The Opportunity Lies in Faster Deliverables

The Opportunity Lies in Faster Deliverables

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Chris Gibson | Vice President, Trimble

Location intelligence is becoming more pervasive and will only continue to penetrate deeper into the market. By the virtue of its relevance, location intelligence should be implemented in any industry that has geographically distributed assets. However, it is also interesting to note that location intelligence is growing significantly in industries where location is more relative than absolute, such as, within plants, consumer applications and within buildings. Capabilities traditionally assigned to geospatial applications are now moving toward spatial applications and location intelligence.

The primary mechanism behind disruptive business models is that of access. Business models are focused on shifting capex to opex; opex often avoids organizational decision bureaucracy associated with large capital expenditure. Further, companies focused on this disruption are often willing to bear more risk (either through taking on the capital expenditure, carrying inventory, etc).

The content business is a rapidly evolving space. As geospatial data becomes more widely adopted, there is a greater need for rapidly updated and analyzed content. The microsatellite business (such as, Planet Labs) is a good example of how companies are reacting to this demand for greater refresh rates through new technology. The proliferation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is further driving this trend of rapid updates. The content business has a growing focus on getting to a deliverable faster, and that is where the opportunity lies.

Fundamentally, the world is beginning to reject systems that create silos or force inefficient workflows. System integration is the key to making disparate solutions fit the customer workflow, rather than the other way around. There are some providers which strive to provide a closed system that offers the entirety of solutions. But, those companies often have to overcome a weak layer in their technology stack or an offering that is not truly fit for purpose. The alternative is to focus on the components of the workflow that a company can best deliver and then provide strong interoperability with other systems. As there are too many permutations to simply make everything “plug and play”, systems integrators will have a key role in the latter ecosystem.

As geospatial data becomes more widely adopted, there is a greater need for rapidly updated and analyzed content. The content business has a growing focus on getting to a deliverable faster, and that is where the opportunity lies

Transformation is the key

Trimble has been active in mergers and acquisitions throughout its history, though always with a focus on transformation and enabling workflows that improve productivity. Consolidation is sometimes a by-product of those activities but not an explicit goal for us. Transformation is what matters for our customers.

Our acquisitions strategy is actually based around several fundamental principles. Majorly, we focus on the businesses we have today. So, either the acquisition helps us to fill a gap that we have in our portfolio, or to help us grab an adjacent seat in the market. Playing in the market we know very well helps us to gain greater strength and presence in those particular industries. However, if we are missing something and someone else has that solution, we would try and grab that opportunity. For example, we acquired Ashtech because it provided a complementary set of products to a certain space our market place. We also acquired Gatewing because it added capabilities to our UAS portfolio.

The innovations and new disruptive models raise the level of competition and ensure we stay aggressive and innovative. We are well positioned to compete in the evolving market due to our strong technology position and business infrastructure but we always have to be aware of new competitors and cannot discount any of them based on size. Innovation can come from anywhere. We do believe we are a key source of innovation in the market and our users recognize that.

Construction will continue to be a big business

There is uncertainty across the global economy. Some companies are battening down the hatches, dramatically reducing staff and spending; we know that others are looking at how they can use the time of uncertain to advance their business. For those people, productivity is even more important than ever. We will continue to focus on building and delivering solutions that enhance productivity and get to a quality deliverable as quickly as possible.

One of the growth areas in the coming years will be construction, particularly as it relates to the design, build and operate continuum and the continued evolution of the constructable model. So, I think Trimble sees significant opportunities in India, Brazil, China and Africa. And our main challenge is to ensure that the offerings we have meet the needs of the customers. We can take our generic offering, but we need to localize it to the market needs. We need to figure out what we need to be successful in agriculture in Africa; what we need to be successful in the construction industry in India. This entails understanding the nature of the customer, the benefits that you are bringing to the market place and then positioning those with the customers.