Making the Transition


For many companies, the change from the traditional manufacturing model, to this new world of smart, connected products is a daunting organizational transformation. People aren't sure how fast to go, and in many cases they're not even sure where they're going. So we've seen a number of, let's call them, evolutionary approaches to try to test things out and solve some of the problems as they pioneer their way to the future of their business.

  • Steering Committee - So our first technique we've seen many times is a cross functional steering committee, where members of different business units, or different functions within a business unit, are drafted into a committee that's charged with oversight of the initiative, and program around smart, connected products. And of course a steering committee has strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of course is it tends not to have strong decision-making capability.

  • Center of Excellence - Some companies are going in a slightly different direction, and creating a center of excellence. And that is a new body, a new organizational construct that drafts talent out of the different parts of the business, and let's this new body interact with all the businesses, and develop the best practices, and aggregate the talent, and learnings, and so forth. So that when we figure out the right ways to do this, maybe they'll send everybody back and they can bring that knowledge with them. 

  • New Business Unit - And then a third organizational construct that we've seen a number of times is a new business unit. And that's where a company says we're going to have a new business unit, that's maybe even going to be a supplier to the other business units of technology, and expertise, and capability. And we'll let this new business unit try to figure out how to pioneer this new technology, new business models, and let the rest of the business units, retain a relatively strong focus on the traditional aspects of the business.

So these are all transition techniques, probably all temporary techniques, on the path to some new normal that could be years down the road by the time a company really masters where they're going.