Advantech has been a global leader of IT and OT solutions for more than 35 years. Its history and the constant growth generated by the company’s prompt response to the digital transition have consolidated its position in Europe as much as worldwide. Bundling the company’s different and very specific know-how is the key strategy to lead the IoT market. ‘''We have the competence, the technology, the right people, and the market. We have everything we need to emerge and lead the IoT market.’’
Jash Bansidhar, Managing Director of Advantech Europe, has no doubts about how we can achieve the digitization of the factory, the city, and even the globe.
IEN Europe: The change in your role soon marks a turning point in Advantech’s European strategy. What’s the company’s vision for Europe?
J. Bansidhar: Our expansion strategy is not only for Europe but on a global scale. Our goal is to make our business enter its next wave of growth. In the past 35 years, we relied on the innovation of our technology and the integration into software. At that time, we first consolidated our leading position in industrial computer technology globally. Afterwards, we established a global footprint in all major regions and continents to serve our customers better. This strategy was key to strengthen our leading position. This was very positive, but we asked ourselves: ‘’And now? What’s next?’’.
This question brought us to discuss how to launch our next wave of growth worldwide and in Europe as well. A five-year plan was presented to Advantech Board of Directors and then put into practice. One of the main objectives for the European business was to generate higher business skills and footprint, by creating synergies among different vertical domains. In the past years, Advantech has been committed to specializing in different sectors. We were focused on vertical domain markets like manufacturing, embedded technology, medical, gaming, energy, transportation, retail, and logistics. These are our main segments in Europe now. This strategy finally paid off with a solid growth in the past 5 years of Advantech.
Now we are at a level where we know that it’s important to be very focused and specific in our technology offering to gain competitive advantage and be cost-effective, while helping customers solve their problems. This means that the sector-focused approach is still valid, and we will keep it. In Europe, we have three leading sectors: IIoT - the segment that I have been leading for 5 years, Embedded IoT, and Service IoT. In the above mentioned segments, with their domain specific technological requirements, we have built a lot of common knowledge, in terms of competences, resources, and technologies, even among customers.
The next five-year plan is based on creating synergies among these three sectors to serve our customers with a wider scope and skill sets. This is the driver for companies like us, and a step forward to digitize the world. If you look at our mission statement ''Enabling an intelligence Planet'' everything we are doing is in line with it, and we can get started to launch end-to-end Solution-Ready Packages in different verticals and with different technologies. By combining all this with a synergetic approach across every sector, we can trace our path for further growth. This is our main plan for the coming five years in Europe.
IEN Europe: Do you think that this strategy can foster the digital transition?
J. Bansidhar: Our business model is already quite successful and we have been growing a lot in the last five years. However, we know that to create a digital world we need to integrate different verticals together, like in a smart city, where you have trains, energies, factories, hospitals, schools. Imagine if a company like Advantech could combine different IoT technologies and solutions to connect and integrate them easily in a smart city solution. This is a benefit that the next years will bring us. We are in a phase where all the sectors have started to specialize in their domains and now we need to connect everything together to scale up the digital transformation.
IEN Europe: What will be the result of this strategy on the long term?
J. Bansidhar: This direction will not only create bigger opportunities for our customers – as we will be able to quickly deploy many different scenarios for them – but will also empower European organizations to take their growth to the next level. In addition, we will have more excited and engaged employees benefiting from the ‘’family feeling’’ created by the synergy of different sectors. This is our brand-new vision for the future.
IEN Europe: Are partnerships part of Advantech vision for growth?
J. Bansidhar: Sure. Traditionally, our business is based on partnerships. As Europe is a fragmented market, being local is essential. We have offices in Italy, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Ireland for our regional development but we work with distribution partners as well. They are still very important for our expansion because they are local, they speak the language, and support customers nearby. Strengthening the distribution network is therefore essential. Additionally, we need to find new target partners to integrate new IoT domain knowledge into our platforms and software.
With this knowledge, we can create algorithms which can be bundled with our technology and build new IoT scenarios. These competences can only be developed with the help of partners and customers. That’s why the strategy of Co-creation will be the next growth driver for Advantech in Europe and worldwide to globalize our technologies as Advantech Co-Created IoT packages. This model has already resulted in the co-creation of new IoT solutions. If we are able to export this model through our partners and our direct sales force to local markets, we are creating a win-win situation for everybody. Fostering partnerships and developing domain-focused applications with co-creation partners is still one of our key strategies in Europe for the next five years.
IEN Europe: Europe is an innovative country but is now facing a recession. How can we tackle this economic and geopolitical crisis to limit negative effects on our industry?
J. Bansidhar: The market slowdown in Europe created by global trade wars and the Brexit is impacting on the manufacturing industry. Today, there is a general feeling of uncertainty, but having a slowdown is a logical process. If we look at IoT, the implementation rate in growing. People and companies are preparing to face the next wave of global growth. The innovation won’t stop. We have to be patient and realistic in our investments and expectations.
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