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March 2, 2021
May 12, 2021
In forthcoming research, Forbes interviewed more than 500 executives and leaders about their vision, processes, and investment models for their own intelligent systems futures. The idea of embedded devices, machines, and applications computing, sensing, predicting, and connecting on the far edge of the cloud may sound abstract, even niche. But to these leaders it wasn’t niche or abstract. Eight in ten of them were aggressively pursuing strategies to develop intelligent systems into a core competency for themselves in the next five years. These are not executives in industries like retail or healthcare (which together comprise 22.1% of the U.S. economy). These executives lead very large companies in automotive, industrial and manufacturing, energy and utilities, medical technology, aerospace and defense, telecommunications, and technology hardware. They represent over 46% of GDP in the U.S. The one thing they have in common is their near-total belief in the power of intelligent systems.
It is easy to say these executives are leaders with incredible vision. And it is true that 26% of them (across sixteen dimensions) did see themselves as being visionaries ahead of their peers. Yet a full eight in ten of these executives are clearly set on developing an intelligent systems–led company. That means nearly three in four of them are pragmatically recognizing the inevitability of this idea for themselves and their industry peers, since not just visionaries but also those pragmatists who see where the world is going are accelerating their build-out for that intelligent systems world. The bottom line is that the time to build your intelligent systems capabilities is now. Consider that traditional product and service development can take three to five years. Success then is going to be partly defined by how you architect for that success now.
Think of it this way: The most successful organization across 15 metrics outperformed its less successful peers by a ratio of four to one. Yet only 16% of them fell into this “most successful” category. Remember, we just saw 26% of them measured as industry visionaries — so even if your organization has a visionary leader, there is no guarantee it will succeed. This suggests that the 16% that are now succeeding at that level of magnitude are architecting the right type of intelligent systems future. They are committed and performing because they have figured out what intelligent systems characteristics work: The infrastructure elements that are needed to set you up for success. The foundational characteristics that will deliver success now and in the future. And the characteristics that, while not available or maybe even appropriate now, will have substantial value in the future based on the characteristics that are built in now. These leaders also hinted at additions they might like to see once they have architected correctly.
We modelled 13 characteristics for intelligent systems success over 4,000 times in order to build predictive models for success. Facts gleaned from these leaders, based on these 4,000-plus simulations of alternative approaches to investing in intelligent systems, should spark discussions with your colleagues, especially if you are one of those eight in ten executives in these industries looking to build for your future success now.
For example, the number one characteristic that the most successful organizations are investing in right now is a real-time collaborative workflow process or platform that enables everybody to share, collaborate, and work together. Now, this most successful group is not unique in this investment. However, their almost singular focus on it illustrates their understanding that the intelligent systems world of machines they want to work in will be predetermined by their ability to have people, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital feedback loops all working together in near real time. To them, this is not a lofty goal but an essential platform for success. They see their ability to compute on the far edge of the cloud as a foundation of their immediate and longer-term success; it gets built on top of that workflow platform.
The research uncovered twenty-plus characteristics for success for this most successful group, as well as characteristics for the success achieved by those still on their journey, or experimenting, or those who are only just starting to explore the potential of the intelligent systems world. Wind River® will be sharing these results to help you architect your own success in the right way to this intelligent systems future.
One conclusion is clear: The path to success is not a matter of luck or happenstance but can be defined in an unambiguous way — not with small steps, but with giant connected leaps. The promise of what intelligent systems can bring should be enough to entice most corporations there. The challenge is blueprinting the right sequence of investments in characteristics that will drive success.
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