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Former Member

You may have noticed it already - we are living in a connected world. Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Cars and Connected Machines are the buzzwords of this new industrial era.

The importance of “hyperconnectivity” and its inherent idea that all things that can or should communicate through the network will communicate through the network is well-known in the area of manufacturing and among teenagers.

But what role does it play in R&D and engineering?

What is the importance of IoT and hyperconnectivity when it comes to developing new products? In February, I attended the Product Innovation Congress in Düsseldorf in which Marc Halpern (Gartner) predicted  that innovation platforms will be the future of Product Lifecycle Management. He outlined the trend that bills of materials for products become more systems centric, in which mechanics and electronics are just the skeleton of the product and software becomes the “hero”.

At SAP, we believe that the future of PLM is connected-  in 2 ways: on one hand, manufacturers are challenged to design products for the Internet of Things. The market is asking for smart products that include sensor technology and that are able to communicate with each other and with enterprise systems. On the other hand, data from smart products is highly valuable and should be analyzed and leveraged in the design process for new, even better products.

In an effort to help manufacturers increase profit from new, individualized products, SAP today unveiled Connected Products, its new solution portfolio for R&D and Engineering. This portfolio is part of SAP`s solution strategy for the Extended Supply Chain, a holistic business approach to managing the entire life cycle of a product, with connected processes in design, manufacturing, logistics and service.

The constantly increasing pace of technological advancement puts pressure on manufacturers to be more innovative and faster than ever before. Fast changing buying behaviors, the growing demand for individualized products and the Internet of Things lead to a new level of product sophistication, process complexity and higher data volumes that challenge R&D departments to maintain a holistic product view.

In the new era of Internet of Things, everything is connected: people, enterprise systems, machines and devices. Engineering teams need to be connected with end customer insights, manufacturing and service in order to leverage real time intelligence to improve product performance.

Building on a multitude of recent innovations, SAP’s Connected Products strategy enables manufacturers to adapt their businesses to these new realities.

The new, enhanced solution portfolio delivers a product innovation platform that effectively manages, translates and integrates customer-driven engineering innovations throughout the enterprise and into the market by orchestrating all business functions and bills of material requirements.

“It is no longer the question who owns the BOM within the company, but who is part of the network”,

says Hans Thalbauer, Senior Vice President for the Extended Supply Chain, SAP.

The new solution portfolio delivers significant enhancements to existing solutions, as well as completely new functionality.

Innovation platform for the future

The aim of SAP´s strategy for Connected Products is to provide an innovation platform that helps manufacturing companies to adapt to changes in customer demand quickly, Recent enhancements to Product Structure Management, Engineering Record and Product Structure Synchronization help to accelerate innovation processes and engineering collaboration. For process manufacturers, enhanced functionality in Recipe Development enables speed and efficiency of product development and helps ensure product compliance. New visual manufacturing planning capabilities support engineering and manufacturing teams in creating and maintaining manufacturing structures by using engineering structures as input through a visually guided planning process.


Designing for the Internet of Things

With the new solution portfolio, SAP is setting a cornerstone for designing products for the Internet of Things.  The authoring tool integration platform SAP Engineering Control Center is a key enabler for systems engineering and provides a 360 degree product view, including mechanics, electronics, software, and simulation. Wide-ranging analytics capabilities, powered by SAP HANA, help manufacturers collect and analyze data that has been generated by connected machines or devices. These valuable insights can be leveraged in the development process for new products.  “SAP´s approach is to see the bigger picture. Customer satisfaction is not only a result of great products. The ability to deliver your products faster than anybody else is a key differentiator.  In our opinion, future economic success will be built on networks”, says Hans Thalbauer, Senior Vice President for the Extended Supply Chain, SAP.

“In the extended supply chain network, everything is connected: engineering, manufacturing, logistics and service. Only by optimizing the entire network, manufacturers will be able to deliver better products faster and at lower cost.”

Accelerating the speed of innovation

Enhancements in SAP Innovation Management powered by SAP HANA support the management of ideation processes with innovative technology. The solution enables customers to find and link similar ideas and subject matter experts inside and outside the organization leveraging Big Data capabilities. Beiersdorf Shared Services was one of the first customers who deployed SAP Innovation Management.

Solutions for idea management should have an intuitive user interface that encourages employees to participate in the ideation process, to submit and evaluate ideas and to collaborate with each other. Because only constant collaboration gets the ball rolling and helps establish an innovation culture within the company”

says Alexander Ramin, Global Process & Application Solutions, Department Lead Innovation, Marketing and Sales, Beiersdorf Shared Services.

SAP Innovation Management is tightly integrated with the SAP Portfolio and Project Management application, allowing companies to bridge the chasm between idea and innovation.Furthermore, SAP Portfolio and Project Management 6.1, helps companies increase the speed of collaboration by leveraging social collaboration networks for communication across external and internal project teams. The solution is  also supported by SAP Fiori apps for  optimal usability on multiple devices.

I picked out just a few examples of new innovations that are available for R&D and Engineering - there is much more to explore. And they are the first big step towards a new, connected PLM approach.

The solution portfolio for Connected Products is being showcased at the SAPInsider Product Lifecycle Conference Las Vegas, March 30- April 1, 2015.

Also, view this sample agenda for R&D and Engineering that will give you an overview of what you can expect at SAPPHIRENOW, Orlando.

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