John Deere, who is 185 years old, is embracing digital transformation

John Deere, who is 185 years old, is embracing digital transformation ...

John Deere is well-known for its high-quality agricultural, forest, and heavy equipment, as well as its consumer lawn care division.

Many may not realize that it is also incorporating leading-edge technologies such as AI, computer vision, data analytics, digital twins, sensors, robots, and co-bots, proving that 185-year-old manufacturing companies can also undergo digital transformation.

In a livestream presentation during last weeks Transform 2022, John Deere's CIO, Ganesh Jayaram, said, "You can think of that as Industry 4.0."

Manufacturing is at an all-time high.

According to Jayaram, John Deeres' IT strategy is based on two tenets: the public cloud and the edge.

Both are needed, and it's just a matter of defining what types of workloads are carried out at different locations.

The advantage is ideal for applications with low latency, where you really dont have the time to be sending information back to the cloud.

According to Jayaram, John Deere's key areas include factory and warehouse operations. The company is expanding its knowledge at the edge and investing in private server networks.

He said the goal is to drive computation and analytics and leverage intelligence at the edge, as close to the point of impact as possible. We want to translate intelligence at the edge so that applications with high bandwidth and low latency can perform there.

The manufacturing IT stack is a multilayered array of technologies.

Along with this, Jayaram outlined an emerging tech stack. According to him, the best strategy to conceptualize that in the manufacturing world is to combine IT and OT, or adding manufacturing components to a core IT stack.

Applications and analytics are at the top of this stack. The data platform is beneath that. Platforms of connectivity and software (enterprise resource planning software, for example). Finally, hardware and services are at the top. And across that layer of stack, according to Jayaram, is cybersecurity.

Ultimately, data is the driving force behind all of this, according to the business. It is a John Deere data factory that consists of a data lake.

Jayaram said that the core analytics function must be based on really reliable data that transcends our internal silos [of manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain]. Were bringing in these different streams of data, curating the data, and ensuring that the data is of the highest quality and is correctly cataloged.

Agile operations are a top priority for many organizations.

John Deere has integrated an agile operating philosophy across the company to further drive innovation.

The same principles and concepts that are used in software development are also applied in the workplace.

According to Jayaram, these (manufacturing) organizations are not uncommon; they come together, they swarm on an idea, and they really strive to arrive at a solution in a matter of days.

Support incidents have decreased since the introduction of the software, but there have been a two to threefold increase in customer features, and a ten-fold increase in deployments.

According to Jayaram, our teams love this new approach to working with a focus on customer centricity.

Is there anything else that can go further?

Jayaram replied to the inevitable question about the metaverse: John Deere is very interested in the implications, but we are also in the early stages of the journey.

According to him, his team is working on the feasibility of the metaverse in business. He also predicted several breakthroughs in digital twin technologies.

John Deere is also incorporating the digital twin concept into engineering and manufacturing processes earlier this year.

According to Jayaram, if you can make a digital experience that mimics the physical world, it helps customers and employees to be much more engaged with the product.

Watch the whole conversation from Transform 2022 here.

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