2019 predictions: Aerospace and Defence

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With the Aerospace and Defence (A&D) sector soaring in 2018 after the successful Farnborough Air Show, I spoke with Nigel Thomas, Head of A&D at Capgemini UK, to find out what he thinks will be big this year.

Nigel Thomas, Head of A&D at Capgemini UK

“As the 4th Industrial Revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0, continues to gather pace, and we begin to see the benefits of living in a connected world, we can see how having a digital engineering and manufacturing approach has the potential to generate a range of ground-breaking ideas. However, one take away from 2018 is that companies still struggle to convert proofs of concept into complete production, so they are unable to identify their full benefits – one example is the adoption of new technologies such as AR/VR (covered in a recent Capgemini Research Institute report).

“So, how can we ensure that implementing technology solutions to business problems delivers increased value to businesses? In 2018, some organisations have shifted the responsibility (and budgets!) for digital transformation from the CIO to different, functional areas of the business, including Human Resources and Customer Services, for example. The issue which then arises is that often these different business units are not implementing new digital solutions effectively, or even at all – this can be due to the lack of relevant skills or simply a lack of understanding of the benefits that digital can bring.

“In 2019, as a consequence of Industry 4.0, we will see further rise of job roles such as ‘Chief Digital Officer’; this could be a business person with an IT mindset, or an IT person with a business mindset. Whoever it is, this person may think differently from the main IT department – and this more holistic view may allow them to release more value from digital projects at a faster rate. This will change the make-up of the ecosystem of technology partners, introducing new, niche/boutique providers, working alongside large SIs who can (together) demonstrate a nimble/agile approach to delivering business benefits in a shorter time frame. One CIO told me recently, “if I have a business problem today, I want a solution in days or weeks and a Return on Investment profile so that I don’t need a huge upfront cap-ex investment…because I may want to do it differently in a year’s time.”

“One of the key requirements that A&D companies (mostly made up of engineering, manufacturing and service provision companies) have of their IT systems is to integrate their engineering systems (MOM, PLM, MES) with the back-office ERP systems. In 2018, we created demonstrators that show the benefits of this integrated OT:IT approach, integrating both SAP and Oracle with all the major PLM providers’ software. The results are extraordinary – giving customers a ‘single pane of glass’ across their enterprise and enabling a truly connected business. This ‘closed loop’ OT:IT integration allows the creation of a single data model from product design and manufacture through to in-service support, maintenance and ultimately disposal. Efficiency gains are achieved in the direct link between engineering, manufacturing, procurement, supply chain and MRO functions – shortening change management timelines and reducing complexity of processes.

”This different way of looking at IT solutions to business problems will only be possible through a new, different type of business IT leader, creating a different type of relationship with technology providers. Working together, they will be able to quickly deliver the promised benefits from digital transformation projects at scale.”

Our recent AR/VR report gives a 360 view on immersive technologies, and you can find out more about our manufacturing services here.

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