Change is constant. It is continuous. Human beings have evolved to accept change as the one constant truth in life – nothing remains the same.
Are you wondering why we are talking about philosophy in a technical blog? It’s because embracing subscriptions is all about change! This blog post is specifically about why industrial users should embrace subscriptions.
According to the Oxford dictionary, subscription is an amount of money that you pay to receive a service, or be a member of the club. The act of paying the money is the annual subscription. While the definition is accurate, I do not agree with the intent that this definition conveys. The focus is on the “money” rather than the “subscription.” Put simply, a subscription is a service and, like any service, there is a monetary charge to provide the service.
We are all well aware of the drastic decline of pay TV subscribers and the connected increase in streaming services. In the consumer world, there are several such examples. Who would have thought that a shaving-razor club would be such a popular subscription?
Why are consumers embracing subscriptions willingly? There are several reasons, but primarily they are getting a service that is providing them value. The value is measured in different ways – experience, choice, convenience, and many more. From the subscription service provider’s perspective, if the service (value) that they are providing is not greater than what the consumer was used to, than it is likely to fail. For example, let’s take Amazon’s Prime wardrobe subscription service – if Amazon did not provide free returns or the ability to order multiple items and return things that don’t fit, then the customer will choose a provider that offers the value they are looking for.
So while a consumer may take the service up on the trial offer, if the service is not up to the standard they’re accustomed to, they will not continue to subscribe. This brings us to an important point - the service. This is a crucial component for any subscription service to succeed, especially industrial subscriptions.
Subscriptions in the industrial space are a relatively new concept.
Most industrial customers are used to paying for hardware and software products as part of the project and then not having to worry about it. This model worked very well when machines and plants were not connected, and when equipment was more mechanical. This model also worked when CapEx budgeting and planning was used more frequently than OpEx spending. What changed? Connectivity.
Today’s factories and the machines in them are large, complex, and highly networked and connected. And there are several advantages to this – primarily, the enablement of information flow that leads to increased productivity and efficiency, and better business decisions. Increased connectivity also means a higher risk of nefarious actors looking to do damage. Thus, the increased focus on security. Like change, security in today’s world is continuous. A bad actor will not try once and give up – remember, they only have to be lucky once to cause damage.
In the industrial world, increasing efficiency is also continuous. Increased efficiency is driven by analytics and innovation. Analysis requires computational power, something that is changing constantly.
Now, we have efficiency, connectivity, and security in the industrial world that is persistently changing. These concepts are not entirely new. The factories and machines of yesterday had to deliver on these attributes, but it was measured at the time of execution or delivery. Given the rate of innovation, a new security measure would likely have been outdated in a few weeks or months. Then, additional resources would need to be spent to get it up to date. And this is where industrial subscriptions provide a distinct advantage.
An industrial subscription is a service. It is up to the service provider to ensure the service meets the customer’s requirements. So, a subscription service has to be reliable and secure, continually innovate, and have high availability. Subscriptions are typically tied to the flexible OpEx budget. And as an end customer, if you are not happy with the service, then it is the service provider that will lose because you will simply take your business elsewhere – remember, change is continuous!
Service does come at a price – the subscription. But, industrial users should focus on the service and ensure that it meets the company’s goal of increasing productivity and efficiency while being continuously secure. The service is the subscription, and if the consumer is not satisfied, then they’ll use the flexibility of the OpEx budgeting to choose another service.
In summary, industrial subscriptions are like change – they are continuous services focused on security, connectivity, and efficiency. It is up to the service provider to ensure the service is continuously satisfactory, and because of this, there is an ongoing cost to maintain the service. The service provider has to continuously earn the trust of the customer to ensure the subscription is up to date; otherwise, the customer can simply take their subscription elsewhere. Embrace the subscription for continuous connectivity, security, and increased productivity!