Manufacturing IT: Investing for the Future

A continuum of change and digital transformation is swirling within the manufacturing industry and global economy. In this fluid environment, it can be tough for manufacturers to nail down IT planning stategies.

IDC’s FutureScape: Worldwide Manufacturing 2018 Predictions can help. The study provides manufacturers the following 10 predictions and underlying drivers expected to impact technology investments in 2018 and beyond:

1. Ecosystems and experiences. By 2020, 60 percent of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) manufacturers will rely on digital platforms that enhance their investments in ecosystems and experiences, and support as much as 30 percent of their overall revenue.
2. Embedded intelligence. By 2021, 20 percent of G2000 manufacturers will depend on a secure backbone of embedded intelligence, using Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and cognitive technologies to automate large-scale processes and speed execution times by up to 25 percent.
3. Data capitalization. By 2020, 75 percent of all manufacturers will participate in industry clouds, although only one-third of them will monetize their data contributions.
4. IT-OT organizations. By 2019, the need to integrate operational technology (OT) and information technology as a result of IoT will have led to more than 30 percent of all IT and OT technical staff having direct project experience in both fields.
5. Customer-driven design. By 2019, 50 percent of manufacturers will collaborate directly with customers and consumers through cloud-based crowdsourcing, virtual reality, and product virtualization regarding new and improved product designs. This collaboration will improve product success rates by up to 25 percent, predicts IDC.
6. The service gig economy. In 2020, augmented reality and mobile devices will drive the transition to the gig economy in the service industry, with “experts for hire” replacing 20 percent of dedicated customer and field service workers, starting with consumer durables and electronics.
7. The thinking supply chain. By the end of 2020, one-third of all manufacturing supply chains will be using analytics-driven cognitive capabilities, thus increasing cost efficiency by 10 percent and service performance by 5 percent.
8. Supply chain commerce networks. By 2020, 80 percent of supply chain interactions will happen across cloud-based commerce networks, dramatically improving participants’ resiliency and reducing the impact of supply disruptions by up to one-third.
9. Market-driven assets. By 2020, 25 percent of manufacturers in select subsectors will have balanced production with demand cadence and achieved greater customization through intelligent and flexible assets.
10. Intelligent assets. By 2019, 15 percent of manufacturers that manage data-intensive production and supply chain processes will be leveraging cloud-based execution models that depend on edge analytics to enable real-time visibility and augment operational flexibility.

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