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Research Report: The Digital Transformation of Product Design

Digital-Transformation-of-Product-Design

A recent report from engineering.com, which was sponsored by Oracle, explored the digital transformation of product design and how design teams are using and planning for design technology that is fueled by data.

Introduction

Digital transformation has already begun, and the time of localized, fractured, siloed product development is coming to an end. Unified platforms and new technologies that pool data, allowing for input from diverse stakeholders – from engineering, through supply chain, to operations, and even those external to organizations – are already being adopted.

Research shows that while digital transformation is underway, it is still in the early stages. Most development teams (91 percent) have access to their data, but less than a third can easily access it. This is due, in part, to the fact that most teams (73 percent) rely on systems that lack integration.

Despite adoption challenges, the participants in the study from engineering.com, sponsored by Oracle, believe in the promise of data-fueled product development. When asked about the various ways that Cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) will enhance product development, respondents said that 10 out of 11 benefits will have a “moderate to revolutionary” impact on their business.

This research report looks at what teams are sure about when it comes to digital transformation, how product development teams are using data today, and how they will implement data-fueled technology moving forward.

Demographics of Respondents

The report gathered results from 358 product design professionals in various job roles and industries.

In terms of job roles, respondents included:

  • Engineers – 34 percent
  • Senior Engineers – 24 percent
  • Managers – 18 percent
  • Directors, VPs, & C-Suite – 13 percent
  • Technicians and other design team members – 5 percent
  • Other – 6 percent

These respondents also came from several different industries, including:

  • Industrial – 41 percent
  • High Tech – 29 percent
  • Aerospace and defense – 8 percent
  • Consumer goods and retail services – 5 percent
  • Life Sciences – 3 percent
  • Other – 10 percent

How Well Are Product Development Teams Using Data Today?

Before teams can draw insight from product development data, they have to have access to it. The good news is that nine out of 10 teams reported having the ability to trace a product through its development cycle. However, how easily they manage that varies.

When asked if they currently had the ability to trace a product from ideation and requirements gathering through to design, manufacturing, commercialization, and servicing, teams in the study were fairly evenly split between three levels of access:

Levels-of-Data-Access

Other key findings showed that:

  • 54 percent of product development teams lack proper tools for tracking data sourced as part of the development process.
  • Product development teams pay the least amount of attention to external data sources.
  • Two out of three product development teams lack robust social tools for collaboration.
  • Only 34 percent of product development teams have timely and accurate key performance indicator data.
  • Less than 50 percent of product development teams believe that they are efficient at passing data between steps of a product lifecycle.
  • Product development teams are curious about new approaches and technology enabled by data, but few fully deploy them.

What Data-Driven Technology Are Teams Looking Forward to Tomorrow?

Product lifecycle management (PLM) in the Cloud is expected to benefit the product development process in numerous ways. Respondents were asked to what extent PLM in the Cloud will impact their own business. They were given a five-point scale ranging from “no impact at all” (1) to “revolutionary impact” (5).

Teams are expecting benefits across the board – with 10 of 11 benefits expected to result in “moderate” (3) or greater impact to the business’ success.

PLM-Cloud-Benefits

Other key findings showed that:

  • The top priority for AI and machine learning is new product development to commercialization.
  • Product development teams hope to use AI and machine learning to prevent failures and breakdowns.
  • Larger organizations plan to leverage digital twin sooner than smaller organizations do.

Conclusion

The goal of this study was to determine how product development teams are currently managing their data and how they expect to put that data to use as the digital transformation of product design and development intensifies.

Regarding data management and utilization today, the results showed that most teams are finding it to be a bit of a challenge. Some of the findings to support this include:

  • Only 32 percent of teams have access at any time to product data across the product lifecycle and when deployed in the field.
  • Still, 54 percent of product development teams lack the proper tools for tracking data sourced as part of the development process.
  • Only 34 percent of product development teams can check their performance against key performance indexes (KPIs) in real-time.

Despite these struggles, or maybe because of them, product development teams remain positive about the future of integrated product lifecycle management (PLM) in the Cloud. When asked about how the anticipated benefits of PLM in the Cloud will affect their businesses, the respondents said that 10 out of 11 benefits will result in moderate to revolutionary impact on their product development.

For more information, check out the full report attached below.