Microsoft acquires industry innovator Marsden Group
In acquiring the company Microsoft stands to further enhance its ability to create new customer value via experimentation and deep industry solutions.
“We want to empower our customers to implement digital initiatives faster. That’s why we’re thrilled to welcome The Marsden Group to the Microsoft family. With its experience in technological innovation and rapid prototyping, The Marsden Group has earned a unique reputation as a powerful and trusted partner among industry leaders who seek to quickly identify business needs, ideate technology solutions and build high-quality prototypes tailored to individual customer needs,” commented , Corporate Vice President, Cross-Industry Solutions at Microsoft.
With industries such as manufacturing, automotive and logistics, facing unique technology adoption challenges, Abbosh speaks highly of what The Marsden Group and Microsoft together can achieve. “I’ve seen firsthand what The Marsden Group and Microsoft can do, what’s possible when we bring together our cloud, edge, IoT, digital twin and AI capabilities with The Marsden Group’s speed, agility and technical creativity,” said Abbosh.
Since its founding The Marsden Group has helped its customers rapidly envision, prototype and implement solutions that drive value. With Microsoft’s investment in The Marsden Group, the company is taking the next step to help its customers envision and build digital solutions faster.
“Today, we are excited to announce that Microsoft has acquired The Marsden Group, a leader in industrial technology innovation and rapid prototyping [...] We continue to see an increased pace of digital change across many industries, and we believe that velocity is here to stay, as more and more companies recognize they must commit to continuous innovation to compete over the long-term,” concluded Abbosh.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.