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Priti

Priti

With a Masters degree in Human Resource Management, a Masters in Commerce and a degree in Law, Priti Pundir took up the profession of her passion in Information Technology. It's only her enthusiasm that took her from Operations Manager to Business Consultant and eventually Partner - Business Development at Evon Technologies. Her strengths are maintaining good Public Relations and Business Development overseas. She loves Cars and Poetry.

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The new buzzword for industry is Industry 4.0, which refers to the fourth industrial revolution. Owing to IT advancements in the past decade, Industry 4.0 is believed to significantly evolve the supply chain and production line in manufacturing industry. Before we start discussing the next big frontier of industry, let’s catch a glimpse of three industrial revolutions that happened previously: Mechanization, Mass Production and Automation.

Mechanization was the first revolution in the history of industry, bringing machines to perform certain tasks. The second was Mass Production and became possible due to electricity and Assembly Lines. The third industrial revolution was automation, thanks to the advent of computers, allowing machines to perform a particular task repeatedly without human effort.

And now, we have yet another revolution “Industry 4.0” aka “Digital Factory” or “Smart Factory” or “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT). Let’s understand what Industry 4.0 is all about and how it will shape the future of manufacturing industry.

Fourth Industrial Revolution Explained

The term “Industry 4.0” was first introduced as “Industrie 4.0” by the German government in 2011 to enhance the production and growth of German manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 paves the way for smart factories in which machines improve processes to a much higher level through automation and self-optimization.

Industry 4.0 uses new IT technologies, like Cyber-Physical Systems, the Internet of things, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Simulation, Autonomous Robots, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Although the virtues of Industry 4.0 were initially believed to be a boon only for the physical production of goods, they expand the reach to planning, supply chain logistics, product development and service as well.

Essential Components of Industry 4.0

IIoT

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IIoT is an abbreviation for Industrial Internet of Things and it’s different from IoT (Internet of Things). IoT allows a smart device to connect or communicate with other devices through the Internet. IoT is mostly about consumer-level goods, like cars or home appliances, that send and receive data via Internet to bring benefits to users.

In a nutshell, IoT connects the physical world to the digital world. With IoT, home appliances can be automatically turned on and off when you’re home and when you’re not home. Therefore, it reduces unnecessary usage of home appliances and cuts down your monthly electricity bill.

IIoT or Industrial Internet of Things, on the other hand, is a sub-segment of IoT, used for industrial purpose, like manufacturing, supply chain monitoring and management. Industries across the globe, such as aerospace, oil and gas, transportation, healthcare, energy and mining, are increasingly adopting IIoT to handle critical machines via sophisticated sensors.

IIoT uses more precise sensors than that of IoT as system failures could lead to life-threatening and other emergency situations. That IoT is related to consumer-level devices, the risk originating from failure is much lower when compared to the failure of IIoT. Using cutting-edge devices and location-aware technologies, IIoT takes manufacturing to an all new level and ensures flawless supply chain management.

Big Data, Data Mining and Data Analytics

Image Source: ResearchGate

Without a shred of doubt, Big Data will play a big role in the success of Industry 4.0. Manufacturing industry generates large volumes of data as a result of Machine to Machine communication, cyber-physical worlds, cloud based software applications, Augmented Reality (AR), etc. However, this data will be of no use unless big data analytics is applied to draw actionable insights.

Big Data Analytics not only helps identify trends and patterns, but improves plant productivity as well by making it possible to examine time differences between data transmitted by different robots. This valuable information helps find a fix to improve efficiency. Besides, data analytics enables to identify flaws in product design at a very early stage by collating and examining part-per-million defect data. So, data analytics provides a way to identify anomalies or issues in new product design before customers identify them after buying from you.

Furthermore, data analytics helps calculate maintenance cost of machinery, thereby making it possible to plan and execute the process in an effective manner. Big Data Analytics will play a critical role in gaining valuable insights to reduce business costs and boost productivity.

Artificial Intelligence

Image Source: HCL Technologies

Manufacturing industry was the first to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for product assembling and packaging. AI, too, has a very important role to play in Industry 4.0 as it facilitates machine learning, allowing machines to learn and make predictions based on experiences.

