Priya Chidambaranathan, Senior Principal Architect, Infosys, explains how her company and its fellow Catalyst collaborators co-created a ‘dynamically composable enterprise’, and fast. No wonder their Logical Factory: Virtualizing Manufacturing for Agility Catalyst project won an award.
CurateFx helped the project collaborators avoid a typical, hierarchical project and step towards a more collaborative, flexible space where tasks, goals, intentions and actions were defined and designed thoughtfully, taking in all aspects and all the partners’ needs and feedback on the hoof.
So how exactly did Curate Fx do this?
Firstly, what is it? CurateFx is TM Forum’s cloud-based enterprise software service for ecosystem and digital transformation projects. It helps organizations co-create an immediately usable digital ecosystem, avoiding the technological tangled web that so many partners, tasks and goals could have resulted in.
“Our world is changing very fast in the digital services – in the platforms and ecosystems, things get complicated,” said Rebecca Sendel, Vice President of Services and Catalysts at TM Forum in our recent webinar. And you can see this clearly in her example of a connected car ecosystem below:
“We’re all about management at the Forum,” Sendel continued, “Using a common language, making things easier and more repeatable. We did some thinking around how we take something this complicated and deal with it in much more of a blueprint type approach.
“So we put together this systematic approach [CurateFx], creating step-by-step ways to tackle the complexities of ecosystems, and then we put together a lot of different tools to say these are all of the pieces that come together to let you manage an ecosystem in this step-by-step formula or blueprint.”
How did it help with the Catalyst project?
Infosys, EnterpriseWeb and Infosim (Catalyst participants), The Welding Institute (TWI, the manufacturing champion), BT and TIM (the telco champions) were all a part of the project which won the award for Outstanding Ecosystem Design using CurateFx at TM Forum Live! 2017 in May.
It centered on selective laser melting processes handled at TWI, but with the aim of helping all manufacturing facilities in a similar predicament. Darren Williams, Welding Systems Lead, TWI, explained the prospective benefits: “There’s the potential for direct savings across the European Union estimated at £23 million ($29.7 million), with indirect savings in excess of £200 million of commercial value.“
As such, in addition to building a ‘dynamically composable enterprise‘, CurateFx helped the collaborators to:
- improve transparency of interactions within the value fabric (where ‘value fabric’ means the mesh of interwoven, cooperating organizations and individuals);
- save on costs, directly and indirectly, through the end-to-end automation enabled by CurateFx; and
- create a sector-agnostic, platform-based ‘logical factory‘.
CurateFx in action
This manufacturing project brought the benefits of CurateFx to life, demonstrating its applicability across several sectors and very different stakeholders, who collectively developed a solution. “We have the different ecosystems from manufacturing, to telcos, and the platforms to integrate these entities,” explained Chidambaranathan in the webinar, “We needed an integration of IoT and the telco domain here, and also to automate the business processes.”
There are multiple steps/phases to the tool: define, design, scope and collaborate, and Chidambaranathan gave a brief overview of how the project played out across each of them:
The team was able to define the business scenarios, stakeholder roles and the ecosystem products and services to bring the B2B2X model together. An example of how the project honed in on some of the specifics:
“We tried to demonstrate how this could work in the manufacturing industry, TWI in this case. It had three different entities which we were trying to combine as a logical unit.”
- Area manager which looks holistically at this logical factory (made up of three physical factories);
- Factory manager which is associated with the single physical factory; and
- Maintenance engineers who take care of any challenges in the specific manufacturing processes or the maintenance activity associated with a single robot, or a set of robots.
Another example of the defining aspect was that they were able to clarify key performance indicators (KPIs) like the tangible and intangible benefits.
“Shortened time to market was one of them, because previously there were more manual processes which we were trying to automate to reduce them. There was increased flexibility to provide customization at individual levels which increases production as well. This was captured so all parties were aware of the expectations,” Chidambaranathan explained.
The team could then track the overall value of its automation efforts after administration time, logistics and traceability improved.
“You can see how many savings we were able to extrapolate. Indirect savings like reducing wastage and avoiding rework. We were able to capture value tangible and intangible,” she added.
Even defining what the problems were including “need to improve capitalization of industrial robots and reduce operational expenditure to save the industry billions of dollars,” was key for keeping the project focused.
The design function gave those working on the project a view of how the ecosystem components were integrated; from the top level where the telcos and the manufacturing industry sat, down to the system and the process flows (see diagram below).
The scope part of the project involved this interactive heatmap (below) and covered the processes, the data models, the application platforms being used, and the associated metrics. Users could click into each section to find out more about the details and status of each.
Since the project was an integration of multiple parties, the team leveraged the collaboration view to have all the parties contribute and agree on the common values (Frameworx etc.) from their respective organizations, for a holistic view across the board.
“Using CurateFx meant we could document everything between different sections, and achieve traceability etcetera. Otherwise there would have been separation of the sections in our solution documents.”