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ASCM Insights

10 Trends that Will Drive Your IT Investments


Technology leaders and their counterparts must work together to ensure they are maximizing the value derived from both current and future technology investments. The following predictions are intended to help organizational decision makers devise a strong investment plan for the coming year through 2025.

By 2021:

  1. 30% of manufacturers will have a digital application unit that uses low-code technologies to create business-relevant applications without needing the coding skills required.
  2. 20% of manufacturing companies will have started to treat their assets as internal customers, leading to a 40% reduction in asset downtime.
  3. Half of all manufacturing supply chains will have invested in supply chain resiliency and artificial intelligence, resulting in productivity improvements of 15%.

By 2022:

  1. The need for operational resiliency with data-driven processes will lead 60% of manufacturers to shift their smart factory focus from technology implementation to process change management.
  2. 70% of manufacturers will use cloud-based innovation platforms and marketplaces for cross-industry and customer co-development, creating 50% of new product and service ideas.

By 2023:

  1. 65% of the global manufacturers will realize a savings of 10% in operational expenses through process digital twins driven by the internet of things (IOT) and machine learning routines that factor in unstructured data sets.
  2. 60% of Forbes Global 2000 manufacturers will address growing industry talent shortages by making significant investments in intelligent robotic process automation.

By 2024:

  1. 40% of OEMs will leverage field asset IOT data to intelligently diagnose pending issues and resolve autonomously reducing unplanned downtime by 25%.
  2. 75% of all consumer-facing manufacturing companies will have materially transformed their supply chains to manage customization at scale, resulting in share gains of 2-3%.

And by 2025:

  1. Driven by increased requirements for sustainability, 30% of manufacturers will be using blockchain and the IOT to provide reliable provenance, leading to a 90% increase in audit efficiency.

What’s next

To further maximize technology investment potential, keep the following in mind:

  • Talent, talent, talent — there is a major skills gap within supply chain that demands action. Put a process in place to capture the knowledge of your more senior employees, and provide workers with ways to collaborate and learn together. Talent can be your most valuable resource; make sure to constantly cultivate it across the organization.
  • Review your foundation — most manufacturing plants are lucky if they can connect to half of their assets on the floor. Digital transformation requires you to be ready for increasing levels of digitally enabled products and processes. This isn’t just about your applications, datacenters, and networks; it’s about core enterprise architecture and infrastructure decisions.
  • Create a single source of the truth — data within your enterprise and from connected products, supply chains and assets will increasingly be the starting point for new initiatives.
  • Focus on achievable outcomes — work with technology partners and focus your efforts on how technology helps solve existing business problems or anticipate future ones.
  • Invest in the short- and long-terms — look for technologies that provide efficiency and effectiveness today, yet enable capabilities that support your company’s digital transformation tomorrow.
  • Implement a partner ecosystem — no supply chain organization can transform by itself. Develop a network of partners to accelerate your information technology capabilities and serve the line of business. Great partners can help you move quickly, which is essential in today’s global marketplace.

About the Author

Reid Paquin and Maggie Slowik

Reid Paquin is research director at IDC Manufacturing Insights. Maggie Slowik is senior research analyst at IDC Manufacturing Insights.