Event data can be used to enhance existing processes, but it can also be used to dramatically impact operations, revenue models and the bottom line for manufacturers. Our Benchmark Research shows 95% of manufacturers consider it important to speed the flow of information and improve responsiveness within business processes. In this perspective I’ll share how manufacturers are working with event data to transform their organizations.
Manufacturers are using event data in a variety of ways including production processes, predictive maintenance, supply chain management, product design and customer service. Data collected from sensors and devices provides a more complete picture of how these processes are operating and allows for more timely and more sophisticated analyses that were previously not possible. Our research shows that the most common applications of event processing involve operations, customer service, research and development, and production lines.
Event data is proving to be truly transformative for their organizations. Manufacturers are not just identifying opportunities for improvement. They are also innovating. There are equal numbers (63%) that are developing new products or developing new services. Our research shows more than one-half of manufacturers are optimizing both business and IT processes as well as developing new business models.
But these benefits are not without their challenges. Many manufacturers (40%) report the most common barrier they encounter is a lack of resources. Often this challenge can be the result of not building a strong business case to justify the budget for additional resources and we see those issues reported as well. Manufacturers also report difficulty integrating event data with their existing tools or applications. They also cite a lack of experience and education on using event data in their operations.
The most common technical challenge manufacturers face, reported by more than one-third (36%) of participants in our research, is managing external data. Reconciling and integrating this information with internal sources can be difficult. Manufacturers also report that event data sources may be incomplete or too numerous. They can also suffer from a lack of quality. These issues are not unique to event data. We see similar issues in various types of data that organizations process. Interestingly, difficulty with real time information was not generally a problem for three-quarters of participants.
Manufacturers can benefit from similar best practices as other industries. Not surprisingly, IT most often defines which events to monitor. They do a good job but involving externally facing groups, such as line of business personnel, customers, and partners, is associated with better results. Customization will often be necessary in event-processing solutions, but those manufacturers relying heavily on custom-coded solutions are significantly less satisfied than others. Finally, manufacturers should find ways to automate more of their organizations’ processes. Less than one-half of manufacturers were linking automating outcomes based on event data, but those that did were more likely to be satisfied.