Beginning with visualization, and then progressing on to optimization and automation, and now moving to realize the world of digital transformation (DX), where IoT systems function autonomously. Toshiba Digital & Consulting was established to work as one with customers to realize transformation with fertile creativity. The consulting strengths backed by the diverse specializations of our personnel support integrated services that encompass everything from business creation to operation and maintenance processes. The problems encountered in the digital field cannot be resolved through conventional experience and hypotheses alone. We accomplish this by combining logical thinking and design thinking, and fusing the achievements and empirical knowledge we have developed through our broad range of manufacturing areas and system integration (SI). We leverage the know-how we have accrued through our work on the cutting edge of IoT* and AI* to offer innovative consulting services well suited to the DX world. Let's look at Toshiba's unique processes and approach.
*IoT：Internet of Things，AI：Artificial Intelligence.
Deploying Toshiba's substantial expertise for use by broad range of customers
Why does Toshiba provide consulting services? We do so because we believe that there are perspectives and viewpoints that no other company can offer.
Toshiba has been working to solve customers' problems in a wide range of business fields, such as the manufacturing, energy, water, transportation, and disaster prevention fields, in which we are also engaged. We also have a history of using technologies such as the IoT and AI to digitalize our own operations, performing repeated verification to dramatically transform the processes we use in those field. Through our communications with customers, we have found that many are interested in the transformations we have implemented, and an increasing number are seeking concrete digitalization solutions. We see now as the perfect time for us to extend the transformation expertise we have developed to customers through consulting services.
Conventional SI uses requests for proposals (RFPs), and integrators create high quality systems that provide the functions customers specify in these RFPs, meeting their costs and delivery time requirement as well. However, DX doesn't use RFPs; its aim is major innovation, co-creating new value through completely new businesses and services.
What it requires is the power to drive business creation processes, before business or solutions have even begun to take shape. We work together with customers to create major concepts, develop roadmaps for achieving them, creating scenarios for crystallizing them, and discovering optimal solutions for solving problems, drawing in numerous stakeholders such as management level personnel and those working in the actual field. Operation and Maintenance processes take place after these developed solutions are deployed in the field and put into actual operation. These processes include the identification of whether issues have truly been resolved and dynamically and appropriately handling new items requiring improvements, such as those resulting from environmental changes or changes in user requirements, which were not initially apparent. This is accomplished by analyzing the data that is continuously being generated through actual site operations.
We use our specialized knowledge with technologies such as the IoT and AI, backed by our extensive deployment track record, together with our manufacturing know-how to provide effective consulting services regarding all processes aimed at bringing about transformation and creating new value.
<Processes and the People Involved> Diverse specialists provide support for integrated processes
Toshiba Digital & Consulting is notable for its diverse team of experts. It creates teams of a wide range of visionary specialists, such as business consultants with exceptional logical reasoning abilities and designers that create intuitive concepts. These experts collaborate appropriately for individual business creation and operation and maintenance processes, fusing their wisdom and know-how to provide highly effective consulting services. They work closely with customers to create new value.
1. Business developers
Business developers pinpoint true operation issues and propose mechanisms for addressing them by creating strong CxO* relations in order to explore latent issues in depth alongside customers.
* CxO relations: "CxO (Chief x Officer) relations" refers to relations with different types of chief officers, such as CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CDO (Chief Digital Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), or so on.
Producers head digital consulting teams, engaging in extensive dialog with customers regarding issues and working with them as partners in the creation of new business and everything from the development to the implementation of service frameworks.
3. Domain experts
Domain experts are specialists in individual business fields, such as logistics and distribution, energy, or social infrastructure. They provide rich, deep knowledge of individual industries.
4. Business consultants
Business consultants model the impacts of solutions on business, and identify the quantitative effects of solutions. They also carry out new business design using their knowledge regarding operations in various industries.
5. Digital experts
Digital experts use methods such as UX design*, design thinking, data science, and agile development to launch services that are closely tied to operations and produce outcomes.
* UX design: Design method that uses human-centered design methodologies to produce a better User eXperience
6. Solution architects
Solution architects are responsible for agile minimum viable product (MVP) development and proofs of concept (PoCs). They solve value creation bottlenecks. They evaluate technologies, design and assemble overall solutions, and decide on outcomes and costs.
Through their collaboration, these specialists create concrete designs for businesses and solutions where initially none were even conceived, and provide the driving force that leads to the creation of new value. Furthermore, in business creation processes carried out after solutions are deployed, they handle the operation and maintenance of systems in the field on behalf of the customer. By directly working with customer data, they are able to develop solution improvements on a continual basis and ensure that the solutions consistently produce outcomes.
<Approach> Forming from zero
In creating solutions to problems, Toshiba Digital & Consulting combines the conventional logical approach used in consultation with design thinking, which is highly suited for creating significant problem-solving concepts (Fig. 2).
The logical approach is used to evaluate apparent problems from existing perspectives in areas of deliberation, such currently understood market needs, customer preferences, and technical trends. Solutions are developed and new business models are formulated. This approach uses existing data to derive logical solutions, so it excels at creating highly implementable plans that meet needs that have already recognized. On the other hand, it often bring outcomes that are just extensions of existing business models and services. Design thinking is used to cover the weaknesses of this logical approach.
In design thinking, the field to be considered is defined, issues in that field are enumerated, latent issues are identified, and the root causes of the issues are discovered. This makes it possible to come up with solution concepts based on the future direction and up-to-date values, expanding business fields. It, in other words, design prototypes for future solutions from the issues and needs vaguely felt by customers and others . Although feasibility issues remain when this approach is used, design thinking produces remarkable solutions that cannot be produced by the conventional approach, which is founded on hypotheses and quantitative data.
Toshiba Digital & Consulting leverages the strengths of the logical approach and design thinking, using them individually or combining them as appropriate upon the themes and issues being considered. Issues are viewed from a neutral vantage using both management and field perspectives, producing a balanced overview of needs, which vary on position and role. By collecting information from perspectives not reflected in past consulting work, Toshiba Digital & Consulting identifies true problems and investigates their causes in depth while pinpointing the issues they involve.
We integrate our experience from a broad range of manufacturing activities with the advanced expertise we have utilized to cutting edge technologies such as the IoT and AI, in those processes of approaches to carry out successive rounds of trial-and-error and verification. We use customers’ scattered information and industry data together with findings from other companies to quantitatively estimate the outcomes that would be produced by tackling issues. In those process, we also use different data analysis and interpretation approaches than consulting firms and system integrators, such as using event pattern identification technology, which identifies correlations in notable patterns contained in the data. In the field of DX, it is difficult to produce accurate results through the use of the logical approach alone. We believe that it is essential to get a clue of business opportunities and solutions and to nurture them carefully.
Society is reaching a major milestone of digitalization, and we are attentively aware of the rising expectations held for Toshiba's extensive experience and expertise. Toshiba Digital & Consulting is meeting the various expectations of customers by providing consulting services that bring together our advanced and extensive knowledge.
* The corporate names, organization names, job titles and other names and titles appearing in this article are those as of July 2018.