- SAP, an ERP giant, and Schneider Electric, an industrial automation company, announced that they would extend their collaboration in the field of IIoT (industrial IoT) and digital transformation by focusing on sustainable infrastructure and easy deployment.
- Both companies plan to create preconfigured deployment options for IIoT customers. For instance, a field service management tool using augmented reality (AR) can pick up and use the partnership’s preset hardware and software configuration.
SAP and Schneider Electric said in a joint press release the idea is to make it easy and increase speed in the deployment of so-called Industry 4.0 applications, systems that link IT, such as ERP software, with operational technology used in manufacturing processes. While there is a lot of interest in Industry 4.0 among potential customers, many of those customers see design and deployment as significant headaches, which has slowed the spread of newer technologies.
What SAP Said Regarding Collaboration
SAP president of industries and customer advisory Peter Maier said that both companies align on the importance of collaboration, innovation, and open standards, making integrated information and operational technology solutions easy to consume for their joint customers.
The release also mentioned sustainability, with the companies saying they planned future offerings to assist companies with energy management.
However, according to IDC IoT research director Marcia Walker, the fact remains that Industry 4.0 is still primarily in its infancy, i.e., the new deal between Schneider and SAP is a matter of meshing cultures as it is developing new solutions.
She said that effectively integrating two companies’ cultures is as challenging as incorporating the cultures of IT and OT personnel. There is a high potential for the industrial and energy-centric perspective of Schneider Electric to complement the ERP-centric heritage of SAP. Schneider Electric has proven its ability to weave culture change into technological evolution, as evidenced by its launch of Schneider Electric University.
The impetus for new industrial technology carries its own dangers, said Katell Thielemann, vice president, and analyst at Gartner Research. She said cybersecurity risks are created when technology is added to existing production systems.
She added that industrial production systems are full of cyber-physical systems that must be protected like never before.