Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global marketplace has been abuzz with the term ‘digital transformation’, which is the strategic adoption of digital technologies. Although it has the potential to unlock great value in organizations, there has been little development on this front due to the fragmented ecosystem and companies’ inability to come together and partner for project implementation. In June this year, Siemens launched its open digital business platform, called Siemens Xcelerator, to boost digital transformation and value creation for customers of all types.
Last week, Siemens entered partnerships with Volta Trucks and Automotive Cell Company (ACC) to strengthen its offerings in the transportation industry. With this, Siemens Xcelerator now has partnerships with 58 companies.
What is Siemens Xcelerator?
Siemens Xcelerator is an open digital business platform featuring a curated portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware and software, an ecosystem of partners and a marketplace. With Siemens Xcelerator, the company aims to make digital transformation easier and faster, helping organisations move projects beyond the pilot stage. The key building blocks of the platform are interoperability, flexibility, openness and strong cybersecurity.
A good example of how Siemens Xcelerator aims to make a difference is the immersive digital twin technology, which makes a virtual replica of a product or service. Siemens has partnered with NVIDIA to enable an industrial Metaverse and increase the use of the AI-driven digital twin technology. Having a digital twin significantly reduces time-to-market and development time as it allows rapid iterations. Siemens is a pioneer in the digital twin technology and has established several partnerships in this space. It partnered with Bentley in 2016 to develop digital twins for the process industry. With NVIDIA’s Omniverse, Siemens aims to create immersive digital twins accessible to everyone. Companies of all sizes will be able to deploy the digital twin technology and receive real-time performance data, create innovative industrial IoT solutions, leverage actionable insights from analytics at the edge or in the cloud, and tackle the engineering challenges of tomorrow by making visually rich and immersive simulations more accessible.
Integration among operational technology (OT), information technology (IT), and new digital technologies has been the bugbear of digital transformation. In a recent Bain survey of 500 industrial IoT decision makers, 41% of the respondents described integration to be very complex and their biggest challenge. It is great to see Siemens, which has traditionally been a strong OT/IT player, bring its knowledge and expertise into integration. Digital transformation is much more than just applications and software as hardware plays a role just as important. For digital transformation to achieve greater heights, hardware and software must converge or the idea will remain a mirage.
Siemens is betting massively on its digital business by partnering with key industry players, such as NVIDIA and Microsoft, and making acquisitions such as that of Brightly Software and Zona Technology earlier this year. The company expects the acquisitions to play a significant role in creating vertical-specific offerings. Siemens managed to partner with 58 companies within three months of launching Siemens Xcelerator. It started on the right note by striking early partnerships with NVIDIA, Microsoft, Accenture, SAP, Bentley, and more. The partnerships with Volta Trucks and ACC will help Siemens expand its offerings in the electric automotive space. Siemens has been a vocal supporter of openness and creating a marketplace/ecosystem is a logical move. The industrial Metaverse is an interesting initial use case and its first pilot solution will be developed at BMW’s showcase electric vehicle manufacturing site in Hungary. The success of the industrial Metaverse will be closely watched by industry observers.
What caught our eye is the Siemens Xcelerator Academy, which supports customers in their digital transformation journey. The academy offers customers learning opportunities across the globe in different formats. Customer education and problem-solving is key to removing barriers for the successful implementation of digital transformation. We are so focused on technology that we often overlook the softer aspects of customer training and then wonder why the projects are not scaling up.
At Counterpoint Research, we believe that partnerships between various ecosystem players is the only way to achieve the promise of digital transformation. There is no one company that can solve all the challenges of digital transformation. “Partner or perish” is a clear choice and an initiative like the Siemens Xcelerator is a move in the right direction, though it may be still in its early days.