IIoT, Industry 4.0, Interviews

Industry of Things World USA Interview: Eric Schaeffer, Accenture


Eric Schaeffer
Senior Managing Director, Accenture


Eric Schaeffer
Senior Managing Director, Accenture

About Eric Schaeffer:
Eric Schaeffer is Senior Managing Director at Accenture, leading their Digital Industry X.0 program with the objective of supporting industrial companies in harnessing digital opportunities. Schaeffer also leads one of Accenture’s global business services – Accenture Product Lifecycle Services – which provides end-to-end services to unlock value and efficiencies from product data across the entire value chain.

About Accenture:
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 384,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives.

we.CONECT: Welcome Eric, let’s start by asking what is the Industrial Internet of Things and why do people believe that it’s going to change the way we do business?

Eric Schaeffer: Technology is transforming the Industrial landscape beyond recognition. And by landscape, I mean the way we interact with customers, the products themselves which are being re-invented, as well as internal operations from R&D to Manufacturing to Business support functions…. It is the whole enterprise which is being shaken upside down.

Technologies such as eCommerce, Cloud, Mobile, Big data and Analytics are becoming mainstream and cheaper by the day. But if you feel this was already too much to harness… wait until you see what’s still in the hopper. There is more to come with robotics, autonomous systems, AI & deep learning, augmented & virtual reality, 5G networks, 3D printing or blockchain just to name a few. It is not industry 2.0 or even 4.0 but Industry x.0 as waves of disruptive technologies continue to flow in – you cannot turn the tide; it just keeps rolling.

There are two other (very important) disruptive drivers in Industrial:
1) Firstly, the consumerization of Industrial – B2B customers and enterprises are adopting ‘consumer behaviors’ at pace. This is driving new and very different requirements throughout the whole supplier value chain.
2) Secondly, Society at large will be instrumental in this rotation. The work done in collaboration with the WEF shows that there is $100 trillion in value for society alone derived from these technologies. This will create, as you can easily understand, a strong pull even if industry and society value pools are not always (if not rarely) aligned.

The change is unavoidable…. Ready or not it’s happening.

we.CONECT: The principals behind IIoT (certainly connectivity and data analytics) have been in existence for a while now… why has it taken so long for it to become established and really bring measurable benefits back to industrial enterprise?

Eric Schaeffer: There still is significant value still trapped in industrial enterprises, but we did not have the right levers to unlock up to now. But IIoT, and more broadly Digital Techs such as analytics, cloud just to mention a couple, can now unlock this trapped value. Our research shows that there is between 400 to 700 basis points of incremental EBIT to unlock thru digital in today’s industrial companies… and 70 to 80% of the short term value resides in digitizing internal operations as well as the customer interface. It’s not about new business models yet but this is soon to arrive.

we.CONECT: When you look at IIoT transformation projects, what’s the most common easily avoided mistake you see within the industry?

Eric Schaeffer: Working with many industrial organizations across the world, we have come to realize that there a few, six to be exact, no-regret capabilities which an industrial enterprise must master. Analytics, Embedded software, building an eco-system are just a few examples of these no-regret capabilities. Experiment, combine and scale at your pace, but go for it…

we.CONECT: When you think of the best examples of IIoT implementation projects, what is it that they do differently?

Eric Schaeffer: It’s both the mindset and the visibility within the organization that really makes the difference. It is all about experimentation, agility, acceleration, innovation flowing from the outside, ecosystems…this is what I mean by a different mindset. And success requires strong and visible sponsorship from the top.

we.CONECT: How can your services give companies the edge in terms of smooth implementation and fast payback for their IIoT projects?

Eric Schaeffer: This rotation is all about Innovation, Products, Technology, Change and Execution… which are areas in which Accenture excels and is differentiated. But the ability to collaborate and co-innovate with our clients is really what makes the difference. Capabilities are critical but the mindset is what makes Good become Great.

we.CONECT: Thanks for this! Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to add about the conference or about applying IIoT to manufacturing challenges generally?

Eric Schaeffer: Digital will profoundly change the Industry, while understanding the challenges faced, this is a rotation industrial enterprises cannot miss. So now is the time to act.

The Industry of Things World USA team thanks Eric Schaeffer for his insights and his contribution as a speaker!