Our Connected World

Our Connected World: No. 1 - Digital Transformation for Connected Product Businesses

By Michael Campbell

Wouldn’t life be easier if business transformations just happened with the wave of a magic wand?

Unfortunately, Digital Transformation is much more complicated than a board mandate, giving someone a trendy title, or creating an intra-organizational task force. And I have yet to meet a real wizard that can magically transform any product into its digital equivalent.

I’ve worked with hundreds of executives who wrestle with what digital transformation means for their businesses, their products, their customers, their partners and even their careers. The organizations we work with sell and support physical products with complex technology stacks. They look with envy on their friends in markets that started digital or are service-based companies. Digital transformation in those markets largely meant moving from paper to digits. Then the digits were moved from on-prem servers to the cloud with serverless computing and APIs to expose, integrate and automate processes behind the scenes. Voila. Since these businesses already provided a service-based product, moving to an “as a Service” business model was an evolution, not a revolution.

I don’t mean to trivialize these changes. They required thoughtful product management, new pricing models, new billing systems and a very different customer experience. But for traditional software and services executives - there was no need for an entirely new technology stack requiring completely different organizational DNA and processes.

The Connected Product Economy is a different story.

Physical products were already complicated. They have electrical and mechanical components, processing and memory chips, communications modules, antennas, display ports, power supplies and so on. Then you layer in embedded software, distributed computing decisions, multiple certifications and regulatory approvals and my head starts to spin.

But why?

The value of connected products for their manufacturers, customers and the entire supply chain is nearly immeasurable. But pick a number - a really big number. The point of my musings is not to quantify or qualify that value. You already get it.

The theme of my very first “Our Connected World” post is to reinforce that your Digital Transformation journey will involve a lot of people, a lot of technology, a lot of process change and a lot of patience. There is no magic formula. But there are tools and frameworks that absolutely will simplify and scale your efforts. You can and will deliver more value to your customers. You will reduce support costs. You will add new sources of revenue to your business and even create entire new business models. All of this will improve your top line, your bottom line and increase your market value. I promise.

Every week I will share some thoughts, insights and experiences that I hope will help you thrive in the Connected Product Economy. Along the way, I hope that our cartoon will also put a smile on your face.

Stay Connected!

- Michael

Our Connected World is a new creation of (hopefully) relevant, insightful and perhaps funny content that I share weekly (fingers-crossed). It is written for anyone interested in the Connected Product Economy. I always welcome feedback and an opportunity to engage. Write anytime to michael@edgeiq.io. And please forward this to anyone you think may be interested.

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