AI has a lot to do with data as cyber-physical systems communicate with each other and humans by sending and receiving data in real time over the Internet of Things. Collection and analysis of large amounts of data optimizes the manufacturing process and revolutionizes mass production. Besides, AI-powered machines are capable of performing tasks 24 hours a day, which gives a significant boost to productivity.

Collaborative Robots or Cobots

Image source: CATE Srl

It’s no secret that manufacturing industry has been using robots for many years to replace human labor, boost productivity and cut down costs. However, Industry 4.0 brings to the table the concept of collaborative robots aka Cobots. Cobots were first introduced to the world by a 1994 General Motors initiative led by Prasad Akella of the GM Robotics Center and a 1995 General Motors Foundation research. Taking the concept further, Universal Robots developed its first cobot in 2008 in a bid to enhance quality production.

Unlike robots that replace humans, cobots work and collaborate with humans to produce the desired result, without posing any threat to human safety. Cobots are lightweight and are equipped with sensors to ensure that they avoid touching humans forcefully or causing injuries to them.

Many manufacturing industries are now jumping on cobot bandwagon to boost quality production with human supervision, and Ford is one of the popular examples of that.

Augmented Reality (AR)

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Image Source: You Tube

Augmented Reality (AR) is known to make our existing reality more meaningful, which manufacturing industry could use to expedite the entire production chain. AR helps create simulation models and allows to see information on tasks that are being performed. With the help of AR devices, it becomes possible to see what can’t be seen otherwise, like a virtual screen appearing in front of you to provide instructions on how to perform a particular task. AR provides a brilliant way to bridge the knowledge gap in workers, which makes them more efficient and productive.

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing will play a crucial role in Industry 4.0 to harness the full potential of robotics and artificial intelligence. The key to easily and effectively manage workloads across the full spectrum of devices created by Industry 4.0 is to integrate compute services with a cloud platform. Since Industry 4.0 produces humungous amount of data via IIoT, cloud technologies become important to analyse and visualise it.

For example, Rolls Royce teamed up with Microsoft to utilize its Azure IoT cloud suite in a bid to make aircrafts more efficient and bring down engine maintenance costs. Using Azure IoT Suite, Rolls Royce collects and aggregates data from different sources and different geographical locations.

After collecting data, Rolls Royce puts into use the Cortana Intelligence Suite to extract useful insights into engine health, air traffic control information, route restrictions, fuel usage, etc. As a result, the British luxury car and aero engine manufacturing company has been able to improve operational performance and increase fuel efficiency.


Conclusion

The fourth industrial revolution has already begun, and benefits of using new disruptive technologies are increasingly becoming evident for the industry of today. Many tech giants, including AT&T and Google, are venturing in Industry 4.0 solutions to welcome the change that seems very promising for industry. By covering the essential IT components of Industry 4.0, one can add more value to manufacturing business and touch new heights.

What are your views on the future of Industry 4.0? Do you think if there are any risks associated with the much-hyped change? If yes, please share them in the comment box below to add a new dimension to the adoption of Industry 4.0.

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There are so many virtues associated with Marketing Automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), but many sales and marketing departments are still unable to notch up the best for their businesses. And, one of the top reasons cited by marketing experts for that is not integrating marketing automation with CRM. By not integrating these two technologies, many sales and marketing teams deprive themselves from understanding what works for each other and tracking every step of the buyer’s journey. Consequently, they bring roadblocks to quality lead generation and shrink the opportunities to have better conversions.

Before I begin shedding light on how marketing automation and CRM integration boosts conversion rates, let’s have a quick insight into what marketing automation and CRM are.

