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A new operating model to address the widening IT delivery gap...

Manufacturers (as other industries) are affected by the line of business, partners and customers increasing demand for new digital solutions. New business demands and requests for new technology in areas such as AI, IoT, Mobile, SaaS and Cloud severely stretches the capacity of IT departments. With remaining challenges to cater for maintenance and hosting of existing legacy systems, it is impossible for IT deliver on all these expectations. This creates what is generally referred to as the ”the IT delivery gap”.

With increasing demands from the surrounding world and phenomena like AI, IoT, SaaS, cloud and other technologies introduced that the business wants to utilise and benefit from, there are loads of new things for IT to consider and deliver upon. Also, when the business thinks that IT does not respond quick enough, they start making their own IT decisions purchasing various solutions that are delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud applications.

These tend to be easy to implement and get started with, but very soon a requirement to integrate these with the rest of the application infrastructure arise. By then the line of business are not so interested anymore and are happy to hand over those kind of issues for IT to solve.

This whole situation creates a burden on IT that it is impossible to solve with existing financing and delivery models. 

Solving the IT delivery gap

To solve ”the IT delivery gap”, manufacturers will have to look into a new operating model for IT. This model should put an emphasize on consumption and enablement. If central IT can focus their resources on building a solid foundation for consumption of assets, that line of business and business partners can innovate upon, then it will possible to reach a situation where each entity can make the most of available assets.

To enable this, central IT will have to invest in tooling, methodology and organisation to support the creation of a marketplace of self serve, reusable assets in the shape of APIs. APIs can be used by the line of business to access business data in a controlled way and feedback and usage metrics will be fed back to IT for improvement and further development.

With access to business data, the line of business can invest and innovate on business initiatives like AI, IoT and SaaS solutions without having to bother central IT for resources. This is a separation of concerns that will enable manufacturers to innovate faster, improve supply chain management, improve customer interaction and increase operational efficiency.

Life cycle management of APIs

To make this initiative successful, manufacturers will further have to treat these APIs as products in themselves. This means that APIs will have to be life cycle managed, version controlled and maintained in the context of that you are not necessarily sure of who is actually using it (as long as they concur with security and identity guidelines).

With productized APIs, line of business and business partners can trust APIs and incorporate them in applications and business innovation. Productized APIs is a key part of a new operating model focusing on consumption, enablement and innovation.

Creating modern applications

Through the introduction of productized APIs manufacturers will also be able to change the nature of innovation and create modern applications that are composed, rather than custom built. In the longer perspective it will also create an opportunity to build the ”composable enterprise”, where business assets are unlocked and various business units will be able to interact in an efficient, but controlled way, to innovate and develop the business.

In practice this means that manufacturers that successfully implement this approach will be able to develop applications faster to keep up with changing business requirements and market expectations. They will therefore be better equiped to develop and adopt the business no matter the use case at hand

More information

This blog post has been published by Redpill Linpro in cooperation with MuleSoft. Read more on the topic of solving the connectivity issues for manufacturing companies on the following links : 

Written by Fredrik Svensson