The IIoT or Industrial Internet of Things offers many opportunities for optimising processes and workflows. These include increasing flexibility, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs in production and logistics, faster, more transparent processes as well as optimised value creation chains and new business models. Many companies depend on these optimisation opportunities in order to grow and remain competitive and fit for the future. The central focus of the IIoT is data collected by sensors from the shop floor level in addition to data from various other systems – from purchasing to warehousing and logistics right through to marketing and sales.
Implementing an IIoT strategy is a complex undertaking, which is essentially dependent on three fields: data collection, data integration and data analysis. While data collection and data analysis as well as the associated conclusions are very specific to each company, data integration, which is the pivot point for the whole process, can be easily standardised. To ensure that your IIoT strategy is successful, the data integration should run as smoothly and unobtrusively as possible. The following checklist shows you what you need to bear in mind.
Seven points that you should bear in mind when it comes to data integration
Good data integration software impresses with user-friendly handling, for example by means of an intuitive user interface and drag and drop operation. Put it to the test: How many steps are required for the entire integration procedure from one system to another? Moreover, look out for easy updates and version changes.
2. Overview and structure
Do you think that the software has a logical structure? Does the software offer clear mapping documentation – for exact tracking, for example?
3. Speed/time saving
Compare the following: How quickly can you implement interfaces? Can you set up direct mapping of the source and target or does your system only allow this via elaborate and error-prone intermediate positions? Test the performance: How many data records can your system process in an emergency? And how much of a strain does this put on your systems?
Is one tool sufficient for all integration activities (EAI/IOT/EDI/ETL etc.) or do you have to operate multiple systems? Is there central monitoring for all interfaces?
Are all industry standards included in the system to ensure your flexibility and future security (in this case, you should have access to almost 10,000 different templates)? Are your systems standard software or special solutions with high maintenance requirements? Do you need special programming skills or are your process skills crucial for data integration?
Compare the cost-benefit ratios for standard software and isolated applications, but also for different providers. Does introduction involve lengthy development steps or are you able to save a lot of time because you only need a test system and production system? Do you receive free software updates/upgrades with a view to your planning security?
Are you independent from service providers (cost/time factor) and from operating systems? How extensive are the hardware requirements?