HomeConnectivitySoftware AG: “The skills-gap will harm growth; we won’t double sales by relying on data scientists”

Software AG: “The skills-gap will harm growth; we won’t double sales by relying on data scientists”

Note, this article is continued from a previous post, entitled “Software AG: ‘You don’t go to a Chinese restaurant for wienerschnitzel; telcos aren’t players without 5G’.” Click here to go to the previous article.

Prior to Hannover Messe 2019, Software AG released a new self-service analytics tool to enable operational staff to rapidly spin-up analysis of data from industrial machines and solve and predict production issues.

The new solution, called Analytics Builder, is effectively a skin for its Apama streaming analytics product, which packages-up its capabilities as a set of modular ‘building blocks’ and extends its use to the shop floor, and beyond the realm of programmers and data scientists.

We have asked before, but the position of Bernd Gross, as founder of Cumulocity IoT and chief technology officer of Software AG, says we should ask again. Will Analytics Builder effectively commoditise the rarified value, in terms of deep integration and analytics, that Software AG has made its own?

If it makes DIY-ers of data scientists, does it not debase its proposition? No, says Gross, because, as it stands, the difficulty of data science is blocking growth – for both the sector at large, and his own company.

“The issue we’re facing is a shortage of skills. AI and IoT are everywhere, today. This show (Hannover Messe 2019) was very different a decade ago. Now, every company is trying to build up teams of software engineers and data scinetists. But they are hard to find – you can get them out of university, and that is about itm” says Gross.

“This skills gap will harm growth. Our business gew 100 per cent last year; to repeat that, we can’t just rely on data scientists. One alternative is this self-service capability – which doesn’t mean data scientists won’t add value. The opposite is true; they will be freed to deliver more value. The other option is AI.”

Analytics Builder works as a “power tool on the shop floor for power users”, says Gross. “We are disrupting an ecosystem that relies on bespoke software developement on the factory floor. We have increased usability, and made the market wider by putting analytics into the hands of the people at the machines,” explains Gross.

“Previously, it required systems integrators to programme bespoke applications. Now, with us, they’re getting a product approach. They don’t want custom software, which they have to adapt and pay for. They like a product approach because it saves on maintancae costs across a large customer base.”

Software AG bought Belgium based data analytics scale-up TrendMiner last summer for an undisclosed fee. It is one of several acquisitions the Dramstadt firm has made, in order to round out its analytics proposition in the crossover IoT space. Its Cumuloicty management platform was picked the year before, in 2017; US-based analytics firm Zementis was bought in late 2016; its Apama streaming analytics engine was acquired back in 2013.

Cumulocity is slated to rank high, again, in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for IoT platforms, out in the next weeks. Apama has earned Sotware AG key contracts with financial services companies, notes Gross, as an underpinning for trading platforms. But TrendMiner is a key part of the jigsaw, as well, and sets the template for Software AG’s self-serve strategy.

It introduces time-series analytics to its stable, crucial for managing data in process industrie like food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and gas and coal. TrendMiner also operates a self-service model, copied in Analytics Builder for Apama – its analytics tool for discrete manufacturing. “That’s why we acquired it,” says Gross.

“We wanted time-series analytics, which makes sense for our IoT positioning. And it is self-service, which fits our position.”

What next? What is missing from the jigsaw? Brahmawar made clear in Darmstadt at the start of March that new acquisitions are on the cards. Is AI the most interesting field for investment – as Gross hinted, and as the trend in every tech field suggests? Yes, he says.

“The biggest disruption will be with AI. It will transform many industries – to a level we haven’t seen before. We are just at the beginning. Even with self service, think about the interface in the software – an automated AI interface will be voice-based. You won’t have a dispay anymore. The interaction between machines and humans will completely change.

“For Software AG, in terms of integration and analytics, the evolution is towards AI. We have offerings, but we could strengthen. As a software provider, looking three-to-five years ahead, we will need a strong position in the AI domain.”

Software AG: “You don’t go to a Chinese restaurant for wienerschnitzel; telcos aren’t players without 5G”
Software AG: “The skills-gap will harm growth; we won’t double sales by relying on data scientists”

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