In fact, innovations are taking place so quickly that SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are struggling to keep up, yet startups are disrupting innovation and targeting business users, rather than enterprise IT. These fledgling firms are finding their niche by offering unique products in Analytics on Cloud, on-demand machine learning and visual discovery.
A main challenge that data analytics software makers face is the ability to forecast demand and adjust supply, according to Christer Johnson, a partner with EY. Given the inherent complexity of manufacturing various products, the question is, how quickly can the manufacturer take real information from the marketplace and then shape the demand? Essentially, the more closely a manufacturer can tie unique decisions around a product’s attributes to what’s going on in the field, the more it will improve its ability to reduce the amount of time to adjust manufacturing.
While the ability to quickly deliver market/customer-facing solutions is clearly a need, certain capabilities aren’t available yet, such as API First, says Mindtree’s Mohanty. Although a few vendors have started offerings in this space, it needs to mature and become an integral part of their line.
Despite the complexity of this dynamic industry, some basic principles still apply. Experience trumps price when trying to sell software and service in manufacturing analytics space, says Johnson. His colleague, Amber Morgan, a senior manager with EY, says data analytics integrates well with basic socio-cultural issues, such as labor skills and education.
Moving forward, in the digital convergence era, the driving force will become DevOps, says Mohanty, and that will require a change in vendors’ mindset. Packages and environment management systems/solutions will be integrated with data analytics’ vendor offerings, but before this can happen, there must be experimentation, rapid prototyping, testing and a willingness to disregard solutions that don’t meet consumer expectations.
Looking ahead five years, Johnson predicts the vendor landscape will be dominated by big European MRP systems, with SAP’s S4 serving as a tidal wave in business processing. We can also expect the sector to shrink, says Morgan, as the trend around the consolidation of smaller niche players will continue and there will be an uptick of new players using better technology.