Innovation has always been an important factor for success; today's ever-increasing competition further emphasizes its role in achieving competitive advantage. Companies across all industries face tremendous pressure to innovate to increase shareholder value. The role of innovation goes beyond the traditional R&D function because it involves not only products but also services, 'business processes, business models, channels to market, and much more. Newer technologies such as cloud, mobile, big data/analytics, and 3D visualization are driving industrial innovation and helping companies bring to life innovative business processes, value networks, and business models.
Customer Centric Industrial Innovation
With today's rapidly changing technology, it is important for companies to embrace new and innovative technologies keeping their customers in mind. How, and how soon, companies can leverage these technologies to their advantage and innovate, will be key factor differentiating leaders and laggards.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other leading technologies play a key role in shaping the business environment and driving industrial innovation. As enterprises increase their cloud usage to store asset information, they can selectively share it with their partners, suppliers, and other relevant parties to easily collaborate and innovate.
IIoT will not only enable transformative business improvements but also disrupt traditional business models. Through remote connectivity, manufacturers can now improve their services operations and better serve their customers. This is where the IIoT value proposition extends beyond simple connectivity into the ability to innovate and bring to life new products and services. Going forward, providers of IIoT-connected devices will be able to gain competitive advantage by delivering incremental value, differentiating products from competitors, and fostering new revenue streams.
Don't Forget Innovation Strategy
Pursuing innovation is not without risk. Companies can lower the risk by developing an innovation roadmap and defining an innovation strategy that aligns with the business strategy. Without a clear innovation strategy, a company may invest in too many projects, misallocate resources, or go over budget and still end up without positive results. While designing the innovation strategy, companies need to answer several critical questions such as:
How much risk are we willing to assume?
How are we going to allocate resources between incremental and radical innovation efforts?
How does the innovation strategy align with our business strategy?
How are we going to measure innovation success?
How well the corporate culture align with company's new strategy?
Technology and innovation have to align with business strategy, but companies must also be willing to adapt their technology to meet new challenges as needed.