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Five Best Practices for Producing Smarter Products

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2846B IBM Rational Smarter Products Best Practices Video

As Produced Transcript

March 31, 2010

Whether they’re as small as a cell phone or as expansive as a smart grid, products and systems are getting smarter. Smart products - those that are instrumented, interconnected and intelligent – are not only changing the way we do business, they’re changing the way we live.

But how do companies that design, manufacture, and support complex products and systems ensure a high level of quality while delivering on time and on budget? They need a repeatable and verifiable development process based on best practices.

Though there are many best practices that enable smarter products and systems, here are five that are indispensable:

Best Practice #1:

Develop a Core Competency in Software

For the makers of smart products, software has become a strategic business asset, requiring that they become as proficient in software development as they've been in conventional manufacturing.

“As we know it, the reality is today with the hardware becoming a commodity, the entire value in the product in terms of differentiation and as well as the economic values is slowly tending to migrate towards software. That's how devices become intelligent and the products become smart.” Neeraj Chandra, IBM

Best Practice #2:

Improve Team Collaboration

Effective collaboration between teams can mean the difference in delivering your product on time or being late to market. And with the increasingly global nature of business, those teams may be geographically dispersed, working in different time zones, or focused on different engineering disciplines.

“They do testing in Redmond on the hardware, and they have parts of the hardware in Shanghai, and they do the same testing, using the same test equipment, the same software. So it basically cut the life cycle in half, so we get faster deliveries to the customer, we get more turns of the hardware, all the testing and everything. It happens twice as fast.” Principal Engineer, Major Aerospace Company

Best Practice #3:

Leverage an integrated systems development platform

Successful product development hinges on the efficiency of the end-to-end process. As in any profession, tools are important. But just as important is the ability to leverage those tools to work together across the project’s lifecycle.

“So with our set of Rational tools, we’re able to go from cradle to grave, from the requirements through the change requests down to the code base and back up, and we can prove that we’ve met our customer requirements.” Pete Osborne, Curtiss-Wright

Best Practice #4:

Streamline Compliance and Auditability

For many businesses, the ability to meet compliance and audit demands is a core function of day-to-day operations. By adopting a robust toolset businesses can enjoy a consistent, transparent and repeatable process to stand up to even the closest scrutiny.

“I requested to be audited. And after about 15 minutes of spending with the auditor, he was just totally blown away on how effective the tools were in terms of addressing all of his audit questions. With the Rational tools, I just sit there at my desktop and I can just point to it, bring up the documents, and it’s all right there.” Don Cunningham, Waters Corporation

Best Practice #5:

Automate the Verification Process

A company’s success depends on its ability to deliver quality products that meet its requirements. Recalls and warranty issues can severely impact a company’s reputation and hinder profit potential.

“It's easy to say, OK, we know what the customer wants. We know that we've built the product that the customer asked for. But actually being able to verify and capture the verification that we actually did build the product that the customer asked for is the biggest challenge. ...What the tools allow us to do, number one, is manage it, but what it allows us to do is, is capture a finished product in data before we actually go and try and build it” Principal Engineer, Major Aerospace Company

By adopting processes based on best practices, companies can reduce costs, speed time to market and consistently deliver high quality products.

Help your organization gain a competitive advantage. Contact your IBM representative or visit us online to learn more about how the Rational platform can help you deliver Smarter Products.

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