Opinion piece – The Magnificent Seven of industrial software development

By Johan Potgieter, Cluster Industrial Software Lead at Schneider Electric

There’s fast paced and there’s supersonic, and the latter certainly applies to the evolution of software or more specifically industrial software. The last year has seen the industrial software step to the fore to take over the mundane, repetitive and sometime dangerous allowing us to focus (once again) on what make us uniquely human.

And there’s a cheat sheet if you will, seven developments that are in some instances complimentary, but all have one thing in common: improving the human experience.

  1. Generative AI and Intelligent Automation

Generative AI needs no introduction, however, combined with intelligent automation it packs quite the bunch. A prime example is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) which today automates rule-based tasks. 

According to Gartner, 90% of robotic process automation (RPA) vendors will offer generative-AI-assisted automation by 2025. RPA continues to grow its footprint and remains a popular software market as organisations look for improving operational efficiency with tactical automation.

Other important benefits of Generative AI (in industrial settings) include chatbots which enhance customer service and support, and predictive maintenance.

  1. Digital Worker-First Processes

Driven primarily by under-centric design and collaboration tools, it undoubtedly prioritises and enhances the user experience (UX).

In the case of the user-centric design, it adapts interfaces to users’ specific behavioural preferences and work output.

  1. Pure Play to Platform Play

Platform play essentially sees industrial software moving from standalone, also known as pure play, applications to interconnected platforms that include APIs, microservices, and cloud-based platforms.  These platform ecosystems, if you will, offers benefits such as scalability, innovation, and data sharing.

  1. Strategic Applications

It is within industrial setting that strategic applications really shine, allowing organisation to align technology with business-orientated goals. A primary example is supply chain optimisation (SCO) that include warehousing, logistics, and delivery, managing costly infrastructure expenditure.

  1. Low-Code and No-Code Development

This development sees citizen developers, who are non-technical users, create applications using visual interfaces. For example, they can leverage drag-and-drop components and pre-built templates, simplifying the development process.

This empowers business users to address their own challenges without extensive coding knowledge.

  1. Ethical Automation and ESG Compliance

Technically not a software-driven development per se, both ethical automation and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) compliance play important roles in the of proliferation of evolved industrial software.

Ethical AI aligns with established ethical guidelines, ensuring that AI systems make fair and unbiased decisions whilst also addressing concerns such as privacy.

ESG form an important part of software practices, taking in to account the rollout of sustainable solution to reduce environmental impact as well as associated social responsibility and governance.

  1. Governance and Security

The above undoubtedly reconfirms the importance of governance and security. Here, organisations should prioritise governance and security measures, safeguarding both their organisations and workers whilst complying with regulatory standards.

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