We have entered a time of unprecedented exponential change driven by technology; the profound impacts are being felt across all dimensions of the global economy. The industrial markets are not immune to these changes. In fact, in many ways the industrials are at the epicenter of some of the greatest change (e.g. Internet of Things, digitization, big data / analytics, AI, robotics / automation).
For many technology leaders and innovators, this represents a significant new opportunity. For years, the industrial agenda was dominated by globalization and the operating priorities of outsourcing, enterprise system deployments and lean operating practices. Now we find ourselves at a time where effective technology adoption has become the new imperative. Technology offers great promise for improving the products, the manufacturing processes, and the workforce productivity of the industrials.
Yet industrial markets can be frustratingly complicated to understand and even more difficult to penetrate. Highly fragmented market segments, slow technology adoption rates, specialized legacy standards, deeply entrenched incumbents with large installed bases of legacy technology, and multitiered market access models can leave even the most sophisticated technology providers on the outside, looking in.
Technologies which are so compelling to consumers often struggle to gain traction with the industrials. Sometimes this is a case of overestimating technology fluency of manufacturers. Sometimes it is a lack of appreciation for overall performance drivers within the segment. Sometimes it is the diverse range of the manufacturing processes themselves, which can undermine the ability to scale up even the most successful technology pilot.
Penetrating and thriving in the industrial markets with modern technology will not be easy, but the alternative is to leave this huge segment untapped.