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June 2017

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Accenture: With IIoT, there's growth in 'unexpected opportunities'


The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) isn’t just about gathering information from various sources and data streams, and then using those analyses to drive efficiencies and/or better manage operations. It’s also about using data to predict new market opportunities and build new business.

In a report titled “Driving Unconventional Growth through the Industrial Internet of Things,” Accenture officials note that in addition to tapping IIoT to boost operational efficiency, industrial companies such as railroads and many of the shippers they serve also “can benefit greatly by seeing it as a tool for finding growth in unexpected opportunities.”

“The IIoT is both a growth play and a defensive maneuver for today’s manufacturers, energy producers and service providers,” Accenture officials say. “If incumbents do not identify and exploit these opportunities, new entrants and startups will begin to influence and capture their customers.”

Successful companies will use IIoT to “capture new growth” through three approaches:
• They’ll boost revenues by increasing production and creating new hybrid business models.
• They’ll exploit intelligent technologies to fuel innovation.
• They’ll transform their workforce.

Easier said than done, of course. To prepare, executives can start by thinking “boldly about value” and consider piloting new services that benefit key stakeholders, Accenture suggests. Execs also can think about “tomorrow’s partner ecosystem” to create and deliver services, as well as reach new customers, Accenture says. Other steps include starting ASAP to design and develop a platform (i.e., “investigate the pros and cons” of implementing new technology); studying the “financial angles” in advance; selling the sales team/network on “promoting new digital products and services”; clarifying any and all legal issues regarding “rights, obligations and secure access to information about your installed base”; and thinking about “how to augment the workforce” with IIoT technologies. Not that there aren’t challenges to meet. There are and there will be. But IIoT will “unleash new energy into the world of industrial products and services,” Accenture officials say. “To be a viable stakeholder as well as partner in the digitally contestable future — and thus generate new revenues — companies will need to make the necessary changes. The time to push is now.”

— Pat Foran


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