intelligence.

Speed, empowerment, and collaboration—it makes for a powerful Holy Trinity, which will define this era. On paper, the repercussions seem unanimously positive, yet this is not always reflected in the narrative where the promise and potential of opportunity remains tempered by a caution over the consequences of this supercharged explosion of technology being handled wrongly.

From fears over excessive automation and the potential threat to humans, which pits man against machine, and security risks to the undermining of human relationships, this is a subject that comes with a sting in its tail.

They are all valid concerns and an important reminder to us that for all the obvious opportunities, it is ultimately about how people grasp the mettle that matters. We must not be passive bystanders as the technology evolves around us. We have to drive the evolution, take control and ensure the innovation works for us and informs and enhances our own skills and potential. The revolution is already here and the clock is ticking, so act now to thrive.

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