Aerospace and defense (A&D) companies have always been at the leading edge of technology innovation. Consequently, ideas such as “smart“ aircraft and factories are nothing new to the industry. The objectives of these innovations focus on the effective management of finite resources and the ability to provide more for less. Meeting these objectives at a faster pace while facing less risk is dependent upon an enterprise-wide business process platform that acts as a semantic layer providing insights into all data sources – the digital core. But how does a digital core with a single source of truth help drive innovation?
Strategic Priorities in a Digital Economy
Customer centricity - Putting the customer’s point of view at the center of every decision is vital for success in the digital age. This does not stop with business development or product design, but it also applies to how products are built and what services are offered. Digital services must provide tailored benefits, improve product performance, and support outcome-oriented service models to reduce cost and risk.
Digital business networks - Designing network value streams, which enable collaboration, benefits all business partners while leveraging the knowledge of the best-of-breed partners. Scalable and secure, many-to-many networks can distribute critical business information across the network, automate real-time network level analytics, and enable secure, streamlined collaboration across departments and companies.
Driving innovation - Continuous innovation is impacting A&D products and processes alike. With even more technology embedded, OEMs aim to make products smarter, more reliable, and affordable for customers. Process automation benefits from greater IoT integration, while 3D printing is further adopted across the industry.
Agile manufacturing - Smart, connected factories with advanced automation and integration of shop-floor processes deliver granular data for optimizing products and processes and improving compliance. Production and supply chain processes gain flexibility and accelerate reactions to changes in demand, supply, and resources, driving optimization in virtual capacity and operational efficiency.
New business models - New business models are disrupting traditional business models, creating new markets, and generating new revenue streams by delivering outcomes. They utilize data as a product, for example, for new after-sales services.
Leading A&D companies use market dynamics to create and capture new business opportunities
Respond to rapid changes Operational excellence is core to A&D, and it requires companies to be agile in their response to continuous change within the industry. Empowering decision makers by breaking down silos and providing insights optimized across the value chain is critical to addressing rapid changes. The digital core provides the foundation to enrich process information with operational data, using the Internet of Things (IoT) and other innovative technologies, which enables real-time decision-making and strategic differentiation.
Harvest the power of the network Digitalized supply chains provide new insights that address issues early on. This reduces costs while increasing customer satisfaction. Supply chains and logistic operations become better-connected, dynamic, multitier production and sustainment networks that foster cross-domain and partner collaboration. This enables technologies such as blockchain that support secured data exchange. Synchronize and collaborate within the digital ecosystem to optimize products over their entire lifecycle while improving the customer experience.
Develop new revenue streams Massive amounts of data are generated every day by modern machines and digitalized products. It is critical for A&D businesses to capitalize on this data to enable smarter factories and to create the platform needed to develop differentiated service offerings. The ability to capture and correlate data across different sources allows monetization of the data and optimized product lifecycle costs.
Manage innovative opportunities As the speed of innovation increases, the alignment of business objectives with financial targets during introduction becomes more crucial. A company's pace of innovation and future success will be determined by whether it has the flexible foundation to effectively manage these two pieces across the entire enterprise and life stages of its product. Additionally, as new business models, such as “information as a product,” become more prevalent, the need for a semantic layer across all enterprise systems will grow. Players with a strong technology background will be able to challenge the barriers to market entry.
The Intelligent Enterprise Bringing SAP S/4HANA and SAP Leonardo technologies together as a digital core will result in a more flexible and intelligent enterprise. To achieve next-generation business processes, companies need an intelligent ERP solution that can be continuously enhanced and extended with innovative business services and applications built on emerging technologies, including machine learning, blockchain, and the IoT. A&D organizations that have big innovation appetites or prefer to be early adopters have already begun this journey.
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