Digitization is about much more than just technology. It’s also about collaboration and people. If you already understand this, you’re off to a good start.
As our Industrial Automation EVP Peter Herweck recently acknowledged, seeing a digitization project through to the end isn’t always so simple. One of the reasons for this is because it’s not just a matter of implementing technology. It involves organizational and structural changes, and if you don’t plan for them, it could fail.
That’s why at Schneider Electric we’re focused on how we can help companies with these challenges as well providing technology solutions. This is part of our vision for the Schneider Electric Exchange, which has already shown success since it was launched in April 2019. We expect it will build into an even greater hub for innovation in years to come.
How Exchange is helping meet the challenges of digitization
A project needs to have the right people on board from the beginning in order to succeed. This alone can be a roadblock for companies, with questions like, where do I start? Where do I find the right people to help navigate these unknown waters? What’s missing is market exposure, a way for customers to find the right expertise to help them with their digital journey. Schneider Electric’s ‘Exchange’ fills this gap.
Exchange is an online digital platform where customers and partners can access the help they need for their projects. People use it to collaborate, do business, find solutions, or simply ask a question. It can take you all the way from the early stages; from getting a plan, to execution, to operational aspects such as – data flow, data analysts, and more.
Importantly, Exchange is not just about technology. The whole idea is that businesses can find experts in other areas such as HR or change management, or if you’re literally at the very beginning of your journey, a business consultant to help you answer some of the organizational questions I mentioned earlier.
Using the Exchange Communities to your advantage
If you don’t know where to start, the Communities forum on Exchange is a great place to ask questions. The Communities forum is where customers and partners go to solve problems, find solutions, collaborate, and share experiences day-to-day. There’s nothing particularly ‘disruptive’ or revolutionary about it, it’s simply a place where experts from different backgrounds come together to share, exchange ideas and help each other. But when you think about it, providing a clear path on what can appear to be a complex journey, is an essential component of any major innovation.
We’ve also seen the Communities forum pay off for customers who are already further down the road in their digital journey, or partners who are highly specialized, such as this transaction between Certified Alliance System Integrator ‘Base Sistemas’ and technology company Enigmedia. Base Sistemas posted a question in the Exchange Industrial Automation community about a specific cybersecurity concern for a large petrochemical client, and Engimedia responded with a cybersecurity solution that matched their requirements and was available in the Exchange Shop. Helping connect experts to meet these types of needs is what the Schneider Electric Exchange is all about.
Laying the foundations for the industrial economy of the future
Exchange allows new business models to emerge by enabling new types of relationships, like prosumers, where a company sells and buys something from their customers. Electrical companies with smart grid technology would be an example. Eventually, as the digital economy matures, we’ll see other types of business transformation like data monetization, where companies package their own manufacturing data to create valuable and sought-after insights.
Digitization is just beginning to transform the way companies do business. The pace will really pick up in the coming years but we’re laying the foundations now, and that’s one of the most exciting parts!