Industry 4.0 report - What are companies focusing on now?

Key finding 9: Big data are a key asset, but a lot of companies struggle with it

8 out of 10 companies are collecting data, but almost 60% of them still struggle with effectively using and benefitting from those data. Furthermore, only 28% of the companies have an OT department, which should actually take on a leading role in a successful Industry 4.0 implementation, starting with the installation of a solid IOT infrastructure.

Many companies are still looking for the best way to cope with data and to extract value from them. Having a strategic plan to use data as part of your business model is the first step and the best way to guarantee results. By defining and gathering appropriate actions, you can maximise the impact of data on your shareholders or your company’s value creation. Of course, (raw) data on their own do not create value. The goal is to implement an integrated approach of data acquisition (physical and virtual “sensor” data), data storage (metadata), data processing (refined data) and decision making (learning and reasoning), which leads to actionable insights and creates an impact on your products and/or production processes.

Depending on the business model, a company can choose different routes to success, as depicted in the picture below. The most promising and profitable business model is that of the “value added partner”. Companies with this type of business model are:

  • Helping their customers to focus on their core business.
  • Helping their suppliers to optimise their product/production performance, efficiency and related costs.
  • Providing their suppliers with fleet data (data from products installed at different customers in different locations in different contextual situations), which generates valuable insights into product usage (e.g. speed & torque profiles), impact of contextual situations (e.g. humid, high-temperature or dusty environments) and changes in product behaviour over its lifespan.



Although 8 out of 10 companies are collecting data and believe in the potential of AI and big data, a lot of them are experiencing data management challenges at all levels. When asking which challenges companies experience when it comes to data management, all 4 options score almost equal. Getting access to data and storing the data are each a challenge for 21% of the companies. But processing and interpreting data appear to be the biggest challenges for most companies, which indicates the need for data scientists and smart services.

Data management challenges


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