Expert Data is the New Frontier
As manufacturers push their operations to the next level of efficiency, they can no longer simply collect data by the ton for analysts to sift through. They collect, contextualize, and utilize expert data that has industry expertise already applied.
From the early manufacturing processes in Ford automotive factories, information collected on the factory floor has fed decision-making and in turn, led to process improvements. With the computer and data revolutions that have evolved factories, there exists a huge volume of manufacturing data, but there are still blind spots and the information coming from the production environment is often delayed.
Each machine on the line is now a computer that produces data. Companies have invested in data solutions to make sense of it all. They have established data lakes, big data solutions, and huge amounts of storage. The data – vast, unsorted, and without context – unfortunately becomes its own problem. Data experts are left doing the heavy lifting to sift and sort data before they can accomplish their tasks.
Here is one scenario familiar to many manufacturers. A question is raised that requires a decision. They make that data available to analysts and say, “answer the question.” The analyst’s job is first to find the right data, put it into a separate application (at which point it is likely historic data, not real-time), and then use their own hard-earned expertise to come to conclusions. That can take anywhere from a day to a week to months. Finally, the analyst presents the insight and analysis that informs decision-making.
That was acceptable during the third industrial revolution and the transition to industry 4.0 solutions. The vision of Industry 4.0 offers organizations the chance to transform big data into expert data.
Expert data is rich machine data enhanced with domain knowledge. It adds value to the hard work of the data expert by combining it with automation and processing informed by domain experts. More data can be made to be better by automating the process of making sense of it. Expert data gets data from different sources to speak the same language.
Expert data is driven by the original need: better decisions, scaled across your factories, not siloed at the source.
Building expert data systems means going beyond our familiar knowledge silos. The data solutions architects and analysts and the factory expert need to come together, establish a common language, and get into the nitty-gritty details of what is significant in the streams of data.
Expert data requires both disciplines to be at their best: The complex streams of unlike data need to be available. The ever-evolving nature of the factory needs to inform the enrichment. It is a process that should never stop seeking improvement.
Imagine again the familiar scenario of a data analyst called upon to answer a question. Instead of spending their time exporting, normalizing and fashioning complex Excel pivot tables, Arch provides them with reliable, real-time data that is already normalized and contextualized. Their role is clarified to elevating the answer, not creating a multi-application workflow to blend the data accurately and clearly.
At Arch, expert data is our reason to be. The complexities of factories mean that simply collecting data and delivering generic reports does not truly help with modern decision-making.
It is true that Arch connectors and the ArchFX Broker are pioneering, award-winning tools for data collection and storage. But we only built that architecture so that the rich machine data would have the expert data streams it needs to bring value to decision-making.
Arch is driven to provide contextual, accurate information that informs decision intelligence. Our platform is collecting data in factories around the world. It drives decisions that improve uptime, reduces waste, and increase efficiency.
And we are not done. Reliable expert data can further speed decision-making by providing a platform for growing decision automation. Arch continues to build upon the foundation of expert data as it supports decision-makers with real-time and historical analysis. We see this in practice every day as organizations, armed with the right information, refine best practices that extend throughout the enterprise to create gains and growth.