Product Operations

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The operations perspective of the Digital OEM and his AIoT-enabled products will include a number of different elements. The sales organization will be responsible for supporting the new, digital-enabled features and services. The support organization must be able to handle the added product complexity. Finally, the DevOps organization must be able to continuously enhance and optimize the digital product offering.

Sales

Understanding digital transformation from a sales perspective is essential for its success. The Digital OEM is presented with many opportunities, which must be properly adopted by the sales organization.

AIoT will provide the sales and marketing organization with the opportunity to truly understand how customers are using the products in the field. Together with other data, e.g. from web analytics, CRM and social media, this will enable the sales and marketing organization to better target new and existing customers, e.g., for upselling of newly available, digital-enabled features.

AIoT-enabled Sales Organization

Support

Providing AIoT-enabled, digital features can significantly increase a product's complexity. While it should be a core duty of the DevOps team to ensure the best possible user experience, there is a good chance that the new, digital features will cause additional customer requests to the support organization. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer buying a smart, connected product -- let us say a vacuum robot -- and then failing to get it to work, e.g., because of a pairing problem, or some other issue. Connectivity alone can be a source for many problems, which need to be addressed by the support organization. Especially for mass-market products, an efficient triage to manage the combination of internet FAQs, automated bots and potentially call center services will be important.

The support organization must also be prepared to deal with new, unexpected problems. For example, the use of AI in a smart, connected product might lead to problems that will initially be very hard to reproduce because the product is no longer following the deterministic logic encoded in the software (but rather is driven by an AI that is a black-box in that regard).

Finally, the support organization should be supported with AIoT-enabled problem analytics and diagnostics. This will have to be provided by the DevOps team, which needs to focus not only on the product features but also on how to support the rest of the organization with AIoT-based features.

DevOps

While DevOps has the word operations in its name, the focus of the DevOps organization is usually on developing and operating smart, connected products. As discussed in the previous section, the focus of the DevOps team is usually on continuously improving the features of the product. However, one should not underestimate the importance of ensuring that the DevOps organization also supports the other parts of the operations side. In particular, the DevOps team will be responsible for providing sales, marketing, and support organizations with the required capabilities. Together, they need to identify which additional features -- beyond the features important and visible to the end-user -- will have to be built. The earlier example of seat-heating-on-demand applies here, where the DevOps team will not only have to build the feature itself, but also implement the dynamic pricing together with the sales team and build suitable in-app promotions in collaboration with the marketing team. Similarly, the DevOps team will be responsible providing the support team with the required data, analytics reports and applications.

Authors and Contributors

Dirk Slama.jpeg
DIRK SLAMA
(Editor-in-Chief)

AUTHOR
Dirk Slama is VP and Chief Alliance Officer at Bosch Software Innovations (SI). Bosch SI is spearheading the Internet of Things (IoT) activities of Bosch, the global manufacturing and services group. Dirk has over 20 years experience in very large-scale distributed application projects and system integration, including SOA, BPM, M2M and most recently IoT. He is representing Bosch at the Industrial Internet Consortium and is active in the Industry 4.0 community. He holds an MBA from IMD Lausanne as well as a Diploma Degree in Computer Science from TU Berlin.