Few, if any, industries have been unaffected by the digitally driven shift from product provision to services, according to Paul Marriott, Head of Digital Core, SAP APJ. The change is now a board level topic, Marriott says, and is creating entirely new business models.

New business models that leaders have seized on.

Life and Mobility, a wheelchair manufacturer in the Netherlands, is a case in point, according to Marriott. The company is leveraging the data it collects in its “smart wheelchairs” to not only improve its services but also drive new business models.

Intelligent enterprises effectively use their data assets to achieve their desired outcomes faster – and with less risk.

Sensors in each wheelchair collect over 400,000 data points every day, which helps to uncover common sitting positions and the effort required to move in the chair. That data helps improve future versions of the wheelchair, ultimately reducing the effort required from users to operate it. Importantly, the data has application beyond its original intent, and can be used to inform the ergonomics are other chairs as well, opening up a new commercial opportunity for the company.

It is a good example of technology and data driven innovation from a manufacturer, but also opens up entirely new business models, according to Marriott.

“Interestingly, we talk about sitting being the new smoking. You can take that [wheelchair] data set and actually apply it to the wider community in terms of how they manage their health,” he said.

“It actually becomes very interesting data to provide a wider health care service.”

For Life and Mobility it’s an opportunity to monetise its data set “well beyond its original purpose”. The practice isn’t restricted to certain industries or verticals, according to Marriott.

“We see many organisations seeing data as a way of creating new business models and monetising that business model. Healthcare is an example but we se it across all industries.”

Data frameworks and the technology layer

While organisations should strive to consolidate their data sources it is “naive” to think all of an organisations data can be collected in a single place, Marriott said.

Data consolidation is an especially challenging prospect for organisation using a “federated model” – one with several, often disparate, legacy systems and silos.

“Given data can sit across many systems you need a technology layer that can work in real time,” Marriott said.

“So it can tap into these different data sources and aggregate that in real time to allow these business processes to leverage the data and make useful and accurate decisions.”

Intelligent enterprises effectively use their data assets to achieve their desired outcomes faster – and with less risk.

About the author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which SAP is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.


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