Marketing automation allows marketing departments to easily automate and analyze routine marketing tasks, like social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, digital ads, landing page visits, etc. As a result, they get to focus better on lead generation and offer personalized content based on user response. Marketing Automation has become a bandwagon almost all marketing departments are now jumping on to generate more leads than ever before. Some top examples of marketing automation software are HubSpot, Pardot, SharpSpring and Marketo.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), on the other hand,h complements marketing strategies by making it easier for sales team to convert marketing leads into paying customers. CRM tool, in a nutshell, serves as a database for storing marketing leads with their meaningful data, and help manage both existing and new customers. Some top examples of CRM software are SugarCRM, Odoo, Agile CRM and Nimble.

Let’s now move on to the most important aspect of this blog. How does marketing automation and CRM integration open new avenues for higher conversion rates?

Marketing Automation and CRM Integration a Boon to Your Business

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Image source: Blogspot

Helps You Devise Marketing Strategies that are Highly Likely to Work in Your Favor

By integrating marketing automation and CRM, your marketing team can easily track the efficacy of their marketing decisions. Being able to track how customers are responding to your marketing material paints a clear picture about what is working for you and what isn’t. For example, you can see what sort of emails coaxed your customers the most to become interested in your services or what type of social media campaigns got you most leads. Having such an insight helps you build on what worked the best for your and devise effective marketing strategies business.

So, you can effectively run marketing campaigns and ads that suit the requirements of your customers and help them improve quality of life by going for your products or services. Marketing automation and CRM integration also allows both sales and marketing departments to keep a track on every lead from the top of the lead funnel to the bottom of the sales funnel.

Enables to Increase Conversions via Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing means turning cold leads into buyers. And, this mostly becomes possible after you integrate marketing automation with CRM. Marketing teams can put colder leads on nurturing tracks to ensure they find your content interesting and relevant. Cold leads may not immediately get converted, but if you let go the hold over them, they become likely to buy from your competitors over time. That’s why lead nurturing is so important.

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Image source: HubSpot

If you keep contacting prospects systematically, it helps them build trust in your brand over time. The integration foundation allows marketing teams to understand unique interests of cold leads and treat them differently. Lead nurturing requires marketing team to have a better understanding of needs of prospects and targeting them with information that they want at each stage of their buying process.

A market study found that 80% of new leads never become sales. However, lead nurturing provides nearly 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Lead nurturing is like forming a relationship with leads, not only to sell them just once, but improve your ROI via upselling as well.

Helps Sales Teams get their Hands more on Quality Leads

Integration of marketing automation with CRM especially becomes important when it comes to differentiate between qualified leads and unqualified leads. Let’s understand, how?

Image source: Stampwood Limited

Marketing automation software allows marketing teams to automatically fetch all the information about how the leads interacted with marketing, like their social media engagement, page views, forms completion, queries, buying behavior, etc. When marketing teams enter leads along with their behavioral information in CRM, sales teams find it easy to draw a distinction between leads that are highly likely to be converted than those that are not. This is also called lead intelligence.

As a result, sales team dedicate most of their efforts to engage with qualified leads and improve conversion rates. Most CRMs allow to filter information, like leads that visited your site more than five times in past 30 days, or the ones that didn’t visit your site at all during the same time span. Such results help increase the efficiency and productivity of the sales team by encouraging them to spend more time on the leads from whom the marketing team has received positive response on their marketing material. Simply put, the more the focus on qualified leads, the better the conversion rates.

Speeds Up Sales Process

Since all marketing and sales report sits at one place, it becomes much easier to know where prospects are in the sales cycle. This in return helps expedite sales process. Sales people are also able to determine the best time to contact a lead in the nurturing process with appropriate content, thereby reducing the time it otherwise takes to convert a lead.

Another important aspect of marketing automation and CRM integration is the fact that it allows sales team to get involved in the development of a marketing campaign. As a result, marketing team is able to offer better and result-oriented content to its target audience, a factor that also speeds up sales process.

Without a doubt, marketing automation and CRM integration offers a plethora of opportunities to sales and marketing team to increase ROI via higher conversion rates. Many businesses are adopting this practice to boost their sales and get a competitive edge. It’s very hard to find a reason that why a business should not bank on marketing automation and CRM integration.

What’s your thought on the efficacy of marketing automation and CRM integration to boost conversion rate? Do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed? Please share your views in the comment box below.

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