Archive for July, 2019

Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges

July 23, 2019

Industrial Revolution IT Integration Smart Manufacturing Innovat

FountainBlue’s July 19 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The drive for better, faster, more customized, and higher quality results is fueling advancements in manufacturing. The problems around the next innovations in manufacturing are complex, and the stakes are high.

  • It’s a challenge to integrate a host of software and hardware solutions efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • It’s difficult to provide customized solutions to individual customers and to do so dynamically in volume, within budgets.
  • There are many regulations and policies within companies, across companies, within countries, within industries. What’s more, everything keeps changing, so it’s hard to stay on top of these requirements.
  • It’s of paramount importance to protect the security of the solution, the privacy of the customers. 

There are severe financial, relationship and brand consequences if any of the above is compromised or sub-par. Yet each company must adopt new principles, new ways of doing things to remain relevant.

  • Have a customer-centric mind set. Understand that the best solutions may not be the best science or even the best engineering solutions. It’s what the markets, the customers will adopt and embrace and ultimately pay for.
  • Understand what the problems of the customer and how best to solve their problems at scale, and how to measure results. For example, consider correlating individual sensor readings to downstream measured results.
  • Respect the need for security, the need for privacy for all stakeholders while also consistently delivering quality personalized solutions for customers.
  • Create an ecosystem of stakeholders and collaborate with them to deliver solutions at scale.
  • Take a system design approach and integrate the use of software, hardware, processes and tools in designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Consider adopting simulations (and augmented reality) and modeling when designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Be modular with your design so that you can correct and redirect as needed. 
  • Optimize your supply chain so it’s just in time, leveraging AI to predict what ‘just-in-time’ means.
  • Leverage ML and AI to understand and predict faults, to better anticipate and address problems in general.  

It’s clear from our thought-provoking, interactive conversation that Advanced Manufacturing is the future. And this future will be seized by leaders and companies who are proactive, strategic, collaborative, as represented by the executives in attendance at the roundtable.


Intent-Based Networking

July 19, 2019


FountainBlue’s July 19 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Intent-Based Networking. We were fortunate to have such a technical and articulate panel of leaders to speak on the Intent-Based Networking topic. 

Our panelists represented a range of industries, experiences and roles, but were each educated as technologists and each displayed in-depth technical expertise and experience. They made it clear that IBN is inevitably in our future and provided clear examples of how it is impacting us today.

They have each seen the evolution of manual configurations around the network, and witnessed the progression to scripts and programs to manage networks, and then the development of software-defined networks (SDNs), which to this day still help automate the management of networks.

To them, IBN is a progression of this pattern. Software is progressively more leveraged to manage networks, and networking leaders are progressing toward solutions which better focus on the intentions of the customers.

For example, instead of having protocols for every scenario, an IBN approach might focus on the problem a customer would like solved.

Many things need to fall into place before we can smoothly transition to a deeper adoption of IBN.

  • The hardware and software infrastructure must be reliably, pervasively and securely available to all relevant stakeholders. 
  • There must be a level of trust and communication between customers and vendors and partners in order to best understand the customer intent. Plus ongoing clear and transparent communication is needed to ensure smooth development, monitoring, and execution to deliver that custom program.
  • Sufficient data must be available in order to manage create programs which address the needs of the customer.
  • There must be clarity on which party plays which role in the IBN development and management process – the visionary, the creator, the enforcer, the manager.

It’s not clear how and whether some industries and some companies will adopt IBN. But it is clear that there are advantages for leading companies to do so.

  • The amount of available data is mind-bogglingly huge, and will only get larger. IBN will help companies proactively deal with problems as anticipated by customers, rather than reactively respond to a problem, as defined by large (and growing) sets of protocols and rules. 
  • Leveraging AI and ML to deliver solutions based on customer needs will likely lead to deeper relationships, more partnerships, and a better understanding of current and even future needs of the customer.
  • Better understanding patterns and edge cases will help better serve a wider range of customers and their needs.
  • Making predictions based on data patterns will in turn help better deliver results for customers.
  • Each of the points above will increase customer retention and customer acquisition, while also potentially leading to a wider set of offerings for each customer.

The road to adoption will take more leadership, more innovation, more collaboration. The open sharing of solutions, combined with a customer-centric mind-set will help hard-working, smart companies and leaders make progress in embracing the adoption of IBN.

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Cisco and our panelists for FountainBlue’s July 19 When She Speaks event, on the topic of Intent-Based Networking.  

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Principal Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Liliane Peters, Director Configuration & Release Management, Ericsson 
  • Panelist Ranjeeta Singh, VP, GM, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Teradata
  • Panelist Su Tsai, Director of Data Center Networking Services, Cisco IT 

See bios and invitation at

Keeping in Front of Change

July 1, 2019


Change. It’s a part of life. And it can take your life apart.

If we accept that Change will happen, and probably not in the way you were expecting, we would be better positioned to navigate that change.  I hope this post helps build that Acceptance Mindset.

Clarity – Be clear on what the change is, and how it can, might, will impact you.

1.What is the problem:

  • at the world/global level? Where is it trending? What is the underlying cause?
  • at the industry level? How is it impacting other industries? Where are there inter-connects?
  • at the company level? How is the problem specific to 4. your company as compared to others? What caused this difference? What can be done about it?
  • at the team level? How is your team’s response different than that of other teams? Why is that so? Who can do something about it?
  • at the individual level? How can you manage yourself so that you can see clearly this and all of the above?

2. Be clear on the problem in detail, but also consider the following:

  • What’s the data that proves your position?
  • What data is relevant?
  • How could you verify that data?
  • What does that data mean?

Strategy – Once you’re clear on the change, you can begin strategizing on what to do about it, who is involved in solving that problem, how to make it happen, and what success looks like.

3. Enlist the right stakeholders to drive the strategy around managing the change. Start with *both* the executives in charge *and* the people at all levels who are critical for the project.

4. Working together, describe the problem you’re facing in detail, and its impact on others, the proposed solution with roles, responsibilities of participating stakeholders, timelines and milestones for tasks and projects; resources, information and funding necessary for success; and time-lined, quantifiable results.

5. Strategize on how to overcome objections and obstacles and how to build further ongoing engagement and collaboration.

Execution – Seamlessly, continuously, collaboratively drive execution and momentum.

6. Get ongoing buy-in from all internal and external stakeholders, as expressed by engagement, energy, commitment, results.

7. Proactively manage the egos. Plan for a collaborative, win-win, but expect that many will object to the change, and many may not be able to work with others to manage through the change.

8. Measure and communicate on progress to date.

9. Revisit the problem, strategy and execution.

Acceptance – Don’t fight it, roll with it. 

10. Change is inevitable. Change is personal. The trick is to make it *not* personal, even when it affects you so personally.

Park the emotional impact. Work on understanding the problem well, strategizing on how to manage everyone’s emotional and practical impact through that change, and executing on the plan.

You’re not alone. Helping others navigate through the changes will also help you stay ahead of change.