With competitive advantages and market shares at stake, scalability is a key driver for growth in high-tech companies. Ever-increasing demand and emerging technologies drive the need for innovation at scale. Discover how your business can quickly adapt to changing needs and opportunities.

Demands are rising...

High-tech companies are operating in quite a fast-paced and demanding environment. On one hand, clients are expecting innovative products, prompting R&D departments to deliver by developing and innovating at the speed of sound. On the other hand, these high-tech clients desire a reliable flow of supply as demand is fluctuating every week, day and second. Next to that, the demand for high-tech products is rising due to economic growth and the trend Industrial Internet of Things going mainstream. However, escalating demand is not the only pressure high-tech companies are facing. Momentum and business opportunities are also contributing factors to this fast-paced environment.

Image: Scalability of high-tech companies - Semiconductor industry - by Accenture

…and so are the scalability options

To be and stay relevant in the future, companies must transform into flexible and liquid organizations with large ERP systems. However, we understand that replacing your legacy IT system is a daunting task. Add to that a unique corporate culture and secure structure and the situation complexifies even further. 

Companies need to become more flexible, liquid and scalable.

To maintain momentum and keep up with today’s emerging technologies, companies need to become more flexible, liquid and scalable. With flexible and liquid, we mean that companies can adapt and evolve in the face of challenges and opportunities. With scalable, we mean that companies can effortlessly adapt to changing customer demands by managing their production, processes and software accordingly. Scalability is indeed a major driver of competitiveness in the digital age.

Demand and new technologies create momentum for high-tech companies

When we consider new IT themes, we see an abundance of potential in organizations to become more flexible and scalable, keeping them one step ahead of their competitors. We will now describe three emerging tech trends and determine their impact on high-tech companies and their ability to scale.

Image: Scalability of high-tech companies - Technology framework - by Accenture

Digital thread & digital twin

Digital thread and digital twin (DT&DT) could be the ultimate example of digital transformation where the physical blends with the digital. DT&DT are a digital replication and data record of physical assets. On one end, the digital thread is a framework that enables the flow of data and the way it interacts with physical assets throughout their lifecycle.

On the other end, digital twin is a digital replica of physical assets used to continuously learn from itself via machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence. In a mature DT&DT world, the asset will continuously optimize itself in real time, termed as autonomous optimization. In this way, companies can steer upon real-time data to improve processes and evolve via intelligent assets into an intelligent enterprise. If the (re)design and optimization of assets can be led and improved by the asset itself, how will that impact your ability to scale?

Blockchain

Blockchain, as a decentralized, distributed database, can help pave the path to transparent supply chains. This technology can substantially contribute to many high-tech industries, like the semiconductor industry. It was found that of 88 percent of the semiconductor executives surveyed expect that blockchain will be integrated into their organization’s systems within three years. This is the highest percentage among the 18 industries surveyed, including the aerospace, retail and automotive industry.

Image: Technologies for scaling up high-tech companies - Blockchain survey data - by Accenture

Whether it is ordering new assets, tracking spare parts, configuration management or the integration of the supply chain, blockchain allows companies to thoroughly track materials and products, providing real-time and transparent insights in your supply chain(s). Specific for product development and lifecycle management (PLM), blockchain could have a significant impact on traceability, transparency, complexity and speed-to-market.

When the design blueprint of a wafer (or the design blueprint machine that produces the wafers) is on the blockchain, it can easily and securely be distributed to the right parties for development who can then access it under certain rights. The traceability can be improved so that no uncertainty surrounds the assets and products used in the deployment. The deployment can be traced back to each phase in the product life-cycle and any design changes will be documented. If the distribution of information and the traceability of PLM can be fully tracked and managed, how will that impact your ability to scale?

Industrial Internet of Things

With the Industrial Internet of Things having gone mainstream, there are many implications as well as applications for high-tech companies. Assets in many high-tech manufacturing industries contain thousands of sensors and actuators. Envision a single device with thousands of endpoints. Then imagine the vast network of all assets together, including production and operation sites, employees, the environment, open data and more. 

Image: Scalability of high-tech companies - Industry of Things imagination - by Accenture

Are you able to gain the right information from these assets? Do you have the right cloud strategy to store and analyze this data? The whole internal and external environment is speaking to you, but are you listening? Maybe you are a front-runner in your segment, working on edge-computing solutions where the data will be stored and analyzed on the assets themselves. Only the needed data/intelligence will be sent to cloud dashboards with fully automated triggers. If devices and assets become more intelligent and autonomous, how will that impact your ability to scale?

Scale your technology innovation and secure business growth

Technology innovation is incorporated in several phases of your growth process. However, regardless of the phase you are in, emerging technologies are pushing you to innovate continuously. It is possible that you are suffering from innovation fatigue. Your company and employees do not fully understand or value technology innovation. You are struggling to keep up with all the latest technological advances. 

Some of you may see the impact and potential of technology innovation, but you lack the focus and direction. You are creating multiple functional proof of concepts and minimum viable products (MVPs). However, many promising concepts often fail to reach their end goal. 

Companies who understand, prioritize and execute these innovation strategies will secure a front-row seat in today’s competitive playing field.

Or maybe you have it all under control and are benefitting from new technologies because of your strong vision and ability to execute. Even then, the question remains: “How are you going to maintain your focus and accelerate this ability?” Evidently, high-tech industries will not be in steady waters anytime soon. The need for technology innovation and scalability will remain, and those who understand, prioritize and execute these innovation strategies will secure a front-row seat in today’s competitive playing field.