This blog post is a short summary of Intland Software's latest e-book titled The Way Forward in IoT Product Development. Click the title to access the e-book for free, or simply download it at the bottom of this page.
In recent years, the Internet of Things has been a central topic in complex product development and embedded software development. Players in these industries are now beginning to understand that IoT isn't simply the next technological advancement that brings new opportunities for product developers. Rather, it's a fundamental change that completely reshapes how we think about products, and consequently brings a new industrial revolution.
Developing products in this changing landscape is a challenging task. Hardware manufacturers have to learn about creating quality software. Those companies that have already been involved in building smart products have to learn about connectivity and managing data in the cloud. Those that are already doing that increasingly realize that in addition to hardware and software, service innovation and the management of complex product+service architectures is also becoming more and more important. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the competition, companies need to find a way to manage a product development lifecycle that is more complex than ever before.
xLM to connect lifecycles in IoT development
The processes involved in the innovation, engineering, development and manufacturing of hardware, software, and services all represent overlapping, interconnected lifecycles. These lifecycles are traditionally managed separately, even though they eventually contribute to the same product. In order to efficiently integrate suppliers, technologies, processes, and data, the unified management of these processes is necessary. xLM (x Lifecycle Management) is a term coined to express this integrated approach to product development.
While the cultural change involved in xLM (that is, thinking about these previously disparate processes as one overarching product lifecycle) is undoubtedly important, there's also the challenge of putting this into practice. In other words, the technical and practical challenges of managing the interconnected and overlapping processes have to be overcome in order to enable synergies throughout the lifecycle. The various technologies and tools used in these traditionally isolated process segments have to be brought together in a single pane of glass management platform.
A platform to integrate platforms
Product lifecycles, of course, come in all shapes and forms – quite obviously, as products themselves can be very different, and their development processes have evolved to adapt to a variety of environments & influences. Therefore, it is not reasonable to expect that one silver-bullet tool will be able to manage any and all product development processes. Rather, flexibility and adaptability are vital.
Connecting these lifecycles involves the integration of two fundamental components: processes and data. Both of them are equally important and should be treated as inseparable. Rather than simply creating interfaces to exchange data between tools, true process integration holds the key to unlocking synergies between previously siloed processes. That's why Intland Software chose to apply a Business Process Management strategy with codeBeamer ALM to create an integrated management dashboard overarching the entire product lifecycle.
The ability to oversee and manage the entire overarching product lifecycle helps enhance collaboration (both internal and external, e.g. with suppliers and customers), efficiency, and product quality. The reliable enforcement of adequate and mature processes in innovation, development & manufacturing, risk management, testing, integration, etc. throughout the entire lifecycle supports quality assurance, and therefore helps compliance in safety-critical industries. This approach ensures traceability, transparency and process visibility in service innovation, software development and product manufacturing.
The result is increased product quality, higher levels of confidence in the development company, and more efficient development processes with lowered cost levels. Therefore, taking a process-focused approach to product lifecycle management can help "future-proof" your company.